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HER HISTORY AND HER DETRACTORS
By J. N. LEGER
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Haiti in the United States
HER HISTORY AND HER DETRACTORS
HISTORY OF HAITI
Quisqueya or Haiti-'Geographical position-The First Inhabitants: their manners, religion and customs-Divisions of the territory.
Between 170 55' and 200 north latitude, and between 71" and 77" west longitude from the meridian of Paris, lies the island which in the United States is often called "the mysterious Haiti." 2
Before the fifteenth century its inhabitants, numbering about one million, used to be relatively happy: the Old W'orld was unaware even of their existence.
They were very tawny, rather small in stature, with long, black, and smooth hair. Simple in their manners, more indolent than active, they were contented with little; moreover, their wants were not very great.
The men and the girls wore no clothing; the women only had around their waists a cloth reaching to their knees." They supported themselves by fishing, hunting, and by raising corn and vegetables of an easy culture; from their cotton they made nets, hammocks, etc.; they took great pleasure in smoking the dried leaves of the tobacco plant. Polygamy was practiced.
Through the coarse ceremonies of their religion can be traced the idea of the immortality of the soul and the existence of a Supreme Being, whose mother, Mamona,
Pronounce: A-e-t (a as in alone).
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Haiti somewhat resembles a turtle, its eastern projection forming the head, and the two western peninsulas the hinder limbs of the animal.
s Placide Justin, Histoire d'Haiti.
20 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
was especially worshipped. In the life to come the good would be rewarded; and in their Paradise they would meet once more their relatives, their friends, and principally many women.' They held sacred a cavern 5 whence, according to their belief, the Sun and Moon escaped and went to shine in Heaven. Every year they celebrated in that grotto a kind of public feast; the "Cacique"* or one of the notables headed the procession of men and women marching to the place. The ceremony began with the offerings that the priests or "butios"' presented to the gods or Zembs, whilst the women danced and sang the praises of the deities. Afterward prayers for the salvation and prosperity of the people were said. Then the "butios" distributed among the heads of the families pieces of cake, which they preserved with great care; these consecrated cakes, according to a belief the vestiges of which can be found even up to the present among some civilized nations, had the virtue of warding off all dangers and diseases.
Their gods were strangely typified; they took the form of toads, turtles, snakes, alligators, and of hideous human faces. The "butios" were at once soothsayers and doctors. By tradition and through personal observation they knew the power of many plants; the simples helped them to make cures; and the art of healing increased their prestige.
The aborigines called their island Quisqueya (big land) or Haiti (the hilly land). The authority was divided between five military chiefs or "caciques," each one independent of the others.' The weapons of the
Placide Justin, Histoire d'Haiti, p. 5.
This cavern, called nowadays "Grotte & Minguet," is in the neighborhood of Cape-Haiti.
Pronounce: Ka-sick (a as in alone).
The five "cacicats" or kingdoms were (a) Le Marien, under the command of Guacanagarie, in the North; its capital was in the neighborhood of Cape-Haiti; (b) Le Magua, called afterward "Vega Real," in the Northeast; the "cacique" was Guarionex; its capital stood where the Spaniards built the town of "Concepcion de la Vega"; (c) Le
people consisted of clubs, arrows, and wooden spears the sharp ends of which were hardened by fire. Often they had to protect and defend themselves against the attacks of their insular neighbors, the Caribs (Caraibes), who were cannibals.
The people enjoyed dancing to the beating of a drum. There were no public or private festivities without such dancing and singing. On the whole they were kind, polite, and merciful. Their good qualities caused their ruin."
Maguana, in the Cibao, acknowledged the authority of Caonabo, who resided at San Juan de la Maguana; (d) Le Xaragua, commanded by Bohechio or Behechio, in the West and South, had as its capital Taguana, known to-day as Logane; (e) Higuey, in the East, under the authority of Cotubana, who made his residence at Higuey.
'" Emile Nau, in his work Caciques d'Haiti, gives a good idea of the habits of the aborigines.
Christopher Columbus-fHis arrival in Haiti-Behavior of the Spaniards
toward the aborigines-Their cupidity-W\ar-Caonabo--AnacaonaThe Spanish domination-Cacique Henry.
Such were the first inhabitants of Haiti when, on August 3, 1492, Columbus left Palos. After a journey too well known to be repeated here, his three caravels anchored on the 6th of December, 1492, in a pretty bay in the northern part of Haiti. In honor of the saint whose feast the Catholic Church was celebrating that day, the place was called St. Nicholas.' The beauty of the scenery, the lovely panorama which Columbus beheld on arriving, the song of the nightingale, the fish, everything reminded him of the country whence he started out to the conquest of the New World. Therefore he gave the name of Hispafiola 2 to the island he had just discovered; and believing that he was in Asia, he called the inhabitants "Indians." On those unfortunate people the arrival of the Spaniards was about to bring endless calamities. And the island up to that time so peaceful and quiet was to have no more tranquillity; the land was to be nothing else than an everlasting battlefield, where all kinds of horrors and atrocities would be perpetrated. Torrents of blood would irrigate its fertile soil and a whole race would disappear in order to satisfy the cupidity of the newcomers. On the 12th of December, in setting up the cross on the coast of Haiti, Columbus had no idea that
I The place is called to-day Mole Saint-Nicolas. Pronounce: Moll Sain Ni-co-la (a as in alone).
Little Spain. Pronounce: Iss-pa-yola (both a's as in alone).
The Spaniards and the Aborigines
the symbol of redemption was to be the signal of a fierce struggle, of a struggle without mercy.
In fact, after the first impulse of curiosity caused by the sight of the large sails, which, like huge birds' wings, were carrying the caravels to their shore, the natives, prompted by the warnings of instinct, fled and got under shelter in the depths of their forests. The looks of the white men foreboded no good. But the trusting and kind disposition of the aborigines prevailed over fear. They were quickly won over by the cajoleries and the gifts of the Spaniards. Their leader, Guacanagaric,3 not only welcomed Columbus as a friend, but also became his ally; he granted the Admiral sufficient land for the building of a fortress. So a stronghold, called The Nativity" in honor of that holy day, was erected with the help of the Indians not far from the place where the present town of Cap-Haitien' is situated. The aborigines themselves had thus forged the first link of their own chains.
Thirty-nine men garrisoned the fortress, and on the 4th of January, 1493, Columbus left for Spain. He had scarcely set sail when the Spaniards, forgetting the simplest rules of prudence, became most unrestrained in their manners and committed the worst excesses. Taking no account of the generous hospitality and of the hearty welcome of Guacanagaric, they inflicted on his followers all kinds of ill treatment. They outraged women and girls, and despoiled the men of their goods. Eager for riches, and thinking only of acquiring gold, they seized the metal wherever they could lay their hands on it. They trampled on the chastity and the customs of the Indians. Finding no more booty in the "cacicat" of Marien, some of them decided to carry their depredations to the Maguana, where the auriferous mines of the Cibao were located. But Caonabo, the "cacique" of Maguana, was not like the passive Guacanagaric. Descending from the fierce tribe of the
1 Columbus landed in the northern part of the island, in the "caeicat" of Marien.
Pronounce: Cap A-e-ci-en.
24 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
Caribs, he determined to remain the sole master of his "cacicat," which he had conquered by main force. Therefore he did not hesitate to cause the invaders to be arrested and put to death. And, having a vague presentiment of future perils, he determined to rid the island of the dangerous newcomers; in consequence he invaded the Marien. At the head of a numerous band of armed followers he rushed upon the fortress The Nativity, which he razed to the ground, after exterminating all the Spaniards. Henceforth it was to be war to the death.
When, on the 27th of November, 1493, Columbus returned to the place where The Nativity was built, he could but deplore the disaster. From Spain he had brought with him imposing forces. He settled in the eastern part of what is known to-day as Monte Christi; and there was built the first town erected by the Spaniards in the West Indies. In honor of the Queen of Spain this town was called Isabella."
Among Columbus's new companions there were many adventurers whose sole thought was to acquire riches. They began searching for gold with a greed second only to their contempt for the feelings of the Indians. Besides, the latter had to work hard to supply their oppressors with cotton, tobacco, and gold dust. They were soon compelled to fetch from the bowels of the earth that gold which in their indolence they had been content to pick up in the sands of the rivers. Their artless souls rose against such unjust oppression. They joined the party of Caonabo," who became the leader of the opposition to the tyranny of the foreigners. The natives fought gallantly. To get rid of his indomitable foe, Columbus had to resort to Alonzo Ojeda's perfidy. Under the pretext of making peace, they decoyed Caonabo into an ambush. As a gift from the chief of the Spaniards, Ojeda presented him with chains and handcuffs made of iron polished and glittering like silver.
Cacique of Maguana.
The Spaniards Defeat the Aborigines
The unsuspecting Indian admired the irons, and mistaking them for ornaments he allowed himself to be manacled. He was then easily carried to Columbus, who kept him prisoner in his own house. Caonabo was afterward sent to Spain.7
This treacherous act, instead of intimidating the Indians, provoked a general uprising. Manicatoex, Caonabo's brother, became their leader. Against the band of numerous warriors who threatened the town of Isabella, Columbus despatched a well-disciplined body of footsoldiers, cavalrymen, gunners, and arbolisters; twentyfive blood-hounds also were added to the army. In the struggle the natives fought desperately; but the firearms of the Spaniards prevailed over their spears and clubs. Their forces were annihilated. The cavalry harassed the fugitives, many of whom became the prey of the ferocious dogs. No quarter was granted, those only could escape who were lucky enough to reach the shelter of the inaccessible mountains. This victory secured the Spanish domination. The Indians agreed to pay tribute to them.
However, the tranquillity which followed these events did not last long; more terrible convulsions were in store for the unfortunate island.
The exactions of the Spaniards became unbearable. Hoping to get rid of them by starvation, the Indians gave up cultivating their lands; they deserted their homes, taking shelter in unsearchable forests in the mountains, where they lived on roots; they voluntarily endured hardships rather than submit to the treatment inflicted on them by the conquerors.
The Haitian soil was soon to be soaked with Spanish blood. In the absence of Columbus, who left for Spain in 1496, his companions quarreled and civil war began. On all sides bloody scenes were enacted: the Spaniards
Caonabo was sent to Spain in March, 1496. According to E. Robin (History of Haiti, p. 14) the ship foundered and the cacique was drowned. But Mr. J. B. Dorsainville (Course of Haitian History, p. 44) says that the Indian leader starved himself to death during the voyage; for the ship arrived at Cadiz on the 11th of June, 1496. However, Caonabo never reached Spain.
26 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
exterminating the Indians; the latter availing themselves of the least opportunity to retaliate; and to crown the situation, the Spaniards killing each other.
On his return to Hispaiiola, Columbus suppressed the dissensions among his followers by establishing, in behalf of Roldan-Jimenes, the leader of the malcontents, what is known as the "repartimientos" system: he granted to Roldan and to his followers a certain quantity of land and a sufficient number of Indians to cultivate it. In that manner slavery began to appear; and Quisqueya had a new horror to add to the list of the calamities with which its unhappy inhabitants were already afflicted.
In 1500 Bobadilla succeeded Columbus; and the "repartimientos" system became worse. The "caciques" were compelled to supply every Spaniard with a certain number of Indians; these Indians were made to work under the guidance and in behalf of their masters, to whose heirs they were transferable.
Naturally this caused the natives to be still more highly displeased. Moved by their complaints the court of Spain appointed Nicholas Ovando governor of the island; he landed in Santo Domingo on the 15th of April, 1502.1
The new governor had a good reputation, which he soon belied. It would seem that in reaching Hispafiola the best-intentioned man laid aside his kind disposition to give way to his worst instincts. Thinking only of shipping as much gold as possible, in order to convince the King of Spain of the merit of his administration, Ovando was pitiless to the Indians. These unfortunate people, accustomed to the sunshine, were made to live in the depths of the earth; and many of them died from starvation and exhaustion.
From the Canary Islands Pierre d'Atenga brought
In 1496 Barthelemy built on the left bank of the Ozama a town which he called New Isabella and which became the headquarters of the administration. Destroyed in 1502 by a cyclone, the town was, in 1504, reconstructed, at the mouth of the same river, by Ovando, who called it Santo Domingo after Columbus's father.
According to Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 32, Ovando arrived in Santo Domingo on April 15, 1501.
Anacaona and Ovando
the sugar-cane to Hispafiola. This new culture increased the burden which was already so heavy for the natives.
With a view to preventing any uprising on their part Ovando decided to destroy the last centres of organization where they could gather their forces for a common resistance. On his arrival two of the former "cacicats" were still holding their own and recognized the authority of two aborigines.
Anacaona,'o widow of the gallant Caonabo, governed the Xaragua, and the Higuey was ruled by Cotubanama. The prestige of the Queen of Xaragua was very great. She was a beautiful woman, possessing the art of lulling away the cares of her people by extemporizing for them the nalve songs they were so fond of. Like her husband, Anacaona was to be a victim of the Spanish tyranny. Ovando took umbrage at the moral ascendency she possessed over the natives. Under the pretext of collecting the tribute due to the Court of Spain, he left for the Xaragua, escorted by 300 foot soldiers and 70 cavalrymen. In pursuance of instructions given by Anacaona, the people everywhere gave him the most friendly welcome. The Queen herself went to meet her illustrious visitor, in honor of whom many festivities took place.
But all this confidence did not move the inexorable Spaniard. During one of the festivities, at a given signal agreed on beforehand, Ovando's soldiers rushed upon the harmless Indians and began a wholesale slaughter. They set fire to the village, thus rendering the massacre still more horrible. Anacaona, now a prisoner, was dragged away to Santo Domingo, where a mock court of justice, completing Ovando's treachery, sentenced her to death. Neither her beauty nor her charms could excite the compassion of the conquerors, and she was hanged. Thereafter Ovando was master of the Xaragua. (1504.)
But the Higuey was still under the authority of the
1 Golden flower. Pronounce: An-na-ka-o-nA.
28 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
stalwart Cotubanama. It was an easy matter to find a pretext for waging war on him. The last of the Haitian caciques" defended his small State with great bravery. The struggle was a fierce one. The Spanish fury spared neither sex nor age. They massacred the natives indiscriminately. Vanquished at last, Cotubanama was taken as a prisoner to Santo Domingo where, like Anacaona, he was hanged. Through his defeat and death the Spaniards at last acquired the entire possession of Hispaiiola.
Ovando was victorious. The Spanish conquest had annihilated a whole race. Shipped to Europe and sold as slaves, heavily burdened with taxes, overworked, tormented, persecuted, the autochthons had rapidly disappeared. Many had resorted to suicide to escape from the ill treatment inflicted on them; others were devoured by the ferocious dogs; the greatest number had fallen in the bloody wars and bloody massacres. In 1507, scarcely fifteen years after the arrival of the Spaniards, there remained, out of a population numbering about 1,000,000, only 60,000 natives. Four years later, in 1511, these 60,000 were reduced to 14,000.11
The cruelty and cupidity of the newcomers had depopulated the island. There was in consequence a great deficiency of laborers: the prosperity of Hispafiola was in jeopardy. Ovando, always fruitful in expedients, conceived the idea of importing the inhabitants of the neighboring islands, pretending that it would be easier to convert them to Christianity. Deceived by the grossest artifices, 40,000 of those unfortunate people were removed from their homes and became at Hispafiola the prey of the Spanish avidity.
The Spaniards soon introduced into the island a new element more resisting than the Indians and Caribs: a few blacks had been sold in the colony. Pleased with their work, the Spaniards held the Africans as indispensable. The slave-trade which ensued was the cause of the downfall of the colonists. Cargoes of human flesh abounded in Hispafiola. Stunned by their brutal
n Placide Justin, Histoire d'Haiti, pp. 40-42.
separation from their families, stupefied by the sufferings and the fatigues of a long journey, scattered on the various plantations, and unable to understand the language spoken around them, the new slaves were at first necessarily docile and obedient. But, little by little, through contact with the survivors of the last Indians, they began to be able to exchange ideas among themselves. And the old grievances uniting with the new ones served to augment the hatred of the oppressors.
In 1519 occurred the last uprising of what was left of the first inhabitants of the island. Saved almost miraculously from the massacre of Anacaona's followers in 1504, Henri, a native of Bahoruco, was taken to Santo Domingo and brought up in a convent of Dominican friars. Though he became a Christian, he was nevertheless a slave. Tired of all the ill treatment inflicted on him by his master, incensed by an attempt on his wife's honor, and being unable to obtain justice, he fled in 1519; accompanied only by a few Indian slaves who swore to die rather than endure again the humiliation of their former condition, he took refuge in the mountains of Bahoruco.
This new leader could read and write; and like some of his companions he understood the use of firearms. They could therefore successfully hold their own. The Spanish pride received blow after blow. Henri's victories encouraged all the Indians who could make their escape to flock to his camp.
The black slaves were not long in following the example of their companions in misfortune. They rebelled on the very plantation of Diego Columbus, governor of the island. They set fire to all the farms they found on their way and killed every European they met. But, being without a leader and having only a slight knowledge of the country, they met with rapid defeat. Yet many of them were fortunate enough to reach the Ocao Mountains, where there lived already some men of their race, known as maroons, who had freed themselves from slavery.
The Spaniards failed to subdue Henri either by force
30 Haiti: Her History t der Detractors
or by deceit. He firmly established his authority in the Bahoruco, and his followers became the terror of the colonists. It was now his turn to inflict humiliations on the conquerors; which he did for more than fourteen years. The frequent defeats met by the Spaniards decided Charles V, then King of Spain and Emperor of Germany, to send a special agent to Hispafiola: Barrio-Nuevo was intrusted with the mission of restoring peace. Bearing a letter from the Emperor to Don Henri, he had no trouble in persuading the "cacique" to lay down his arms. Acting by the advice of Las Cases, who was called the "Protector of the Indians," Henri went to Santo Domingo. A solemn treaty of peace was made and ratified on both sides. Henri was allowed to reside in the village of Boya. Exempt from paying tribute, he was to be called "cacique of Haiti" and to keep under his command the Indians who were permitted to follow him. These, numbering about 4,000, the last scions of the aboriginal race, settled at Boya. They had at last recovered their liberty. Henceforth they would be able to lead a quiet life.
The French freebooters and buccaneers-Their customs-Their settlement at La Tortue (Tortuga Island) -Little by little they invade lispalola, now known as Sa.int-Donigue--Continual wars with the
Spaniards-Treaty recognizing the French occupation.
The treaty signed in 1533 with the "cacique" Henri had at last put an end to the hostilities between the Indians and Spaniards. For a while there was no bloodshed. The relative tranquillity which ensued was not taken advantage of. Instead of thriving, the colony was on the wane. The incompetency or malversation of the various governors hastened the decline. The mines were emptied or deserted; no care was given to agriculture. In consequence, through idleness, debauchery and poverty the colonists were in a piteous condition. Everything was falling to ruin. The town of Santo Domingo alone, where was centred the luxury of the administrators, remained prosperous and assumed, the appearance of great splendor. But its magnificence was the cause of serious calamities. In 1586 the English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, charged by Queen Elizabeth to curb the Spanish arrogance, bombarded the town, took possession of it, and partly destroyed it by fire. After an occupation of a month he agreed to evacuate it in consideration of a ransom of f,7,000.
