The diplomatic relations of the United States with Haiti, 1776-1891, by Rayford W. Logan

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The diplomatic relations of the United States with Haiti, 1776-1891, by Rayford W. Logan
Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina press, 1941


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Logan, Rayford Whittingham, 1897-

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The relations of the United States with Haiti have been different
from those with any other nation. Haiti was the first nation in the
Western world, after the United States, to win her independence.
But Haiti was black, and her independence resulted from a slave in-
surrection. The relations between the two countries have therefore
not only been different-they have been vital, and at times even
This is.the only volume covering intensively the period from 1776
to 1891 and it attempts to analyze the relations more comprehen-
sively than does any other monograph dealing with a portion of the
period. Like all students of the subject, I am indebted to Miss
Mary Treudley for her pioneer study, The United States and Santo
Domingo, 1789-1866, published in 1916. But Miss Treudley did
not have access to the indispensable documents from the French
and British archives, and she did not consult some invaluable manu-
script materials in the United States Navy Department. She is
particularly weak in her analysis of the Monroe Doctrine and of
the strategic interest of the United States in Haiti. The three
authoritative works on the Monroe Doctrine by Dr. Dexter Perkins
did not exhaust that subject as far as Haiti is concerned. The
Histoire diplomatique d'Haiti, 1804-1859, by M. Abel-Nicolas
L6ger, needs to be consulted for only a few points in the 1850's.
Another highly important monograph on the United States and
Haiti is Dr. Charles C. Tansill's excellent volume, The United
States and Santo Domingo, 1798-1873, published in 1938. The
period with which he begins naturally precludes a detailed analysis
of the fundamental problem of Saint Domingue as a factor in
French policy during the American Revolution. Although Haiti
constitutes his principal theme from 1783 to 1826, Dr. Tansill did
not publish the famous Maitland Convention of 1798, here pub-
lished for the first time. He virtually ignores such important topics
as the nexus between Saint Domingue and Louisiana, the American
press in the 1820's, and the application of the Monroe Doctrine to

Haiti. Dr. Tansill leaps almost with one jump from the Congress
of Panama to 1844 when the winning of independence by the
Dominican Republic makes it the principal theme. This book keeps
Haiti as the focus of interest and sheds new light on the period be-
fore and after 1844 by the use of the British documents designated
as F. 0. 115, the United States Consular Despatches and Instruc-
tions, materials in the Navy Department and in the David Dixon
Porter MSS dealing with the Hunt mission of 1846. After the out-
break of the American Civil War, Dr. Tansill's references to Haiti
are very infrequent. Although I had used the documents cited by
him, I have nevertheless profited by his analysis. The treatment
by Mr. Sumner Welles in his Naboth's Vineyard; the Dominican
Republic, 1844-1924, is vitiated by his marked preference for the
Dominicans against the Haitians. Mrs. Alice Felt Tyler's The
Foreign Policy of James G. Blaine did not make full use of the
archives in the State Department (now in the National Archives),
and she did not have access to the indispensable Tracy Papers which
have been exploited for the first time in this book. Professor Lud-
well Lee Montague's Haiti and the United States, 1714-1938
(Duke University Press, 1940) and Frances Sergeant Childs's
French Refugee Life in the United States, An American Chapter
of the French Revolution (Baltimore, 1940) appeared when this
book was in course of publication. Montague first published in-
vestigations in the Tracy Papers, but failed to use the Archives of
the Haitian Legation in Washington and in Port-au-Prince, most
of the Archives of the United States Navy Department, and the
French and British. documents in the Library of Congress. Miss
Childs's monograph adds many interesting details to those pre-
sented in this book.
In the attempt to offer a more complete picture of the whole
period reliance has been placed largely on documentary materials.
In addition to the transcripts from the French and British archives,
the materials in the National Archives, the papers of the presidents,
secretaries of state and other statesmen, none of which had been
fully exploited for this subject, I made use for the first time of the
archives of the Haitian Legation in Washington, the records
of the Haitian foreign office in Port-au-Price, many docu-
ments in the United States Navy Department, especially in the

