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Hayti, or the Black republic: by Sir Spenser St. John (1825-1910), 343p,, 1884. (BCL also has as Williams Mem.Eth.Col.Cat. #615)

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Title:
Hayti, or the Black republic: by Sir Spenser St. John (1825-1910), 343p,, 1884. (BCL also has as Williams Mem.Eth.Col.Cat. #615)
Publisher:
London, Smith, Elder, 1884.
Language:
English

Notes

General Note:
4-tr-St.John-1884
General Note:
Bmhs

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HAYTI

OR

THE BLACK REPUBLIC.
























































Iragante -vmuf
RALLANTYNK, HANSON AND CO.
EDINBURGH AND LONDON





A P 0 F y IT I













HAYTI






THE BLACK REPUBLIC.






BY

SIR SPENSER ST. JOHN, K.C.M.G.
FORMERLY HER.MAJESTY S MINISTER RESIDENT AND CONSUL-GENERAL
IN HAYTI, NOW HER MAJESTY'S SPECIAL ENVOY TO MEXICO.


"Haiti, Haiti, pays de barbares."
NAPOLSON III.







LONDON:
SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE.
1884.

















INTRODUCTION.

-0

WHILST in Port-au-Prince, a Spanish colleague once remarked to me, "Mon ami, if we could return to Hayti fifty years hence, we should find the negresses cooking their bananas on the site of these warehouses." Although this judgment is severe, yet from what we have seen passing under the present Administration, it is more than probable-unless in the meantime influenced by some higher civilisation-tlat this prophecy will come true. The negresses are in fact already cooking their bananas amid the ruins of the best houses of the capital. My own impression, after personally knowing the country above twenty years, is, that it is a country in a state of rapid decadence. The revolution of 1843 that upset President Boyer commenced the era of troubles which have continued to the present day. The country has since been steadily falling to the rear in the race of civilisation.
The long civil war (1868- 869) under President Salnave destroyed a vast amount of property, and rendered living in the country districts less secure, so that there has been ever since a tendency for the more









vi INTRODUCTION.


civilised inhabitants to agglomerate in the towns, and leave the rural districts to fetish worship and cannibalism. Fires, most of them incendiary, have swept over the cities; in the commercial quarters of Port-auPrince, it would be difficult to find any houses which existed in 1863, and the fortunes of all have naturally greatly suffered.
When I reached Hayti in January 1863, the capital possessed several respectable public buildings. The palace, without any architectural beauty, was larg(,e and commodious, and well suited to the climate; the Senate the House of Representatives, the dwellings occupied by several of the Ministers, the pretty little theatre, were all featni es which have now entirely disappeared.
The town of Pe'tionville or La Coupe, the summer and health resort of the capital, where the best families sought a little country life during the great heats, was almost entirely destroyed during the revolution of 1868, and nothing has taken its place. People are still too poor to afford to rebuild.
Society also has completely changed. I saw at balls (riven in the palace in 1 863 a hundred well-dressed prosperous families of all colours; now political dissensions would prevent such gratheringrs, even if there were a building in the city which could receive them, and poverty has laid its heavy hand more or less on all. It is the same in a greater or lesser degree in every other town of the republic.
Agriculture in the plains is also deteriorating, and the estates produce much less than formerly, though


vi









INTRODUCTION. Vii

their staple produce is rum, to stupefy and brutalise the barbarous lower orders.
Foreigners, nearly ruined by their losses during the constant civil disturbances, are withdrawing from the republic, and capital is following them; and with their withdrawal the country must sink still lower. The best of the coloured people are also leavinga, as they shun the fate reserved for them by those who have already slaughtered the most prominent mulattoes.
In fact, the mulatto element, which is the civilising element in Hayti, is daily becoming of less importance; internal party strife has injured their political standing, and constant intermarriage is causing the race to breed back to the more numerous type, and in a few years the mulatto element will have made disastrous approaches to the negro. The only thing which could have saved the mulatto would have been to encourage the whites to settle in their country; yet this step the coloured men have blindly resisted.
In spite of all the civilising elements around them, there. is a distinct tendency to sink into the state of an African tribe. It is naturally impossible to foretell the effect of all the influences which are now at work in the world, and which seem to foreshadow many changes. We appear standing on the threshold of a period of great discoveries, which may modify many things, but not man's nature. The mass of tlie negroes of Hayti live in the country districts, which are rarely or ever visited by civilised people; there are few Christian priests to give them a notion of true religion ; no








INTRODUCTION.


superior local officers to prevent them practising their worst fetish ceremonies.
In treating of the Black and the Mulatto as they appeared to me during my residence among them, I fear that I shall be considered by some to judge harshly. Such, however, is not my intention. Brought up under Sir James Brooke, whose enlarged sympathies could endure no prejudice of race or colour, I do not remember ever to have felt any repugnance to my fellow-creatures on account of a difference of complexion.
I have dwelt above thirty-five years among coloured people of various races, and am sensible of no prejudice against them. For twelve years I lived in familiar and kindly intercourse with Haytians of all ranks and shades of colour, and the most frequent and not leasthonoured guests at my table were of the black and coloured races.
All who knew me in Hayti know that I had no prejudice of colour; and if I place the Haytian in general in an unenviable light, it is from a strong conviction that it is necessary to describe the people as they are, and not as one would wish them to be. The band of black and coloured friends who gathered round me during my long residence in Port-au-Prince were not free from many of the faults which I have been obliged to censure in describing these different sections of the population, but they had them in a lesser degree, or, as I was really attached to them, I perhaps saw them in a dimmer light.
The most difficult chapter to write was that on


viii









INTRODUCTION.


" Vaudoux Worship and Cannibalism." I have endeavoured to paint it in the least sombre colours, and none who know the country will think that I have exaggerated; in fact, had I listened to the testimony of many experienced residents, I should have described rites at which dozens of human victims were sacrificed at a time. Everything I have related has been founded on evidence collected in Hayti, from Haytian official documents, from trustworthy officers of the Haytian Government, my foreign colleagues, and from respectable residents-principally, however, from Haytian sources.
It may be suggested that I am referring to the past. On the contrary, I am informed that at present cannibalism is more rampant than ever. A black Government dares not greatly interfere, as its power is founded on the goodwill of the masses, ignorant and deeply tainted with fetish worship. A Haytian writer recently remarked in print, "On se plaisit beaucoup de ce que le Vaudoux a reparu grandiose et s~rieux." The fetish dances were forbidden by decree under the Government of President Boisrond-Canal. That decree has been since repealed, and high officers now attend these meetings, and distribute money and applaud the most frantic excesses.
President Salomon, who is now in power, lived for eighteen years in Europe, married a white, and knows what civilisation is. He probably, on his first advent to the Presidency, possessed sufficient influence in the country to have checked the open manifestations of this barbarous worship; but the fate of those of his


Ix









x INTRODUCTION.


predecessors who attempted to grapple with the evil was not encouraging. It was hoped, however, that he would make the attempt, and that, grasping the nettle with resolution, he might suffer no evil results; but many doubted not only his courage to undertake the task, but even the will; and they, I fear, have judged correctly. Whenever all the documents which exist on this subject are published, my chapter on Cannibalism will be looked upon but as a pale reflection of the reality.
With regard to the history of the country, materials abound for writing a very full one, but I do not think it would prove interesting to the general reader. It is but a series of plots and revolutions, followed by barbarous military executions. A destructive and exhaustingr war with Sanito Domingo, and civil strife during the Presidency of General Salnave, did more to ruin the resources of the country than any amount of bad government. The enforced abandonment of work by the people called to arms by the contending parties, introduced habits of idleness and rapine which have continued to the present day; and the material losses, by the destruction of the best estates and the burning of towns and villages, have never been fully repaired.
From the overthrow of President Geifrard in 1867 the country has been more rapidly going to ruin. The fall was slightly checked during the quiet Presidency of Kissage-Saget; but the Government of General Domingrue amply made up for lost time, and was one of the worst, if not the worst, that Hayti has ever









INTRODUCTION.


seen. With the sectaries of the Vaudoux in power, nothing else could have been expected.
I have brought my sketch of the history of Hayti down to the fall of President Boisroid-Canal in 1879, and shall not touch on the rule of the present President of Hayti, General Salomon. I may say, however, that he is the determined enemy of the coloured section of the community; is credited with having been the chief adviser of the Emperor Soulouque in all his most disastrous measures; and the country is said to have sunk into the lowest depths of misery. The civil war, which by last accounts was still raging in Hayti, has been marked by more savage excesses than any previously known in Haytian history, the black authorities, hesitating at no step to gain their object, which is utterly to destroy the educated coloured class. They care not for the others; as they say, "Mulatte pauvre, li negue."
A few words as to the origin of this book. In 1867 I was living in the country near Port-au-Prince, and having some leisure, I began to collect materials and write rough drafts of the principal chapters. I was interrupted by the civil war, and did not resume work until after I had left the country. It may be the modifying effect of time, but on looking over the chapters as I originally wrote them, I thought that I had been too severe in my judgments on whole classes, and have therefore somewhat softened the opinions I then expressed; and the greater experience which a further residence of seven years gave me enabled me


xi









xli INTRODUCTION.


to study the people more and avoid too sweeping condemnations.
I have not attempted to describe the present condition of the republic of 5anto Domingro, but from all I can hear it is making progress. The Dominicans have few prejudices of colour, and eagerly welcome foreign capitalists who arrive to develop the resources of their country. Already there are numerous sugar estates in operation, as well as mnanufactories of dyes, and efforts are being successfully made to rework the old groldmines. The tobacco cultivation is'already large, and only requires hands to develop it to meet any demand. I hear of a railway having been commenced, to traverse the magnificent plain which stretches from the Bay of Samana almost to the frontiers of Hayti.

After having written the chapter on Vaudoux Worship, my attention was called to a communication which appeared in Vanity Fair of August 1 3, 188i, by a reply published in a Haytian journal. It is evident that the writer in Vanity Fair was a naval officer or a passing traveller in the West Indies, and hie probably carefully noted the information given him. - He was, however, too inclined to believe what he heard, as he gravely states that a Haytian told him that the kidneys of a child were first-rate eating, adding that he had tried them himself ; and the writer remarks that the Ilaytian did not seem to think it strange or out of th3, way that he had done so. No Haytian would have ever stated seriously that he had eaten human flesh.


xii









INTRODUCTION. Xiii

Probably, amused by the eagerness of the inquirer, he told the story to test his powers of belief, and must have been diverted when he found his statement was credited. Cannibalism is the one thing of which Haytians are thoroughly ashamed.
This communication makes mention of the herbpoisonings and their antidotes; of the midwives who render new born-babes insensible, that are buried, dug up, restored to life, and then eaten. In May 1879 a midwife and another were caught near Port-au-Prince eating g a female baby that had been thus treated ; he adds that a Haytian of good position was discovered with his family eating a child. In the former case the criminals were condemned to six weeks' imprisonment, in the latter to one month. (I may notice that I never heard of a respectable Haytian being connected with the cannibals.) The light punishments inflicted were due to the fear inspired by the Vaudoux priests. In January 1881 eight people were fined for disinterring and eating corpses. An English medical man purchased and identified the neck and shoulders of a human being in the market at Port-au-Prince. In February 188 I, at St. Marc, a cask of so-called pork was sold to a foreign ship. In it were discovered fingers and finger-nails, and all the flesh proved to be that of human beings. An English coloured clergyman at Cap Haitien said that the Vaudoux did away with all the effect of his ministry; and that his wife was nearly purchasing in the market human flesh instead of pork. Four people were fined in that town for eating corpses.









1NxTRODUCTION.


When the writer arrived at Jacmel he found two men in prison for eating corpses, and on the day of his arrival a man was caught eating a child. Near the same town nine thousand people met at Christmas to celebrate Vaudoux rites. At Les Cayes a child of English parents was stolen, and on the thieves being pursued, they threw it into a well and killed it.
These are the statements made by the writer in Vanity Fair, and nearly all are probable. If correct, the open practice of Vaudoux worship and canuibalism must have made great strides since I left Hayti, and shows how little a black Government can do, or will do, to suppress them. The digging up and eating of corpses was not known during my residence there.
This communication to Vanity Fair provoked a reply in a journal published at Port-au-Prince called L'fEil, October i, 88i. It denies everything, even to the serious existence and power of the Vaudoux priests, and spends all its energies in abuse. The article is quite worthy of the editor,* who was one of the most active supporters of President Salnave, .whose connection with the Vaudoux was notorious. It is in this angry spirit that the Haytians generally treat any public reference to their peculiar institution.
* Ever since the reign of Soulouque, professional authors have been paid by the Haytian Government to spread rose-tinted accounts of the civilisation and progress of Hayti. But twenty-four hours in any town of that republic would satisfy the most sceptical that these semiofficial accounts are unworthy of belief.


MExico, January 1884.


xiv




























CONTENTS.




CHAP.
L GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI 11. HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE 111. HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE IV. THE POPULATION OF HIAYTI V. VAUDOUX WORSHIP AND CANNIBALISM. VL THE GOVERNMENT 9 * VIL. RELIGION, EDUCATION, AND JUSTICE VIII. THlE ARMY AND POLICE 0* IX. LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 0 X. AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, AND FINANCE


PAOR


*26

* . 74

a 1 27 a . 182 0 . 229 0 * 247 0 * 276

* * 299

* . 315













AYTI;
'OR$

THE BLACK REPUBLIC.



CHAPTER I.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.