The arrival of other Europeans in the West Indies was to become a source of continual worry to the Spaniards. From the beginning of the sixteenth century, attracted by the allurements of gain, the French had begun making incursions into the New World. Impressed by the various tales concerning the riches of Santo Domingo city, they little by little commenced the habit of calling the whole island Saint-Domingue. At first they had no idea of conquest. They were satisfied 31
32 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
with plundering. In concert with the English they lost no opportunity of injuring the Spanish trade. However, successive defeats made them feel the necessity of having a rallying-point, at least a place where they could refit their ships. In 1625 a party of Frenchmen under the command of Enembuc, and of Englishmen under the leadership of Warner, took possession of St. Christopher Island. Private initiative began thus to deprive Spain of its possessions in the West Indies.
The presence of these dangerous neighbors alarmed the Court at Madrid. In 1630 Admiral Fr6d6ric de Tolkde expelled both the English and French from St. Christopher. Looking for a safer shelter, they settled at Tortuga Island (La Tortue), situated in the northern part of Hispafiola or Saint-l)omingue. Their new possession, eight leagues long and two leagues wide, became rapidly the rendezvous of the freebooters who swept the Spanish Main. In 1640 the French drove the English from this small island, thus remaining the sole masters. That was the starting point of their settlement in Saint-Domingue.
At that time the Spanish colony was in full decline. Owing to the necessity of preserving themselves from the depredations of their terrible foes, the Spaniards had almost deserted the coasts and were concentrated in the interior of the island. The Frenchmen availed themselves of the opportunity to take possession of the greatest part of the northern seashore. They had Port Margot,' and soon founded Port-de-Paix.2
These new inhabitants of Saint-Domingue were rough men of very coarse manners. They devoted their time to hunting wild oxen, the flesh of which they dried and smoked over a wood-fire called "boucan"; hence their name of buccaneers. But hard pushed by the Spaniards they turned their attention to piracy. Under the name
Pronounce: Por Mar-go. Port Margot is situated in the department of the North, and in the arrondissement of Borgne.
Pronounce: Por-doe-p. Port-de-Paix is the chief town of the department of the Northwest.
3 Pronounce: Bou-kan.
The French Freebooters and Buccaneers
of freebooters they were the terror of the West Indies. They had neither wives nor families. They entered two by two into a kind of partnership, all of whose goods were in common and to be inherited by the survivor. In case of a disagreement, which seldom happened however, blood alone could bring the quarrel to a close. Even in their dress they were wild looking. At their belts could always be seen a sabre, besides several knives and daggers. Any one of them possessing a good gun and twenty-five hunting-dogs considered himself a happy man. Many abandoned their family names and assumed pseudonyms, which remained to their descendants. Continually exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, their lives in constant jeopardy, they had as little fear of death as regard for the laws. They were fierce and desperate in their bravery; they roamed the seas in their small crafts, and would board fearlessly the largest Spanish ships. Nothing could resist the impetuosity of their attacks. The independence of their nature tolerated no restraint; and the authority of their leaders lasted only so long as fighting was going on. Improvident and careless, they would squander in a few days the valuable booty they acquired, their lives being thus continually spent either in the greatest luxury or in the utmost poverty. Want therefore excited their ardor and aroused their courage.
D'Ogeron' undertook to discipline these unruly spirits and to interest them in the welfare of their new country. He thought that family ties alone could check their wild dispositions and bind them to their homes. So he requested that some women be sent from the mother country; at first but few arrived. Therefore, to prevent any quarrelling, they were awarded to the highest bidders; the less destitute among the freebooters were thus able to secure female companions. In this manner the first French families were instituted in Saint-Domingue.
The freebooters were not to be trifled with; they D'Ogeron was appointed governor of the island by the East Indies Company.
34 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
were terrible foes. The Spaniards made vain efforts to exterminate them. A new and relentless war began; the island once more became a battlefield. The English thought they had now a good opportunity to take possession of the country. A fleet sent by Cromwell threatened Santo Domingo in 1655. Fortunately for the French the expedition failed and the English proceeded to Jamaica, which they seized, thus depriving Spain forever of that colony. The struggle at SaintDomingue continued therefore between the French and the Spaniards only; it was a stubborn and bloody contest. The French not only held their own, but even managed to gain a surer footing.
Emboldened by their success they now assumed the offensive; they desired the entire possession of the island. In their first campaign against Santiago they stormed the city, which they afterward abandoned upon receiving a ransom (1669).
At the first opportunity the Spaniards retaliated. They invaded Petit-Goave, which they completely destroyed. In 1691 they took possession of Cap-Frangais," which they set on fire and whose inhabitants they massacred. On leaving the ruined city they took with them a great number of women, children, and slaves. The French for a while were in a desperate state. Besides the Spaniards, the English also were threatening their settlement. And the black slaves, whose hope of liberty was only slumbering, began to cause some anxiety. In 1678 Padrejean 6 had roused them to rebellion. In 1697, in the Quartier-Morin,' 300 Africans took up arms again.
Fortunately for the French the timely peace of Riswick put an Pnd to the hostilities. By the treaty signed in 1697 Louis XIV acquired a clear title to the possession of the western part of the island, the limits of which were established from Cap-Rose in the north to La Beate in the south.
Now named Cap-Haitien.
Padrejean was killed after inflicting heavy losses on the French.
Situated in the Northern departmentn" and in the arrondissement of Cap-Haitien.
The French part of Saint-Domingue-Its prosperity-Its different classes
of inhabitants; their customs-The color prejudice-The colonists: their divisions; their jealousy of the Europeans-Their desire to be in command-Their contempt for the affranchis (freedmen)Their cruelty toward the slaves--The maroons.
By recognizing the French conquest the treaty of Riswick rid the colonists of Saint-Domingue of their anxieties arising from the vicinity of the Spaniards. The latter even became their allies, the war for the succession of the throne of Spain having just confounded the interests of Louis XIV with those of the heir of Charles II.
The eighteenth century began under the happiest auspices; quiet once established, Saint-Domingue was not long in astonishing the world by its prosperity. The ardent tropical heat, however, soon exhausted the vigor of the hired Europeans known as "engages," whose position resembled that of serfs. The cultivation of sugar-cane and of indigo required hardier constitutions. In consequence the Africans were in favor. Nobody hesitated to participate in the slave-trade. As many as 30,000 blacks were annually imported.
In the beginning their position, pitiable as it seemed, was less hard to bear. The first colonists, unsociable and haughty, had however very simple tastes. Their wants up to that time were not numerous and were easily satisfied. In the colony there was a scarcity of white women, and those who had arrived about the beginning of the French occupancy could not be re35
36 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
garded as models of austere virtue. The fierce freebooters and their immediate successors did not consider the negresses as unworthy of their attentions. The unbounded devotion of the latter often moved the hearts of the terrible masters whose companions they had become. The children born of such a commerce were not entirely neglected by their fathers. There existed no color prejudice to complicate the relations of the two races. No one had cause to feel shame or humiliation. The appearance of the mulatto, in arousing feelings of fatherly love, ameliorated the condition of some of the slaves. Mothers and children were often freed owing to these sentiments. Unfortunately through the riches resulting from the fruitful soil of SaintDomingue these ideas began to suffer a change. Surrounded by extravagant luxury, the wealthy colonists made it the fashion to look down upon the Africans and their descendants. And the new families, arrived from Europe, exaggerating this disdain, hardly considered as human beings those whose color was not white. Barriers arose; and the odious distinctions between men, which the Gospel was supposed to have done away with, were more than ever firmly established.
At the time of its greatest splendor the inhabitants of Saint-Domingue were divided into three distinct classes: the whites, the "affranchis" or freedmen, and the slaves. To these classes officially admitted, may be added a fourth one-the maroons.
Naturally the whites had arrogated all the privileges. They were the masters; their color sufficed to confer on them all the rights and advantages. However, interest and prosperity in time divided the predominant class, introducing four subdivisions: 1st, civil and military functionaries; 2nd, the wealthy planters; 3rd, merchants; 4th, mechanics, storekeepers and adventurers in quest of success. These groups were jealous of one another. And those who were neither functionaries nor wealthy planters were scornfully called "petits blancs." The latter were envious of the social position of the former. Besides, the white natives of Europe consid-
The Various Classes of Inhabitants
ered themselves far above the creoles, i. e., those who were born in the colony.
Notwithstanding these distinctions prompted by their unbearable vanity, all of them-the whites from Europe, creoles, wealthy planters, and "petits blanes"
-made common cause in the matter of taking advantage of the colonial regime which allowed them to trample upon the slaves, and to heap humiliations upon the "affranchis." However, the wealthy planters, who formed the aristocracy of the island, could not disguise their displeasure at the despotic and military government of Saint-Domingue.
The Governor-General' had usurped supreme power. He interfered with everything, even in the administration of justice, thus usurping the duties of a special agent or "intendant" who was there for that purpose. His word was supreme law.
The wealthy planters thought that the surest way for their party to become the ruling power was by shaking off his authority. Hence a bitter rivalry, and an underhand war began between them and the Governor-General.
While undermining the position of the agents appointed by the King of France, the planters did nothing to gain the sympathy of the "petits blancs"; and their contempt for the "affranchis" was too great to allow them even to think of them as allies.
The "affranchis" formed the intermediary class between the colonist and the slave, and consisted of the blacks and mulattoes who had been able to obtain or to buy their freedom. Through personal efforts and hard work they began to rise gradually from the low condition they had occupied from their birth. They acquired urban and rural property; they appreciated
In speaking of the Governor the inhabitants of the colony were in the habit of calling him, by way of abbreviation, "Gndral" or "mon G~nEral" (my general). (Moreau de St. Mdry.) Hence the custom of the country people in Haiti of calling any one occupying a position superior to theirs "Gondral." Foreigners hearing this word applied indiscriminately to Haitians believed that every one held that military rank.
38 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
learning; and their sons, sent to France at great sacrifice to themselves, had often more success at school than the children of the colonists.
The wealth and knowledge they acquired made the "affranchis" feel they were the equals of the whites. Therefore they were highly indignant over the prerogatives the latter had assumed at their expense. They claimed the exercise of the political rights granted them by the Black Code. Circumstances placed them face to face with the colonists, who sought to check their ambition by humiliating them. Thus the liberal professions were closed to the "affranchis"; they were debarred from learning any kind of trade; they could not be silversmiths, for instance. In the army they could no longer become officers. At last they were even forbidden to go to France (1777); and were ordered to wear clothes of a material different from the whites.
And yet those men upon whom the colonists heaped humiliation after humiliation were good soldiers. They were enlisted in both the militia and the horse-police (marechausde); and they all understood the use of firearms. It was into the hands of such men that the colonists committed their safety.
As a means of putting a stop to the ever-iiereasing colonial pride and haughtiness, the women, mulattresses and blacks alike, resorted to their native charms. Wives or concubines, they availed themselves of whatever influence they possessed to secure the freedom of the men of their race. Incensed by the preference shown to their colored sisters, the white women added the weight of their jealousy to the already existing causes of conflict.
The slaves were in a pitiable plight. Not being considered as human beings, they were entirely without rights that a white man was bound to respect. They were treated and sold like cattle, with which their masters confounded them in the inventory of their estates. They were subjected to the most barbarous punishments. According to the Black Code all fugitives were punishable by death; it was lawful to mutilate them by
The Slaves and Maroons
chopping off their legs and their ears. The hounds were let loose on them, inflicting the greatest torture by their fierce attacks on the unfortunate creatures. Flogging was the mildest chastisement inflicted on the slaves. The honor of their wives, the chastity of their daughters were matters of the slightest consideration to their masters.
Small wonder it was that the slave was beset with one fixed idea-to free himself of that odious yoke. Throughout his sufferings be never despaired: liberty was the one hope of his existence. And when he could not buy his freedom he would secure it for himself by fleeing; at the first opportunity he would fly for safety into the densest forests and the most inaccessible gorges of the mountaii:s. When he was successful in effecting his escape he became wllat was called a maroon.
Hence the mnaroons were slaves who, at the risk of their lives and after undergoing untold hardships, had eventually recovered their freedom. Being outlaws and hunted like wild animals they had continually to be on the lookout. Any place whllere they could find a safe shelter from their pursuers became their domain. Should they happen to be caught by their owners they knew beforehand that no mercy was to be expected and that the most inhuman punishments .he colonial imagination could invent would bq. theirs. Consequently, when attacked they fought with the fiercest desperation. Theirs was a perpetual struggle for existence. It was these men, without education or culture, who gathered from their confused ideas of human dignity the necessary energy to wage war on the society which was oppressing them so brutally. lThle first to bid defiance to the colonial system, they showed the men of their race that hardships, sufferings, even death-all were preferable to such degrading servitude. They formed the vanguard of the future army of liberation.2
Such were the four classes of men who inhabited
In 1784, after an unsuccessful attempt to subdue by force the maroons in hiding in the Bahuruco 'Mountains, Governor-General Bellecombe acknowledged their independence.
40 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
Saint-Domingue; the clashing of whose conflicting aspirations was destined to hurl them one against the other. After irrigating the Haitian soil with their sweat, "affranchis," slaves, and maroons firmly united, would lavish their blood on it in order to root out forever the shameful institution of slavery.
Number of inhabitants of Saint-Dominge--Savannah-The French
revolution-Efforts of the colonists to take advantage of it-The affranchis claim their rights-The first conflicts-Atrocities committed by the colonists-Vincent Og4 and Chavannes-Uprising of the slaves-The first Civil Commissioners-Decree of April 4, 1792.
In 1789 there were at Saint-Domingue 520,000 inhabitants, 40,000 of whom were white, 28,000 "affranchis,"
and 452,000 slaves.' The number of maroons was from two to three thousand. Whilst most of the whites led corrupt and dissolute lives, the "affranchis," through domestic virtues, were acquiring much wealth; they possessed a third of the real estate, and a fourth of the personal property of the colony.2 Yet no regard was shown them. Despite the levelling and philanthropic philosophy which in Europe was moving the heart of the nobility, the colonists became daily more and more haughty and overbearing to the men of the black race; they did all in their power to check the hopes which these new ideas began to raise in the souls of the sorely
Through their influence and intrigues the colonists
extorted from the weak hands of Louis XVI decisions of the most insulting nature against the "affranchis."
The excess of humiliations heaped on them at last
moved, even in France, the pity of generous hearts.
( These figures are given by Moreau de Saint-Mdry. According to B.
Ardouin (Introduction to the Studies of Haitian History) the population / of Saint-Domingue in 1789 numbered 40,000 "affranchis" and more than
600.000 slaves. Ducoeur-Joly, quoted by Placide Justin, p. 144, claims that the population consisted of 30,826 whites, 27,584 "affranchis," and
/ B. Ardouin, Geography of Haiti, p. 4.
42 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
"La Societe des Amis des Noirs" soon extended its
mighty support to the lawful claims of those who hitherto were treated like pariahs.
The "affranchis" became more and more conscious of their importance. In 1779, responding to the call of the Comte d'Estaing, 800 blacks and mulattoes' left their families and their homes, and went to fight side by side with the soldiers of George Washington. At
the siege of Savannah the colored sons- of Haiti fearlessly shed their blood for the independence of the United States." After fighting for the liberty of others was it possible that they would willingly tolerate slavery for their mothers, their brothers, and their sisters ? Could they be content under the arbitrary rule of a system which had despoiled them of their rights ?
But, blinded by their prejudice, the wealthy planters would not make the slightest concession in their favor. They founded in Paris the "Club Massiac," which became henceforth the centre of action of their coterie. Yet at that time the pretensions of the "affranchis" were very moderate. What was it they were claiming? Simply the equality of political rights which was granted to them in 1685 by the Black Code.
By yielding to their requests the colonists would have saved their property, and Saint-Domingue might perhaps have remained a part of the French territory.
The Society of the Friends of the Blacks.
4 Among the volunteers from Saint-Domingue were Beauvais, Rigaud, Chavannes, Jourdain, Lambert, Christophe, Morne, Villate. Toureaux, Cang4, Martial Besse, Leveilld, Mars Belley, etc. (E. Robin, History of Haiti, p. 47.)
& "At the siege of Savannah," says Mr. T. G. Steward, quoted by Mr. Benito Sylvain at page 102 of his book (Du sort des Indigenes dans les colonies d'exploitation; Paris, 1901), "the colored militiamen from "Saint-Domingue, numbering 800, saved the Franco-American army from "total disaster by heroically covering its retreat, which was very near "being cut off by Lieutenant-Colonel Maitland."
However, some yenrs later one of these militiamen, Martial Besse, then a French general, was not allowed to land at Charleston (South Carolina) without giving bail, on account of his color. The French consul had to interfere in order to secure proper respect for him. (American Historical Association, 1905, Vol. II, p. 1020, Lettre de IUtombe, consul A Philadelphia, A Delacroix, Ministre des Relations Exterieures de France.)
The Colonists and the Affranchis"
Still they chose to run the greatest risks rather than share the administration of the island with men whom they considered their inferiors.
From the convocation of the States General, the wealthy planters began to defy the colonial authority, thus giving the first example of insubordination. On their own responsibility they secretly appointed eighteen representatives whom they sent to France. On their arrival at Versailles they found the National Assembly already organized. This first act of insubordination was followed by others still more important. Vhen the news of the fall of the Bastille reached SaintPDomingue, the pretensions of the colonists knew no bounds. They elected municipalities and even an Assembly, which, assuming the title of "General Assembly of the French part of Saint-Domingue," met at Saint-Mare and arrogated full powers. On the 28th of May, 1790, this Assembly adopted a decree which constituted almost a declaration of independence. The attitude and encroachment of this body was naturally highly displeasing to the colonial government, which ordered its dissolution and resorted to force in order to compel its members to disperse." The whites took no pains to conceal from the "affranchis" the discord existing among themselves.
Excluded from all the assemblies elected at SaintDomingue, the freedmen had never ceased to protest against the arbitrary deprivation of their political rights. Their representatives in France, among whom were Julien Raymond and Vincent Og6, were fighting hard to put an end to their humiliating position. Through the powerful assistance of the Society "des Amis des Noirs," they were received, on the 22d of October, 1789, by the National Assembly. Later on the "affranchis" offered to France 6,000,000 francs and the fifth of their properties in guarantee of the national indebtedness. The Assembly was not long in taking up
Many members of the Assembly took shelter on board the Leopard (8th of August, 1790).
44 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
the slavery question. Whilst the matter was under discussion, Charles de Lameth, one of the wealthy planters, spoke, on the 4th of December, in favor of the freedom of the blacks and claimed their right to become members of the colonial assemblies.