Bureau of Navigation, the Hunt MSS in the Boston Public Library,
the Bigelow MSS in the Lenox Branch of the New York Public
Library, the Douglass Papers at "Cedar Hill," Anacostia, D. C.,
and some in the possession of Frederick Douglass's grandson, Mr.
Haley Douglass.
In the gathering of this material I have laid myself under many
heavy obligations. I am indebted to the librarians and assistants
of the Library of Congress, the archives of the State Department
and the National Archives, the Navy Department, the Widener
Library of Harvard University, South Hall of Columbia Uni-
versity, Atlanta University, the Founders Library of Howard
University, the Columbus Memorial Library of the Pan-American
Union, the Lenox and 135th Street branches of the New York Pub-
lic Library, the Boston Public Library, the New Bedford Public
Library, the Library of St. Louis de Gonzague and the Library
of the Petit S6minaire College Saint-Martial, both in Port-au
Especial thanks are due to His Excellency, M. St6nio Vincent,
president of Haiti, for opening the archives in Port-au-Prince to
me; to His Excellency, Mr. Norman Armour, formerly United States
minister to Haiti, His Excellency, M. L6on Laleau, formerly sec-
retary of state in Haiti, and Dr. Joseph Loubeau, formerly deputy
from Les Cayes, for their assistance in obtaining permission to
use those archives; to His Excellency, M. Albert Blanchet, formerly
Haitian minister to the United States, who opened the archives of
the Haitian Legation; to M. Ferdinand Delatour, a clerk in the
Haitian state department, who copied many documents for me; to
Dr. Cyril Wynne and Mrs. Madlin Summers, for access to the
archives of the United States State Department; to Captain Dud-
ley W. Knox, for permission to use the archives of the Navy De-
partment; to Dr. Allan Nevins, for the use of the Fish and Cleveland
Papers in his office; to Miss Ruth Anna Fisher, for finding in the
Public Record Office, London, the original copy of the long-
disputed Toussaint-Maitland Convention; to the late Dr. J. Frank-
lin Jameson, for unrestricted use of materials in the Tracy Papers;
to Dr. Thomas Martin, for facilitating the use of documents in the
Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress; to Miss Grace
Gardner Griffin of the same Division, especially for access to her

manuscript inventory of the documents from the Public Record
Office; to Dr. Lewis Hanke, director of the newly established His-
panic Foundation in the Library of Congress; to Dr. Carter G.
Woodson, director of the Association for the Study of Negro Life
and History, for making possible a last year of residence at
Harvard University; to the late Dr. John Hope, formerly presi-
dent of Atlanta University, for leave of absence from summer
school in order to make the trip to Haiti; to Professor Luther P.
Jackson of Virginia State College, for records in the Petersburg
courthouse; to Dr. Mercer Cook, of Atlanta University, for a docu-
ment from the Paris Archives; to Mr. Haley Douglass, for permis-
sion to use a letter of Frederick Douglass; to M. Dantes Bellegarde,
for first inspiring in me the desire to know more about Haiti and
for many suggestions and much aid during the research in Haiti;
to Mr. Roger William Riis, the friend of many years, for the criti-
cism and help that only a friend can give; to Mr. Bryan Hamlin,
whose generous aid helped to make this book possible; to Dr. Ray-
mond Leslie Buell, formerly president of the Foreign Policy As-
sociation, for a reading of the original manuscript; to Dr. Charles
H. Wesley, for many suggestions on the book in its final form.
My brother, Mr. Arthur C. Logan, has been my research assist-
ant throughout the preparation of this book: he read many news-
papers, meticulously copied numerous documents, read the papers
of American statesmen to determine whether anything of impor-
tance had been overlooked in the published works, and assisted in
the proofreading. I wish also to acknowledge my thanks to Dr.
James P. Baxter, 3rd, president of Williams College, who, while a
professor of history at Harvard, supervised the preparation of the
dissertation on which this book is based and made available to me
transcripts and photostats of documents in the Public Record Of-
fice at London, the Library of Congress, and the Sumner and
Banks Papers. Any infelicities of style, errors of fact, or unwar-
ranted conclusions of this revised and expanded manuscript, which
unfortunately has not had the advantage of his criticism, must be
charged to me. I wish finally to express my appreciation to the Uni-
versity of North Carolina Press for its critical editorial supervision.
The publication of this book was partly financed by a grant-in-

aid from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and one
from the Phelps-Stokes Fund.
Howard University
Washington, D. C.