STANDING on one of the lofty mountains of Hayti, and looking towards the interior, I was struck with the pertinence of the saying of the Admiral, who, crumpling a sheet of paper in his hand, threw it on the table before Geo m,, III., saying, "Sire, Hayti looks like that." The country appears a confused agglomeration of mountain, hill, and valley, most irregular in form; precipices, deep hollows, vales apparently without an outlet; water occasionally glistening far below; cottages scattered here and there, with groves of fruit-trees and bananas clusterincr round the rude dwellings. Gradually, however, the eye becomes accustomed to the scene; the mountains separate into distinct ranges, the hills are but the attendant buttresses, and the valleys assume their regular forms as the watersheds of the system, and the streams can be traced meandering gradually towards the ocean. 1?1 <- A









24 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.


If you then turn towards the sea, you notice that the valleys have expanded into plains, and the rushing torrents have become broad though shallow rivers, and the mountains that bound the flat, open country push their buttresses almost into the sea. This grand variety of magnificent scenery can be well observed from a point near Kenskoff, about ten miles in the interior from the capital, as well as from the great citadel built on the -summit of La Ferri~re in the northern province. Before entering into particulars, however, let- me give a general idea of the country.
The island of Santo Domingo is situated in the West Indies between W8 and 200 north latitude and 68*
20'and74030'west longitude. Its greatest length is four hundred miles, its greatest breadth one hundred and thirty-five miles, and is calculated to be about the size of Ireland. Hayti occupies about a third of the island-the western portion-and, pushing two great promontories into the sea, it has a very large extent of coast-line. It is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the republic of Santo Domingo, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the passage which separates it from Cuba and Jamaica.
Its most noted mountain-ranges are La Selle, which lies on the south-eastern frontier of Hayti; La Hotte, near Les; Cayes; and the Black Mountains in the northern province; but throughout the whole extent of the republic the open valleys are bounded by lofty elevations. In fact, on* approaching the island from









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.


any direction, it appears so mountainous that it is difficult to imagine that so many smiling, fertile plains are to be met with in every department. They are, however, numerous. The most extensive are the Cul-de-Sac, near Port-au-Prince, the plains of Gonaives, the Artibonite, Arcahaie, Port Margot, Leogine, that of Les Cayes, and those that follow the northern coast.
Hayti has the advantage of being well watered, though this source of riches is greatly neglected. The principal river is the Artibonite, which is navigable for small craft for a short distance; the other streams have more the character of mountain torrents, full to overflowing during the rainy season, whilst during the dry they are but rivulets running over broad pebbly beds.
The lakes lying at the head of the plain of Cul-deSac are a marked feature in the landscape as viewed from the neighboring hills. They are but little visited, as their shores are marshy, very unhealthy, and uninhabitable on that account, while the swarms of mosquitoes render even a temporary stay highly disagreeable. The waters of one of them are brackish, which would appear to indicate more salt deposits in the neighbourhood.
There are a few islands attached to Hayti, the principal, La Tortue, on the north, Gonaives on the west, and L'Isle-h-Vache on the south coast. Some attempts have been made to develop their natural riches, but as yet with but slight success. The first two named are famous for their mahogany trees.









4 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
The principal towns of the republic are Port-auPrince, the capital, Cap Haitien in the north, and Les Cayes in the south. Jacmel, Jdr~mie, Miragoftne, St. Marc, and Gonaives are also commercial ports.
Port-au-Prince is situated at the bottom of a deep bay, which runs so far into the western coast as almost to divide Hayti in two. It contains about 20,000 inhabitants, and was carefully laid out by the French. It possesses every natural advantage that a capital could require. Little use, however, is made of these advantages, and the place is one of the most unpleasant residences imaginable. I was one day talking to a French naval officer, and he observed, 11I was here as a midshipman forty years -ago." "Do you notice any change? " I asked. "Well, it is perhaps dirtier than before." Its dirt is its great drawback, and appears ever to have been so, as Moreau de St. Mdry complained. of the same thing during the last century. However, there are degrees of dirt, and he would probably be astonished to see it at the present day. The above paragraph was first written in 1867; since that it has become worse, and when I last landed (1877), I found the streets heaped up with filth.
The capital is well laid out, with lines of streets running parallel to the sea, whilst others cross at right angles, dividingr the town into numerous islets or blocks. The streets are broad, but utterly neglected. Every one throws out his refuse before his door, so that heaps of manure, broken bottles, crockery, and every species









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI. 5
of rubbish encumber the way, and render both riding and walking dangerous. Building materials are permitted occasionally to accumulate to so great an extent as completely to block up the streets and seriously impede the traffic. Mackenzie, in his notes on Hayti, remarks on the impassable state of the streets in 1826 ; torn up by tropical rains, they were mended with refuse (generally stable dung to fill up the holes, and a thin layer of earth thrown over), only to be again destroyed by the first storm. Ask Haytians why they do not mend their streets and roads., they answer., 11 Bon Dieu, gfLtd li; bon Dieu, pard li " (God spoilt them, and God will mend them). Then, as now, the roads were in such a state in wet weather that only a waggon with a team of oxen could get through the muddy slough.
On first enterincy the town, you are struck with the utter shabbiness of the buildings, mean cottages and grovelling huts by the side of the few decent-looking dwellings. Most of the houses are constructed of wood, badly built with very perishable materials, imported from the United States or our Northern colonies. The idea that originally prevailed in the construction of the private houses was admirable; before each was a broad verandah, open to all passers, so that from one end of the town to the other it was intended that there should be cool, shady walks. But the intolerable stupidity of the inhabitants has spoilt this plan; in most streets the level of the verandahs of each house is of a different height, and frequently separated by a marsby









6 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
spot, the receptacle of every species of filth ; so that you must either walk in the sun or perform in the shade a series of gymnastic exercises exceedingly inconvenient in a tropical climate.
On either side of the street was* a paved gutter, but now, instead of aiding the drainage, it is another cause of the accumulation of filth. The stones which formerly rendered the watercourses even are either removed or displaced, and the rains collecting before the houses form fetid pools, into which the servants pour all that in other countries is carried off by the sewers. In a few of the more commercial streets, where foreigners reside, more attention is paid to cleanliness, but still Port-auPrince may bear the palm away of being the most foulsmellina, dirty, and consequently fever-stricken city in the world.
The port is well protected, but is gradually fillincr up, as the rains wash into it not only the silt from the mountains, but the refuse of the city, and no effort is made to keep it open. As there is but little tide, the accumulations of every species of vegetable and animal matter render the water fetid, and when the sea-breeze blows currently over these turbid waves, an effluvia is borne into the town sickening to all but native nostrils.
The most remarkable edifice of Port-au-Prince was the palace, a long, low, wooden building of one storey, supported on brick walls: it contained several fine rooms., and two halls which micrht have been rendered









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.


admirable for receptions; but everything around it was shabby-the stables, the guard-houses, the untended garden, the courtyard overrun with grass and weeds, and the surrounding walls partially in ruins. This spacious presidential residence was burnt down during the revolutionary attack on Port-au-Prince in. December 1869, and no attempt has been made to rebuild it.
The church is a large wooden building, an overgrown shed, disfigured by numerous wretched paintings which cover its walls; and, as an unworthy concession to local prejudice, our Saviour is occasionally represented by an ill-drawn negro.
The senate-house was the building with the most architectural pretensions, but its outer walls only remained when I last saw it, fire having destroyed the roof and the interior wood-work. There is no other edifice worthy of remark; and the private houses, with perhaps a score of exceptions, are of the commonest order.
The market-places are large and well situated, but ill-tended and dirty, and in the wet season muddy in the extreme. They are fairly supplied with provisions. I may notice that in those of Port-au-Prince very superior meat is often met with, and good supplies of vegetables, including excellent European kinds, brought from the mountain gardens near Fort Jaques.
The supply of water is very defective. During the reign of the Emperor Soulouque a luminous idea occurred to some one, that instead of repairing the old









8 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
French aqueduct, iron pipes should be laid down. The Emperor had the sagacity to see the advantage of the plan, and gave orders for the work to be done. As an exception to the general rule, the idea was to a certain extent well carried out, and reman the only durable monument of a most inglorious reign. Had the iron pipes been entirely substituted for the old French work, the inhabitants would have enjoyed the benefit of pure water; but when I left in 1877, the people in the suburbs were still breaking open the old stonework to obtain a source of supply near their dwellings; and pigs, children, and washerwomen congregated round these spots and defiled the stream.
The amount of water introduced into the town is still most inadequate; and though numerous springs, and one delightful stream, La Rivi~re Froide, are within easy distance of the port, no effort -has been made to increase the supply. La IRivi~re Froide-name redolent of pleasant reminiscences in a tropical climate-could easily fill a canal, which would not only afford an inexhaustible supply for the wants of the town and shippng but, by creating an outward current, would carry off the floating matter which pollutes the' port. Since my departure a Mr. Stephens commenced some works to afford the town a constant supply of water, but these, I understand, have as yet only been partially carried out. If ever finised, they will afford to the inhabitants a great boon.
The cemetery is situated outside the town. I never









9


AT, DESCRIPTION OF HAYTIO


entered it except when compelled to attend a funeral, and hastened to leave it as soon as possible, on account of an unpleasant odour which pervades it. It is not kept in good order, though many families carefully attend to the graves of their relatives, and there are several strike g tombs. People of all religious are buried here; but it is on record that a brawling Irish priest once attempted to disinter a Protestant child. His braw subsequently led to his banishment.
I noticed on my first arrival in Port-au-Prince two marble coffins, very handsome, lying neglected on the ground outside the palace. I was told they had been brought from abroad in order that the remains of Pdtion and Boyer, two of their best Presidents, should repose in them; but for many years I saw them lying empty on the same spot, and I never heard what becam of them.
The curse of Port-au-Prince is fire. Every few years immense conflagrations consume whole quarters of the town. Nothing can stop the flames but one of the few brick-houses, against which the quick-burning fire is powerless. During my residence in Port-au-Prince five awful fires devastated the town. On each occasion from two to five hundred houses were destroyed. And yet the inhabitants go on building wretched wooden match-boxes, and even elaborate houses of the most inflammable materials. Companies should be caref al how they insure property in Port-au-Prince, as there are some very well-authenticated stories of frauds practised on them both by Europeans and natives.









10 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
Port-au-Prince, on my first arrival in 1863, was governed by a municipality, over which presided a very honest man, a Monsieur Rivilbre, one of those Protestants to whom I have referred in my chapter on religion. As a new arrival, I thought the town sufficiently neglected, but I had reason to change my opinion. It was a pattern of cleanliness to what it subsequently became. The municipality, when one exists, has for its principal duties the performance or negliect of the registration of all acts relating to the "6dtat civil," and to divide among its members and friends, for work never carried out, whatever funds they can collect from the city.
At the back of the capital, at a distance of about five miles, was the village of La Coupe, the summer residence of the wealthier families. As it was situated about 1200 feet above the level of the sea and was open to every breeze, it afforded a delightful change from the hot, damp town; but during the civil war of 1868 the best houses were destroyed and never reconstructed. There is a natural bath there, the most picturesque feature of the place; it is situated under lofty trees, that cast a deep shade over the spot, and during the hottest day it is charmingly cool.
Cap Haltien is the most picturesque town in Hayti; it is beautifully situated on a most commodious harbour. As you enter it, passingc Fort Picolet, you are struck by its safe position-a narrow entrance so easily defended. My first visit was in H.M.S. "1Galatea," Captain Mac-









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI. 1


guire; and as we expected that we might very possibly be received by the fire of all the batteries, our own crew were at their guns, keeping them steadily trained on Fort Picolet, whose artillery was distant about a couple of hundred yards. Having slowly steamed past forts and sunken batteries, we found ourselves in front of the town, with its ruins overgrown with creepers, and in the background the rich vegetation sweeping gracefully up to the summit of the beautiful hill which overshadows Cap Haftien.
Cap Haftien never recovered from the effects of the fearful earthquake of 1842, when several thousands of its inhabitants perished. To this day they talk of that awful event, and never forget to relate how the countrypeople rushed in to plunder the place, and how none lent a helping-hand to aid their half-buried countrymen. Captain Macguire and myself used to wander about the ruins, and we could not but feel how little energy remained in a people who could leave their property in such a state. It was perhaps cheaper to build a trumpery house elsewhere.
One of those who suffered the most during that visitation wrote before the earth had ceased trembling, "Against the acts of God Almighty no one complains," and then -proceeded to relate how the dread earthquake shook down or seriously injured almost every house; how two-thirds of the inhabitants were buried beneath the fallen masonry; how the bands of blacks rushed in from mountain and plain, not to


it









12 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
aid in saving their wretched countrymen, whose cries and groans could be heard for two or three days, but to plunder* the stores replete with goods; and-what he did complain of-how the officers and men of the garrison, instead of attempting to keep order, joined in plunderingr the small remnants of what the rest of the inhabitants could save from the tottering ruins. What a people I
The most striking objects near Cap Haftien are the reman of the palace of Sans Souci, and of the citadel constructed by King Christophe, called La Ferribre. It requires a visit to induce one to believe that so elaborate, and, I may add, so handsome a struCture, could exist in such a place as Hayti, or that a fortification such as the citadel could ever have been constructed on the summit of a lofty mountain, five thousand feet, I believe, above the level of the sea. Some of the walls are eighty feet in height, and sixteen feet in thickness, where the heavy batteries of English guns still remain in position. All is of the most solid masonry, and covering the whole peak of the mountain.
We were really lost in amazement as we threaded gallery after gallery where heavy fifty-six and thirtytwo pounders guarded every approach to what was intended to be the last asylum of Haytian independence. Years of the labour of toiln thousands were spent to prepare this citadel, which the trembling earth laid in ruins in a few minutes. What