The colonists decided that the time had come to check the audacity of the "affranchis," and as usual they resorted to all kinds of atrocities. In the town of CapFrangais the mulatto Lacombe was hanged, his only crime having been--that he dared to present a humble petition claiming the "Rights of man" (Les Droits de l'homme). At Petit-Goave, a highly respected old man Fernand de'Baudieres, a white, was beheaded. He w charged with having drawn up a petition asking, no for equality of rights in favor of the "affranchis," but only for a slight betterment of their condition. At
Aquin,7 a mjulatto, G. Labadie, seventy years old, simply suspected oiThaving in his possession a copy of the petition, was attacked by night at his home by the whites: Severely wounded, this septuagenarian,8 a man universally esteemed, was tied to the tail of a horse and dragged through the streets. At Plaisance, the mulatto Atrel, guilty of having accepted a claim upon awiite man, was killed by a band of infuriated people. At Fonds-Parisien the whites set fire to the most important sugar refineries of the "affranchis" Desmares, Poisson, Renaud.' In time to come, the slaves who revolted, remembering this merciless destruction of property, in their turn reduced to ashes the rich plantations of the colonists.
The French spared not even the children. At PetiteSA town in the southern part of Haiti.
Concerning Labadie, Brissot, in a letter to Barnave, says: "One "can say to the whites that there are in Saint-Domingue well informed "mulattoes who have never left the island. I can quote for instance Mr. "Labadie, an honorable old man, who owes his wealth to his work and "his intelligence. Astronomy, physics, ancient and modern history, were "all familiar to Mr. Labadie, at a time when not one of the whites in "the colony knew the A, B, C of these sciences." (B. Ardouin--Studies on the History of Haiti, Vol. I, p. 198.)
Situated in the Western departmentn" of Haiti.
B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. I, p. 117.
Vincent Oge and Chavanne
Rivibre de l'Artibonite a party of 25 whites, after searching in vain for a mulatto, ended by killing his two children; in the samTiocality they murdered a father and his two sons." A black freedman was, without the least provocation, put to death by a party of whites; whilst at Cap-Frangais there took place a wholesale slaughter of the "affranchis" 12 by the colonists. Such are the atrocities with which the wealthy planters started the French revolution in Saint-Do-J mingue. By and by both "affranchis "and slaves retaliated by taking revenge of all the horrible crimes of which they had been the victims. Many foreign writers unfriendly toward Haiti make mention only of the reprisals; but they intentionally omit all allusion to the frequent revolting crimes which had caused them.
By a decree of March 8, 1790, the National Assem- -, bly had, however, indicated the powers vested in the colonial assemblies of the French possessions. And, according to article 4 of the Instructions adopted on the 28th of the same month, all persons 25 years old, owning real estate or domiciled in the parish for two years and paying taxes, were authorized to take part in the election of those assemblies. The "affranchis" possessed the full requirements, and therefore imagined that they would at last be able to exercise their political rights. Their illusions did not last long. The colonists of Saint-Domingue did not consider as persons men of the black race; they regarded them as things. In consequence they were not allowed to vote.
Foreseeing the decision of the wealthy planters, Vincent Og6, one of the commissioners of the "affranchis," decided to return to Saint-Domingue in order to demand the fair application of the Decree and the Instructions of March, 1790. He assumed the pseudonym of Poissac; and in spite of all the hindrances placed in his way he succeeded in leaving France. He arrived at CapFrancais in the evening of October 16, 1790, and proceeded forthwith to Dondon," his native place. As soon
B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, p. 119.
Ibid., p. 120.
Situated in the Northern departmentn" of Haiti.
46 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
as his arrival became known the colonists took the necessary steps to secure his arrest. From Dondon Og4 went to Grande-Rivibre to the house of JeanBaptiste Chavanne." Of a practical mind, Chavanne was firmly convinced that nothing would be obtained from the whites by persuasion only. He therefore advised an immediate uprising of the slaves. Og6 deemed this plan too radical. In consequence, on October 21, he wrote to Count Peinier, then Governor of the island, saying that he had come to secure the application of the Decree of March, 1790, and that, in order to put an end to an unjust and absurd prejudice, he would, in case of need, repel force by force. As a result of this step, and in spite of his threat, a price was set upon his head, and 800 soldiers were despatched against him. Og6 had only 250 followers. The first encounter was favorable to him. But new forces sent from CapFrangais defeated his small army. He succeeded, with Chavanne and a few companions, in reaching the Spanish part of the island. The Governor, Don Joachim Garcia, had the cruelty to give them up to the government of Saint-Domingue. After a so-called trial, Oge and Chavanne, to whom even the assistance of a lawyer was denied, were sentenced "whilst alive to have their "arms, legs, thighs and spines broken; and afterward "to be placed on a wheel, their faces toward Heaven, "and there to stay as long as it would please God to "preserve their lives; and when dead, their heads were "to be cut off and exposed on poles, Vincent Og6's on "the highway leading to Dondon, and Chavanne's on "the road to La Grande Rivibre, opposite the estate of "Poisson." This barbarous sentence was executed in all its horror on February 25, 1791. The northern provincial assembly gathered together in state to witness this inhuman punishment. Og6 and Chavanne, hacked
14 Situated in the Northern departmentn" of Haiti.
Chavanne was among those who fought at Savannah for the independence of the United States.
'* A reward of $4,000 was promised to any one who would capture Og4.
The Colonists Murder Mauduit
to death, bore their sufferings stoically. For many months following, their unfortunate companions were hunted and when caught were hanged. The method employed for quelling the insurrection was savage and merciless. But the revenge soon to be taken equalled in mercilessness the acts which provoked it. Before the end of 1791 the colonists were to begin to expiate their crimes.
Remaining still haughty and full of pride they imagined that the martyrdom of Og6 and Chavanne would so intimidate the "affranchis" that they would not dare to renew the struggle. As a matter of fact, after Oge's defeat, the free blacks and mulattoes of the South, who, under the leadership of Andre Rigaud, had gathered on the plantation of Prou, willingly laid down their arms. But this proved to be only a truce. The colored men wanted time in which to form and to mature their plans. Og6's fate made it clear to them that by force alone they would conquer the power of exercising the political rights which they had vainly endeavored to acquire peacefully.
Tranquilized by their recent victory and the apparent submission of the "affranchis," the wealthy planters began to renew their intrigues against the colonial government. Two battalions, sent from France with a view to helping to maintain order in Saint-Domingue, arrived at Port-au-Prince on March 2, 1791. The friends of the former Colonial Assembly of Saint-Marc, which had been severely arraigned by the National Assembly in a resolution adopted on October 12, 1790, won over the soldiers to their cause. The latter landed in Port-au-Prince in disobedience to the orders given them by the Governor-General, Mr. de Blanchelande. The city was in open rebellion. The prison was stormed. Andre Rigaud, Pinchinat, and some other "affranchis" who were then in jail were set free. Mr. de Blanchelande left hastily for Cap-Frangais. The colonists murdered Colonel Mauduit, whose fidelity to the colonial government had displeased them; his body was mutilated and his head. stuck on the end of a pole, was
48 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
carried through the streets of Port-au-Prince. They usurped the authority and organized a municipality which they called the Western Provincial Assembly.
Whilst the whites were creating this disturbance of the peace at Saint-Doiningue, the National Assembly, uneasy concerning the vengeance of the blacks which would most likely follow the inhuman punishment of Og6 and Chavanne, agreed that the time had come for granting some concessions to the "affranchis." Therefore on May 15, 1791, a decree was adopted stating that free-born colored men would henceforth be eligible to the provincial assemblies. This news upon reaching Saint-Domingue at the end of June, 1791, provoked great excitement. The "affranchis," thinking once more that at last they had acquired the rights which they had been claiming with so much perseverance, showed the wildest enthusiasm; but the whites, whose indignation knew no bounds, protested vigorously against this step; they even went so far as to implore the protection of the English. And pretending that the decree of May 15 had not been officially notified to the Governor of the island, they hastened to elect a new Colonial Assembly with power to regulate the political condition of the 'affranchis."
The blacks and mulattoes, regarding this action as a challenge, decided to resort to arms. Having gained wisdom from Og6's misfortune the "affranchis" this time did not trust to chance.
On August 7, 1791, they held a meeting in the church of Mirebalais and appointed a committee of forty members. of which Pierre Pinchinat was elected president. Whilst this political council was striving to obtain from Mr. de Blanchelande the fair application of the decree of May 15, the colored men of PortIT Fifteen miles from Port-au-Prince.
16 Born on July 12, 1746, Pinchinat was brought up in France. Garan de Coulon says of him: "In his new position he showed, besides "his commendable patriotism, wisdom and knowledge, in contradiction "of the false impressions which the whites tried to make in France as to "the ignorance and incapacity of the colored men." (B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. 1, p. 179.)
The Uprising of the Slaves
au-Prince, secretly assembled on the plantation of Louise Rabuteau," decided on their military organization (August 21). Beauvais was appointed leader of the insurrection; and it was resolved that the uprising
should take place on the 26th of August.
---There were already symptoms of an alarmingly dangerous nature affecting the domination of the colonists; the slaves who, up to that time, had been seemingly obedient and resigned, began to show signs of their intention of shaking off the yoke. In June and July insurrections took place at Cul-de-Sac,' at Vases," and at Mont-R1ouis.2 The whites had recourse to their usual methods: they tried to intimidate the rebels by inflicting horrible punishments on them. Men were quartered alive; and so great a number was hanged that it was san._ times difficult to find enough executioners.24
At that time there appeared before the public a man
who was to shape the destinies of his race and have a great influence on the future of Saint-Domingue. Toussaint-Brida, better known under the name of Louverture, acting in connivance with the followers of the Governor of the island, prepared a general uprising of the slaves. Clever and perspicacious, he assumed at the outset a very modest part. He did not endeavor to obtain the command; his friend Jean-Frangois was proclaimed the leader; Biassou was next in command; to Boukmann and Jeannot had been intrusted the mission of giving the signal of rebellion. This matter settled, there remained but to find a way of influencing all the slaves. These were told that the King of France and the National Assembly had granted them three holidays a week and bad abolished flogging as a means of punishment; but that the colonists refused to obey the
Situated in the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
Beauvais was one of the militiamen who fought at Savannah. He
was educated in France.
North of Port-au-Prince.
In the arrondissement of Port-au-Prince.
In the arrondissement of Saint-Marc.
Placide Justin, History of HIaiti, p. 205.
50 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
decree. The slaves, however, after their many years of submission, were naturally cautious; they were afraid of being defeated. Boukmann boldly informed them that soldiers were coming from France to second their revendications. And in order to give them full confidence in themselves he performed an imposing ceremony at "bois Caiman on August 14, on the plantation of Lenormand de Mezy. On their knees, Boukmann
and the conspirators, in the presence of a priestess, took solemn oaths on the reeking entrails of a wild-boar, Boukmann swearing that be would lead the rebellion, and the others to follow and obey their chief.
Eight days after this "oath of blood," on the night of October 22, the slaves of the Turpin plantation, headed by Boukmann, rose to a man and gave the signal of the struggle for liberty. The slaves of the neighboring plantations hastened to respond to the call of their comrades. The grievances which had been accumulating for centuries found vent at last. In their turn the masters would be made to suffer the tortures which they had long taken pleasure in inflicting on the unfortunate blacks." In their first paroxysm of anger and
2 In a pamphlet printed in 1814 ("The Colonial System Disclosed"
-"Le systme colonial devoilt"), Baron de Vastey mentions the following inhuman punishments inflicted on the slaves by their masters: Poncet mutilated his slaves; he killed his own illegitimate daughter by pouring boiling wax in her ears (p. 48). Corbierre buried his slaves alive (p. 41). Chapuiset, incensed by the loss of one of his mules, caused the keeper to be put alive in the interior of the dead animal; man and beast were then buried (p. 45). At Grande-Riviere, Jouaneau nailed one of his slaves to the walls by the ears; the ears were then cut off with a razor and roasted, and the victim was compelled to eat them (p. 45). At Marmelade, De Cockburn, a Knight of Saint-Louis, buried his slaves up to the neck and used their heads as a game of ten pins (p. 46). At Ennery, Michau threw his slaves whilst alive into hot ovens. In the Artibonite, Desdunes burned more than forty-five blacks alive, men, women and children. Jarosay, in order to have only dumb servants, cut out their tongues. Baudry, honorary member of the Superior Council of Port-au-Prince, at Bellevue flogged his confectioner to death for having been unsuccessful in the making of some preserves (p. 52). Madame Ducoudrai gave from two to three hundred lashes to her slaves; and hot sealing-wax was afterward poured on their lacerated flesh (p. 54). Madame Charette put iron masks over her slaves' faces and left them to starve to death (p. 55). At Cavaillon, Lartigue caused his servant Joseph to be quartered alive (p. 57). Guilgaud, Naud, Boca-
Jean Frangois and Boukmann
revenge the rebels spared neither persons nor things. Armed with pikes, axes, knives, spears,-torch in hand,
-they destroyed and exterminated everything that came in their way. Fire and death marked their passage. Jeannot,2" self-appointed avenger of Og6 and Chavanne, was merciless. In less than eight days 200 sugar refineries and 600 coffee plantations were reduced to ashes; the plain of the North was one immense cemetery.
Jean-Frangois, who had assumed the title of generalissimo and grand-admiral of France, led his followers to the very entrance of Cap-Frangais. On November 14, however, they were defeated; Boukmann was made prisoner and beheaded; his body was then burnt and his head, stuck on the end of a pole, was exposed in the centre of the Place d'Armes of Cap-Frangais, with a sign bearing the words: "Head of Boukmann, chief of the rebels." The colonists gave no quarter. All the
prisoners were at once put to death. Two wheels on which they were tied and their bones broken, and five gallows were kept constantly busy.1T
Whilst these events were taking place in the North, on August 26, at the Digue plantation," the "affranchis," in pursuance of the plan adopted on the Rabuteau planlin, tied their slaves to trees and left them there to die from exposure (p. 59).
In order to put a stop to the terrible reprisals of Jeannot, JeanFrancois had him shot. But no white man was punished on account of the cruelties inflicted by the colonists on the blacks and mulattoes.
Rabau (RSsumE de l'histoire de Saint-Domingue, p. 77), quoted by Mr. Benito Sylvain (loc. cit. p. 91), says: "Some planters buried the "blacks up to their shoulders, and with pincers forced them to open "their mouths and to swallow boiling syrup. Others had their prisoners "sawed between two boards. I stop; my pen cannot describe such dread"ful scenes." A black man, called Bartolo, who at the risk of his life had taken his master to Cap-Francais for safety, was sentenced to death for having participated in the uprising; his denunciator, Mangin, was the very colonist whose life he had saved. "The whites," says Colonel Malenfant, "considered every black man as an enemy, and increased in "that way the number of rebels; for they massacred indiscriminately all "the slaves they could lay their hands on, even those who were peaceful "and had not deserted their plantations." (Benito Sylvain, Du sort des Indigenes, etc. (p. 92.)
3 Situated in the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
52 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
station, took up arms and declared themselves in revolt, with Beauvais at their head. The first encounter took place at the Nret plantation. The whites were defeated; they fled in disorder. From Port-au-Prince troops and artillery were then despatched. A bloody battle was fought on the Pernier plantation. The whites were again defeated, and fled, abandoning their guns, which fell into the hands of the "affranchis." Beauvais then marched with his army to Trou-Caiman, which was fortified.
These two defeats made it clear to the whites that on the battlefield at least the blacks and mulattoes were not their inferiors. Genuinely alarmed by the simultaneous uprising of the slaves and the "affranchis," the wealthy planters thought that the time had come to sever their relations with France. They sought England's protection and sent to Jamaica for help. The English did not deem that things were ripe for action; in consequence they refused to intervene. Left to themselves, the wealthy planters of Port-au-Prince, in fear of the devastation which had befallen the plain of the North, made up their minds to come to an agreement with the colored men. On October 23, a treaty of peace was signed at the Damiens plantation. By this concordat it was agreed that the "affranchis" would be admitted, or a footing of perfect equality with the whites, in all the assemblies, even in the Colonial Assembly; the sentence against Og6 and his companions would be held in execration and the memory of these martyrs rehabilitated; a solemn mass would be celebrated in all the churches of the Western "d6partement" for these victims, and proper indemnity paid to their widows and children.
When, in pursuance of the treaty of Damiens, the army of colored men entered Port-au-Prince on October 24, Beauvais, its general, and Caradeux, the most aggressive of the planters of Saint-Domingue and commander-in-chief of the militia of the Western "d6partement," were to be seen marching along arm in arm.
In the Artibonite the whites had also signed, on Sep-
Beauvais and "Affranchis" Leave Port-au-Prince 53
tember 22, a concordat with the colored men of SaintMarc who had taken up arms under the leadership of Salary.
Everywhere the blacks and mulattoes were victorious. They believed that they had at last acquired their "jroitical rights.
Whilst the "affranchis" were deluding themselves with the brightest hopes, their enemies in France did not remain inactive. Their intrigues were carried on with such success that on September 24, 1791, the Constituent Assembly adopted a decree stating that "all "laws concerning the position of persons without their "freedom, and the state of free colored men and blacks, "as well as the regulations for the execution of such "laws, would be passed by the now existing and the "future Colonial Assemblies. * "
This untimely decree put an end to all the advantages which the "affranchis" had just secured by main force. Henceforth their fate depended on the Colonial Assembly, which was in session at Cap-Frangais since August 9; on that very assembly whose arrogance and hostility toward the black race were well-known facts.
As soon as the colonists of Port-au-Prince became aware of this decree they did not fail to find a pretext for refusing to ratify the treaty of Damiens. On the morning of November 21 a black man by the name of Scapin, a drummer in Beauvais's army, had a quarrel with a white soldier; for this he was flogged and afterward hanged by the whites. Valm., a colored lieutenant, lost no time in avenging Scapin's death by killing a white artilleryman. This was sufficient cause to rekindle the strife. Both sides took up arms again. After a bloody fight, Beauvais, at the head of his army, marched to La Croix-des-Bouquets. Port-au-Prince was on fire. The whites availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by the disorder and confusion which ensued, to massacre all the "affranchis" of whatever age or sex which they met on their way. More than 2,000 mulattresses 2" were put to death. A white man
2 Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 219.
54 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
called Larousse killed Madame Beaulieu,"0 a colored woman who was in an advanced state of pregnancy; he opened her abdomen, tore out the child, and threw it into the fire.
The blacks and mulattoes were in a great state of indignation over these atrocities. Their one desire was for vengeance. Andre Rigaud, who had left for the South, was not long in returning at the head of a strong army, which he marched as far as Martissant, where he encamped. On the other side, Beauvais besieged Port-au-Prince on the north and on the east. The water supply was cut off. The whole southern portion of the island was in arms.
At Trou Coffin in the neighborhood of Logane, a Spanish mulatto known as "Romaine-la-Prophitesse" had gathered a large band of followers. He pretended that he had had frequent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, and in this way he acquired a great amount of influence over his companions.