P reface ............................ ....... vii

I. Early Imperialism and Trade in Haiti ........... 1

II. "The Domain of Toussaint Louverture" ......... 32

III. The Black Pawn Becomes an Enigma ............ 68

IV. The Pawn Wins its Independence ................ 112

V. The Pawn Becomes an Anomaly ............... 152

VI. The Anomaly Becomes an Outcast ............... 188

VII. The Outcast Becomes a Threat. . . . 210

VIII. A Rival in Imperialism ..................... .. 237

IX. Island Divided Against Itself ................. 277

X. Secession Brings Recognition ................. 293

XI. Strategy Focuses on the Mle ........ . . 315

XII. Minor Points of Friction ....................... 353

XIII. The Monroe Doctrine Applied to Haiti.......... 368

XIV. The De Jure Principle Applied to Haiti.......... 397

XV. Haiti Thwarts the United States ................ 411

Bibliography .............. ........ ....... 459

Index ......................... ............ 497


Chapter I


Geography and climate have largely determined the history of
Saint Domingue and Haiti. This western end of the island which
Columbus discovered, December 6, 1492, on his first voyage and
named Hispaniola is closer to the United States than is any of the -
other Caribbean islands except Cuba. The peninsula on which is
situated Mole St. Nicolas projects into the narrow Windward
Passage, one of the strategic routes on the world's highways of
commerce and naval wars. Its near-equatorial climate has made
permanent residence by white men almost as difficult as in the
"White Man's Graveyard" of West Africa. But that same climate
and the fertility of the soil have also made it a foremost producer
of subtropical staples. When the white colonial settlers decided
that dark laborers would have to exploit those resources, they
added the human factor that was to make the history of that part
of the island different from that of any European outpost in the
Western world.
Almost from the very beginning the history of the island was
writ in blood. When Columbus returned from Europe on his second
trip in 1493, the small group of Spaniards whom he had left in
Hispaniola had disappeared.' The Spaniards then began a policy
of exploitation that resulted in the extermination, a half-century
later, of the Indians whom some estimates have placed at a mil-
lion on the eve of the discovery. These early race wars had their
later counterpart in the struggles between white and white, white
and black and light colored, black and light colored, and even black
and black, light colored and light colored.
This rapid extermination of the Indians who refused to learn
the "dignity" of oppressive labor led Spain to sow a second set of
dragon's teeth early in the sixteenth century. Bartholomew de las
The facts in the first four paragraphs may be conveniently followed in H. P.
Davis's Black Democracy (New York, 1928; new, enlarged edition, New York,

Casas, "the Apostle of the Indians," suffering from the brutal
treatment of his "most lovable and tractable people," prevailed
upon the Spanish government to permit the shipment of large num-
bers of African slaves into Hispaniola. The conditions under which
slave traders brought their "Black Ivory" across the Atlantic dur-
ing three centuries led Palmerston to declare: "I will venture to
say, that if all of the other crimes which the human race has com-
mitted, from the creation down to the present day, were added to-
gether in one vast aggregate, they would scarcely equal, I am sure
they could not exceed, the amount of guilt incurred by mankind,
in connexion with this diabolical slave trade." 2 Many of the slaves
who participated in the insurrection of 1791 probably still remem-
bered the horrors of the "middle passage" when old and young,
sick, dying and healthy men, women and children had been packed,
"spoon fashion," into the filthy hole of slave ships.
While the Spaniards were exterminating the Indians and im-
porting Negro slaves, the Spanish population was slowly increas-
ing with the arrival of a few grandees, hidalgos, priests, and a
turbulent, motley crowd. Permanent settlements developed first in
the southeastern end of the island. The western third, however, be-
came an international frontier where Spaniards, Frenchmen, Eng-
lishmen, and others fought for booty and land. Gradually French
buccaneers made themselves masters to such an extent that Spain
by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 recognized French sovereignty
over the vaguely defined western third of the island. But the three
principal powers were to renew their rivalry in Saint Domingue
when they were at war with one another. For the sake of accuracy
and clarity this book will refer to this French part as Saint
Domingue and to the Spanish part as Santo Domingo during the
colonial period.3