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI, 1


energy did this black king possess to rear so great a monument? but the reverse of the medal states that every stone in that wonderful building cost a human life.
It is a popular idea in Hayti that the superiority of the northern department, and the greater industry of its inhabitants, date from the time of Christophe, and some express a belief that his iron system was suitable to the country; but the fact is that Moreau de St. MWry, writing in the last century, insists on the superior advantages of the northern province, its greater fertility, the abundance of rain, and consequently the number of rivers, as well as the superior intelligence and industry of the inhabitants, and their greater sociability and polish. They are certainly more sociable than in the capital, and people still seek northern men to work on their estates. As for Christophe's system, no amount of increase in produce could compensate for its brutality.
Gonaives is a poor-looking town, constantly devas. tated by revolutions and fires, with a few broad, unfinished streets, and some good houses among the crowds of poor-looking buildings. This neighbourhood is famous for what are called white truffles. They are dried and sent to the different parts of the republic.
St. Marc, though not so scattered as Gonaives, is a small place. It was formerly built of stone; a few specimens of this kind of building still remain. Jacmel has a very unsafe harbour, but possesses importance as


13









14 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
one of the ports at which the royal mail steamers call, and has a large export trade in coffee. Les Cayes, Jdrdmie, and other smaller ports I have only seen at a distance, but I hear they are much like the other cities and towns of the republic. Mackenzie says that the city and environs of Les; Cayes are described as 91tr~s riante," and that in his time it was kept in better order than the capital. This is said still to be the case.
My last long ride in Hayti was from Cap Haitien to Gonaives, and nestling in thehil I found some very pretty villages, planted in lovely sites, with fresh, babbling streams, and fruit groves hiding the inferiorlooking houses. The place I most admired was, I think, called Plaisance. There was a freshness, a brightness, a repose about the village that made me regret it was situated so far from the capital.
Wherever you may ride in the mountains, you cannot fail to remark that there is scarcely a decent-looking house out of the towns. The whole of the country is abandoned to the small cultivators, whose inferior cottages are met with at every turn, and, as might be expected from such a population, very dirty and devoid of every comfort, rarely any furniture beyond an old chair, a rickety table, a few sleeping-mats, and some cooking utensils. There is no rule, however, without an exception, and I remember being much struck by seeing at Kenskoff, a small hamlet about ten or twelve miles direct from Port-au-Prince, a good house, where there were some chairs, tables, and bedsteads, and









GENERAL DESCRlPTION OF HAYTI. 1


around this dwelling several huts, in which the wive8 of our host lived separately.
Now and then a peasant will build a larger house than usual; we met with one, the last we slept in on our ride to the mountain, La Selle, whose proprietor had really somie ideas of comfort, and before whose dwelling coffee-plants were growing, trimmed to the height of six feet, planted separate from one another, perfectly clean, and covered with indications of an abundant crop. Theyha been planted there in former days by an intelligent proprietor, and the peasant had the merit of not neglecting them.
The plain of Cul-de-Sac, adjoining the north side of Port-au-Prince, was one of the richest and most cultivated during the time of the French; and as all regular cultivation depends on the amount of water, their engineers had constructed the most careful system for the storage and distribution of the supplies. Properly managed, all the large estates could receive the quantity necessary for their lands, but for many years the stone-work was neglected, and the grand barrage was becoming useless, when President Geffrard placed the affair in the hands of an able French engineer, MOns Ricard, who efficiently restored the main work, but had not funds to complete the canals for distributing the waters. As usual in all enterprises in that country, the money voted had to pass through so many hands, that before it reached the engineer it had diminished to less than half.


15









16 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
The soil of the plain is most fertile, and only appears to require water to give the most promising crops of sugar-cane. There are some very extensive estates that could afford work for a large population, but the ever-increasing disturbances in the country render Capital shy of venturing there
As might readily be supposed, the roads are greatly neglected, and during the rainy season are almost impassable. They are composed simply of the surrounding soil, with a few branches thrown into the most dangerous holes. The bridges are generally avoided; it is a saying in Hayti, that you should go round a bridge, but never cross it, and the advice is generally to be followed. For the main streams there are fords. An attempt was once made to bridge over La Grande Rivi~re du Cul de Sac, but the first freshet washed away all the preliminary work.
In the mountains there are only bridle-paths, though occasionally I came across the remains of old French roads and good paths. On the way to Kenskoff there is a place called L'Escalier, to escalade the steepest side of the mountain. The horses that are used to it manage well, but those from the plains find the steps awkward. On the road from Gonaives to the northern province there is a very remarkable paved way, the work so well done that it has resisted the rain during a hundred years of neglect. Some of the bridle-paths in the north are exceedingly good, and are admirably carried up the sides of hills, so as to avoid the most difficult spots









17


GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI*


In the ranae above Tou eau I came across a very pretty grassy bridle-path, and near I found the remains of a large French country-house, evidently the residence of some great proprietor. The tradition in the neigh. bourhood is that there was an indioro factory adjoining, but I could scarcely imagine the site suitable. Wherever you may go in Hayti you come across signs of decadence, not only from the exceptional prosperity of the French period, but even of comparatively recent years. After the plundering and destruction of 1868 and 1869, few care to keep up or restore their devastated houses, and it is now a hand-to-mouth system
Cul-de-Sae is a glorious plain, and in good hands would be a fountain of riches; and the same may be said of the other splendid plains that abound through. out the island. Every tropical production grows freely, so that there would be no limit to production should the country ever abandon revolutions to turn its attention to industry. About three-fourths of the surface of the plains are occupied by wood or prickly acacia, that invades every uncultivated spot.
The mountains that bound these plains and extend to the far interior present magnificent sites for pleasant residences; but no civilised being could occupy them on account of the difficulty of communication and the doubtful character of the population. Up to the time of the fall of President Geffrard it was possible; now it would be highly imprudent. In one of the most smiling v0eys that I have ever seen, lyincr to the left
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18 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
whilst riding to the east of Kenskoff, a friend of mine possessed a very extensive property. The place looked so beautiful that I proposed to him a lengthened visit, to which he acceded. Delay after delay occurred, and then the civil war of 1 865 prevented our leaving Port-au-Prince. In 1869 there were arrested in that valley a dozen of the worst cannibals of the Vaudoux sect, and the police declared that the whole population of that lovely garden of the country was given up to fetish worship. It was probably a knowledge of this that made my friend so long defer our proposed visit, as the residence of a white man among them might have been looked upon with an evil eye.
I have travelled in almost every quarter of the globe, and I may say that, taken as a whole, there is not a finer island than that of Santo Domingo. No country possesses greater capabilities, or a better geographical position, or more variety of soil, of climate, or of production; with magnificent scenery of every description, and hill-sides where the pleasantest of health-resorts might be established. And yet it is now the country to be most avoided, ruined as it has been by a succession of self-seeking politicians, without honesty or patriotism,4 content to let the people sink to the condition of an African tribe, that their own selfish passions may be gratified.
The climate of Hayti is of the ordinary tropical character, and the temperature naturally varies accordin g to the position of the towns. Cap Haitien, being









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.


exposed to the cooling influence of the breezes from the north, is much more agreeable as a residence than Port-au-Prince, which is situated at the bottom of a deep bay.
In summer, that is, during the months of June, July, August, and September, the heat is very oppressive. The registered degrees give one an idea of the disagreeableness of the climate. In my house at Tourjeau, near Port-au-Prince, 6oo feet above the level of the sea, I have noted a registering thermometer marking 970 in the drawing-room at 2 P.M. in July, and 950 in the diningroom on the ground-floor; and in a room off a court in the town I have heard of 1o3�-no doubt from refraction.* At the Petit Sdminaire the priests keep a register, and I notice that rarely is the heat marked as 95�,generally 93.20 is the maximum; but the thermometer must be kept in the coolest part of the college, and is no criterion of what is felt in ordinary rooms. The nights also are oppressively warm, and for days I have noticed the thermometer seldom marking less than 8o during the night. In August the heat is even greaterr than in July, rising to 97� at the Petit Sdminaire, whilst in September the maximum is registered as 91.50; and this heat continues well on into November, the maximum being the same. I have not the complete returns, but generally the heats of September are nearly equal to those of August. In
* Mackenzie states that he noticed the thermometer marking 99* every day for considerable periods.


19









20 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
what may be called winter, the thermometer rarely marks over 840, and the nights are cool and pleasant. In fact, I have been assured of the thermometer having fallen as low as 580 during the night, but I never saw it myself below 6o*. It is a curious fact that foreigners generally suffer from the heat, and get ill in consequence, whilst the natives complain of the bitter cold of the winter, and have their season of illness then.
Port-au-Prince is essentially unhealthy, and yellowfever too often decimates the crews of the ships of war that visit its harbour. In 1869, on account of the civil convulsion, French and English ships remained months in harbour. The former suffered dreadfully; the "1Limier," out of a crew of xo6 men and eight officers, lost fifty-four men and four officers, whilst the 11lYEstr~s " and another had to mourn their captains and many of their crew. Who that ever knew him can forget and not cherish the memory of Captain De Varannes of the "D'Estrds," one of the most sympathetic of men, a brilliant officer, and a steady upholder of the French and English alliance? De Varannes was an Imperialist, an aide-de-camp of the Empress, and thoroughly devoted to the family that had made his fortune. When the medical men announced to him that he had not above two hours to live, he asked the French agent if be had any portraits of the Imperial family; they were brought and placed at the foot of the bed where he could see them. He asked then to be left alone, and an hour after, when a









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF H.AYTI, 2


friend crept in, he found poor De Varannes dead, with his eyes open, and apparently fixed on the portraits before hm I should add that both these vessels brought the fever to Port-au-Prince from Havana and Martinique.
The English ships suffered less, as our officers are not bound by the rigid rules that regulate the French commanders, who would not leave the harbour without express orders from their Admirl though their men were dying by dozens. Captain Hunter of the "1Vestal" and Captain Salmon of the " Defence " knew their duty to their crews too well to keep them in the pestilential harbour, and as soon as yellow-fever appeared o'n board, steamed away; and the latter went five hundred miles due north till he fell in with cool weather, and thus only lost three men. A French officer told me that when the sailors on board the "1Li~mier " saw the " Defence" steam out of harbour, they were depressed even to tears, and said, " See how the Engylish officers are mindful of the health of their men, whilst ours let us die like flies." Captain Hunter of the "1Vestal " never had due credit given him for his devotion to his crew whilst suffering from yellow fever. He made a hospital of his cabin, and knew no rest till he had reached the cool harbours of the north.
Merchant seamen in certain years have suffered dreadfully from this scourge, both in Port-au-Prince and in the neighbouring port of Miragoftne. Two-thirds of the crews have often died, and every now and then


21









22 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF H{AYTI.
there is a season in which few ships escape without loss.
Yellow-fever rarely appears on shore, as the natives do not take it, and the foreign population is small and mostly acclimnatised, The other diseases from which people suffer are ordinary tropical fevers, agrues, smallpox, and the other ills to which humanity is subject; but although Port-au-Prince is the filthiest town I have ever seen, it has not yet been visited by cholera. In the spring of 1882 small-pox broke out in so virulent a formn that the deaths rose to a hundred a day. This dreadful visitation continued several months, and it is calculated carried off above 5Wo people in the city and its neighbourhood.
If Hayti ever becomes civilised, and if ever roads are made, there are near Port-au-Prince summer healthresorts which are perfectly European in their climate. Even La Coupe, or, as it is officially called, Ntionville, about five miles from the capital, at an altitude of i 200 feet, is from ten to twelve degrees cooler during the day, and the nights are delicious; and if you advance to Kenskoff or Furcy, you have the thermometer marking during the greatest heat of the day 750 to 770, whilst the mornings and evenings are delightfully fresh, with the thermometer at from 57" to 68*, and the nights cold. On several occasions I passed some months at PNtionville, and found the climate most refreshing after the burning heats of the sea-coast.
The regular rainy season commences about Port-au-









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI. 2


Prince during the month of April, and continues to the month of September, with rain again in November under the name of " les pluies de la Toussaint." After several months of dry weather one breathes again as the easterly wind brings the welcome rain, which comes with a rush and a force that bends the tallest palm-tree till its branches almost sweep the ground. Sometimes, whilst dried up in the town, we could see for weeks the rain-clouds gathering on the Morne de l'HO~pital within a few miles, and yet not a drop would come to refresh our parched-up gardens.
During the great heats the rain is not only welcome as cooling the atmosphere, but as it comes in torrents, it rushes down the streets and sweeps clean all those that lead to the harbour, and carries before it the accumulated filth of the dry season. In very heavy rains the cross streets are flooded; and one year the water came down so heavily and suddenly that the brooks became rushing rivers. The flood surprised a priest whilst bathing, swept him down to the Champs de Mars, and threw his mangled body by the side of a house I was at that moment visiting.
That evening, as I was already wet, I rode home during the tempest, and never did I see more vivid lightning, hear louder thunder, or feel heavier rain. As we headed the hill, the water rushing down the path appeared almost knee-deep; and to add to the terror of my animal, a white horse, maddened by fear, came rushing down the hill with flowingr mane and tail, and


23









24 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI.
wept past us. Seen only during a flash of lightning~ it was a most picturesque sight, and I had much difficulty in preventing my frightened horse joining in his wild career.
The rainy season varies in different parts of the island, particularly in the north. I am surprised to observe that the priests have found the annual fall of rain to be only I 17 inches. I had thought it more. Perhaps, however, that was during an exceptionally dry year.
The great plain of Cul-de-Sac is considered healthy, although occasionally intensely warm. It is, however, freely exposed not only to the refreshing sea-breezes, but to the coolingr land-winds that come down from the mountains that surround it. There is but little marsh, except near La Rivibre Blanche, which runs near the mountains to the north and is lost in the sands.
On the sugrar-cane plantations, where much irrigation takes place, the negro workmen suffer somewhat from fever and ague, but probably more from the copious libations of new rum, which they assert are rendered necessary by the thirsty nature of the climate.
I had often read of a clap of thunder in a clear sky, but never heard anything like the one that shook our house near Port-au-Prince. We were sitting, a large party, in our broad verandah, about eight in the evening, with a beautiful starlight night,-the stars, in fact, 8hinlng so brightly that you could almost read by their light,-when a clap of thunder, which appeared to









GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF HAYTI., 2


burst just over our roof, took our breath away. It was awful in its suddenness and in its strength. No one spoke for a minute or two, when, by a common impulse, we left the house and looked up into a perfectly clear sky. At a distance, however, on the summits of the mountains, was a gathering of black clouds, which warned my friends to mount their horses, and they could scarcely have reached the town when one of the heaviest storms I have known commenced, with thunder worthy of the clap that had startled us. Though all of us were seasoned to the tropics, we had never been so impressed before.
In the wet season the rain, as a rule, comes on at regular hours and lasts a given time, though occasionally it will continue through a night and longer, though rarely does it last above twenty-four hours without a gyleam of sunshine interveuin.