In the North the slaves were still in arms, their overtures for peace having been contemptuously rejected by the whites.
Such was the situation of the colony when, on November 28, 1791, the first Civil Commissioners, Mirbeck, Roume, and Saint-Leger, arrived at Cap-Frangais. They had been instructed to restore peace in SaintDomingue and to enforce the enactment of the Decree of September 24. They tried in vain to restore peace in the island. The arrogant Colonial Assembly of CapFrangais, to which the Decree of September 24 had given special powers, thwarted all their good intentions. The "affranchis" knew only too well the futility of expecting any concessions on the part of the planters; they decided to support the Civil Commissioners, hoping that their assistance would secure for them the recognition of their political rights. On the arrival of Saint-Liger at Port-au-Prince (January, 1792), the
0 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, p. 282.
n In the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, to the south.
Romaine the soothsayer.
The "Aiffranchis" Defeat the Colonists
leaders of the colored army which was besieging the town immediately requested an interview with him. They showed the greatest deference to the agent of the metropolis. Complying with his request they allowed the city to be revictualed. And in order to entirely win him over, they agreed even to raise the siege: they accordingly returned to La Croix-des-Bouquets.
The whites of Port-au-Prince, highly displeased with Saint-Liger on account of his good disposition toward the colored men, refused to assist him in the repression of the crimes which the followers of "Roumaine-laProphitesse" were committing in the plain of Liogane. The "affranchis" very cleverly profited by this opportunity to make themselves useful: Beauvais and Pinchinat placed a body of 100 soldiers at the disposal of the Civil Commissioner.
Whilst Saint-Leger was at Leogane endeavoring to restore harmony and concord between the colored men and the whites, the planters of Port-au-Prince tried to surprise the army of the "affranchis" quartered at La Croix-des-Bouquets. Being warned in time of the approach of the troops despatched against them, Beauvais and his companions retreated into the mountains of Grand-Bois and Pensez-y-Bien.3" Incensed by the perfidy of the whites, the "affranchis," who up to that time had been very moderate, resorted to radical measures: they roused the slaves of the Cul-de-Sac plain to rebellion. Headed by Hyacinthe,"' an intelligent and gallant black, these slaves attacked the colonists at LaCroix-des-Bouquets, defeated them and pursued them as far as the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, which was again besieged (April, 1792).
In the South the struggle still continued between the "affranchis" and the whites; the latter, in order to rid themselves of their foes, called upon their slaves to arm themselves in order to render them assistance.
n Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 234.
Hyacinthe believed that an ox-tail which he always carried in his hand had the power of preserving him from bullets; he was regarded as invulnerable.
56 Haiti: Her Hilstory and Her Detractors
In the North the slaves who had broken into rebellion tried in vain to make peace. Toussaint, who was not yet known by the name of Louverture, had given the first proof of his perspicacity. Sent to Cap-Franais under a flag of truce he was not long in finding out that the Civil Com'.missioners possessed ii reality no power, and that the Colonial Assembly was the supreme authority. Through his advice all parleys were put an end to.
Exposed to the anger of the wealthy planters, hindered by their limited powers and foreseeing grave dangers for the colony, the Civil Commissioners decided to return to France. On April 1, 1792, Mirbeck left Cap-Franais; on the 3rd of the same month SaintIAger sailed from Saint-Marc. Roume, however, remained in Saint-Domingue.
Whilst the foregoing events were taking place in the island of Saint-Domingue, the Constituent Assembly in France had been replaced by the Legislative Assembly. 'The liberal and generous ideas of the "Girondins" were destined to have a decided influence on the future of the "affranchis." The latter won their first victory at the beginning of December. A decree adopted on the 7th of the same month forbade the use, against the colored men, of the soldiers sent out to the colony. Shortly after this the Legislative Assembly granted to the "affranchis" the equality of political rights for the possession of which so much blood had been shed in Saint Domingue. On March 28, 1792, a decree, approved by the King on April 4, was enacted stating that henceforth free blacks and mulattoes were to have the same political rights as the white colonists; and that, in consequence, they were entitled to participate in the election of the assemblies, to which they were also eligible. Another decree, passed on the 15th and approved on the 22d of June, vested special powers in the Civil Commissioners: instead of being dependent on the Colonial Assembly they were authorized to dissolve that body as well as the other assemblies which
Army of the "Affranchis" Occupy Port-au-Prince 57
were made use of by the colonists so as to undermine the authority of the agents of the mother country.
The Decree of March 28 (better known as the Decree of April 4) was received at Saint-Domingue on May 28. Roume, wLose powers had been greatly increased, hastened to have it enrolled by the Colonial Assembly of Cap-Frangais. With the cooperation of Governor de Blanchelande he decided to subdue the colonists of Port-au-Prince. The "affranchis" gladly tendered their assistance. The colored men of Saint-Marc escorted the Civil Commissioner to La Croix-des-Bouquets (June 20). Soon after Beauvais and Rigaud reoccupied Port-au-Prince (July 5). The slaves of La Croix-desBouquets, I'Arcahaye, and the Cul-de-Sac plain resumed their work. Freedom, however, was granted to 144 of them upon their agreeing to serve for five years in the gendarmery and to help in maintaining order on the plantations.
Whilst Roume was doing his utmost to restore peace at Port-au-Prince, Governor de Bianchelande had gone to Jer6mie, accompanied by Andr6 Rigaud. The whites of La Grand 'Anse had flatly refused to accept the Decree of April 4. After defeating the colored men, many of the prisoners taken were put to death; the rest were kept in chains on prison-ships in the harbor of Jer&mie; among these were even old men, women, and children. The most that Blanchelande could obtain for them was that they be sent to Cap-Frangais. Satisfied with this relative success he left for Aux Cayes, where he failed in his campaign against the rebellious slaves intrenched at Platons. Disheartened by his defeat he went back to Cap-Franqais. Andre Rigaud succeeded in pacifying the rebellious slaves by freeing 700 of them.
Success had at last crowned the efforts of the "affranchis"; by force of arms, blacks and mulattoes had acquired the exercise of their oitFical rights. In the West and in the South more than 1,000 slaves had obtained their freedom. The first blow had been struck at the colonial system!
Arrival of the new Civil Commissioners, Sonthonax, Polverel and Ailaud
-Application of the Decree of April 4, 1792-The Intermediary Committee-Resistance of the colonists-Fighting at Port-au-Prince and Cap-Francais--The English land in Saint-Domingue--The Spaniards conquer a portion of the French territory--General freedom is
granted to the slaves-The colored men are in power.
Sonthonax, Polverel, and Ailaud, the new Civil Commissioners appointed by France, arrived at Cap-Franqais on September 18, 1792. They were accompanied by 6,000 soldiers and by General d'Esparbs, the new Governor-General of the island.
The "affranchis," who had already gathered imposing forces, were well prepared to protect and defend by force of arms the rights granted to them by the Decree of April 4, 1792. Their cause was henceforth inseparable from that of the French Revolution. Their assistance was therefore pledged beforehand to the new agents of the mother country.
The condition of the island at this time was not reassuring. In the North the colonists were inflicting punishments of the severest kind on the slaves taken prisoners, without succeeding in quelling the rebellion. In the West and in the South the whites and the "affranchis" were carefully watching each other: symptoms of unrest were rampant. Owing to the want of security resulting, agriculture was neglected and many colonists had left the country.
The Civil Commissioners had hardly become settled when news of the momentous events of August 10 reached Saint-Domingue. The arrest and deposing of 58
The "Affranchis" Exercise Their Political Rights 59
Louis XVI furnished the colonists with a pretext for renewing the struggle. The Colonial Assembly tried to stir up the people with a view of getting rid of Sonthonax, Polverel, and Ailaud. These latter frustrated the plan by taking energetic steps: by an order on October 12 they dissolved the Assembly of CapFrangais and all the other popular assemblies. In place of the Colonial Assembly they organized what was called the "Commission intermidiaire" (Intermediary Committee), consisting of twelve members: six whites and six colored men. Thus for the first time the representatives of the black race sat, in a political body, by the side of the arrogant colonists who formerly had had naught but contempt for them. Pinchinat, Jacques Borno, Louis Boisrond, Francois Raymond, Castaing, and Latortue were the first "affranchis" officially admitted to the honor of participating in the administration of the colony. The colored men did not content themselves with belonging simply to the Intermediary Committee, they took a large part in the organization of the municipalities; they even held public offices. Civil and political equality was henceforth an accomplished fact. But much blood was still to be shed; and the black race was to struggle heroically and successfully to preserve forever an advantage for the winning of which so many lives had been sacrificed.
The pride of the colonists suffered greatly; it seemed impossible for them to accept such a situation. At CapFrangais they plotted a conspiracy, in which even the new Governor-General, d'Esparbis, took part. The Civil Commissioners were able to prevent disturbances only by resorting to extraordinary measures. Assured of the devotedness of the colored men, they proceeded without hesitation to arrest General d'Esparbis and forty white officers, all of whom were taken on board and kept as prisoners in the harbor of Cap-Frangais. General Rochambeau became acting Governor-General. For a while the firm attitude of the Civil Commissioners preserved peace. They thought that they could now safely look after the welfare of the various prov-
60 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
inces. Polverel left for the West and Ailaud for the South. Sonthonax remained at Cap-Frangais with the Intermediary Committee. Instead of going to Aux Cayes, Ailaud, alarmed by the existing state of things, abandoned his post and returned to France. Sonthonax therefore went South in his place. In January, 1793, he had barely finished expelling from Platons the rebellious slaves of the plain of Cayes, when grave events compelled him to leave the South. Fighting had already taken place in the streets of Cap-Frangais (December 2, 1792): a body of white soldiers had refused to acknowledge the authority of a colored officer appointed to command them; they mutinied. A few colonists and the sailors of the men-of-war hastened to side with the white soldiers. They attacked the battalion of colored men, who, after a fierce defense, were compelled to yield to the superior forces of their opponents; they withdrew to tHaut-du-Cap, where they took possession of the artillery. On his arrival at CapFrangais, Sonthonax arrested and embarked the most important factionists. The colored soldiers agreed then to return to Cap-Franqais; they were welcomed with great honor: the Civil Commissioner, the acting Governor, the Intermediary Committee, and the municipality all went to meet them. This reception irritated the colonists of Cap-Franqais, and more especially those of Port-au-Prince. The latter, in order to avenge what they considered as a humiliation put upon the white race, plotted the expulsion of the Civil Commissioners and the extermination of the colored men when the agents of France would be no longer in the island to protect them.
For a while they forgot their own differences and united firmly against their common enemy. In their turn they succeeded in stirring up against the colored men the slaves of "Fond-Parisien" and of the Cul-deSac plain. The revolt broke out on January 23, 1793. Thirty-three plantations belonging to colored men were reduced to ashes. Emboldened by their success the wealthy planters of Port-au-Prince, headed by Auguste
Beauvais Chief of the Militia
Borel, arrested General Lasalle, then acting Governor. Rochambeau had been sent to Martinique. General Lasalle succeeded in making his escape; he went to Saint-Marc, where Sonthonax had already arrived; Polv6rel soon joined them. The colored men hastened to render to the Civil Commissioners all the assistance in their power. A strong army marched against Portau-Prince. After a hard and desperate struggle the town surrendered. Beauvais was appointed commanderin-chief of the militia of the West; and a body of regular troops, "the Legion of Equality," was organized, with the mulatto Antoine Chanlatte as its colonel.
Their authority once more established in Port-auPrince, Polv6rel and Sonthonax tried to subdue La Grand'Anse. For this purpose they despatched a delegation accompanied by 1200 soldiers under the command of Andre Rigaud. The colonists of that portion of Saint-Domingue had gradually rid themselves of the control of the agents appointed by France; they had elected an Administrative Council at Jeremie, which voted even taxes. They had armed their slaves and placed at their head a black man by the name of Jean Kina. Aided by them they had succeeded in expelling from their departmentn" all the "affranchis," blacks and mulattoes. The army of the colonists was intrenched at Desrivaux. Andre Rigaud attacked it on June 19, 1793. He was completely defeated. After their victory the whites of La Grand'Anse transformed their Administrative Council into a Council of Safety and Execution (Conseil de Suiret4 et d'Execution), which they vested with extraordinary powers.
In the mean time, the greatest excitement was prevailing once more at Cap-Francais. The Governor of the island, General Galbaud, had espoused the interests of the colonists. Upon the arrival of Polv'rel and Sonthonax in that town, all the inhabitants were plotting against them. But having with them a battalion of colored men with Antoine Chanlatte in command, they felt that they were sufficiently powerful to order Galbaud to immediately leave the island and sail for
62 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
France (June 13). The Governor raised a rebellion among the crew of the men-of-war; and on June 20 he landed at Cap-Frangais at the head of 3,000 men. Antoine Chanlatte, gallantly supported by Jean-Baptiste Belley,' a free black, lost no time in going to the help of the Commissioners. A bloody struggle occurred in the streets of Cap-Frangais. In the end, however, Polv6rel and Sonthonax were compelled to abandon the town, which was left to the mercy of Galbaud's sailors. On the 21st of June they retreated to Camp-Br&da. Their situation seemed hopeless. That very day they issued a decree promising full freedom to all the slaves who would take up arms for the cause of the French Republic, promising also that they would be considered the equals of the whites and would enjoy all the rights belonging to the French citizens. As soon as this decree became known to them, the followers of Pierrot, Macaya, and Goa, who were fighting on their own behalf, hastened to place themselves at the disposal of the representatives of the French Republic. With a firm determination to earn their freedom, these slaves fiercely attacked the forces of Galbaud; owing to their assistance Cap-Frangais was stormed on June 23. The sailors had sacked and partly destroyed the unfortunate town by fire. The ill-fated island of Saint-Domingue continued thus to be devastated by fire and sword.
Instead of improving, the situation of the Civil Commissioners daily grew worse. In February France was again at war with Great Britain; hostilities soon followed with Spain. The representatives of France and Spain at Saint-Domingue were both instructed by their respective governments to spare no pains, to resort even to the revolted slaves, in order to conquer the territory of the other party. The Governor of the Spanish portion of the island was already carrying out these instructions. He had won over Jean-Francois, Biassou, and Toussaint Louverture, whom he loaded with favors and honors. Jean-Franeois was appointed lieutenant, Jean-Baptiste Belley was later on elected member of the French National Convention.
The English Occupy Jerermie
general of the forces of the King of Spain; Toussaint Louverture became major-general (marechal-de-camp). "For the first time black slaves were to be seen be"decked with ribbons, crosses and other insignia of nobility." 2
Encouraged by the rewards granted to them, pleased with the equality of treatment existing between the white Spaniards and themselves, the blacks fought valiantly. By their victories the French portion of SaintDomingue was in jeopardy. After Galbaud's defeat, many of the white officers, indignant at the ever-increasing influence of the colored men, had begun to betray the cause of France. One after the other, Ouanaminthe, the important camp of La Tannerie, and the Lesec camp were turned over to the Spaniards. The victorious followers of Jean-Francois, Baissou, and Toussaint Louverture had taken possession of almost the whole northern province.
In the South, the colonists of the "Grand'Anse," availing themselves of the defeat of Andre Rigaud, had again sought the protection of the English. As soon as peace with France was at an end, the representatives of these proud and haughty planters had hastened to submit to the English Government plans for the occupation of Saint-Domingue (February 25, 1793). On September 3, 1793, Venault de Charmilly, acting on behalf of the colonists, and Adam Williamson, representing Great Britain, signed at St. Iago de la Vega' the agreement which was destined to put the country into the hands of France's enemies. And on September 19 the English soldiers, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Whitelocke, landed at J4rimie; cries of "Long live King George!" "Long live the English !" were heard on all sides. There were thus Frenchmen who, blinded by their hatred of the colored men, preferred to betray their country and to give up to its foes a portion of its territory, rather than submit to
2 Life of Toussaint-Louverture by Dubroca, p. 9.
2 Formerly the capital of Jamaica, and now called Spanish Town.
64 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
the necessity of admitting equality of political rights. granted to the free blacks and mulattoes.
On September 22 the English, without striking a blow, occupied also Mile Saint-Nicolas. They were soon in possession of L'Arcahaie, Leogane, Saint-Marc, and of the whole province of La Grand'Anse.
It looked as if France was about to lose possession of Saint-Domingue. In the North the only important places where the French authority was still acknowledged were Fort-Dauphin, Cap-Franqais, and Port-dePaix, where General Laveaux, the acting Governor, resided. Yet the Civil Commissioners had not remained inactive whilst these events were taking place. In June they had tried without success to alienate Jean-Frangois,' Biassou, and Toussaint Louverture from the Spanish cause. In July Polv6rel left for the West, where hostile manifestations against France were threatened. Won over by the Spaniards, two brothers named Guyambois, blacks who had gained their freedom, were planning, first to place three chiefs at the head of the colony-Jean Guyambois, Jean-Franqois, and Biassou; secondly, to proclaim the freedom of all the slaves; and third, to share the land among the former slaves. A Frenchman, the Marquis d'Espinville, in connivance with the Spanish Governor, encouraged these schemes. Polv6rel frustrated the plot by arresting the two Guyambois and the principal accomplices. However, great excitement prevailed among the slaves when news of this project became known. It was feared that they would be completely won over to the Spanish cause through the promise of freedom and of the partition of the land. Thus the concession made byv the Decree of June 21, which granted freedom alone to those slaves who would fight for the French Republic,
4 Jean-Francois remained true to Spain. In 1802 he was living at Cadiz with the rank and salary of a lieutenant-general in the army of the King of Spain. "He had a large retinue," says Dubroca; "ten black "officers acted as his aides-de-camp." (Life of Toussaint Louverture, note 2.)
5 Thepe men, devoid of any intellectual culture, were laying down the principles of the future independence of Haiti.
Liberal Measures in Behalf of the Slaves
lost a great deal of its importance. Therefore it became necessary to take more liberal measures. On August 21 Polv6rel ordered that all persons found guilty of specified crimes would forfeit their movable and landed property. And on August 27 he issued a decree stating first that the Africans or their descendants who would remain on or return to the plantations considered vacant would become free and would enjoy all the rights exercised by the French citizens, provided they agreed to work on the said plantations; secondly, that all the vacant plantations of the West would belong in common to those inhabitants of the province who had borne arms for the French and to the cultivators of those plantations; thirdly, that (first) all the rebellious blacks who would reinstate or help to reinstate the Republic in the possession of the territory occupied by its enemies, all those who would swear allegiance to the Republic and fight for it, (secondly) all the Spaniards, all the revolted Africans, either maroons or independent, who would facilitate the conquest of the Spanish portion of the island-all these would benefit by the partition that would be made of the vacant plantations; and, fourthly, that all real estate belonging to the Spanish Government, to the nobles, to the friars and priests would be distributed among the warriors and cultivators.