'Thomas C. Hansard, ed., Parliamentary Debates, 3rd series (London, 1804-),
LXXVI, 931.
'Much confusion has resulted from loose terminology. Miss Mary Treudley
used the title "The United States and Santo Domingo, 1789-1866," Journal of
Race Development, VII (July and October, 1916), 83-145, 220-274, in writing
about Haiti. On the other hand, Dr. Dexter Perkins in The Monroe Doctrine, *
1826-1867 (Baltimore, 1933) is speaking of the independent Dominican Republic
in his chapter on "The Question of Santo Domingo, 1849-1865." Professor E.
Wilson Lyon in his Louisiana in French Diplomacy, 1759-1804 (Norman,

In the eighteenth century Saint Domingue gradually became the
prize possession of the later mercantilistic era. Acting on instruc-
tions from the French government, Ossun, the French minister to
Spain, declared in a memoir dated February 10, 1774: "It [Saint
Domingue] is the finest and richest colony that remains to the
French after the considerable losses that they sustained in
America; and it is their principal resource for the maintenance of
a navy that becomes more necessary every day to counterbalance
the formidable power of the English." 4 On the eve of the French
Revolution Saint Domingue exported to France commodities valued
at 205 millions of livres in the currency of Saint Domingue and im-
ported from France articles valued at 69 millions.5 In this lucrative
trade were employed 1,282 ships of 363,000 tons, manned by 15,000
sailors.' In addition, trade between the colony and the United
States had become so important that many French chambers of
commerce were protesting against it.7

Oklahoma, 1934) employs the variation "St. Domingo" for "Saint Domingue"
and "Santo Domingo." Professor John W. Caughey uses "Sainte Domingue"
for the French colony in Bernardo Gdlvez in Louisiana (Berkeley, 1934). Charles
C. Tansill's The United States and Santo Domingo, 1798-1873 (Baltimore, 1938)
deals with both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
'France, Affaires 4trangeres, m4moires et documents, Amerlque, XIII,
105vo. Hereafter cited as A. E., M. et D., A.
Citizen Avalle, in giving these figures in his Tableau comparatif des produc-
tions des colonies franchises des Antilles pour l'annde 1788 (Paris, 1799), p. 5,
stated that the Saint Domingue currency was worth two-thirds of the French.
Further evidence of the actual value of the Saint Domigue livre is seen in the
statement of French planters to the government of Jamaica that the duties on
these exports amounted annually to nine million Saint Domingue livres, or
370,000.-Journal of the Assembly of Jamaica, IX, 53. At this rate, the exports
would amount to some 5,620,000 or, at the par value of the dollar to the pound,
about $27,000,000; the imports, to about one-third of that amount, or some $9,-
000,000. The total of the commerce between France and Saint Domingue would
thus be just about equal to the total commerce of the United States of $35,593,-
565.11 for the year ending September 30, 1790.-American State Papers, Com-
merce and Navigation, 1789-1823 (Washington, 1832-1834), I, 34-35. Hereafter
cited as A. S. P., C. and N.
France, Affaires etrangeres, correspondence politique, Etats-Unis, XXXVII,
233vo. (Hereafter cited as A. E., C. P., E. U.) See also Prosper Boissonnade,
Saint Domingue a la veille de la revolution (Paris, 1906), pp. 5-72.
'See especially, the "M6moire des n6gociants [de Bordeaux] au sujet de la
concurrence ambricaine dans le commerce avec les colonies francaises," April
1, 1784, A. E., C. P., E. U., XXVII, 238-249vo, 265-266; and the "M6moire de la