25





CHAPTER II.

HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.

I Do not doubt but the discovery of America by Columbus was good in its results to mankind; but when we- read the history of early Spani h colonisation, the predominant feeling is disgust at the barbarities and fanaticism recorded in almost every page. We generally overlook much of this, being dazzled by pictures of heroic deeds, as set forth in the works of Prescott and Robertson-heroic deeds of steel-clad warriors massacring crowds of gentle, almost unresisting natives, until despair, lending energy to their timid natures, forced them occasionally to turn on their savage persecutors.
In no country were the Spaniards more notorious for their cruelty than in the first land in America on which Columbus established a settlement. The population was then variously estimated, the numbers given varying between 8ooooo and 2,000,000, the former calculation beincr the more probable. They were indeed a primitive people, the men moving about entirely naked the women wearing a short petticoat. They are said to have been good-looking, which, if true, would









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 2


mark them as a people distinct from any other in America, as the Indians, who still remain by millions in South America and Mexico, are as a race the most ill-favoured natives I have seen in any portion of the globe. That was my impression when I travelled among them, though I have seen among the young women who followed the Indian regiments to Lima a few who might almost be considered handsome, but these by their appearance were probably of mixed breed.
Columbus only stayed two months in Santo Domingo, but left behind him forty of his companions in an entrenched position. They now began to commit excesses; and hearing that a cacique in the interior had a large store of gold, they penetrated to his town and robbed him of his riches. This roused the population against them; they were pursued and killed in detail.
In the meantime Columbus had revisited Spain, been received with honour, and seventeen vessels, laden with every kind of store and domestic animal, as well as a large force, were placed at his disposal. On his arrival his first thoughts were for gold, and he marched in search of the mines, which, being pointed out to him, were soon in full work, the Indians by force being compelled to this task. The conduct of these white mnen appears to have been so wantonly cruel, that the population rose en. ma&ue, and a hundred thousand Indians are said to have marched to attack the Spaniards, two hundred and twenty of whom put this crowd to fligTht without the loss of a single man. These


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28 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
are the heroic deeds we are called upon to admire. It has often been declared impossible that such, on one side, bloodless encounters could take place; but I am well assured that two hundred well-armed Engrlishmen could in the present day march through any number of the Land Dyaks of Borneo, and defeat them without loss.
It is not necessary to trace in detail the history of the island; but I may notice that in 1507 the population was estimated at 6opooo, which shows that the original reckoning must have been greatly exaggerated, as not even these early apostles of the religion of charity could have thus wiped out the population by millions. The story of what one called the early expl6its of the Spaniards in Santo Domingo has been so often related that it is useless to tell it over again, especially as it would present but a sequence of sickening events, of murders, executions, robbery, and lust, with but few traits of generosity and virtue to record.
These foreign settlers soon saw that the island would be useless to them without population, so they early began to introduce negroes from Africa, as well as families from the neigrhbouring isles. The Coral Indians were not spared, and the Spanish historians themselves are the chroniclers of this record of infamy. Now not a descendant of an Indian remains.
Santo Domingo, deprived of population, with its mineral wealth, for want of hands, no longer available, and agriculture neglected, rapidly degenerated, and









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE, 2


little was left but the city of Santo Domingo and in the interior a population of herdsmen. Then the
famous buccaneers appeared to inflict on the Spaniards some of the misery they had worked on the Indians. Notwithstanding every effort to prevent them, the French adventurers gradually spread through the western end of the island, and began to form towns and settlements.
In 1640 Levasseur was sent from France as Governor of these irregularly-acquired possessions, and from that time the French may be said to have established themselves firmly in the western part of Santo Domingowhich hereafter I may call by its present name, Hayti, to simplify the narrative-but their rule was not recognised by Spain until the year 1697From this date to the breaking out of the French Revolution the colony increased in prosperity, until it became, for its extent, probably the richest in the world. Negroes were imported by thousands from the coast of Africa, and were subjected to as harsh a slavery as ever disgraced the worst system of servitude.
Two events occurred during this period of prosperity which were worthy of being noted: First, the fearful earthquake which destroyed Port-au-Prince in 1770, when for fifteen days the earth trembled under repeated shocks, and left the city a heap of ruins.* The second

*It is a well-known fact that the noise of the approach of an earth. quake is generally heard ; but in Port-au-Prince there is a curious phenomenon which I have never known explained. A subterranean


.29









30


HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE*


was the war in which France engaged to aid our colonists to acquire their independence. To increase their forces the French commanders permitted the free blacks and mulattoes to enlist, and they did good service; and when they returned to their country, they spread widely a spirit of disaffection, which no ordinances could destroy.
When England in 1785 was forced to acknowledge the independence of the United States, how despotic France and Spain rejoiced over the downfall of the only country where liberty was known! The results were, for France, the Revolution, which, with all its crimes, did unspeakable good, and deprived her of the finest colony that any country ever possessed. To
Spain it brought the loss of world-wide possessions, and a fall in power and prestige which to this day she shows but few sians of recovering.
On the eve of the great Revolution, France possessed, as I have said, the finest colony in the world. Her historians are never weary of enumerating the amount of its products, the great trade, the warehouses full of sugar, cotton, coffee, indigo, and cocoa; its plains covered with splendid estates, its hill-sides dotted with noble houses; a white population, rich, refined, enjoying life as only a luxurious colonial society can enjoy it; noise is frequently heard approaching from the plains, and appears to pass under the town without any movement of the earth being perceptible. TheHaytians caR it 'Ile gouffre," or 'Ile bruit dugouffre," and many fancy the whole of that portion of the island to be undermined, and predict a fearful fate for the capital.









31


HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


the only dark spot, then scarcely noticed, the ignorant, discontented mass of black slavery, and the more enlightened disaffection of the free mulattoes and negroes.
It has often been a subject of inquiry how it was that the Spaniards, who were the cruellest of the cruel towards the Indians, should have established negro slavery in a form which robbed it of half its terrors, whilst the French, usually less severe than their southern neighbours, should have founded a system of servitude unsurpassed for severity, cruelty, nay, ferocity.
To this day the barbarous conduct of the Marquis of Caradeux is cited as a justification for the savage retaliation of the insurgent negroes. I think that the explanation of the different conduct of the Spanish and French slave-owner may be, that the former is indolent and satisfied with less, whilst the latter, in his fierce strucrale to be rich, cared not how he became so, and worked his negroes, beyond human endurance, and then, to keep down the inevitable discontent, sought to terrorise his slaves by barbarous punishments,
The true history of Hayti commences with the French Revolution, when, amid the flood of impracticable and practicable schemes, a few statesmen turned their generous thoughts towards the down-trodden African, and firing assembled France with their enthusiasm, passed laws and issued decrees granting freedom to the black; but before these had any practical effect,









32 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE*
Hayti had to pass through scenes which have left blood-stains that nothing can wash away.
When reading the different accounts which have been written of the state of Hayti when France was upsetting the accumulated wrongs of acres, I have often desired to disbelieve them, and place to exaggerated feelings of sympathy the descriptions of the prejudices of the planters and the atrocities committed under their influence. But I have lived lonop in the West Indies, and know that there are many whites born in our colonies, who not only look upon the negro as of an inferior species-which he may be-but as fit only for servitude, and quite unworthy of freedom, and on an alliance with a coloured person as a disgrace which affects a whole family. They speak of a mulatto as they would of one affected with leprosy. If in these days such sentiments exist, we can readily believe that they existed even in a greater degree before, awakened to a feeling of justice, most European nations formally abolished slavery, and let the black and the coloured man have an equal chance in the struacrie of life.
For some years before the meeting of the StatesGeneral, philanthropists who had inquired into the condition of the slave had had their compassion aroused, and to give direction to their efforts to ameliorate it had founded in Paris a society called 11 The Friends of the Blacks."
The summonincr of the States-General in France created much enthusiasm throughout Hayti; the









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 3
planters now reckoned that justice would be done, and that a share would be accorded them in the government of the colony; the lower class of whites had a vague idea that their position must be improved, and hailed the movement as the promise of better times-though in truth these two classes had little of which to complain; the former were rolling in wealth, and the latter were never in want of high-paid employment. Another class felt even greater interest-that of the free black and coloured men; they thought that no change could occur which would not better their condition, which was one of simple toleration; they might work and gret rich, have their children educated in France, but they had no political rights, and the meanest white considered himself, and was treated, as their superior. The slaves, although discontented,. were only formidable from their numbers.
Exaggerated expectations were naturally followed by disappointment. The planters, finding that the French Government had no intention of employing them to administer the colony, began to think of independence; whilst the lower whites, passionately attached to the dream of equality, thought that that should commence by an apportionment among them of the estates of the rich. A third party consisted of the Government employs, whose chiefs were Royalists under the leadership of Penier, the Governor-General, and Mauduit, colonel of the regiment of Port-au-Prince.
The Colonial party, or rather that of the planters, in
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34 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
order to increase their power, which had hitherto been disseminated in local assemblies, determined to have the law carried out which authorised a General Assembly. This was elected, and held its first meetings in St. Marc in March 179o. The leaders soon commenced to quarrel with the Government authorities, and dissensions rose to such a height that both parties began to arm; and on the Assembly decreeing the substitution of another Governor for Penier, he was roused to resistance, and in a brief struggle he forced the General Assembly to dissolve, a portion of the members seeking refuge on board of a ship of war, whose crew they had induced to mutiny and sail with them to France.
The white population thus set the example of internal strife, and in their struggle for mastery called in the aid of the freedmen, and then after victory insulted them. These, however, began gradually to understand the advantages they possessed in being able to support the climate, and the persecutions and cruelties of the French made them feel that those who would be free themselves must strike the blow.
Among the educated and intelligent mulattoes who had gone to France to urge on the National Assembly the rights of their colour was Ogd. He naturally thought that the time had arrived for justice to be done, when the President of the "Constituant" had declared that "aucune partie de ]a nation ne rdclamera vainement ses droits auprbs de l'assemblde des repr6-









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 3


sentants dii peuple franqais." He visited the Club Massiac, where the planters held supreme sway, and endeavoured to enlist their sympathy, but he was coldly received. He then determined to return to Hayti to support the rights of his caste, which, though ambiguously, had been recognsed by the legislature; but unexpected obstacles were thrown in his way by the Colonial party, and an order to arrest him was issued should he venture to embark for his native land. By passing through England and the United States he eluded these precautions, and landed privately at Cap Ha~tien. When the news of his arrival on his property at Dondon reached the authorities, they endeavoured to capture him; then he, with a few hundreds of his colour, rose in arms, but after a few skirmishes they dispersed, and Ogd was forced to seek refuge in the Spanish settlement of Santo Domingo. There he was arrested, and, on the demand of the Governor of the French colony, handed over to his enemies. He was tried as a rebel and broken on the wheel, together with three companions; others were hung, the rest sent to the galleys.
Og4!s armed resistance had encouraged the men of colour in the south to demand their rights; but they were easily dispersed, and their chief, Rigaud, taken prisoner. These isolated and irresolute outbreaks rendered the division between the coloured and the white population more marked than ever; the latter despised the former for their wretched resistance,


35









36 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
while the coloured men were indignant at the cruel and unsparing executions which marked the close of 0g6's career.
Monsieur Blanchelande was then Governor, a weak man at the head of the Royalist party, who had not the courage to follow the energetic counsels of Colonel Mauduit. By his vacillation all discipline was lost both in the army and in the fleet, and the revolutionary party rose in arms in Port-au-Prince, murdered Colonel 'Mauduit, and drove the pusillanimous Governor to seek refuge, in the plain of Cul-de-Sac. Thus the whites were everywhere divided, but were still strong enough to disperse any assembly of the freedmen.
The newts of the troubles in Hayti produced a great effect in Paris, and the Constituent Assembly determined to send three commissioners to restore tranquillity ; but they prefaced, this measure by decreeing (May 15, 1791) that every man of colour born of free parents should enjoy equal political rights with the whites. On the -planters declaring that this would bring about civil war and the loss of the colony, the famous phrase was uttered, " Perish the colonies rather than a principle," which phrase has not been forgotten by those amongst us who would -sacrifice India to the perverse idea of abandoning our high political status in the world.
When the substance of this decree reached Hayti, it roused to fury the passions of the whites; all sections united in declaring that they would oppose its execu-