Polv rel boldly asserted the principle of the dispossession of the colonists in behalf of the slaves; yet he abstained from saying the words so eagerly desired by them-general freedom. However, circumstances had made such a step unavoidable. In the North important events were occurring daily. On August 25 a white man, G. H. Vergniaud, seneschal at Cap-Frangais, had presented a petition to Sonthonax in which the full measure of justice was requested. The situation was very critical; the assistance of the blacks was indispensable in order to check the progress of the Spaniards. Sonthonax hesitated no longer; he proclaimed general freedom. His decree of August 29 restored at last to human dignity thousands of men who for cen-
66 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
tries had bent beneath the shameful yoke of slavery. Article 12 of this decree ordered that a third of the products of every plantation be divided among the cultivators.
Surprised by the radical measures taken by Sonthonax, Polv6rel wias at first uncertain as to what course he should pursue. But the impatience of the slaves, the growing dangers which threatened the colony, soon decided him to adopt his colleague's views.
Thinking that an imposing ceremony should accompany such a step he ordered a general gathering at the Place d'Armes in Port-au-Prince of all the citizens, white and colored; and on September 21, 1793, the anniversary of the establishment of the French Republic, he publicly declared, at the "autel de la Patrie," that slavery was abolished in all the communes of the West. In their enthusiasm many slave-owners signed their adherence to this great act of social reparation, on registers previously prepared for that purpose. Two days after, the name of Port-au-Prince was changed to PortRrpublicain,' "in order that the inhabitants be kept "'continually in mind of the obligations which the "French revolution imposed on them."
On October 6, 1793, Polv'rel, then at Cayes, freed the slaves of the South. Thus the coalition of the wealthy planters of Saint-Domingue with the English and the Spaniards had the effect of hastening the abolition of the very institution of slavery which it was their intention to preserve and maintain in the colony had their efforts been crowned with success.
After two long years of struggle and of suffering the blacks eventually were delivered forever from this barbarous and inhuman system. In Saint-Domingue men would no longer be the property of men. The revolution was complete. It remained but for the logic of events to accomplish the rest.
Known at the present day as Place Pdtion.
In 1804 the town regained the name of Port-au-Prince, but became once again Port-Ropublicain from 1843 to 1845, since which year the capital of the Republic has retained the name of Port-au-Prince.
The Colored Men are in Power 67
In the mean time, the Civil Commissioners were bestowing the highest offices on colored men, the white officers having proved untrustworthy; after the execution of Louis XVI they had not scrupled to give up their forces to the Spaniards. In Polverel's absence, Pinchinat was invested with all the civil powers in the West. Montbrun was commander-in-chief of the province; Antoine Chanlatte had the military posts under his authority; Beauvais was in command at Mirebalais and La Croix-des-Bouquets; Greffin at I~ogane; Brunache at Petit-Goave; Faubert at Baynet; Doyon at L'Anse-4-Veau, etc. Andre Rigaud was commanderin-chief of the South. At the end of 1793 the taking of possession of power by the colored men was an accomplished fact. And they were about to justify the trust which France had placed in them by bravely defending her territory against foreign invaders.
The English occupy Port-au-Prince-Polverel and Sonthonax try to
cause disunion among the colored men-They leave Saint-Domingue -Toussaint Louverture deserts the Spanish cause and joins the French-Andrd Rigaud expels the English from Logane-The treaty of Bale-The English attack LAogane-Toussaint Louverture goes to the help of General Laveaux imprisoned at Cap-Francais by VillateArrival of the new Civil Commission-Sonthonax-Toussaint Louverture, Commander-in-Chief of the Army--Hdouville--The English abandon Saint-Domingue-H6douville causes enmity between Toussaint Louverture and Rigaud-Civil war between Toussaint and
Rigaud-Rigaud is defeated and compelled to leave the island.
At the beginning of 1794 the English were in possession of Arcahaie, Leogane, M61e-Saint-Nicolas, Jeremie, and of the whole province of La Grand'Anse. In the North the Spaniards occupied Gros-Morne, Plaisance, Lacul, Limb6, Port-Margot, Borgne, Terre-Neuve, etc. On December 6, 1793, Toussaint Louverture, who was fighting for Spain, became master of Gonaives. General Laveaux, appointed acting Governor-General by Sonthonax, was at Port-de-Paix; and the mulatto Villate held the highest military command at CapFrangais. On leaving the latter place for Port-auPrince, the Civil Commissioner transferred his powers to the mulatto P&re. Thus a Governor-General, a military commander and a civil delegate were all three in command at a time when circumstances called for unity of action.
Sonthonax left Cap-Franais in a state of great indignation at the defections which were daily increasing the number of France's enemies. The wealthy planters and the European officers espoused the Spanish causethey did not scruple even to join the followers of JeanFrangois, Biassou, and Toussaint Louverture. The 68
The Civil Commissioners Distrust the Colored Men 69
very men who a few years previous had had naught but the utmost contempt for the slaves were now helping these very slaves to wage war on their own country. Some colored men such as Savary, at Saint-Marc, and Jean-Baptiste Lapointe at L'Arcahaie, following the example given them by the whites, in their turn betrayed the trust placed in them. Their conduct angered Sonthonax to such a degree that he began to distrust indiscriminately all the colored men. Then began the unfortunate policy of division which was destined to bring about disastrous consequences, the bad effects of which it has been so difficult to root out in Haiti.
In July, 1793, Polv6rel and Sonthonax had written to the mulattoes,' trying to incite them against the whites and cautioning them to be on their guard concerning the general freedom of the slaves. However, it so happened that events had made this dreaded general freedom an accomplished fact. Therefore those desirous of exploiting either the mulattoes or the blacks had to resort to the divide et impera maxim. In consequence nothing was spared to excite the mutual jealousy of the men of the black race and to sow discord among them.
In the mean time, Sonthonax, on his arrival at Portau-Prince, had ordered the disbanding of the militia. He set free Guyambois, who had been imprisoned by Polv6rel for having been the leader in the conspiracy which was destined to place Saint-Domingue under the authority of a triumvirate consisting of himself, JeanFrangois, and Biassou. Through Guyambois, Sonthonax entered into relations with Halaou, a black chief, who, in order to preserve his influence over his followers, pretended to be in communication with Heaven through a white cock which was his inseparable companion. The Civil Commissioner invited Halaou to Port-au-Prince, where a banquet was given in his honor at the Executive Mansion. A report that the death of Beauvais, who was at La Croix-des-Bouquets, was
I Letter to Duvigneau dated July 17, 1793. (B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 208.)
70 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
decided upon, began to be noised abroad. Upon leaving Port-au-Prince the black leader unfortunately went to La Croix-des-Bouquets; this step served to confirm the rumor which had been set afloat. In consequence, Pinchinat and Montbrun made up their minds to do away with him; and Marc Borno undertook to carry out the criminal project. He started at once for La Croix-desBouquets, where, on his arrival, he ordered a sergeant to kill Halaou. A bloody fight ensued, in which the followers of the latter were defeated. This murder was provoked by the instigation wrongly or rightly attributed to Sonthonax, who did nothing to conceal his distrust of the colored men. He soon appointed as commandant of "the place" of Port-au-Prince the white General Desfourneaux, who, having been arrested by Polverel's order, and tried by a court martial presided over by Montbrun, harbored a bitter grudge against this mulatto officer. Montbrun was the highest military authority at Port-au-Prince. The appointment of this new officer was not to his liking. His displeasure increased, when, contrary to hierarchic discipline, Desfourneaux was directly authorized by Sonthonax to supply a regiment with new soldiers. The commandant of the place availed himself of the opportunity to enlist and arm all the whites, whose hostility toward the colored men was a recognized fact. The latter, blacks and mulattoes, who formed the "Legion of Equality" under the command of Montbrun, became uneasy. A conflict was thus made inevitable; it occurred during the night of March 17, 1794. Montbrun's soldiers attacked and defeated Desfourneaux's. The streets of Port-au-Prince were again stained with blood at a time when the union of all its inhabitants was of absolute necessity to its successful defense.
At the beginning of January, 1794, an English squadron, under the command of Commodore John Ford, had appeared in the harbor. The energetic refusal of Sonthonax to surrender the city had impressed the English; they withdrew without making any attack. But they were not long in returning with stronger
The English Occupy Port-au-Prince
forces. On May 30 their fleet was again in the harbor. The landing forces, with General WVhite at their head, were reinforced by the French counter-revolutionists under the command of Baron de Montalembert, H. de Jum6court, and Lapointe. Against this army of about 3,000 men Port-au-Prince could not oppose more than 1,100 soldiers. The English occupied the city on June 4. Thereupon the Civil Commissioners retreated to Jacmel, when on June 8 the corvette L'Espe'rance arrived from France. Captain Chambon notified them of the decree of impeachment adopted against them by the Convention on July 16, 1793. The Commissioners lost no time in sailing, leaving the defense of the colony to the care of Laveaux in the North and of Rigaud in the South.
Before leaving Jacmel, Polv6rel wrote to Rigaud on June 11, denatmncing Montbrun as a traitor. Yet the Civil Commissioners took no steps to have the traitor court-martialed; instead of this he continued to exercise his powers as Governor of the West. Thus to the
mulatto Rigaud fell the task of arresting and dismissing the mulatto Montbrun, which served but to foster distrust and jealousy.
After the departure of the Civil Commissioners two military chiefs were in command in the colony: Laveaux and Rigaud. A great portion of the territory was occupied by the English and the Spaniards.
At this period the outlook was a gloomy one for France, which seemed rapidly to be losing hold of her colony. At this juncture a man destined to be the most
2 Since April 9 Polverel, who was previously at Cayes, had been in
Port-au-Prince with Sonthonax.
Even before the conflict of March 18, when Sonthonax was compelled to embark his protCg4 Desfourneaux, the Civil Commissioner had a great dislike for Montbrun. So he charged the latter with having given up Port-au-Prince to the English. However, Montbrun had fought gallantly at Fort Bizoton, where he was wounded. Notwithstanding this, Rigaud caused Montbrun to be arrested and sent to France; after four. years' imprisonment he was summoned to appear before a court martial at Nantes and was acquitted of the accusations brought against him. He served in the French army and was appointed general. He died at Bordeaux in 1831.
72 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
celebrated representative of the black race turned the scales by the weight of his influence and of his sword: Toussaint Louverture deserted the Spanish cause and took up that of France. The prestige of his name sufficed to expel the Spaniards from Gonaives Marmelade,
Plaisance, Gros-Morne, d'Ennery, Dondon, and Limb6. The famous name of this great man should not be passed over without a few words as to his life and character. Born on the Brida plantation at Haut du Cap, Toussaint spent the first fifty years of his life in slavery; "and," says Placide Justin, "this humble con"dition did not prevent him from reaching the pinnacle "of military honors and from rising, not only above the
"men of his own race, but above the haughty whites, "who were compelled to acknowledge his superiority "and wisdom." *
4 It is said that Toussaint adopted the name of Louverture after the storming of Dondon when Polvdrel had been heard saying, "Cet homme "fait ouverture partout" ("This man makes an opening everywhere"). However, the widow of Sonthonax, who knew Toussaint when he was still a slave, says that he was called Louverture before the uprising of the slaves; that his nickname had been given to him on the BrM a plantation on account of his having lost his front teeth. If such were the case, why then did Toussaint sign his name as "Toussaint Br~da" in the first days of the rebellion? We have sought the reason of this change of name; and one of the companions of Toussaint, Paul Aly, told us that Toussaint assumed the name of Louverture because he was the first to receive the mission of preparing the uprising of the slaves in the North. (B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 226.)
s B. Ardouin gives May, 1743, as Toussaint's birthday. According to E. Robin (History of Haiti, p. 71), Toussaint was born in 1745; Placide Justin (History of Haiti, p. 277) is of the same opinion as Robin. But Dubroca (Life of Toussaint Louverture, p. 3) says that Toussaint was born in 1743, whilst Gragnon-Lacoste (Life of Toussaint Louverture) affirms that the right date of his birth was May 20, 1746.
History of Haiti, p. 277.
It would be well to quote here Wendell Phillips's interesting account of Toussaint Louverture:
"If I were to tell you the story of Napoleon, I should take it from "the lips of Frenchmen, who find no language rich enough to paint the "great captain of the nineteenth century. Were I to tell you the story "of Washington, I should take it from your hearts--you, who think no "marble white enough to carve the name of the Father of his country. "But I am to tell you the story of a negro, Toussaint Louverture, who "has left hardly one written line. I am to glean it from the reluctant "testimony of his enemies, men who despised him because he was a negro "and a slave, hated him because he had beaten them in battle.
Toussaint Louverture Joins France's Cause 73
He began life as a herdsman, during which period he occupied his leisure hours in learning to read and write, and in studying the medicinal plants of the country. He afterward became coachman of Bayou de Libertat, then the manager of the Brida plantation. Toussaint soon won the confidence of his master. Through his knowledge he already had great influence over the men of his race. It was owing to this that he was so instrumental in bringing about the uprising of the slaves in 1791. But he was wise enough not to assume at the outset a prominent part. In this manner he could not be charged with the responsibility of any of the numerous incendiary fires and murders which accompanied the first great manifestation of the slaves; on the contrary he protected Mr. de Libertat and his family, and exerted all the means in his power to find a safe shelter for them until he could facilitate their departure from SaintDomingue. When success loomed in the future, Toussaint joined the followers of Biassou, whose secretary he became; he had assumed the title of "Doctor of the King's Armies." This title he changed, however, in
"Cromwell manufactured his own army. Napoleon, at the age of 27, "was placed at the head of the best troops Europe ever saw. Cromwell "never saw an army till he was forty: this man never saw a soldier till "he was fifty. Cromwell manufactured his own army out of what? "Englishmen, the best blood in Europe. Out of the middle class of "Englishmen, the best blood of the island. And with it he conquered "what? Englishmen, their equals. This man manufactured his army "out of what? Out of what you call the despicable race of negroes, "debased, demoralized by two hundred years of slavery, one hundred "thousand of them imported into the island within four years, unable "to speak a dialect intelligible even to each other. Yet out of this "mixed, and, as you say, despicable mass he forged a thunder-bolt and "hurled it at what? At the proudest blood in Europe, the Spaniard, and "sent him home conquered; at the most warlike blood in Europe, the "French, and put them under his feet; at the pluckiest blood in Europe, "the English, and they skulked home to Jamaica. Now if Cromwell "was a general, at least this man was a soldier.
"Some doubt the courage of the negro. Go to Hayti, and stand on "those fifty thousand graves of the best soldiers France ever had, and "ask them what they think of the negro's sword.
"I would call him Napoleon, but Napoleon made his way to empire "over broken oaths and through a sea of blood. This man never broke "his word. I would call him Cromwell, but Cromwell was only a soldier,
74 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
June, 1793, and styled himself "General of the King's Army." He followed Jean-Frangois and Biassou when they espoused the Spanish cause. But they became jealous of his success at the head of the army he had organized; and Biassou affected to treat his former secretary as if he were still his subordinate. Relying on his influence over his companions and profiting by the prestige resulting from his victories over the French, Toussaint threw off the control exercised over him by his former chiefs and declared that he would henceforth receive orders from no one but the representatives of the King of Spain. The conflict became so acute that his soldiers attacked Biassou's. The latter sent a petition to the Governor of the Spanish portion of Saint-Domingue in which the French emigrants who were at Fort Dauphin denounced Toussaint Louverture as a murderer and a traitor; they even requested that he should be put to death. Don Cabrera went so far as to arrest his whole family, including his nephew Moise. The arrest of his relatives showed Toussaint that, in spite of the great services he had rendered them, the Spaniards were inclined to believe that the charges brought against him were not without foundation. At any moment he might be dismissed, imprisoned, and put to death. These considerations perhaps largely influenced him in deciding to join the cause of France; but they were assuredly not the only reasons which determined his decision; the general freedom granted to the slaves, the political rights which blacks and mulattoes enjoyed under the French and which were
"and the state he founded went down with him into his grave. I would "call him Washington, but the great Virginian held slaves. This man "risked his empire rather than permit the slave-trade in the humblest "village of his dominions. You think me a fanatic, for you read history, "not with your eyes but with your prejudices. But fifty years hence, "when Truth gets A hearing, the Muse of history will put Phocion for "the Greek, Brutus for the Roman, Hampden for the English, LaFayette "for France, choose Washington as the bright consummate flower of our "earlier civilization, then, dipping her pen in the sunlight, will write "in the clear blue, above them all, the name of the soldier, the states"man, the martyr, Toussaint Louverture."
Spanish commander-in-chief of the South and West.
The English Try to Bribe Rigaud
still denied them by the Spaniards, had also their effect in influencing him. Be it as it may, on the 4th of May, 1794, the French flag was again hoisted at Gonaives: Toussaint Louverture had abandoned the Spaniards. This defection was in itself a revolution. It was destined to settle the fate of a whole race. However, it was France that for the time being was to profit by it.
Unsuccessful in his attack against Saint Marc where Major Brisbane was in command, Toussaint Louverture made up for his defeat by taking possession of Les Verettes, le Pont de 1'Ester, and La Petite-Rivibre; he expelled the Spaniards from Saint Raphael, Saint Michel, Hinche, and Dondon.
Whilst Toussaint was reconquering for France the portion of her territory formerly occupied by her enemies, Andre Rigaud, on the night of October 5, 1794, attacked and entered Leogane; he also occupied "Fort ca-Ira" and "1'Acul" in spite of the energetic resistance made by the English. On December 29 the latter, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bradford, were again defeated by Rigaud in his attack on Tiburon. Cast down by this blow, Bradford committed suicide.
Beauvais also had been active in expelling from Saltrou the English and the French emigrants who were threatening Jacmel. Owing to Laveaux, whose firmness of attitude at Port-de-Paix had checked the English, to Villate who defended Cap-Franqais against the attacks by land and sea of the combined forces of the Spaniards and the English, to Toussaint Louverture who reconquered almost the whole Northern province, to Rigaud who retook Leogane and kept nearly the whole Southern province under his authority, the year 1794 which had dawned so disastrously for France drew to a close with the foreign invaders having but a gloomy outlook before them.
Therefore the English, who seemed to believe that all means were fair in war, did not hesitate to resort to corruption. They attempted to win over Rigaud to them by offering him a bribe of 3,000,000 francs.8 The
Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 274.
76 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
colored officer rejected with scorn this shameful proposal. A similar attempt at bribery was made on Laveaux, to whom only 50,000 francs were offered. Did the English consider the honor of a white less valuable than that of a colored man? The Governor of SaintDomingue resented the affront; in his indignation he challenged Colonel Whitelock, who had made the proposal,' to a duel, to which the latter paid no heed. The English were guilty of a still graver offense. Having captured seventy soldiers of the Southern Legion, they sent them to Jamaica, where, by order of Adam Williamson, Governor of the Island, the captives were imprisoned, chained by the neck; and in spite of the fact that they were prisoners of war, they were publicly sold as slaves. Yet Rigaud and his officers were kind in their treatment of 400 sailors of the Switchoold that had been captured at Cayes.'"