At the same time some 450,000 slaves with a total value of more
than a half billion livres' toiled on 3,000 coffee plantations, an
equal number of indigo, 800 sugar and 800 cotton plantations. The
total value of lands, slaves and livestock has been estimated at a
billion and a half livres.9 Many of the planters were fabulously
rich-the Marquis de Paroy possessed estates worth 3,145,000
livres; Jean Baptiste de Maigret, 4,500,000; the two sons-in-law
of the Marquis de Caradeux, Sr., had estates valued at 6,700,000
livres.0o The licentiousness and luxury of some of the planters
aroused the astonishment of courtiers familiar with the gay life at
Versailles. One reported that there were more than fifty planters
who paid six or seven thousand livres for a beautiful mulatto girl.
This same observer, an officer in De Grasse's fleet during the Ameri-
can Revolution, declared that Cap Franqais was called "the Paris
of the Iles" since "all go there to know the fashions." He concluded
that for its size and commerce Cap Frangais could be compared
with the flourishing French city of Lyon."1 The other French West
Indian colonies, even Guadeloupe and Martinique, and the posses-
sions of Great Britain, Spain and Holland in the Caribbean ranked
far below Saint Domingue in production and value to the mother
Any threat to Saint Domingue would cause Spain also grave
concern because she was bound by the Family Compact to come
to the assistance of France in case of war and to share with her
any losses that might result therefrom. If Spain went to war in sup-
port of France, her vast American empire, including Santo

Chambre de Commerce de Picardie centre l'introduction des batiments
strangers dans les colonies francaises," January 25, 1785, ibid., XXIX, 32-38.
A French planter paid an average of 1,500 livres for about one hundred
slaves between 1772 and 1776.-Victor Advielle, L'odyssee d'un Normand &
Saint Domingue an dix-huitibme siecle (Paris, 1901), pp. 42 ff.
SThomas Madiou, fils, Histoire d'Haiti (Port-au-Prince, 1847-1848), I, 43.
A long list of plantation owners and the value of their estate is given by
Blanche Maurel, ed., Cahiers de doldances de la colonies de Saint Domingue
pour les Etats Gdndraus de 1789 (Paris, 1933), pp. 358-392.
John [Dawson] G. Shea, ed., The Operations of the French Fleet under the
Count de Grasse in 1781-2 as Described in Two Contemporaneous Journals
(New York, 1864), pp. 56-58.
" Avalle, Tableau comparatif, Tables I-VII.

Domingo on the same island as Saint Domingue, offered a strong
temptation to the enemy, who would most likely be Great Britain.
This fear of a possible British attack on Saint Domingue re-
sulted from British policy in the Caribbean. The British had sought
as early as 1655 to capture Hispaniola.13 In 1706 during the War
of the Spanish Succession the British governor of Jamaica had re-
ceived instructions to encourage Santo Domingo to drive the French
out of Saint Domingue.14 Apparently, the British made only one
effort at invasion after the French had acquired possession of their
part of the island, namely, the capture of St. Louis on the southern
coast, in 1748. Nevertheless, throughout the eighteenth century
British diplomacy frequently gave serious consideration to Saint
Domingue.15 Moreover, at least as early as 1738 some British
statesmen had come to realize the importance of the Windward '/
Passage, between Saint Domingue and Cuba, to British commerce
with Jamaica."6 By the end of the century they, like many others,
were calling M6le St. Nicolas on the Windward Passage the
"Gibraltar of the Caribbean." Finally, sugar from Saint Domingue
was the principal competitor with that commodity from the British
sugar islands."7 For all these reasons there was already a strong
tradition in the French foreign office by the end of the Seven Years'
War that in future wars Saint Domingue would be surely attacked
by the British.
The rich island evidently constituted one of those troublesome,/
regions which French, British and Spanish statesmen would have
to consider carefully in drawing up their war plans. But to the
Thirteen Colonies it was more than a potential danger spot. It was
a source of important trade.
The contacts between the English colonies in North America

"Arthur P. Watts, Une histoire des colonies anglaises aux Antilles de 1649 a
1660 (Paris, 1924), pp. 149-190.
Leonard W. Labaree, ed., Royal Instructions to British Colonial Governors,
1670-1776 (New York, 1935), II, 722, 733-735.
"Richard Pares, War and Trade in the West Indies, 1739-1763 (Oxford,
1936), especially pp. 31, 180, 182, and 301.
L. G. Wickham Legg, ed., British Diplomatic Instructions, 1689-1789, France
1724-1744 (Vol. VI), Royal Historical Society, Camden Third Series (London,
1930) XLIII, 210-213.
"John H. Rose, Life of William Pitt (London, 1923), II, 222.