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 3


tion even by force of arms, and a strong party was formed either to declare the independence of the colony, or, if that were not possible, to invite England to take possession. The coloured men, on the other hand, determined to assert their rights, and held secret meetings to bring about an accord among all the members of their party; and when they heard that Governor Blanchelande had declared he would not execute the decree, they summoned their followers to meet at Miealais in the western department.
The whites in the meantime determined that the second Colonial Assembly should be elected before the o~ffcial text of the dreaded decree of the x Sth May should arrive; and so rapidly did they act, that on the ist August 1791 the Assembly met at Leogane, and was opened under the presidency of the Marquis de Cadusch, a Royalist. They called Governor Blanchelane to the bar of the House, and made him swear that he would not carry into effect the law giving equal rights to the freedmen. As Cap Haitien had become in reality the capital of the colony, both the Governor and the Asembly soon removed there.
The Royalist party, headed by the Governor, found their influence gradually declining, and, to strengthen their hands against both the Colonial Assembly with its traitorous projects and the violence of the lower part of the white population, are accused of having first thought of enlisting the blacks to further their schemes and to strengthen their party. It is said that they


3 7









38 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
proposed to Toussaint, a slave on the Breda estates, to raise the negroes in revolt in the name of the King. This account I believe to be a pure invention of the coloured historians, and the conduct of the blacks clearly proved that they were not moved by French officers. Whoever was the instigator, it is certain that the negroes in the northern province rose in insurrection, put to death every white that fell into their hands, began to burn the factories, and then rushed en& masse to pillage the town of Cap Haitien. Here, however, their numbers availed them little against the arms and discipline of the French troops, and they were driven back with great slaughter, and many then retired to the mountains. It would naturally be suspected that the coloured people were the instigators of this movement, were it not certain that they were as much opposed to the freedom of the blacks as the most impassioned white planter.
The insurgent slaves called themselves " Les Gens du Roi," declaring that he was their friend, and was persecuted for their sake; they hoisted the white flag, and placed an ignorant negro, Jean Frangois, at their head. The second in command was a Papaloi or priest of the Vaudoux, named Biassou. He encouraged his followers to carry on the rites of their African religion, and when under its wildest influence, he dashed his bands to the attack of their civilised enemies, to meet their death i n Hayti, but to rise again free in their beloved Africa. The ferocity of the negro nature had now full









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE* 3


swing, and the whites who fell into their hands felt its effects. Prisoners were placed between planks and sawn in two, or were skinned alive and slowly roasted, the girls violated and then murdered. Unhappily some of these blacks had seen their companions thus tor.tured, though probably in very exceptional cases. De-. scriptions of these horrors fill pages in every Haytian history, but it is needless to dwell on them. On either side there was but little mercy.
The Governor at length collected 3000 white troops, who, after various skirmishes, dispersed these bands with much slaughter; but as this success was not followed up, Jean Fran~ois and Biassou soon rallied their followers.
In the meantime the coloured men at Mirebalais, under the leadership of Pinchinat, began to arouse their brethren; and having freed nine hundred slaves, commenced forming the nucleus of an army, that, under the leadership of a very intelligent mulatto named Bauvais, gained some successes over the undisciplined forces in Port-au-Prince, commanded by an Italian adventurer, Praloto. The Royalists, who had been driven from the city by the mob, had assembled at "1La Croix des Bouquets " in the plains, and to strengthen their party entered into an alliance with the freedmen. This alarmed the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince, and they also recognised the existence of Pinchinat and his party by entering into a regular treaty with them. The Haytians, as I may call the coloured races, began


39









40' HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
now to understand that their position must depend on their own courage and conduct.
When everything had been settled between the chiefs of the two parties, the Haytians returned to Port-auPrince, and were received with every demonstration of joy; they then agreed to a plan which showed how little they cared for the liberty of others, so that they themselves obtained their rights. Among those who had fought valiantly at their side were the freed slaves previously referred to. For fear these men should incite ideas of liberty' among those blacks who were still working on the estates, the coloured officer's consented that they should be deported from the country. In the end they were placed as prisoners on board a pontoon in Mole St. Nicolas, and at night were for the most part butchered by unknown assassins. And liauvais and Pinchinat, the leaders and the most intelligent of the freedmen, were those that agreed to this deportation of their brethren-ia-arms who had the misfortune to be lately slaves! I doubt if the blacks ever forgot this incident.
The coloured men gained little by this breach of faith, as shortly after news arrived that the French Assembly had reversed the decree of May i5, which gave equal rights to the freedmen'; and then dissensions broke out, and the coloured inen were again driven from Port-au-Prince with heavy loss. This Was the signal for disorders throughout the Whole country, and the whites and the freedmeii were skirmishing in every district.









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


I'raloto and the rabble reigned supreme in Port-auPrince, and soon made the rich merchants and shopkeepers feel the effects of their internal divisions. They set fire to the town, and during the confusion plundered the stores, and exercised their private vengeance on their enemies.
The whole country was in the greatest disorder when the three commissioners sent by the French Government arrived in Hayti. The Colonial Assembly was still sitting at Cap Haitien, and the insurgent negroes were encamped at no great distance. They immediately endeavoured to enter into negotiations with them, which had little result, on account of the obstinacy of the planters. The three commissioners were Mirbeck, St. Leger, and Roume. Finding that their' influence Was as nought, the former two returned to France, w~hilst Roume went ultimately to Santo Domingo.
The state of the colony may be imagined when it is remembered that the whites were divided into three distinct sections. The coloured men, jealous of each other, did not combine, but were ready to come to blows on the least pretext; while the blackS, under Jean Franqois, were massacring every white that fell into their hands, and selling to the Spaniard every negro or coloured man accused of siding with the French. The planters wanted independence or subjection to England; the poorer whites anything which would give thetii the property of others; the coloured were still faithful to France; whilst the blacks cared only to be free from


41









42 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
work; yet among them was Toussaint, who already had fermentingr in his brain the project of a free black State,
It would interest few to enter into the details of this history of horrors, where it is difficult to feel sympathy for any party. They were alike steeped in blood, and ready to commit any crime to further their ends. Murder, torture, violation, pillagre, bad faith, and treachery meet you on all sides; and although a few names arise occasionally in whom you feel a momentary interest, they are sure soon to disgust you by their utter incapacity or besotted personal ambition.
The National Assembly in Paris, finding that their first commissioners had accomplished nothing, sent three others, two of whom, Sonthonax and Polvdrel, are well known in Haytian history. They had full powers, and even secret instructions, to do all they could to give freedom to the slaves.
These two commissioners were of the very worst kind of revolutionists, talked of little but guillotining the aristocrats, and were in every way unsuited to their task; they dissolved the Colonial Assembly, and substituted for it a commission, consisting of six whites of the stamp suited to them, and six freedmen. They decided to crush the respectable classes, whom they called Royalists, because they would not join in revolutionary excesses, and the massacre commenced at the Cape.
Polvdrel appears to have had some idea of the









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE, 4


responsibility of his position, though both cruel and faithless; but Sonthonax was but a blatant babbler, with some talent, but overwhelmed by vanity. He caused more bloodshed than any other man, first setting the lower white againt the rich, then the mulatto against the white, and then the black against both. Well might the French orator declare on Sonthonax's return to France that 11il puait de sang." The third commissioner, Alaud, thinking, very justly, that his companions were a couple of scoundrels whom he could not control, embarked secretly and left for home. Whilst these commissioners were employed in destroying the fairest colony in the world, France, in a moment of excited fury, declared war against the rest of Europe, and a new era opened for Hayti.
Many of the more influential and respectable inhabitants of all colours, utterly disgusted by the conduct of the different parties, thought that the war between England and France would give them some chance of rest from the excesses of the insurgent blacks; and the factious freedmen, supported by that fou~ furieux, Sonthonax, sent to Jamaica to invite the Governor to interfere and take possession of the colony.
England did interfere, but in her usual way, with small expeditions, and thus frittered away her strength; but the resistance made was in general so contemptible, that with little effort we succeeded in taking Jdrdmie in the south, and then St. Marc, and subsequently Portau-Prince. Had we sent a large army, it is equally


43









44 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
possible that we should not have succeeded, as the intention was to reimpose slavery. As the garrison of Jamaica could only furnish detachments, the British authorities began to enlist all who wished to serve irrespective of colour, and being supported by those who were weary of anarchy and revolutionary fury, were soon able to present a very respectable force in the field. The Spaniards, aided by the bands of revolted negroes, overran most of the northern province; in this they were greatly aided by Toussaint L'Ouverture, who now began to come to the front. Sonthonax, whose idea of energy was simply to massacre and destroy, ordered that every place his partisans were forced to evacuate should be burnt. At the same time he thought that a little terror might be of service, so he erected agiOllotine in Port-au-Prince; and having at hand a Frenchman accused of being a Royalist, he thought he would try the experiment on him. An immense crowd of Haytians assembled to witness the execution; but when they saw the bright blade descend and the head roll at their feet, they were horror-stricken, and rushing on the guillotine, tore it to pieces, and no other has ever again been erected in Hayti.
Curious people! they who never hesitated to destroy the whites, guilty or innocent, or massacre, simply because they were white, women and children, down to the very babe at the breast, who invented every species of torture to render death more hideous, were horrified because a man's head was chopped off, instead









MHSTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


of his being destroyed in a fashion to which they were accustomed, and this at a -time when white, coloured, and black were vying with each other in arts of bloodthirsty cruelty!
The whole country was in terrible confusion; the French had not one man who had the talent or influence to dominate their divided factions; the coloured were represented by such respectabilities As Pinchinat, Bauvais, and Rigaud, but without one of incontestable superiority; the blacks were As yet led by such men as Jean Franqois and TDissou, who must even make the respectable negroes blush to acknowledge that they were of the same race; yet, as I have said, there was one man coming to the front who was. to dominate all.
Amid the many heroes whose actions the Haytians love to commemorate, TQussaint L'Ouverture does not hold a highrank. And yet the conduct of this black was so remarkable as almost to confound those who declare the negro an inferior creature incapable of rising to crenius. History, wearied with dwelling on the petty passions of the other founders of Haytian independence, may well turn to the one grand figure of this cruel war. Toussaint was born on the Breda estate in the northern department, and was a slave from birth; it has been doubted whether he was of pure negro race. His grandfather was an African prince, but if we may judge from the portraits, he was not of the pure negro type. Whether pure negro or not, there is no doubt of the intelligence and energy


45









46 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
of the man. Though but a puny child, by constant exercise and a vigorous will he became as wiry and active as any of his companions, and, moevrgv up much of his leisure time to study. He learnt to read French, and, it is said, in order to understand the Prayer-Book, a little Latin; but he never quite mastered the art of writing. He was evidently trusted and kindly treated by his master's agent, who gave him charge of the sugar-mills. There is an accusation constantly brought against Toussaint, that of being a religious hypocrite, but his early life shows that it is unfounded. Whilst still a slave, his principles would not allow him to follow the custom of his companions and live in concubinage; he determined to marry, though the woman he chose had already an illegitimate son named Placide, whom he adopted. It is pleasing to read of the happy domestic life of Toussaint, and it is another proof of that affectionate disposition which made those who served him devoted to him.
When the insurrection broke out in the northern province, Toussaint remained faithful to his master, and prevented any destruction on the estate; but finding ultimately that he could not stem the tide, he sent his master's family for safety into Cap Ha~tien, and joined the insurgents. He was at first appointed surgeon to the army, as among his other accomplishments was a knowledge of simple, which had given him great influence on the estate, and was now to do so in the insurgent forces. He liked this employment, as it









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


kept him free from the savage excesses of his companions, who were acting with more than ordinary barbarity.
The three leaders of the insurgents were then Jean Franqois, a negro, about whom opinions differ. St. Remy says he was intellectual, though the general idea is more probable, that he was an energetic'savage. Biassou was sensual and violent, as cruel as man could be, and an avowed leader of the Vaudoux sect, and apparently a Papaloi; but the vilest of the three was Jeannot. He loved to torture his white prisoners, and drank their blood mixed with rum; but he was as cowardly as he was cruel, and the scene at his execution, when he clung to the priest in frantic terror, must have afforded satisfaction to the friends of those whom he had pitilessly murdered. Jeannot was also a great proficient in Vaudoux practices, and thus gained much influence with the ignorant slaves; it was this influence, not his cruelties, which roused the anger of Jean Franqois, who seized and summarily shot him.
It is curious to read of the projects of these negro leaders. They had no idea of demanding liberty for the slaves; they only wanted liberty for themselves. In some abortive negotiations with the French, Jean Franqois demanded that 300 of the leaders should be declared free, whilst Toussaint would only have bargained for fifty. The mulatto leaders, however, were most anxious to preserve their own slaves, and, as I have related, gave up to death those blacks who had


47









48 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
aided them in supporting their position; and a French writer records that up to Le Clere's expedition, the mulattoes had fought against the blacks with all the zeal that the interests of property could inspire.
The blind infatuation of the planters prevented their accepting Jean Franqois' proposition; they even rejected it with insult, and savagely persecuted the negroes who were living in Cap Ha'mien. Biasson then ordered all his white prisoners to be put to death; but Toussaint, by his eloquent remonstrances, saved them. Other negotiations having failed, Biassou attacked the French lines, and carried them as far as the ramparts of the town. The planters had brave words, but not brave deeds, with which to meet their revolted bonds-men. All the black prisoners taken by the insurgents were sent over the frontiers and sold as slaves to the Spaniards. Toussaint remonstrated against this vile traffic, but never shared in it. The new Governor, Laveaux, at this time nearly stifled the insurrection, dispersing all the insurgent forces; but, as usual, not following up his successes, allowed the negroes again to concentrate. No strength of position as yet enabled the blacks successfully to resist the white troops.
When the negro chiefs heard of the death of Louis XVI., they thought they had lost a friend, and openly joined the Spaniards in their war on the French Republic.
At this time Sonthonax and Polvdrel acted as if they intended to betray their own country, by remov-