Following the advice of the French colonists, the English restored slavery and established the supremacy of the whites throughout the territory they occupied. Nevertheless, they had among their followers mulattoes and black leaders like Jean Kina and Hyacinthe. Being thus warned of the fate in store for them, should the English be successful, and tranquilized by the Decree of February 4, 1794, by which the National Convention confirmed the general freedom granted by Sonthonax and Polvrel and abolished slavery in all the French colonies,11 the colored men began to plot on behalf of France. Their conspiracy was discovered at Saint Marc and L'Arcahaie, and they were mercilessly put to death. Elsewhere, however, their defection favored Toussaint's designs.
In February, 1795, Major Brisbane, who was in command at Saint-Marc, attacked the forces of Toussaint Louverture; the English officer was defeated and severely wounded. In his dealings with the prisoners
Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 274.
*' B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 446.
t In spite of this decree of the Convention, slavery existed in the French colonies until it was definitely abolished in 1848.
Louverture, Rigaud, etc., Appointed Brig.-Generals 77
made by him Toussaint acted with great caution. He would not shoot the French colonists and emigrants, but would send them to Laveaux, who had to take the responsibility of putting them to death. In this way he began to befriend the whites.
Throughout all the time that war was being waged, Toussaint never allowed the cultivation of the land to be neglected. With money raised from the products of the soil he was able to buy arms and ammunition from the United States.
Rigaud in the South, and Beauvais in the West, also encouraged agriculture; Cayes and Jacmel could in this way entertain an active commercial intercourse with the United States.
The officers to whose care was intrusted the defense of Saint-Domingue had only their own resources upon which to rely. France was in so critical a condition that there was no probability of her sending any help to the colony, which was even without any news from the mother country. The English, on the other hand, received reinforcements in April, 1795. Considerably strengthened by the assistance of the Spaniards and the arrival of the new soldiers, they extended their authority to Mirebalais, Las Cahobas, and Banica. Before long, however, they were destined to be deprived of the support of their allies. On July 22, 1795, the Treaty of Bale was signed and Spain gave -up the whole Spanish portion of Saint-Domingue to France.
At about the same time, on July 23, the National Convention adopted a decree stating that the army of Saint-Domingue had well deserved of the country, and appointing Laveaux major-general and Villate, Toussaint Louverture, Beauvais, and Rigaud brigadier-generals. This good news was brought to Saint-Domingue by the sloop of war Venus, which anchored at CapFranais the 14th of October, 1795. Laveaux, who up to that time had been residing at Port-de-Paix, returned to Cap-Franqais, which Villate had so valiantly defended against the English and the Spaniards. Taking advantage of the Treaty of Bale, the Governor of Saint-
78 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
Domingue demanded the restitution of the whole portion of the French territory occupied by the Spaniards; he insisted upon having Jean-Frangois sent out of the country. On January 4, 1796, the black leader left Fort Dauphin for Havana. He died in Spain, where he had kept his rank of lieutenant-general.
The English, however, thought that Jean-Frangois's followers might be useful to them. To win them over to their cause they had recourse to a black man named Titus, whom they supplied with money and arms. Obeying Laveaux's orders Villate attacked and stormed the camp organized by Titus. The latter was killed and his followers dispersed.
In spite of the services rendered to France by Villate, Laveaux never trusted him. From Port-de-Paix, where he resided, he used to watch every movement of the military commander of Cap-Frangais.
As a matter of fact, Laveaux was displeased at his being kept in the background. As Governor of SaintDomingue he had now but the native troops to rely on for maintaining his authority; and these he believed more devoted to the officers of their own color than to him. The European officers, the colonists, the royalists, the reactionists had no scruple at going over to the Spaniards and the English. It was not possible to intrust to them the mission of defending the colony. France had thus to resort to the colored men, who constituted the majority of the first freedmen; they rose then to the foremost rank by mere force of circumstances. Through their own fault the whites had lost their preeminence. Rigaud had all the power in the South, Beauvais in the West, and Villate at Cap-Frangais. The two first fully acknowledged Laveaux's authority; they never failed to keep him aware of their doings. Their devotion to France could not be questioned; they acted bravely in defense of her territory against the English. Villate alone was at variance with the Governor of Saint-Domingue. Nevertheless, the latter deemed it fit to hold all the mulattoes responsible for his quarrel with his subordinate at Cap-Frangais.
UNION CIUJII, CAP-II.ITIEN
Laveaux Imprisoned at Cap
Laveaux pompously charged them with plotting to make Saint-Domingue an independent State, in order to be alone in command; he took umbrage at their growing influence, of which France, however, was deriving the greatest benefit. Such was the frame of mind he was in when Toussaint Louverture deserted the Spanish cause.
Clever and perspicacious, Toussaint at once saw the way in which to turn the mistrust of Laveaux to his own advantage. The latter became a mere puppet in his hands. Beneath his affected mildness was hidden an energetic will; his ambition knew no bounds. Everything must yield before him. Woe to those who dared to stand in his way. Conscious of his superiority over Laveaux, whose narrow-mindedness he was not long in finding out, he proposed to carry out his own interests, under the pretext of accomplishing the Governor's designs. The Agents of France sought to cripple the power of the mulattoes who had given offense to them, thinking that once deprived of their natural allies the blacks easily could be taken back to the deserted plantations.
Toussaint Louverture's intention was to help to reduce the influence of the mulattoes, but in his own behalf and at the expense of those who thought to use him as a tool which they would afterward throw aside. The black man was to prove more clever and a better tactician than the white. The time for action was nearing.
The inhabitants of Cap-Frangais, displeased with the administration of the Governor, rebelled on March 20, 1796. Laveaux was arrested and imprisoned. The municipality of Cap-Franqais hastened to adopt a decree investing Villate with the Governorship. This officer, instead of doing his duty by repressing the riot, accepted the office conferred on him by the municipality; thus becoming an accomplice in the attack made upon his official superior. The black Colonels LIveill6 and Pierre-Michel protested against such an action. The latter through the medium of Henri Christophe, then a captain, wrote to the municipality demanding
80 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
the release of Laveaux. He gathered at Fort Belair the black officers Pierrot, Barthelemy, Flaville, etc. Toussaint Louverture intervened energetically on behalf of the Governor. He threatened to lead an attack on Cap-Frangais if Laveaux were not immediately set free. Such an attitude decided the municipality to reconsider its action. On March 22 Laveaux was set at liberty and Villate withdrew to La Martellibre camp. The Governor, however, did not consider himself in safety at Cap-Frangais; accordingly he went to PetiteAnse, where soon new riots occurred, On March 28 Toussaint came to his help. Two days later the blacks at Cap-Frangais took up arms; they had been told that Laveaux intended to reestablish slavery. Toussaint Louverture restored order; he became henceforth indispensable and was master of the situation. Entirely discredited, Laveaux was no longer able to maintain his authority except with the support of his former protig: he appointed Toussaint Lieutenant-Governor. Toussaint was turning to his advantage the mistakes and passions of all.
Whilst Villate was committing the fault of participating in the arrest of the representative of France, Rigaud and his followers were valiantly defending the tricolor flag.
Great Britain had sent heavy reinforcements to SaintDomingue. In command of over 3,000 men, General Bowyer and Admiral Parker left Port-au-Prince on March 20, 1796; on the 21st the combined land and sea forces attacked L4ogane. Alexandre Potion, who was at that time a major in the army, was in command of Fort Qa-Ira; he compelled the English fleet to withdraw. Renaud Desruisseaux successfully repelled the two assaults made upon Logane. The English hastened to return to Port-au-Prince when they heard that Beauvais, from Jacmel, and Rigaud, from Cayes, were moving with the greatest haste to aid in defending the town.
In the mean time the Directory had been authorized, by an act adopted on January 24, 1796, to send five
The Deportation of Villate
Agents to Saint-Domingue. Roume, Sonthonax,"' Julien Raymond, Giraud, and Leblanc were appointed. Roume was to reside at Santo Domingo. He arrived there on April 8, 1796; and his four colleagues landed at Cap-Frangais on May 12. The new Agents were accompanied by Major-General Rochambeau, in command of the Spanish portion of the island, Major-General Desfourneaux, and Brigadier-Generals Martial Besse, A. Chanlatte, Bedot, and Lesuire.
The day after their arrival the Agents ordered Villate to appear before them. He therefore returned to Cap-Frangais, where he was given an enthusiastic welcome by the inhabitants. Displeased with this friendly attitude toward his opponent, Laveaux, at the head of a detachment, charged the crowd: 45 women were wounded.
Villate was at first sent back to his camp; but afterward he was sentenced to be deported and outlawed. To avoid bloodshed he left on the frigate MIduse for France, where he was tried and acquitted.
When Sonthonax left for France in 1794 he already bore feelings of enmity against the mulattoes; he came back to Saint-Domingue with the determination to exert every means in his power to destroy their influence. He found it comparatively easy to carry out his plan; for Laveaux had the same design. There was in consequence nothing else to do but to continue the policy already adopted, and the object of which was to use the blacks against the mulattoes in order to restore to the whites the supremacy which they had lost; afterward the blacks would be dealt with.
At the time when the peace of Bale made it possible to undertake an energetic campaign against the English, the agents of France spent their time in sowing and fostering discord everywhere, instead of trying to unite all those who were willing to defend the cause of the mother country.
Soon after appointing Toussaint Louverture major' On his arrival in France Sonthonax was tried and acquitted of the charges brought against him.
82 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
general they sent a delegation of three members, Rey, Leborgne and Keverseau, to the South for the purpose of controlling the administration of that province; they decided to cause the arrest of Pinchinat, who was universally esteemed and whose influence was feared by Sonthonax. This delegation arrived at Cayes on June 23, 1796, increased by the addition of Desfourneaux in the capacity of General Inspector of the troops of the South and the West. It was this same General Desfourneaux whose intrigues had provoked an armed conflict in Port-au-Prince on March 17, 1794. Having suffered defeat at the hands of the mulatto Montbrun, he was, like Sonthonax and Laveaux, unfriendly toward the colored men. Another of the delegates, Rey, having been implicated in an attempt to murder Andre Rigaud in 1793, had been compelled to flee from Caves. And this was the man who had been sent there as the official superior of this general. In this manner Sonthonax and his colleagues plainly showed how slightly they minded wounding the feelings of Andre Rigaud, who, however, had been the one to drive away the English from Leogane and Tiburon, who had kept order and discipline in the whole Southern province, and whose devotion to France could not be questioned. Rigaud's crime consisted in the confidence reposed in him by both blacks and mulattoes, and, in consequence, his influence over them. They charged him with striving for the independence of Saint-Domingue and with keeping out the whites from public offices. Yet at Cayes on the arrival of the delegates two white Frenchmen occupied the position of Orderer (ordonnateur) and Controller of the Treasury, and they were so successful in their management of the finances that the Southern province was able to subsist on its own resources. On account of their devotion to Andre Rigaud, however, they were dismissed and replaced by mere tools of the Agents. The squandering of the people's money began. The order for the arrest of Pinchinat increased the discontent of the inhabitants. But he could not be found, for
Unsuccessful Campaign Against the English 83
on July 17 he had left Cayes, taking shelter in the Baradbres Mountains.
In order to establish their authority more firmly the Delegates were eager to win a few victories over the English. In consequence they instructed Rigaud to storm the fortified place of "Irois" and Desfourneaux was ordered to attack the Davezac camp. On the 7th of August Rigaud assaulted Irois but failed in his attack; he retreated to Tiburon. On his side Desfourneaux, who was accompanied by the Delegates, was equally unsuccessful in his attempt at storming the Raimond camp; he had to withdraw to the Perrin camp. This double defeat in thwarting the plans of the Delegates so irritated them that they were unable to conceal their disappointment. In their report 1 they said that" they could maintain their authority only by fight"ing the English. A victory together with the kind "treatment they intended to extend to the vanquished "were to lead them from the South to the North. The "colony would be saved and the Frenchmen would be "once more its masters."
The blacks and mulattoes were not then considered as Frenchmen. According to the Delegates the whites alone were capable of being the masters of SaintDomingue. In case of success their intention therefore was to come to an understanding with the colonists of the Grand'Anse, who were known to entertain the greatest hostility toward the members of the black race. The Agents of France who were at Cap-Frangais had already issued an amnesty in favor of the emigrants and colonists who would join the French cause.
After their defeat the delegates returned to Cayes (August 18, 1796). They dismissed the "Commandant of the Arrondissement," Augustin Rigaud, the brother of General Andre Rigaud, and replaced him by Beauvais. Their idea in taking this step was that such an appointment could not fail to create bad feeling belU B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 251.
84 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
tween Andre Rigaud and Beauvais, who were both brigadier-generals; they expected that the latter would show much reluctance in obeying the former's orders: consequently rivalry and conflict, they imagined, would surely ensue between the two mulatto generals. Their forces being thus weakened by division, General Desfourneaux would be justified in putting them aside and in assuming the command of the Southern province. The scheme failed owing to too great haste in bringing about the desired result. The Commandant of Arrondissement of Saint-Louis, the mulatto Lefranc, seeming to stand in their way, the delegates decided to get rid of him. He therefore was ordered to proceed to Cayes where, on his arrival, Desfourneaux caused him to be arrested. Whilst being taken on board L'Africaine, he succeeded in making his escape and fled to the Fort La Tourterelle, where he fell in with the soldiers of the regiment which had been formerly under his command. Andre Rigaud was at that time at Tiburon. In the fight which ensued Desfourneaux's soldiers were defeated. In the plain of Cayes, on the night of August 28, Augustin Rigaud stirred up an insurrection among the blacks whom the emissaries of the delegates were provoking against the mulattoes. A few whites were murdered. Desfourneaux and Rey, alarmed by the popular movement, hurriedly left Cayes. Leborgne and Keverseau, who remained at their post, sent immediately for Andr6 Rigaud, whose assistance Lefranc and Augustin had also sought. On the arrival of the colored general (August 31) special powers were conferred on him by the delegates. For the purpose of restoring order they were obliged to have recourse to the very man whose influence they had sought to annihilate.
Quiet speedily prevailed. And the measures taken by Rigaud were so efficacious that the captains of the American ships in the harbor of Cayes extended their thanks to him for the protection he offered them.
After having adopted and pursued in a still worse degree the policy followed by Laveaux in setting the
Toussaint Sends Laveaux Off Saint Domingue 85
blacks against the mulattoes, Sonthonax and his colleagues tried to cast upon Toussaint the responsibility of the discord which they had fomented. In their report to the Directory of the events which occurred in Saint-Domingue they wrote the following: "Some "of the black generals remained faithful. They res'cued General Laveaux by force. Two opposite fac" tions were the outcome of the disturbance: the blacks "and the mulattoes. General Toussaint increased the "confusion and instigated the blacks to the severest "measures against the colored men. He provoked the "conflict and inspired hatred in the heart of both "parties.""
Toussaint Louverture was nevertheless appointed commandant of the Western province.
General Rochambeau, who stopped at Cap-Frangais on his way to Santo Domingo, did not approve of all the doings of the Agents; the corruption of the officials was what he censured most severely. He was summarily dismissed by Sonthonax and sent back to France.
While all these intrigues were taking place, the presence of the English seemed to have been entirely forgotten. As a matter of fact they made no effort to avail themselves of the division existing among their opponents.
On June 14, 1796, the Spaniards evacuated Fort Dauphin, which Laveaux occupied; its name was changed to Fort Libert4, which it still retains.
Rochambeau having been deported, there remained but three major-generals in the colony: Laveaux, Commander-in-Chief; Desfourneaux, and Toussaint Louverture. Should Laveaux also be sent off the island, Toussaint would in all probability succeed him, Desfourneaux being already in disfavor. And if only the same could be done to Sonthonax, then would the black general have before him the possibility of attaining the position of highest authority. To obtain this result,
14 B. Ardouin, loc. cit., Vol. III, p. 274.
86 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
Toussaint resorted to a clever device. For the election of the Deputies to the French Legislative Assembly the Agents had summoned to Cap-Frangais one electoral college only. Up to that time each of the three provinces, North, South and West, had had its electoral assembly. By ordering the electoral college to meet at Cap-Frangais the Agents thought that it would be a very simple matter to secure the election of men devoted to their party. But they were wrong in their calculations. From Gonaives, where he resided, Toussaint Louverture was able, through the intermediary of Henri Christophe, a member of the electoral college, to rule the elections; he managed to secure the election of Sonthonax and Laveaux, whose removal from SaintDomingue was indispensable to the realization of his plans. With much delight at having been elected, Laveaux sailed for France on October 19, 1796. Sonthonax, surprised and highly flattered by the honor conferred on him, saw at first in his election but a new token of the devotion of Toussaint Louverture and of the blacks in general. However, he did not seem to be anxious to leave Saint-Domingue, where he was exercising an absolute dictatorship. His colleague, Giraud, disgusted by all the intrigues which were going on in the island, returned to France. He was soon followed by Leblanc, who sailed on the frigate La Simillante, after having quarrelled with Sonthonax, whom he charged with having tried to poison him: which proves how small was the trust reposed in Sonthonax by his colleagues.
The Agency of the Directory was then reduced to two members: Sonthonax and Julien Raymond, the latter but a negligible quantity. At the end of November, 1796, the news reached Cap-Frangais that the rank of major-general conferred on Toussaint had been ratified. At the same time the Directory sent to the new major-general a sword and pistol of honor.
Sonthonax, convinced that these demonstrations of his good will had entirely won over Toussaint Louverture, expected that the latter would be henceforth his
Rupture Between Sonthonax and Rigaud
tool. Relying on his assistance he adopted, on December 13, 1796, a decree ordering the trial of Andr6 Rigaud by the Directory and the Legislative Assembly. Without dismissing this general, the decree aimed at curtailing his authority. A. Chanlatte, Beauvais, and Martial Besse were respectively appointed commandants of the arrondissements of Jacmel, Ldogane, and Saint-Louis. All of these officers were mulattoes; therefore it was believed that they would become interested in the downfall of Andre Rigaud, whilst the latter would distrust them: hence would arise fresh discord and the weakening of the power of this class of men. Sonthonax's scheme was a clever one. The Agency declared besides that it would no longer correspond with Andre Rigaud. To the decree laying the whole Southern province under an interdict the municipality of Cayes responded by authorizing Rigaud to continue in office. And popular manifestations at Jacmel and Saint-Louis prevented Chanlatte and Martial Besse from entering upon their new duties.