and Saint Domingue had begun as early as 1686-1687 when Wil-
liam Phips, later governor of Massachusetts Colony, recovered a
pirate treasure off the coast of the island."s Their commercial in-
terdependence was recognized in 1717 when the French government,
in spite of the prevailing mercantilistic theories, authorized a trade
that consisted largely of an exchange of New England fish for
molasses from Saint Domingue. There were soon sixty-three dis-
tilleries in Massachusetts Colony alone for the manufacture of
molasses into rum.19 Within ten years the North Americans were
smuggling so many unauthorized articles into the French colony
that France complained to Great Britain.s2 The latter in turn
, sought by the Molasses Act of 1733 to levy such high duties on
molasses from the French West Indies that the North American
colonists would find it more profitable to buy it in the British
islands. By that time, however, both the direct and the triangular
trade had reached such proportions that the two mother countries
could not put a stop to the smuggling and contraband trade even
when they were at war.21
/ Shortly after the close of the Seven Years' War the dependence
of Saint Domingue upon the Thirteen Colonies for certain com-
modities led France further to liberalize the trade. The decree of
July 29, 1767, made M61le St. Nicolas in Saint Domingue one of two
free ports in the French West Indies to which foreign vessels of
more than one hundred tons could bring wood, tar, livestock and
hides, but no flour or other foodstuff. They could take away
molasses but no sugar or coffee.22 As was so frequently the case,
many of the restrictions were ignored by the French colonial of-
ficials. Occasionally all ports, instead of only the M6le, were opened

"Cyrus H. Karraker, The Hispaniola Treasure (Philadelphia, 1934), pp.
12-68. For commerce during the early period see Treudley, United States and
Santo Domingo, pp. 86-92.
Samuel E. Morison, The Maritime History of Massachusetts, 1783-1860
(London, 1923), p. 19.
A. E., M. et D., A., XVI, 320-347.
SPares, War and Trade, pp. 79-82, 486 ff. See also the anonymous pamphlet
A State of the Trade Carried on with the French on the Island of Hispaniola,
by the Merchants of North America, under Colour of Flags of Truce, London,
A. E., C. P., E. U., XXVI, 175-176vo.

to foodstuffs as well as to the permitted articles.23 An official re-
port states that 465,000 gallons of molasses were sold at the M6le
between July and September, 1774,24 most of which was probably
bought by the North Americans. On the eve of the American
Revolution the Thirteen Colonies and Saint Domingue probably
had as close and profitable relations with each other as with any
other region except their respective mother countries.
It would, therefore, be contrary to all logic if the outbreak of the
American Revolution did not immediately focus the attention of
the three commercial powers and of the Thirteen Colonies upon
Saint Domingue. Indeed, many competent historians have con-
cluded that France secretly aided the colonies and eventually signed
an alliance with the United States in order, among other things, to
prevent an attack on Saint Domingue and the other French posses-
sions.25 Equally competent historians dispute the point.26 Let us
examine, first, the opposing points of view in the controversy; sec-
ond, my own conclusions, based on new materials; and third, the
extent of the aid through Saint Domingue.
The essentials of the case, as presented by Professor Van Tyne V
to show that France aided the colonies and signed the alliance with
the United States because of fear of an attack on the French West
Indies, are as follows. As early as 1764 Pontleroy, a French ob-
server in the American colonies, reported that some colonists
wanted to conquer Saint Domingue as an outlet for their products.
Although the conclusions of De Kalb, another French observer in

3 Frederick L. Nussbaum, "The French Colonial ArrRt of 1784," South
Atlantic Quarterly, XXVII (January, 1928), 64.
Herbert C. Bell, "The West India Trade before the American Revolution,"
American Historical Review, XXII (January, 1917), 286, note 87.
See especially Henri Doniol, Histoire de la participation de la France t
l'dtablissement des Etats-Unis (Paris, 1884-1892), II, 335; Sir A. W. Ward in
Ward and Gooch, eds., Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy (Cam-
bridge, 1922-1923), I, 132; Claude S. Van Tyne, "Influences Which Determined
the French Government to Make the Treaty with America, 1778," American
Historical Review, XXI (April, 1916), 528-541, and his "French Aid before
the Alliance of 1778," American Historical Review, XXXI (October, 1925),
"Notably Edward S. Corwin, French Policy and the American Alliance
(Princeton, 1916) and Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American
Revolution (New York and London, 1935), especially pp. 19-20.