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 4


ing the chief white officers from command and entrusting these important posts to mulattoes. It was not, however, treachery, but jealousy, as such a man as General Galbaud could not be made a docile instrumnent in their hands. Then finding that power was slipping from them, they proclaimed (1793) the liberty of all those slaves who would fight for the Republic.
In the meantime Toussaint was steadily gaining influence among his troops, and gradually freeing hm self from the control of Biassou, whose proceedings had always shocked him; and some successful expeditions, as the taking of Dondon, added to his prestige. Whilst fighting was going on throughout the northern provinces, Sonthonax and Polvdrel were solemnising pompous fites to celebrate the anniversary of the taking of the Bastile. It is singular what a passion they had for these childish amusements.
Rigaud, a mulatto, in future days the rival of Toussaint, now appears promiently upon the scene, being appointed by the commissioners as chief of the northern department.
Toussaint continued his successes, and finding that nothing could be done with the estates without the whites, appeared anxious to induce them to return to superintend their cultivation, and he succeeded in inducing many hundreds to reside in their devastated homes.
Alarmed by the continued successes of Toussaint, Sonthonax proclie in August 29, 1793, the liberty
D


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50 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
of all., which, under the circumstances, may be considered the only wise act of his administration.
The people of the north-west, however, were weary of the tyranny of the commissioners, and, being probably privately informed of Toussaint's intentions, surrendered Gonaives to him, and the rest of the neighbouring districts followed. A new enemy, however, now appeared in the shape of the English, who took possession of St. Marc with seventy-five men,-so like our system! In June 1794 Port-au-Prince surrendered to the Engylish after a faint resistance, the commissioners retiring to Jacmel, from whence they embarked for France, to answer for their conduct. At that time Port-au-Prince was in a fair state for defence; but Captain Daniel of the 41st took the famous fort of Bizoton by storm with sixty men, and then the English advanced on the town. The effect of having replaced the French officers by untrained mulattoes was here apparent: though everything had been prepared to blow up the forts, nothing was done; the garrison fled, leaving 131 cannon, twenty-two laden vessels, with 7000 tons more in ballast, and all their stores and ammunition.
At this time Jean Franqois became suspicious of Toussaint and arrested him, but he was delivered by Biassou. Toussaint had for some time been meditatingr a bold stroke. The proclamation by Sonthonax of the freedom of the blacks probably worked on him, and he determined to abandon the party of the king of Spain,









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE* 5


which was that of slavery, and join the French Re.public. He did so, proclaiming at the same time the freedom of the slaves. His -soldiers sullied the change by massacring two hundred white planters, who, confiding in the word of Toussaint, had returned to their estates.
The new General of the republic now acted with energy against Jean Frangois, drove him from the plains, and forced him to take refuge with his followers in the Black Mountains. Success followed success, until Toussaint found himself opposite St. Marc; but his attack on that town was easily repulsed by its garrison in English pay. His activity was incessant, and he kept up constant skirmishes with all his enemies. He appeared ever unwearied, whatever might be the fatigue of his companions.
Toussaint had naturally observed, that however his men might succeed against the undisciplined hordes of Jean Fran ,ois, they could do nothing against a discip. lined force. He therefore, in 1795, formed four regiments of 2000 men each, whom he had daily drilled by French soldiers, his former prisoners; and, I may notice here, with such success, that English officers were subsequently surprised at their proficiency.
Rigaud had, in the meantime, with his usual jactancy, marched on Port-au-Prince to expel the English, but was repulsed. Toussaint assembled all his army for another attack on St. Marc, and for three days, from the 25th to027th July 1795, tried by repeated assaults


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5.0 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
to capture the town; but English discipline prevailed, and the small garrison foiled every attempt.
It is noticed by St. Remy that Toussaint, when once he gave his word, never broke it, which was a new experience among these unprincipled leaders; and it is added, that he never had any prejudice of colour.
An important event for the French in 1795 was the peace made between France and Spain, by which Santo Domingo was ceded to the former.
The year 1796 was ushered in by various English expeditions and skirmishes, and their failure to take Leogine. Some of the Haytian accounts are amusing. Pe'tion defended the fort of ga-ira against the whole English fleet until the fortifications were demolished. Fifteen thcusand English bullets were showered into the place, and yet only seven Haytians were killed. It looks as if the garrison had quietly retired and left us to batter away at the earthworks.
One is often surprised, in reading Haytian accounts of the war, at the defeats of the English, which make one wonder what could have become of the proverbial courage and steadiness of our men; but a little closer inquiry shows that in most of these instances there were few or no English present, only black and coloured men in our pay, or planters who had taken our side in the war, none of whom were more than half-hearted in our cause.
The French were also weakened by internal dissensions. General Vilatte, a muatto, incited a revolt in









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCEo


the town of Cap Haitien, arrested the French governor, Laveaux, and threw him into prison. The latter called on Toussaint to aid him, and the black general had the supreme satisfaction of marching into the town and freeing the white governor. With what curious sensations must Toussaint have performed this act of authority in a place that had only known him as a slave! Laveaux received him with enthusiasm, and promoted him from the grade of General of Brigade, in which the French Government had confirmed him, to be Lieutenant-General of the Government, April 1, 1796. This successful movement confirmed the ascendancy of the blacks in the north, and Vilatte had shortly to sail for France, from whence he returned with the expedition sent to enslave his countrymen.
Sonthonax and a new commission now arrived at Cap HaItien, to find Rigaud almost independent in the south, and Toussaint master in the north. Both Laveaux and Sonthonax are accused of endeavouring to set the blacks against the mulattoes. Laveaux having returned to France as deputy for the colony, Sonthonax remained at the head of affairs, and one of his first acts was to name Toussaint General of Division.
Toussaint was in the meantime organising his army and working hard at its drill; he then started to the attack of Mirebalais, a port occupied by a French planter in our service, the Count de Bruges, who appears to have retired, with numerous forces, without


A


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54 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
much resistance. He probably could scarcely trust his raw levies. Sonthonax was so pleased with this important success that he named Toussaint Commanderin-Chief of the army in Santo Domingo, which step displeased Rigaud, who was thus placed under the orders of a black general.
Toussaint appears to have felt a justifiable distrust of Sonthonax. He saw that he desired to set black against coloured, that he was even talking of the independence of the island, perhaps only to test Toussaint's fidelity; but he had no difficulty in assuring himself that wherever Sonthonax was, mischief was sure to be brewing. He therefore had him elected deputy, and sent him to follow Laveaux. Sonthonax did not like this step, and made some show of opposition, but Toussaint informed him that if he did not embark immediately he would fall on Cap Halitien with 20,000 men. This irresistible argument made Sonthonax give way. As he went down to the boat that was to take him on board, the streets were lined by crowds of all colours; but not one said, "God bless him," as he had betrayed every party in turn; and his one wise act of proclaiming the liberty of the slaves was simply a political expedient, wrungr from him by the circumstances of the hour. He was a boasting, bad man, whose history is written in the blood of thousands of every colour.
The Directory, alarmed at the growing influence of Toussaint, sent out General Hddouville as pacificator of the island, and, to produce harmony, gave him power to









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


defeat Rigaud. On his arrival at Cap Haitien he summoned the rivals to confer with him, and Rigaud and Toussaint, meeting at Gonaives, went together to the capital. Hddouville, jealous of the power of the latter, gave all his attention to the former, whilst the newlyarrived French officers laughed at the negro and his surroundings. Toussaint, suspecting a plot to arrest him and send him off to France, and probably very jealous of the superior treatment of his rival, withdrew from the city and returned to his army.
The English had now become convinced that it was useless to attempt to conquer the island; their losses from sickness were enormous, and the influence of the planters was of no avail Their black and coloured mercenaries were faithless, and ready to betray them, as at St. Marc, where the English governor had to shoot a number of traitorous mulattoes who would have betrayed the town into the hands of the blacks. They therefore determined to treat with Toussaint, and evacuated St. Marc, Port-au-Prince, and L'Arcahaye. He thus gained at one stroke what no amount of force could have procured for him.
Toussaint, with a greatness of mind which was really remarkable, agreed to allow those French colonists who had sided with us to remain, and promised to respect their properties; and as it was known that this magnanimous black ever kept his word, no important exodus followed oir retreat. Admiral Maitland had arranged for the surrender of the mole with General


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56 H ISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
Hddouvile, but on finding his hostility to the French planters, whom he insisted on Toussaint expelling the country, our naval chief made a new settlement with the black general and handed the mole over to him. Maitland invited Toussaint to visit him, and reviewed before him the English army collected from the rest of the country. He was exceedingly pleased by the treatment he received from our people, and ever after showed a kindly feeling towards them.
One can scarcely understand why the English gave up the mole, which a small garrison could have defended, and the importance of the position in naval warfare is indisputable. If we wanted to gain Toussaint and inducehi to declare the island independent, we should have held it until that desirable event had happened.*
Toussaint treated the old colonists with distinction, and left many of them in the commands they had held under the English. HWdouville protested against this good treatment of his own countrymen, and annoyed Toussaint so much that he began to consider whether it would not be prudent to send Hddouville to follow Sonthonax.
Hddouville was not the only one who objected to * Our unsuccessful attempt to conquer Hayti does not merit to be recorded in detail, but it is humiliating to read of the stupidity of our chiefs at Port-au-Prince, who made our soldiers work at fortifications during the day and do duty at night. No wonder that we find a regiment 6oo strong losing 400 in two months, and the 82d landing 950 men, to be reduced in six weeks to 350.









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


the good treatment of the planters; his opinion was shared by the black general, Moise, then commanding in the northern department. To show his displeasure at Toussaint's humanity, he caused some white colonists to be murdered in the plains near Cap Haitien. Hddouville, frightened by the practical result of his teaching, summoned Toussaint to his aid; but doubtful of his general, he escaped on board a vessel in harbour. In order to do all the mischief he could before leaving, he wrote to Rigaud, saying he was no longer to obey Toussaint, but consider himself the governor of the southern department, adding that Toussaint was sold to the English and the dmigr&.
It was Hddouville who thus laid the foundation of that civil war which degenerated into a struggle of caste. The agents sent by France proved each worse than the other. Rigaud, with the true spirit of a mulatto, also wrote to Toussaint to drive out the white planters. When his teaching had incited his soldiers to murder his white countrymen, all Rigaud could say was, "Mon Dieu, qu'est que le peuple en fureur?"
On the departure of Hddouville, Toussaint invited Roume to leave Santo Domingo and come and reside at Port-au-Prince, where they met in January 1799. Roume appears to have had a profound admiration for Toussaint. We find him writing to General Kerverseau as early as February 1795, and describing the negro chief as a philosopher, a legislator, a general, and a good citizen.


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58 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
Roume had a difficult part to play. He was most anxious to bring about concord among the different generals, and therefore invited Rigaud and Bauvais to meet Toussaint on the fete of the 4th of February to commemorate the memorable day when the National Convention proclaimed full liberty to the slaves. A little outward concord was obtained, but soon after, Toussaint, suspecting a plot, arrested some mulattoes. A slight disturbance among the negros taking place at Corail, thirty were captured and died in prison, from "the effect of the gas created by white-washing the prison." This remarkable excuse did not satisfy Toussaint, who believed the men to have been assassinated by Rigaud's officers.
Toussaint and Roume had in the meantime left for Cap Haitien, where they appear to have negotiated a commercial treaty with the Americans, and some arrangement was also, it is said, made with Admiral Maitland.
It was during this year that Captain Rainsford visited Cap Haitien. As we were at war with France, our officer passed as an American, and soon after landing was met by Toussaint in the street, who came up to him to ask the news. He next saw him at a restaurant where all classes dined, and he sat down at a long table with a drummer-boy next him and the general not far off. The latter used to say that except on service he did not see the necessity of making distinctions. In the evening Captain Rainsford played billiards with Toussaint at the public tables.