The rupture between Sonthonax and Rigaud was complete. It was no difficult matter for Toussaint Louverture to profit by the existing state of things. Being on bad terms with the mulattoes, Sonthonax depended now entirely on him. Toussaint had sided with Laveaux against Villate, because at that time the latter was in his way. But just now he desired to have the support or, at any rate, the neutrality of all classes in order to attain his goal. Therefore it was that though in opposition to Sonthonax's wish he was favorable in his reception of Rigaud's overtures. The friendly relations which resulted between the black and mulatto generals caused grave apprehensions to Sonthonax. It was evident that his enemies were not Toussaint's; and it did not seem as though Rigaud was jealous of the black man who, by his rank of majorgeneral, had become his official superior. In the opinion of the Agent of the Directory, the intimate union of those two men-both all-powerful, one in the South, the other in the North and the West-could only be
88 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
fraught with great danger for the authority of France. Consequently, no means were to be spared in order to divide them and to provoke bitter enmity against each other, which could only end in strife.
For the time being, Toussaint, by gaining Rigaud's favor, isolated Sonthonax entirely. He also took the precaution of surrounding himself with officers on whose fidelity he could rely.
J. J. Dessalines was in command at Saint Michel, Moise at Dondon, Clervaux at Gonaives, Henri Christophe at Petite-Riviere.
Sonthonax did not even take the trouble of keeping on good terms with General Desfourneaux, whose suport, however, might prove useful to him. The latter ad displeased him, therefore he decided to get rid of him. To bring about this result he had recourse to Toussaint, who had the greatest interest in the removal tf the only officer of equal rank with him. The black general arrived at Cap-Frangais on the 15th of May, 1797; at night Desfourneaux was arrested and carried on board. Henceforth Toussaint was the only majorgeneral residing in the colony. On the 3d of May Sonthonax appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Saint-Domingue.
Yet Toussaint had not helped to annihilate Villate's influence in the North; neither had he succeeded in turning Laveaux out of Saint-Domingue, with the idea of becoming subordinate to Sonthonax. Invested with the highest military authority, his ambition was to succeed Sonthonax as he had already succeeded Laveaux. Meanwhile, he felt the necessity of increasing his prestige; so he started on a campaign against the English. He was successful in expelling them from Verettes and Mirebalais, but he failed in his attack against SaintMarc.
In the South, Rigaud, true to France in spite of the decree adopted by Sonthonax, had also renewed hostilities against the English. He could not storm Les Irois, but he succeeded in destroying Dalmarie. The English tried once more to win him over to their cause. Writing
Sonthonax Leaves Saint Domingue
to him through Lapointe, they endeavored to speculate upon his supposed jealousy of Toussaint Louverture on account of his being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army. In his reply Rigaud asserted his devotion to France and defended Toussaint. "I must," said he, "repress your insolence and your insulting tone toward 'the French General Toussaint Louverture. You have "no right to speak of him as a coward, since you do not 'dare to encounter him; or as a slave, because a French "Republican cannot be a slave. His black skin makes "no difference between him and his fellow-citizens "under a constitution which does not bestow dignities "according to one's color." '
In spite of Sonthonax's intrigues, Toussaint and Rigaud were then still united. The Commander-inChief deemed it time for the realization of his plans. After his defeat before Saint-Marc, his soldiers, who were quite destitute, became somewhat unmanageable. He availed himself of this opportunity to complain of the destitution to which his army had been reduced.
Sonthonax felt that all the responsibility for the sufferings endured by the soldiers was cast upon him. Yet he was unable to remedy the ill effects of the bad management of the finances. In the mean time, he had ordered the arrest of General Pierre-Michel. This arrest, preceded by the arrest of Rochambeau and Desfourneaux, without mentioning the attempt to dismiss Rigaud, made it clear to Toussaint that Sonthonax was not over-scrupulous in getting rid of those who stood in his way or who could no longer be of use to him. Sooner or later his turn-would come. Besides, should an intelligent administration not soon find the means of providing for their wants, the soldiers, it was to be feared, would rebel. Toussaint was conscious of the power he possessed and he was confident of being able so successfully to manage the finances as to bring back the former easy circumstances.
On August 15, 1797, he suddenly appeared at Caps" Letter of General Rigaud to J. B. Lapointe, July 17, 1797. (B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 320.)
90 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
Frangais. On the 20th he reviewed the troops and secured the good will of the officers. He went afterward to Sonthonax. Accosting the Agent with the greatest deference he handed him a letter inviting him, in the interest of the colony, to go to France and take his seat in the Legislative Assembly. Such a request was equivalent to an order. Sonthonax tried to resist. But he had by his own fault lost the sympathy of those whose assistance might have been of use to him. He had not an influential man, not a competent officer to help him in opposing Toussaint. The latter, noticing the inclination of the Agent to adopt an attitude of firmness, withdrew to Petite Anse, where Henri Christophe was in command. At night on August 23 he fired the alarm-gun. Sonthonax understood the warning and decided to sail. He gave way to Toussaint by leaving Cap-Franqais on August 25, 1797. The Commanderin-Chief despatched Colonel Vincent to France with the mission of explaining his conduct to the Directory, and he charged Sonthonax with having attempted to induce him to proclaim the independence of Saint-Domingue, making use in this way of the same method to which the Agent had resorted against Rigaud. Moreover, Toussaint believed that the French Government would surely be indulgent to him if he succeeded in expelling the English from the colony. In consequence he reorganized his army, and announced his intention of marching against the invaders. Alexandre P6tion stormed the fortifications of La Coupe built by the English, compelling the latter to retreat to Port-auPrince. Rigaud, in compliance with Toussaint's order, attacked and took possession of Camp Thomas, not far from Pestel. The campaign was then resumed in the West and in the South.
The Directory now began to be uneasy as to the extent of Toussaint's ambition. But, until the conclusion of peace would allow of their sending sufficient forces to help in restoring the supremacy of the whites, they
i' Known at the present day as Pationville, a summer-resort in the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
Entrance of Louverture at Port-au-Prince 91
thought it advisable to be careful in their dealings with the black general. Without openly blaming his actions toward Sonthonax, the Directory sent out General Hedouville to Saint-Domingue. The new Agent arrived at Cap-Frangais on April 20, 1798. His reception was not enthusiastic on the part of the Commander-in-Chief, whose desire was to be supreme in command; for this reason he had sent Laveaux and Sonthonax away from the colony. Therefore, it was against all his speculations to be relegated to the second rank just at a time when the success of his campaign against the English left no doubt as to their early expulsion from the island.
In fact, it so happened that a few days after Hedouville's arrival, General Maitland, who was in command of the English forces and whose resources were quite exhausted, wrote to Toussaint Louverture offering to evacuate Port-au-Prince, Arcahaie, and Saint-Marc. The Commander-in-Chief of the army of Saint-Domingue took possession of Saint-Marc on May 8, 1798, of l'Arcahaie on May 12, and of La Croix-des-Bouquets on the 14th. On the 15th he made a triumphal entrance into Port-au-Prince. "The colonists gave him a gor"geous reception. The priests went to meet him with "the banners of the church unfurled. They carried "the cross and the canopy, as it was the custom at "the reception of the Governors-General of Saint'Domingue. Magnificently dressed white women "showered flowers on him. Some colonists even pros"trated themselves before him.'"'
White women, who not long ago had regarded the Africans and their descendants with the utmost contempt, were throwing flowers to a former slave! The proud colonists were at the feet of a black man!
Toussaint Louverture had become the protector of the former wealthy planters of Saint-Domingue. Foreseeing the assistance they might be to him he spared nothing in order to secure their good will. Most of the colonists and the emigrants were in the English army.
I B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 420.
92 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
In direct disobedience to the instructions of the representatives of the Directory he granted amnesty to them. From the pulpit he promised them forgiveness; for Toussaint was in the habit of making his speeches or his important declarations from the pulpit of the church. The priests gave him their support and he caused public worship to be observed. Whilst in France religion was being persecuted, in Saint-Domingue the Commander-in-Chief had opened the churches, and after every victory he would be present at a Te Deum in thanksgiving. He rapidly became influential among the whites, to the detriment of H6douville's prestige. The latter, through obedience to the instructions received from the Directory, appeared to be merciless; he was obliged to put into execution laws enacted against the emigrants, whilst Toussaint was sheltering not only those who were already in Saint-Domingue but also those who continued to arrive in the island.
If the Commander-in-Chief did his utmost to embarrass H6douville, the latter had no regard for the feelings of the man who was already master of the colony. The young officers recently arrived from France were allowed to make improper remarks concerning the black General; they ridiculed his garb, his religious tendencies. Hedouville boasted that he had the power to dismiss Toussaint from his rank of Commander-in-Chief of the army. The report of all this boasting and malicious criticism angered Toussaint, who already was not too well disposed toward the Agent of the Directory.
Matters soon came to a climax. Rigaud, who still gladly obeyed Toussaint's orders, went to Port-auPrince in July, 1798, in order to confer with the Commander-in-Chief about a plan of a campaign against Jer6mie. The Southern General had defeated the English at Cavaillon and Tiburon. Toussaint and Rigaud left together for Cap-Franqais, where H6douville, pleased at having the opportunity of mortifying Toussaint and of exciting his jealousy, gave a most flattering welcome to the mulatto General. True to the policy of
The English Leave Saint-Domingue
the French Government advocating division and discord, the Agent of the Directory managed in this way to sow in the hearts of two gallant officers seeds of hatred which would cause the soil of Saint-Domingue to be once more stained with blood.
However, Toussaint continued in the performance of his duty. He was successful in his negotiations for the evacuation of Jerimie, of which place Rigaud took possession on August 20, 1798. Through his special agent, Huin, the Commander-in-Chief signed with Colonel Harcourt, the representative of General Maitland, a convention for the abandonment of M8le, the last place then occupied by the English (August 16). Almost at the same time (August 18) Dalton, Hedouville's agent at M6le, had come to an agreement with Colonel Stewart for the evacuation of the same place. General Maitland discarded the last agreement and H6douville's agent was even kept for a while on the Abergavenny, then in the harbor of M8le." Anxious to separate from France the man who was omnipotent in Saint-Domingue, the English were exceedingly deferential toward Toussaint. And when, on October 2, 1798, he took possession of M6le, he was received with much state. General Maitland presented him with valuable guns and a bronze culverin. The English General went so far as to suggest that Toussaint should proclaim himself King, promising the assistance of the fleet to protect him in case of need, provided that Great Britain be granted the exclusive privilege of trading with the island. Toussaint's sound common sense put him on his guard against such a proposal. He refused the crown but deemed it wise to maintain good relations with those he had just expelled from the country.
So, after a partial occupation of five years, the English were compelled to quit Saint-Domingue. The island was forever lost to them.
The expulsion of the English was unquestionably due to the successful effort of Toussaint Louverture in the
I* B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 470.
94 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
North and in the West, and of Rigaud in the South. The native soldiers, blacks and mulattoes, had had to bear the whole burden of the defense of the colony, the mother country being at that time unable to lend any assistance. As a reward to these brave officers and soldiers, France would soon arm brother against brother by enkindling a criminal war; she would allow Toussaint to crush Rigaud, and would overthrow Toussaint herself; she would even endeavor to restore slavery in Saint-Domingue.
Meanwhile, Hedouville could not conceal his displeasure at Toussaint's actions. On September 5, 1798, he wrote to the Commander-in-Chief as follows: "I "would congratulate you about the reception given you "by General Maitland, were I not convinced that you "are the dupe of his perfidy; you dared to write to me "that you have more confidence in him than in me. "What is the meaning of the great number of emigrants "who flock to our shores on English cartel-ships? You "would do well to remember the orders and instruc"tions I transmitted to you, and you may rest assured "that I intend that they shall be obeyed." At the same time the Agent of the Directory declared void the amnesty which had been granted at Port-au-Prince to the emigrants by Toussaint; he also blamed the municipality for having officially attended a religious ceremony. However, in a proclamation on October 10, 1798, in which he recalled the success achieved against the English, the Commander-in-Chief ordered what follows: "Morning and evening prayers be said by the "soldiers and that the generals would cause a Te Deum "to be celebrated to return thanks to God for the suc"cess of the army and for the return to the colony of "thousands of emigrants." 20
Whilst Toussaint Louverture was offering thanksgiving for the return to the colony of thousands of emigrants, H~douville, on October 14, renewed his order prohibiting the admission into Saint-Domingue of these
"' B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 470.
Ibid., p. 496.
Hedouville Divides Toussaint and Rigaud
same emigrants. The conflict between the two generals was assuming an alarming aspect. Several officers under Toussaint's command had already begun to disregard Hdouville's authority. Dessalines, who was Commandant of the Arrondissement of Saint-Marc, had flatly refused, to carry out one of his orders. Moise, Commandant of the Arrondissement of Fort Liberte, assumed such a threatening attitude that the representative of the French Government decided to dismiss him. But Toussaint Louverture's nephew, who was fully aware of his uncle's intentions, warned the people to be prepared for all contingencies.
Hedouville, still believing that he could assert his authority, invested Manigat, a justice of the peace at Fort Libert6, with all the civil and military powers. In order to prevent any disturbance of the peace the magistrate ordered the disarmament of the Fifth Regiment. A bloody fight ensued; and Moise, fearing to be arrested, fled to the country, where he set to work to stir up the people (October 16, 1798). A band of armed peasants marched to Cap-Franqais, where they were joined by Dessalines. Like Sonthonax, H6douville was then compelled to leave Saint-Domingue. He sailed on October 23, 1798, on the frigate La Bravoure. In a proclamation issued the day before he had censured Toussaint Louverture's behavior in very strong terms. And, in order to divide the blacks and mulattoes, he had authorized Rigaud to defy the authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. On October 22 he wrote as follows to the Commandant of the Southern province: "Compelled to quit the colony through the am"bition and perfidy of General Toussaint Louverture,. "who has sold himself to the English, the emigrants, "and the Americans, -and has violated his most solemn "oaths,-I release you entirely from the authority in"trusted to him as a Commander-in-Chief, and I entreat "you to assume the command of the Southern Departe"ment as designated in the law of Brumaire 4th
S9 9 21
B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 311.
96 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
After the sailing of the representative of France, Toussaint went to Cap-Fran
Rigaud enjoyed great prestige in the South. Released by Hedouville's order from all obedience to Toussaint, and thus rendered somewhat independent, there was a possibility of his becoming a dangerous rival. To maintain his authority it would be necessary for Toussaint completely to cripple the power of the only man who could successfully resist him. Therefore he lost no time in beginning to discredit him.
Such was the situation when, on January 12, 1799, Roume arrived at Port-au-Prince. After concerting with Toussaint Louverture he called a meeting of Rigaud, Beauvais, and Laplume. At this meeting, which took place at Port-au-Prince, Roume requested Rigaud to resign his position of Commander-in-Chief of the Southern province and to relinquish Petit-Goave and Grand-Goave to Laplume, who was already in command of the Arrondissement of Leogane. By accepting such a proposal Rigaud's authority would have been reduced to nothing practically. So he tendered a full resignation of all his authority; and having been elected
i: 4: cl J1
Rigaud Tenders His Resignation
Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, he asked Roume to allow him to go to France and take his seat in that body.
The departure of Rigaud would have removed many difficulties; it would have satisfied Toussaint's ambition for the time being; all power would be his in the colony. All cause of conflict between the natives of Saint-Domingue would thus have disappeared. Knowing as he did the misunderstanding which, since Hedouville's letter, existed between Toussaint and Rigaud, Roume was in duty bound to accept the latter's resignation. However, he refused it. The policy of France aimed at that time to divide the blacks and the mulattoes in order to be able to restore the supremacy of the whites by subduing each of them individually. Roume, who was cognizant of the ulterior designs of the Directory, was determined to do his utmost to provoke and keep up the mistrust existing between the two parties. He persisted in refusing to accept the resignation which Rigaud again made to him, and he succeeded in deciding him not only to remain in Saint-Domingue but also caused a weakening of his authority by transferring the command of Grand-Goave and Petit-Goave to Laplume. This arrangement did not meet with Toussaint Louverture's full approval, as it still left his rival with a great deal of influence, whereas it was his wish to get him out of the colony. To bring about this end, he determined to avail himself of the first opportunity to make a rupture inevitable. As the consequence of a riot which occurred at Corail, thirty of. the malcontents, twentynine of whom were black and one white, were imprisoned in the jail ofJr6mie; they died from asphyxiation. Whilst this was taking place Rigaud was at PetitGoave, on his way to Cayes. Upon learning of this unfortunate occurrence Toussaint Louverture, then in Port-au-Prince (February 21, 1799), treated it as a matter of the greatest importance. The drummers went through the streets beating "La G4ndrale"; the whole population was summoned to the cathedral. From the pulpit Toussaint denounced Rigaud as the enemy
98 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
of the blacks and afterward wrote him a most insulting letter.
Roume purposely held aloof and allowed the quarrel to grow more bitter. Since February 25 he had left for Cap-Frangais; but he continued to keep up a cordial correspondence with the Commandant of the Southern province. However, he suddenly issued a proclamation in which he denounced Rigaud as a man whose ambition was a menace to the established governmental authority. Nevertheless, Roume did not dismiss him, neither did he inflict on him any disciplinary measure. Instead of this he requested Toussaint Louverture to call the insubordinate to order, thus attaining his end in creating a civil war.
Rigaud found himself in a sad dilemma: he had to choose between fighting or fleeing from Saint-Domingue. He accepted the former alternative -incited by his hasty temper, the recollection of his past services to France and the authority intrusted to him, which he
-considered his duty to exercise. Toussaint proceeded with his usual caution in preparing for the unavoidable
-struggle by taking such measures as to insure him sucicess. He gave special thought to the supplies of his army, provisions being somewhat scarce. For this
reason he entered into direct relations with John Adams, then the President of the United States, who appointed Edward Stevens Consul-General at SaintDomingue. Toussaint's negotiations with England and the United States resulted in a similar commercial arrangement with both countries, to which Roume gave his approval in April, 1799. The two powers pledged their assistance to the black General. In consequence General Maitland"22 advised his agents to give their
2 On board H. M. S. Camilla, of l'Arcahaie, General Maitland addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Grant, who had been recently appointed British Agent in the island of Saint-Domingue, a letter of instructions from which I reproduce the following extract: "I do not apprehend "that there can be the smallest danger arriving to Jamaica if Toussaint "gains the superiority; and so long as this island (Saint-Domingue) is "in its present state (that is, of actual warfare) it is equally clear that "it is perfectly safe. One great object therefore of your duty here will
English and Americans Side with Louverture 99
unreserved support to Toussaint and to do their utmost to prevent a reconciliation between the latter and Rigaud, whilst President Adams placed under an interdict all the southern ports of Saint-Domingue, and by a proclamation of June 26, 1799, prohibited their entrance to all American ships, thus depriving Rigaud of the means of getting provisions and war material.2' He even went so far as to place American men-of-war at the disposal of Toussaint, so much was he won over to the latter's cause.
The conflict brought about by the intrigues of the Agents of France broke out at last. At night on the
17th of June, 1799, Rigaud's soldiers who were quartered at Pont-de-Miragoane attacked and stormed the
"be to endeavor to keep it in one of these two situations as far as you "can, that is, to prevent any amicable arrangement taking place between "Rigaud and Toussaint, of which indeed I see no possible chance; and "should Toussaint gain the superiority you must exert yourself to the "utmost to hinder him from receiving anything like an agent on the "part of the Directory. The present will be displaced long before your "arrival. You are to endeavor by every means in your power "to keep Toussaint in supreme authority in the island and to enter into "any fair views of his that may have this obvious tendency."