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 5


Rainsford appears to have been as much struck with Toussaint as Roume. He says he was constrained to admire him as a man, a governor, and a general. He describes him as a perfect black, then about fifty-five years of agre, of a venerable appearance, and possessed of uncommon discernment and great suavity of manners. He enters fully into a description of his dress. The general wore as a uniform a kind of blue spencer, with a large red cape falling over his shoulders, and red cuffs, with eight rows of lace on the arms, and a pair of huge gold epaulettes, a scarlet waistcoat, pantaloons and half-boots, a round hat with red feather and national cockade, and an extremely large sword was suspended from his side. Rainsford adds: "1He receives a voluntary respect from every description of his countrymen, which is more than returned by the affability of his behaviour and the goodness of his heart." The vessel in which Rainsford was a passenger was next driven by stress of weather into Fort Libert6. Arrested as a spy, he was condemned to death; but Toussaint would not permit the sentence to be carried out. He dismissed him with a caution not to return without passports.
There is much exaggeration in the account given by IRainsford of what he saw and heard at Cap Halftien. He talks of 62,ooo inhabitants leaving the city after the great fire, and of Toussaint reviewing his army of 6o,ooo men and 2000 officers. He was a better Judge probably of their manoeuvres. He says that the soldiers


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60i HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
went through their exercises with a degree of expertness he had seldom before witnessed. At the signal of a whistle, a whole brigade ran three or four hundred yards, and then separating, threw themselves on the ground, keeping up a heavy fire from every kind of position. The complete subordination and discipline astonished him.
Rigraud having evidently decided to carry out General Hddouville's instructions and defy both Toussaint and Roume, it became necessary to subdue him. Ten thousand men were collected at Port-au-Prince, whilst Rigaud concentrated his army at MiragoAne, and commenced the war by seizing Petit Goave, and there, without the slightest excuse, murdered all the white inhabitants. It is singular to contrast the conduct of the two generals: Toussaint, without the slightest prejudice of colour, and Rigaud, the mulatto, the son of a Frenchman,. showing "how he hated his father and despised his mother" by murdering the whites and refusing to obey a black.
Roume published a proclamation, calling on the north and west to march against the south to restore unity of command; but before entering on the campaign, Toussaint had to return to the north to repress some movements, and on his journey back almost fell into two ambuscades, from which he was saved by the fleetness of his horse. Toussaint shot those who were concerned in these conspiracies, whether black or coloured; but the stories told by St. Remy of his ordering 18o









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


young mulatto children to be drowned at L'Arcahaye, is so contrary to everything we know of his character, that we may set this fable down to caste hatred. That be was severe with his enemies is no doubt true.
Then began the wearisome civil war in the south by Dessalines driving back Rigaud's army, and by the siege of Jacmel, which lasted four months. Pdtion greatly distinguished himself in the defence, and conducted the evacuation. It appears unaccountable that while the main body of Toussaint's army was thus engaged, Rigaud remained passive; it can only be explained by mean jealousy, which was his characteristic to the last year of his life. But his principal fault was jactancy, shown by his proclamation, saying, "Let the enemy appear and I'll slay them," which was answered by another from Toussaint offering pardon and peace.
Toussaint's army in the south was commanded by Dessalines and Christophe, or, in other words, by two ferocious blacks, to whom pity was unknown. Dessalines soon forced the strong position near Miragoine, and defeated Rigaud and Pdtion, driving them before him towards Les Cayes. Rigaud ordered his officers to burn and destroy everything in their retreat, which naturally roused the inhabitants against these measures of defence, and they became clamorous for peace.
In the meantime the Consular Government at Paris sent out officers to Hayti, among whom was Colonel Vincent. Toussaint was confirmed in his position as


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62 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
General- in -Chief, but the war in the south was disapproved. Colonel Vincent was enabled to tell him of all the changes that had taken place in France, but the black chief could readily see that he was suspected by the French Government. He, however, sent Vincent and other officers to Les Cayes to offer peace. It is amusing to read the account given of Rigaud. He went to see the French officers, a blunderbuss on his shoulder, pistols in his belt, a sword on one side and a daggrer on the other. On hearing that his conduct did not meet with the support of the French Government, he drew his dagger as if to stab himself, but did not do so: he preferred making a truce and embarking for France, together with his principal officers.
Toussaint entered Les Cayes onl the i st August i 8oo, and showed the grandeur of his character by implicitly carrying out his original proclamation. He again proclaimed union and peace, and pardoned all those who had been led into rebellion against him; and, to the astonishment of his enemies, he kept his word and behaved with great magnanimity. Even his worst opponents were then constrained to allow that, when once given, he never broke his word.
If Toussaint was clement, Dessalies was the reverse; and the mulattoes declare that he killed upwards of ten thousand of their caste, which is probably more of that colour than the southern province ever contained.
Whilst this campaign was at its height, Roume committed the indiscretion of trying to raise a revolt in









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 6


Jamaica. His agents were taken and hung; and as a punishment the English captured one of Toussaint's convoys destined for Jacmel. The General, very angry with Roume, sent for him; he refused to come, upon which Toussaint went to Cap Haitien, and after reproaching him, insisted on his giving him an order to invade the eastern end of the island. He refused at first, but ultimately yielded to the menaces of General Moise.
When the southern campaign was over, Toussaint began to prepare for the occupation of Santo Domingo, but findings that -Roume was inclined to withidraw his permission, he arr-ested him and sent him back to France. Toussaint's presLigre was now so great in the island, that little resistance was made, and he occupied the city of Santo Domingo almost without a shot being fired, and established his brother Paul as governor.
The whole of the island being now under one chief, Toussaint decided to put into execution a constitution which he had already promulgated. It was certainly a model of liberality. It placed all colours equal before the law; employments might be held by black, white, or coloured; as much freedom of trade as possible; a governor to be named for five years, but on account of the eminent services of Toussaint, he was to occupy that post for life, with power to name his successor. He sent this constitution to Buonaparte for approval; but evidently it was- too much or too little. Had he boldly proclaimed the independence of the island,


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64 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
he might have saved the country from great misfortunes.
Peace being now re-established over all the island, Toussaint began his civil administration. All accounts are unanimous in declaring that he himself governed admirably, but the instruments he had to employ were too often utterly unworthy. He organised the country into districts, and appointed inspectors to see that all returned to their work, and decreed that a fifth of the produce should be given to the labourers. Dessalines was appointed inspector-inchief; and if a man without any sentiment of humanity was required for that post, surely Dessalines was a good choice, as he was ready to beat to death any man, woman, or child whom he chose to accuse of idleness. Toussaint, looking to difficulties ahead, continued to pay the greatest attention to his army, organised it with care, and preserved the strictest discipline. The stick appears to have been as popular in that day as it is now.
Toussaint was very friendly to the whites, and was most anxious to encourage them to aid in developing the country. This excited the jealousy of some of his generals; among others, of Mo'se, his nephew, who to thwart his uncle's projects incited a movement in the north to massacre the French. Several having fallen victims, Toussaint hastened to the spot, and finding that Moise was the real instigator of the murders, sent him before a court-martial. He was sentenced to death,









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


and very properly shot on the 26th November i8oo. Had Toussaint connived at these crimes, he would have upset all confidence in his trusted word.
All was now progressing on the island; the government was regularly administered, the finances were getting into order, and agriculture was beginning to raise its head, when Buonaparte, having secured peace in Europe, determined to recover the Queen of the Antilles and restore slavery. The story of this attempt may be told in a few words. General Leclerc started with 3oo00 men to subdue the island, and although the evident intention of the French Government was to restore slavery, the principal mulatto officers accompanied him, chief among whom were Rigaud, Pdtion, and Vilatte. It is true the mulattoes had not yet frankly accepted the full freedom of the blacks.
General Leclerc did all he could to cause an armed resistance, as a peaceful solution would have given him no military glory; therefore, instead of sending Toussaint his children and the letter he bore from Buonaparte, he tried to surprise Cap Haitien. But General Christophe, before retiring with its garrison, set fire to the town and almost destroyed it; and Toussaint sent instructions to his other generals to follow this example. Leclerc, mortified by the result of his first attempt, now thought of writing to Toussaint, and sent him his two boys. Toussaint behaved with great nobility of character, and asked naturally, "Why words of peace but acts of war?" Finding that he could not circumvent
U


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66 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
his black opponent, Leclerc published a decree in February 1802 placing both Toussaint and Christophe "hors la loi." This was followed by the burning of the towns of St. Marc and Gonaives, and a retreat of the black troops towards the interior.
Whenever you see a fortress in Hayti, you are sure to be told that it was built by the English; among others thus known was La Crete h Pierrot. The French general Debelle, treating with contempt these negro troops, attacked this fort with an inefficient force and was beaten; then Leclerc made an assault in person, but he also was beaten, and was forced to lay siege to it. The attack and defence were conducted with singular courage, particularly the latter, considering the quadity of the men, who had never before been measured with real white troops: however, after having repulsed several assaults, the garrison evacuated the forts. PNtion commanded a portion of the French artillery in this attack on his countrymen struggling for freedom. If he loved France but little, he hated Toussaint more.
Even the enemies of the great black general are full of admiration of the courage displayed by him during all this important struggle, and especially dwell on his devotion to his wounded officers. I may here remark that the French general Rochambeau distinguished himself for his cruelties, and shot every prisoner that fell into his hands; which fully justified the retaliation of the Haytians.









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


Discouraged by a series of reverses which followed the loss of La Crete & Pierrot, where it was amply proved that the negro soldiers, even among their mountains, were no match for the disciplined troops of France, some of the black generals, as Christophe, began to make terms with the French; and Toussaint, finding himself thus abandoned, wrote to Leclerc offering submission. As it was accepted, he went to Cap Haitien to meet the commander-in-chief, and was received and treated with much distinction. He then returned to the village of Marmalade, and there issued orders to all his officers to cease opposition and acknowledge the French authorities, and peace was established throughout the island.
General Leclerc was but temporising with these black leaders; his secret orders were, not only to arrest Toussaint, Dessalines, and Christophe, but to re-establish slavery. He found, however, the last two so zealous in carrying out his instructions to disarm the population, that he preserved them in their commands.
Toussaint himself, having ever kept his word, could not believe that the French commander-in-chief would not keep his, and therefore, in spite of all warnings that treachery was meditated, stayed quietly on his estate at Ennery. He there received a letter from General Brunet, asking for an interview at a certain spot; Toussaint went, and was immediately arrested under circumstances of the greatest treachery. He was bound


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HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


with ropes and embarked on board the French ship "Creole ;" then put on board the "Hdros" with all his family and sent to France. When received on board by Savary, Chef de Division, he said to him, "En me renversant on n'a abattu h Saint Domingue que le tronc de l'arbre de la liberty des noirs; il repoussera, parceque les racines en sont profondes et nombreuses." When reading this account of the capture of Toussaint, we can scarcely credit that we are recording the acts of French officers, whose plighted word was thus broken.'
On Toussaint's arrival in France he wrote to the French Chief Consul; but he might as well have written to Dessalines as expect either mercy or justice from the despot who then ruled France. He was separated from his family and hurried off to the Chateau de Joux in the Alps, where his rival Rigaud was already confined. Here he died from cold and neglect, under circumstances which raised the suspicion that the close of this illustrious life was hastened by unfair means. It is some satisfaction to think that his executioner died also a prisoner in exile, though surrounded by every comfort that the generous English Government could afford him.
We have all heard or read something of Toussaint L'Oaverture, and been taught to think well of him: I was therefore the more surprised, on my arrival at Port* St. Remy, speaking of Toussaint's capture, says, "Embarquement par les &anc&" How like a mulatto not to say "par.lea frangais !"


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HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


au-Prince, to hear his memory so depreciated. I do not remember any Haytian having voluntarily spoken of him, though they never wearied of talking of Dessalines, Christophe, and Riigaud. I at firstthought that Toussaint never having unnecessarily shed white blood, whilst the others may be said to have rejoiced at the sight of it, was one of the chief causes; but the real reason why the historians and biographers of Hayti would lower Toussaint's memory is the energy with which he acted against the rebellious mulattoes, and his firm determination that all colours should be equally respected by the law, and that all should have equal rights.
It is impossible not to be struck with almost the unanimous opinion favourable to Toussaint which has been recorded by all parties, even by his enemies. The Marquis d'Hermonas says that "God in this terrestrial globe could not commune with a purer spirit;" the French general Pamphile Lacroix records that "Nul n'osait l'aborder sans crainte, et nul ne le quittait sans respect." We have seen the opinion of Roume and Rainsford, that Toussaint was "a philosopher, a legislator, a general, and a good citizen," and that the latter was compelled to admire him as "a man, a governor, and a general."
He was personally brave, and being a splendid rider, loving from his earliest childhood to be on horseback, he never appeared fatigued even after the greatest exertions. As a general he is thought to have shown


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70 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
much skill; and, what proves his sense, but does not add to his popularity among Haytians, he did not believe that his men were fitted to cope with the trained bands of France. He constantly said that they must trust to climate and yellow fever as their best allies. As an administrator he had much capacity, and his influence being unbounded, he would probably have restored its old prosperity to Hayti, had not Leclerc's expedition arrived to throw the whole island into confusion.
Toussaint's personal qualities appear to have been equal to his public: his word was sacred, he was humane on' most occasions, yet with a firmness and decision which astonished his enemies. In his family relations he showed the most tender affection for wife and children; his fine nature was apparent on all occasions in his solicitude for his wounded officers and soldiers, and the thoughtful care of the prisoners that fell into his hands. His affectionate treatment of animals was also greatly noticed, and whenever he came upon fugitive women and children of any colour, his first thought was for their comfort.
Our Consul-General Mackenzie (1827) often talked to the black officers of Toussaint; they described him as stern and unbending, but just, and intimately acquainted with the habits of the people and the best interests of his country.
The one mistake of his life appears to have been his refusal, when urged to do so by England, to declare the









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.


independence of Hayti Had he accepted the English proposals and entered into a treaty with us and with the Americans, it is not likely that Buonaparte would have ever attempted an expedition against him, and the history of Hayti might have been happier.
There is one fact which strikes the reader of the histories of these times, and that is, the soldiers are described as veritable saw-culottes, without pay and without proper uniforms, and yet all the chiefs, as Toussaint, Dessalines, and Christophe, were living in splendid houses in the greatest luxury. Toussaint is recorded to have lent the French Treasury 6ooooo livres, an enormous sum for a slave to possess after a few years of freedom. Gragnon- Lacoste, who published a Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture in 1877, founded on family papers, says that this general had a marble house in Cap Haitien, elegantly furnished, and that he kept up the same style in all his plantations. His descendants in late years claimed about the fourth of Hayti as the estates of the black general.
Toussaint was also a fervent Roman Catholic, and was greatly attached to the priesthood; he did all he
* This biography, as well as the others I have seen, is full of absurdities; talks of Toussaint advancing with an imposing army, which turns out to be of 950 men. At the battle of Verretes 15oo blacks drive 35oo English troops from their intrenchments, and then 6ooo English are defeated and cut to pieces by a few squadrons. As far as I can learn, Brisbane had eighty English soldiers and some untrustworthy black and coloured allies, mixed with French planters. Even a moderately sensible Haytian could not accept so absurd a biography.


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72 HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE.
could to repress the Vaudoux, and he published a strong proclamation forbidding all fetish rites.*
The treachery of Leclerc towards Toussaint had its reward; it could not but excite suspicion among the black leaders, as the previous deportation of Rigaud had done among the mulattoes. And now the most fearful epidemic of yellow fever fell upon the French army, and almost annihilated it. Forty thousand are reported to have been lost during the years i802 and 1803: among the victims were Leclerc and twenty other French generals. The Haytians saw their opportunity, and Dessalines, Christophe, and Pdtion abandoned the invaders, and roused their countrymen to expel the weak remnants of the French army. *War had now been declared between France and England, and our fleets were soon off the coasts. The French were driven from every point, and forced to concentrate in Cap Ha'tien. Rochambeau, who had succeeded
Leclerc, did all that man could do to save his army ;' but besieged by the blacks to the number of 30,000, and blockaded by our fleet, pinched by hunger, and seeing no hopes of reinforcements, he surrendered to the English and embarked for Europe.
I am glad to be able to notice that M. Robin (mulatto), in his "Abrg6 de l'Histoire d'Haiti," remarks in relating Toussaint's sad death :- " Ainsi fut rtcompens6 de ses longs et 6minents services cet illustre enfant d'Haiti, qui pouvait bien se dire le premier des noirs," &c. &c. Dessalines appears to have encouraged Leclerc to arrest Toussaint, and then dishonourably betrayed Charles Belair (black), nephew to Toussaint, and his wife into the hands of the French, who shot Belair and hung his wife.









HISTORY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE. 73
Thus ended one of the most disastrous expeditions ever undertaken by France, and ended as it deserved to end. Its history was sullied by every species of treachery, cruelty, and crime; but we cannot but admire the splendid bravery of the troops under every discouragement, in a tropical climate, where the heat is so great that the European is unfitted for continued exertion, but where yellow fever and death follow constant exposure.









( 74 )


CHAPTER III.

HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE.

"QuE deviendra notre pays quand il sera livr6 / la vanity et & l'ignorance," exclaimed Bauvais, one of the leaders of the mulatto party. I am afraid this sketch of the history of Hayti since the war of independence will show what are the results to a country when governed by vanity and ignorance.
Having driven out the French by deeds of unquestioned valour and energy, and with a cruelty which the infamous conduct of Rochambeau could palliate, if not justify, the Haytians determined to throw off all allegiance to France and establish an independent government.
At Gonaives, on the Ist January 18o4, General Dessalines assembled all his military chiefs around him and had read to them the Act of Independence, which terminated with the words, "for ever to renounce France, and to die rather than live under her dominion." In a proclamation, Dessalines was careful to declare that it was not their mission to disturb the tranquillity of neighbouring islands, but in unmistakable language









HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE. 7


he called upon them to put to death every Frenchman who remained in the island. This was followed by a declaration signed by the chief generals choosing Dessalines as Governor-General of Hayti for life, with power to name his successor, and to make peace or war. He was thus invested with arbitrary power, and proceeded to exercise it.
His first act was the one on which his fame rests, and which endears his memory to the Haytians. He in fact decreed that all the French who were convicted or suspected of having connived at the acts of the expelled army, with the exception of certain classes, as priests and doctors, should be massacred; and this applied not only to those suspected of guilt, but to all their wives and children. Fearing that some of his generals, from interest or humanity, might not fully carry out his decree, he made a tmurn&e through the different departments, and pitilessly massacred every French man, woman, or child that fell in his way. One can imagine the saturnalia of these liberated slaves enjoying the luxury of shedding the blood of those in whose presence they had formerly trembled; and this without danger; for what resistance could those helpless men, women, and children offer to their savage executioners? Even now one cannot read unmoved the records of those days of horror.
Dessalines, like most of those who surrounded him, was in every way corrupt; he is said to have spared no man in his anger or woman in his last. He was


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76 HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE.
avaricious, but at the same time he permitted his friends to share in the public income by every illicit means. His government was indeed so corrupt, that even the native historians allow that the administration was distinguished "for plunder, theft, cheating, and smuggling." Dessalines, when he appointed an employee, used to say, "Plumez la poule, mais prenez garde qu'elle ne crie,"-the rule by which the Government service is still regulated.
The tyranny exercised by Dessalines and his generals on all classes made even the former slaves feel that they had changed for the worse. There were no courts to mitigate the cruelty of the hard taskmasters, who on the slightest pretext would order a man or woman to be beaten to death.
In the month of August i3o4 news arrived that Buonaparte had raised himself to the imperial throne; Dessalines determined not to be behindhand, and immediately had himself crowned Emperor. His generals were eager that a nobility should be created, but he answered, "I am the only noble in Hayti." As the eastern portion of the island was still occupied by the French, he determined to drive them out; but he was unable to take the city of Santo Domingo, and retired again to the west.
In June i8o5 he published a constitution, which was worked out without consulting his generals, and created discontent among them. A conspiracy was organised; a rising in the south followed a visit









HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE. 7


from Dessalines, where he had given full scope to his brutality, and the insurgents marched forward and seized Port-au-Prince. When the Emperor heard of this movement, he hastened to the capital, fell into an ambuscade, and was shot at Pont Rourge, about half a mile from the city.
The only good quality that Dessalines possessed was a sort of brute courage: in all else he was but an African savage, distinguished even among his countrymen for his superior ferocity and perfidy. He was incapable as an administrator, and treated the, public revenue as his own private income. He had concubines in every city, who were entitled to draw on the treasury to meet their extravagance; in fact, the native historians are in truth utterly ashamed of the conduct and civil administration of their national hero.
The death of Dessalines proved the signal of a long civil war. A National Assembly met at Port-au-Prince, voted a constitution prepared by General PNtion, by which the power of the chief of the state was reduced to a minimum, and then elected Christophe as first President of the republic. He in some respects was another Dessalines, and resented this effort to restrain is authority. He marched on the capital of the west with twelve thousand men, but after various combats failed to capture the city; then retired to Cap Haitien, and there had a constitution voted which proclaimed
hmPresident of Hayti.
The Senate again met in Port-au-Prince in i8oG


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78 HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE*


to elect a President, and their choice fell on Pition, who, of all the influential men in the west and south, certainly appeared the most deserving. He had scarcely been installed, when his generals began to conspire against him, and the war with Christophe absorbed most of the resources of the country. No event, however, of any great 'importance occurred till the year 18 1o, when Rigraud, having escaped from France, arrived in Hayti, and was received with much enthusiasm. Pdtion apparently shared this feeling for his old chief, and imprudently gave him the command of the southern department. Rigaud was too vain to remain under the authority of Pdtion, his former subordinate, and therefore separated the south from the west. The President would not attempt to prevent this by war, and accepted the situation, so that the island was divided into five states-Christophe in the north, the old Spanish colony in the east, P6tion in the west, Rigaud in the south, and Goman, a petty African chief, in the extreme west of the southern department
Christophe in 1811 proclaimed himself King and created a nobility. Rigaud died, and soon after the south rejoined the west, which was menaced by a new invasion from the north. In 1812 Christophe's army advanced to besiege Port-au-Prince; but finding their attacks frustrated, the soldiers, weary of the war, began to desert to Pdtion, and had not the King hastened to raise the siege, it is probable his army would have gone over to the enemy.









HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE. 7


King Henry I., as he was called, appears then to have abandoned himself to his savage temper, and his cruelties might be compared to those of Dessalines, and prepared the way for that union of the whole island which followed. Pdtion, though rather an in-. capable ruler, was not cruel, and attached the people to his government.
In 18 14, the fall of.- Napoleon brought about peace in Europe, and the French Government hastened to send agents to Hayti -to claim submission to the mother country. Pdtion refused, whilst offering an indemnity to the colonists; but Christophe, having secured the secret instructions of the French agent, did not hesitate to execute them. These proceedings of the French made the rival chiefs forget their own dissensions and prepare to receive another French expedition. Orders were given that on its appearance off the coast every town and village should be burnt down, and that the inhabitants should retire to the mountains. The old planters were urging their Government to destroy all the inhabitants of Hayti and repeople it from Africa; but a discovery of their projects produced so great an effect in England, that public opinion forced the Congress of Vienna to declare that the slave-trade was for ever abolished.
In 181i6 Pdtion named a commission to revise the constitution; the principal alterations were to elect a President for life and to add to the Senate a Chamber of Deputies. Pdtion, however, did not long enjoy his









so HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE.
new dignity; he died in 18 18, at the early age of fortyeight, it is said of fever, but the opinion is still prevalent in Hayti that he died of weariness of life, brought on by the loss of all his illusions and the constant public and private annoyances to which he was subject. During bis illness be is said to have refused all restoratives, and even to have rejected food. Wtion, though not a (Treat man, sincerely loved his country, and devoted his energies to govern it well; but he was feeble in his measures) and from love of popularity allowed every kind of abuse to flourish in the financial administration. M. Robin, however, says truly that he was 11 the most popular and humane chief that Hayti ever possessed."
Boyer, through the energetic intervention of the military, was unanimously chosen by the Senate President of the republic, and commenced his long career as chief of the state -in March 1818. Though he committed many faults, he appears to have been the most energetic and honest of the series of Haytian rulers. His first care was to establish order in the finances ; and if his only errors were not to have erected a statue to his predecessor or founded an hospital for beggars, with which M. Robin appears to reproach him, his friends may still be permitted to admire him. Fortune, or rather his enerbry, eve here favoured him. In 18ig he put down the long-neglected insurrection of Goman in the far west, and then prepared to move against Kina Henry, whose savage rule had alienated the affec0
tion even of his own guards. Struck down by apoplexy,









HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE* 8


the chief of the northern department was~ deserted by all, and sought refuge from anticipated indignities in suicide.
The north almost unanimously determined to rejoin the rest of the republic, and Boyer marched on Cap Haitien, to be received there with enthusiasm as the first President of United Hayti.
Christoplie was no doubt a very remarkable man, with indomitable energy, who saw the necessity of developing his country, but whose despotic nature cared not for the means, so that the end were attained. In spite of many admitted atrocities, however, there is no doubt he acquired a marked ascendancy over the minds of the people, which even to this day. is not completely lost. Discussions still continue as to the rival systems of PNtion and Christophe, but if to secure the greatest happiness to the greatest number be the object of government, the laisser-aller system of the former was more suited to Haytian nature than the severity of the latter. As far as material prosperity was concerned, there was no comparison between the two departments, though the productiveness of the north was founded on the liberal application of the stick. On many of the large estates, a certain number of lashes was served out every morning as regularly as the rations.
Boyer's fortune continued. In 1822 Santo Domingo separated from Spain and placed herself under the command of the President of Hayti, who was welcomed
F


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82" HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE

in the Dominican capital with every demonstration of joy.
In the next important event of his Presidency, Boyer was not so fortunate. From the year 18 14 France had been continually tormenting the Governments of Hayti with the claims of her colonists, and negotiations were carried on by the two parties without much success till 1825, when Baron de Mackau was sent with a fleet to enforce the acceptafnce of French terms. Though the wording of the royal ordinance was mortifying to the Haytians, and the indemnity demanded (46,oooooo) out of the power of that little country to pay, yet Boyer and the senate thought it better to acquiesce, to avoid the evils of a blockade which would have followed refusal. The indemnity was so enormous, that although it was subsequently reduced to �3,6oopooo, it has not yet been completely discharged. The terms of the royal ordinance created great indignation amongst the people, and the French Government acting evasively added to the excitement, and a plot was formed to overthrow Boyer. But he showed his usual energy; arrested four conspirators and sent them before a courtmartial, which, with thorough Haytian disregard of justice, allowed no defence, as a pure waste of time, and condemned them to death. They were shot under circumstances of even unusual barbarity.
These negotiations with France continued to unsettle the country until 1838. M. Dupetit Thomars had come to Port -au -Prince, and being convinced









HISTORY SINCE IN DEPENDENCE. 8


that Hayti was really unable to pay this great indemnity, induced his Government to reconsider the matter; and a fresh mission was sent, consisting of Baron de Lascases and Captain Baudin. Two treaties were negotiated-one political, by which France acknowledged the complete independence of the republic; the second financial, by which the balance to be paid of the indemnity was reduced to 24oooo. As thirty years were allowed for this payment, in annual instalments on an average of �8oooo, no doubt Hayti could have paid it had the country remained quiet. The acknowledgment of this debt, however, was seized on by the political enemies of Boyer to undermine his position, and the cry was raised that he had sold the country to the whites. The continued necessity of sending French naval expeditions to enforce the payment of the arrears of this debt has been injurious to the interests of all Europeans, has increased the unpopularity of foreigners, and helped to support the policy of those who wish to keep the white man out of the country. Among the people, the popular song

"Blanes frangais viennent demander 1'argent"

implies that they have unfairly made use of their naval power in order to extract money which was not due to them from a people incapable of effectual resistance. This wretched debt to France has been the cause of half the misfortunes- of Hayti.
The Government of General Boyer had certainly the


83









84 HISTORY SINCE INDEPENDENCE.


merit of preserving tranquillity, and if ever population should have increased in Hayti, it was during this tranquil epoch, when for above twenty years no blood was shed in warlike operations, and very little in repressing conspiracies. In 1825 England formally acknowledged the republic of Hayti by entering into relations with her, sending Mr. Mackenzie as Consul-General. His reports and writings drew considerable attention to the country.
In March 1836 Dr. England negotiated a concordat by which the Pope was acknowledged head of the Haytian Church, with the power of confirming the nomination of bishops. However, this arrangement had little practical effect, as the clergy remained without control, and were a scandal to every true Catholic.
I am quite unable to reconcile the reports made of the state of affairs in Hayti at this time. After a twenty years' peace, the country is described as in a state of -ruin, without trade or resources of any kind; with peculation and jobbery paramount in all the public offices; an army supposed to consist Of 45,000 men, according to the budget; in reality few soldiers, but many officers, among whom the appropriations were divided. I feel as if I were readingT of more modern times instead of the halcyon days of Haytian history.
Another of the evils which arose from the indemnity question was the special position which it gave to French agents, who, even after the independence of the republic had been recognised, affected to treat Hayti as a dependency until all the debt should have been




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