Letter of Toussaint Louverture to John Adams, President of the United States, dated Port-de-Paix, August 14, 1799. Extract: "Mr. "Edward Stevens has communicated to me your letter concerning the "measures adopted in your proclamation. * Of all the coercive "means at my disposal I can make use only of those which this country "offers to me in order to repress the criminal audacity of the rebellious "Rigaud and of his followers; but other means more powerful are want"ing. Without a navy, the pirates of the South, who infest our coasts, "plunder and murder Frenchmen and foreigners whom they meet on "their way. * With their barges they reinforce the rebellious "towns of the North without my being able to go in pursuit of these "pirates. It is to put an end to their piracy that, whilst my land forces "will endeavor to crush them, I beg of you, full of confidence in your "fairness and your principles of justice, to let me have the assistance "of some men-of-war. By granting my request you will have the glory "to have helped, you and your nation, in repressing a rebellion odious "to all the governments of the world. It is of very little importance "that in your proclamation you have prohibited the ships of your nation "from going to the ports of Saint-Domingue, except to Cap-Francais and "Port R~publicain; such a measure will be of no avail if you have not "some strong way to cause it to be respected. By granting my request "for a few men-of-war, you repress a rebellion which all the governments "have interest in repressing, while you secure the execution of the will "of your own Government."
100 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
fort of Petit-Goave. Bloodshed had started; men were about to kill their own brothers, and all to the greatest satisfaction of the colonists, who saw visions of reconquering their former influence through this great sacrifice of human life. Toussaint displayed his usual activity. After repressing a rebellion at M81e Saint-Nicolas he centred his efforts against Jacmel, which was being besieged by General Dessalines, Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the South. The few ships used in the blockade of the town were inadequate to prevent the landing of supplies of provisions sent to the besieged town. Toussaint then claimed the promised assistance of President John Adams, as a result of which a brig and a frigate of the United States Navy cruised before Jacmel and chased away the small crafts which were endeavoring to revictual the town.
The besieged people of Jacmel had been successively deserted by their leaders Beauvais and Birot; however, they kept up a valiant defense under the command of Potion, who at the eleventh hour had come to their help. Being unable any longer to resist the famine and the consequent diseases arising from it, they evacuated the town on March 10, 1800. The fall of Jacmel was the beginning of the overthrow of Rigaud. In spite of their great bravery his soldiers could not check the steady advance of Toussaint's more powerful army. On July 28, 1800, Dessalines was at a distance of only three leagues from Cayes, the port of which was blockaded by two frigates and two schooners of the United States Navy. Rigaud's cause was irretrievably lost. Flight was the only course open to him; consequently, he left Cayes and sailed from Tiburon on July 29, 1800, on a Danish ship bound for Saint Thomas.'"
Beauvais, whom the "affranchis" of the DiLgue camp had appointed their leader, was unfit to hold the first rank. Always ready to obey the Agents of France, he was greatly disturbed by the proclamation of Roume branding him with the name of a rebel. In order to avoid the necessity of fighting Toussaint Louverture he fled from Jacmel, of which arrondissement he was commander. The ship on which he set sail for Frane sank and he was drowned.
'- rom Saint Thomas, Rigaud went to Guadeloupe, whence he sailed
Toussaint Gets Rid of Rigaud
The 1st of August, 1800, Toussaint Louverture arrived at Cayes. According to his custom he went to the church, where, after the usual Te Deum had been chanted, he ascended the pulpit and proclaimed a full oblivion of all the happenings of the past. For some time to come Saint-Domingue knew no other master. Toussaint had supreme command. He had meantime unfortunately lost the sympathy and devotion of many friends: a fact which he would have bitter cause to regret in the short space of two years after his glorious triumph.
for France on October 2; on his way he was captured and made prisoner by the Americans, who were still lending their assistance to Toussaint. He was taken to Saint Christopher and there imprisoned. He did not succeed in reaching France until the following year on March 31, 1801. (B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. IV, p. 201.)
Administrative measures taken by Toussaint Louverture--Occupation
of the Spanish portion of the island-Meeting of the Central Assembly-Constitution of Saint-Domingue-Toussaint Louverture elected Governor-General-The French expedition-The "Crete-a-Pierrot"-Deportation of Rigaud-Surrender of Toussaint Louverture--His
arrest and deportation-His death at Fort de Joux.
Confident of the success of his campaign against Rigaud, Toussaint Louverture had no longer any purpose to serve in treating Roume with deference. The Commander-in-Chief requested the dismissal of General Kerverseau. then at Santo Domingo, which request the Agent refused to grant. Toussaint then called to mind that the Treaty of Bale had given the Spanish portion of the island to France; he demanded the authorization for taking possession of it. Roume's new refusal increased his displeasure. From Port-au-Prince he summoned the Agent of the Directory to come and confer with him. The latter declined to leave CapFrangais; at the same time he ordered the expulsion of the English emissaries who were in the colony. On March 4, 1800, he wrote to Toussaint, instructing him to carry out his order. One of these English emissaries, Mr. Wrigloworth, was at that time with Toussaint. The latter, offended by the tone of the Agent's letter, left for Gonaives. His nephew, Moise, and other military commanders began to stir up the country people. The rebels marched to Cap-Franais, where they requested an interview with Roume and the municipality, threatening to invade the town should they fail to comply with their request. Roume went to meet them. The peasants demanded that half of the lands of the colonists being granted to them, they should be allowed 102
Toussaint in Supreme Command
to work in their own behalf; and a decree authorizing the taking possession of the Spanish portion of the island. Upon the refusal of the representative of France to accede to these demands, he was unceremoniously locked up in a poultry-house. They sent for Toussaint, who, however, showed no hurry in taking part in the matter. At last he arrived on April 27, 1800. Taking advantage of Roume's sad plight, he extorted from him the decree authorizing the occupation of the Spanish portion of Saint-Domingue. He intrusted this mission to General Age, who failed to carry it out; the strong opposition of the Spanish authorities and inhabitants compelled him to leave Santo Domingo.
Until the right time should come for the realization of his plans, Toussaint was carrying on the legislation without paying the slightest heed to the representative of France. He made regulations concerning, 1st, the collection by the Treasury of the income yielded by lands the owners of which were absent; 2d, the postal service; 3d, the administration of the Navy. He took strong measures with the view of preventing any disturbance of public order. He knew by personal experience how to stir up the people. It was by means of nocturnal dances and ceremonies, which the frightened colonists indiscriminately called "vaudoux"; by means of these secret meetings it was that conspiracies were plotted. To influence the uncultured slaves, the leaders had to resort to the supernatural, even going so far as making them believe that they were invulnerable. What is designated as "vaudoux" might be considered as a kind of politico-mystical association which the most enlightened among the blacks very cleverly used to attain their ends. The resolutions adopted, the watchwords were scrupulously obeyed by the members of the sect. Toussaint was better aware than any one what an easy matter it was to disturb the peace through the practice of such an institution; for he was one of the instigators of the slaves' uprising and a witness of the ceremony at which Boukmann administered "the oath of blood" on the entrails of a wild boar. In conse-
104 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
quence, on January 8, 1800, he issued a decree prohibiting, under severe penalty, all kinds of nocturnal dances and meetings, especially the dance designated as "vaudoux." The preambles of this decree show that Toussaint considered "vaudoux" rather as a political sect. "Fully convinced," says he, "that the leaders of these "dances have but one aim: the disturbance of the peace,
'* wishing to put a stop to the innumerable "evils resulting from the practice of a doctrine which "creates disorder and idleness-I order the following: "All nocturnal dances and meetings are henceforth pro"hibited. "'
The arrival in the colony of Major-Generals Mitchel, Raymond, and Vincent, sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, then first Consul, did not put an end to the encroachments of Toussaint Louverture. In the Southern province he established four military arrondissements: Cayes, Tiburon, Jerimie, and L'Anse--Veau. He appointed Dessalines major-general and invested him with the command of the Western and Southern provinces; Moise was given the command of the North. By decrees he conferred correctional jurisdiction on the civil tribunals; he organized courts martial. On October 12, 1800, he adopted a regulation concerning agriculture-the cultivators were subjected to a severe discipline; they were not allowed to leave the plantations to which they belonged, even should they be able to secure better wages elsewhere. He instituted a guard of honor in which former noblemen of the colony were enlisted.
I B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. TV, p. 154.
The colonists, from whom the slaves carefully concealed their plans, could never succeed in getting an accurate knowledge of what "vaudoux" was in reality. This secret association was the most powerful weapon of the defenseless blacks. They were thus able not only to plot uprisings, but also to warn each other of any dangers which threatened them. The secrecy observed by those who took part in "vaudoux" gave rise to many legends; and up to the present time foreigners of more or less good faith affirm that "vaudoux" is the religion of the majority of the Hnvtians. Those who would care to have full information on the matter may read the interesting book of Mr. Hannibal Price, "Rehabilitation of the Black Race through the Republic of Haiti."
Toussaint Relegates Roume to Dondon
The wealthy planters of Saint-Domingue once more held office; they were appointed judges; they secured good positions in the administration. Therefore they were all one in sympathy with Toussaint Louverture. And when, on November 25, 1800, he made his triumphal entrance into Cap-Frangais these men who, some years ago in their pride, had shown such contempt for the blacks and the mulattoes were again at his feet. A white woman compared him to Bonaparte and placed on his head a crown of laurel leaves. Toussaint Louverture acknowledged the compliment by kissing her. At the municipality be was called "Hercules," "Alexander the Great," etc.
None of these flatteries could make him forget that Roume had defied him by cancelling the decree authorizing the occupation of the Spanish portion of SaintDomingue. The day after his arrival at Cap-Frangais, on November 26, he ordered that the representative of France be relegated to Dondon until he should be recalled. General Moise was commissioned to carry out this order. At this juncture Toussaint began to feel uneasy concerning Bonaparte's attitude. Consequently he preferred to keep Roume at Saint-Domingue rather than send him to France. And in order to prevent the first Consul from being informed of the events which were taking place in the colony, he decided that in future he alone should sign the passports of those who wished to go abroad. Any persons who left the island without his permission forfeited their properties.
With a view of increasing his resources, Toussaint Louverture repealed by an act of December 12, 1800, the taxes on the plantations which were hitherto payable in natural products of the soil, and ordered that all commodities and merchandise exported from or imported into the colony be subjected to a duty of 20 per cent. A tax of 20 per cent was also levied on the renting value of all houses, on the value of all articles for home consumption. Custom-houses were thus established.
However, at the request of the Consul-General of the
106 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
United States, Mr. Edward Stevens, whose assistance had been most valuable to him during the campaign against Rigaud, Toussaint, on December 31, reduced the import duties to 10 per cent.
The Decree of December 12 emphasized the attitude of independence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Saint-Domingue. All merchandise, without exception, had to pay the import tax; French goods were therefore to be treated as foreign products. With his usual perspicacity Toussaint foresaw that Bonaparte would not forgive his encroachments as easily as the Directory. A conflict was inevitable; for he was determined in his resolution not to acknowledge any authority superior to his in Saint-Domingue. Not wishing to leave any place which would act as a base of operations to the forces which would be sent against him, he persisted in his idea of occupying the Spanish portion of the island. On December 20, 1800, he gave notice to Don Joachim Garcia that General Moise had been empowered to execute the treaty of Bile by taking possession of that portion of the colony which had been transferred to France. Without awaiting an answer he despatched an army against the Spaniards. Whilst Moise invaded the former Spanish territory, by crossing the Massacre River, Toussaint, on January 4, 1801, occupied San Juan de la Maguana. On January 14 he had reached the banks of the Nisas near to Bani, where a battle was fought in which the Spanish were defeated; yet France and Spain were at peace. Further resistance on the part of the Spanish was useless. Toussaint had the satisfaction of seeing his former chief, Don Joachim Garcia, entirely at his mercy. The black General was destined to humble all those who had thought of using him as a tool. On January 21, 1801, a convention was signed at Jayna for the surrender of Santo Domingo; and on the 28th Toussaint made a triumphal entrance into the town, where the traditional Te Deum was sung in the church.
Toussaint did his utmost to win over the sympathy of his new fellow-citizens. In order to increase the trade
Toussaint Protector of the Whites
he reduced the import duties to 6 per cent; he ordered the cultivation of sugar-cane, coffee, cotton, cocoa; he repaired and bettered the highways, which the Spanish had kept in very bad condition.
The organization of the newly acquired territory did not prevent him from giving his attention to the general administration of the island. On January 9 he decreed stamp and registry dues; on January 10 he established license taxes. On February 11 he instituted a company of gendarmerie for every one of the communes of the colony. This gendarmerie had the special mission of supervising the cultivators.
Whilst imposing the severest discipline on the men of his race, Toussaint did his best to gain the sympathy of the colonists, thinking by so doing to lull France's suspicions. Therefore he facilitated the return to SaintDomingue of the wealthy planters who had thought it best to leave the island; all properties were restored to their former owners, and he bestowed his entire protection on the whites. He firmly believed that by his kindness he had secured their gratitude. In this he was mistaken and his reasoning proved groundless. The colonists were simply taking advantage of the situation. They coaxed and flattered Toussaint Louverture, but in reality they felt humiliated to have to bow down before a black man, before one of those slaves whom they had been hitherto accustomed to regard as no better than animals. So for the time being they endured the situation until the right moment should arrive to make the change they desired; and meanwhile they were highly pleased with a system so beneficial to them. And they thought that the time was fast approaching for the realization of their long-standing wish to be the legislators of the colony. Toussaint knew that his rights were precarious; an order of the first Consul might at any moment deprive him of his exalted position. Therefore he felt the necessity of obtaining the support of the people with a view of justifying his usurpation of power.
Both sides were then in full accord as to disregard-
108 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
ing France's prerogatives. In consequence, by a proclamation of February 5, 1801, Toussaint Louverture ordered the meeting at Port-Republicain (Port-auPrince) of a Central Assembly consisting of ten members.
After the elections had taken place he arrived in the town, where he was accorded a most flattering welcome; the streets through which he passed were strewn with flowers; bells were rung and cannon fired in his honor. lie conferred with the Deputies and afterward returned to (Cap-Frangais in order not to be charged with influencing the decisions of the Assembly.'
Whilst the body assembled on March 22, 1801, after electing Borgella as its chairman, was occupied in preparing the Constitition, Toussaint, with his usual activity, continued, at Cap-Frangais, to legislate in the interest of the colony. By a Decree of May 8 he reduced to 6 per cent the duties on biscuits, flour, salt, provisions, and building timber; he adopted a uniform tariff for the custom-houses. By an act of May 9 he prohibited gambling; civil or military officials found in a gamblinghouse were to be dismissed and sentenced to one month's imprisonment; private citizens were liable to four months' imprisonment with hard labor.
The Constitution 8 intended to be observed in SaintDomingue was adopted on the 9th of May, 1801. Toussaint Louverture was appointed Governor-General for life, with the right to choose his successor. He was empowered to fill all vacancies in civil and military offices, and held chief command in the Army. The Governor was authorized to submit to the Assembly the drafts of laws pertaining to the colony. After Toussaint's death the term of office for the Governors was to be five years; and in case of death or resignation of
I The Central Assembly consisted of Bernard Borgella and Laeour as members for the West; Etienne Viart and Julien Raymond for the South; Collet and Gaston Nogerd for the South; Juan Mancebo and Francisco Morillas for Engano; Carlos Roxas and Andre Munoz for
Louis-Joseph Janvier, The Constitutions of Haiti.
CusT)I- IOIUSKE, Polrr-A'-PRINCE
The Constitution of 1801
a Governor, the General highest in rank was to exercise the power until the election of a new Governor.
In this manner the Governor of Saint-Domingue no longer owed his authority to France, but to the people of the colony. The mother country had also lost the right of appointing to public offices and of enacting laws for this dependency of hers. After investing Toussaint with all the prerogatives which could satisfy his ambition, the colonists bethought themselves of their interests. The cultivators were then prohibited from leaving their plantations; and it was decided that laborers would be imported to restore and promote agriculture. However, slavery was abolished forever.
Civil and criminal courts and a Supreme Court (Tribunal de Cassation) were organized; but courts martial were authorized to act in all cases of robbery, murder, incendiarism, conspiracies, etc. The Roman Catholic religion was proclaimed the religion of the State; and divorce was prohibited.
To fill up the measure, the Assembly authorized the Governor to put the Constitution in execution without awaiting the approval of the French Government.
Toussaint lost no time in complying with the will of the people of Saint-Domingue. On the Place d'Armes of Cap-Frangais the Constitution was proclaimed with great pomp on the 8th of July, 1801; it was afterward printed and made public in the whole colony. Toussaint was at the topmost pinnacle of greatness. He sincerely believed that from that time forward he was the legal and legitimate chief of Saint-Domingue, France having only a nominal protectorate on the island.
Some of his lieutenants, however, could not help fearing the probable consequences of so bold a step. Dessalines thought that Toussaint was too much under the influence of the colonists, and that he was not cautious enough in his actions. But he observed great circumspection in his criticism, not caring to get into disfavor with the new Governor-General. Moise, believing that the ties of blood and his oft-proven fidelity made him
110 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
safe against his uncle's distrust and suspicion, was less guarded in his speech. He objected principally to the severity of the treatment to which the cultivators were subjected; he tried to ameliorate their condition; which attitude was displeasing to the colonists. The wealthy planters were of the opinion that the Governor's nephew was setting a bad example. Therefore they resolved to cause his downfall. Yet it was unnecessary for any one to try to provoke discontent among the laborers; of themselves they found out that there was but little betterment in their present condition. Though they were told that they were no longer slaves, they had, however, to endure the tyranny of the military chiefs, who, like the former overseers, compelled them to work hard on the plantations of their former masters. As a consequence of their discontent they thought of resorting to the method by which they had once before thrown off the yoke of servitude: they took up arms. Lamour Derance, at the head of the blacks from Bahoruco, succeeded in taking possession of Marigot. But he was soon compelled to evacuate the place and to take shelter in the mountains.
In the Northern province, where Moise was in command, there was also much discontent among the blacks. In the plain of Limb6 many laborers revolted and, after murdering about 300 whites, marched on Cap-Frangais. The colonists, incensed at Moise's leniency, charged him with being an accomplice if not the leader of the rebels. He was in consequence arrested and sentenced by a court martial to be put to death. He was shot on November 29, 1801.
Toussaint, whilst engaged in restoring peace and order in Saint-Domingue, was somewhat apprehensive as to the decision of Bonaparte concerning the Constitution he had adopted. This document he sent to the French Government through the intermediary of Colonel Vincent. There existed in the mind of the agent of the Governor of Saint-Domingue not the least doubt as to the way in which the first Consul would regard this matter. Bonaparte, victorious and master