1768, differed in many respects from those of Pontleroy, he was
convinced that if France should attack Great Britain, the American
Colonies would gladly join the mother country in an effort to
capture the French West Indies. Vergennes, who became French
minister of foreign affairs in 1774, and Louis XVI recorded their
fear of a British attack on the French West Indies. Caron de
Beaumarchais, whose role in aiding the colonies will be analyzed
later, whether on his own initiative or at the prompting of the
American agent in London, Arthur Lee, began to bombard Vergen-
nes in 1775 with the refrain: We must aid the Americans or they
will be reconciled with Great Britain and attack the French West
Indies. The minister of Prussia to France suggested the same idea.
In August, 1777, Vergennes told Lord Stormont, the British am-
bassador to France: "Your public papers, your pamphleteers, your
orators and ours, repeat ceaselessly that if you do not regain your
colonies, you will fall upon ours." When, Van Tyne continues, the
British after Saratoga began to consider a peace offer to the
colonies, Vergennes pushed the American alliance in order to
prevent reconciliation and joint attack on the French possessions
in the Caribbean. The American agents in Paris were reported as
carrying on secret negotiations with British agents. These Ameri-
can agents cleverly kept the fires burning under Vergennes. On
December 27, 1777, Vergennes wrote to Ossun, the French ambas-
sador to Spain: "The question which we may have to solve is to
know whether it is more expedient to have war against England and
America united, or with America for us against England." Louis
XVI in an autograph letter to Charles III of Spain expressed the
fear that Great Britain and her reconciled colonies would "fall
upon us as though the civil war had not been." Van Tyne recognizes
definitely that in the American Revolution Vergennes and other
French statesmen saw an opportunity to weaken Great Britain and
restore France to her dominant position in world affairs. But he is
firmly convinced that France aided the colonies and signed the
alliance with the United States in order to prevent an attack on the
French West Indies.
But Professor Corwin, largely on the basis of the evidence con-
sulted by Van Tyne, almost entirely rejects the latter's thesis. He

points out that Vergennes would naturally use the argument of
fear in order to win unwilling statesmen to his policy. Corwin
further shows that in 1775 when the fleets of France and Spain
were weak Great Britain had not attacked their American posses-
sions. Since the Bourbon fleets were ready in 1778, why should they
at that time fear a British attack? In 1775 it had been the British
opposition, headed by the Francophobe Chatham, that had
threatened the attack. In 1778 Vergennes had to argue that the
danger came from the government of Lord North. In 1775 Vergen-
nes had argued that the American colonists might be deterred
from revolution by the bait of a joint attack on the French West
Indies. In 1778 the argument had to rest upon the danger of the
reconciliation of the United States and Great Britain. But, Corwin
asks, would the Americans have accepted the opportunity for
spoils in 1777-1778 unless Great Britain offered complete inde-
pendence? Probably not, and, in his opinion, there is little evidence
that Great Britain was ready to offer independence at that time.
On the basis of reports from Noailles, the French ambassador to
London, Vergennes knew that there was little likelihood of a settle-
ment. Moreover, Vergennes had insisted that the Spanish West'-/
Indies were in graver danger than were the French. For all these
reasons Corwin concludes that the concern of Vergennes "was not,
primarily, the security of the West Indies." 27
Of course, some of the arguments of Corwin are open to criti-
cism. An attack on the French West Indies could have been good
bait to prevent a revolution by the Americans in 1775 and have
been equally good bait to bring about a reconciliation in 1778.
Second, it is not at all strange to see the party in power adopt the
arguments formerly advanced by the opposition.
But the most conclusive argument, in the opinion of those
who adhere to the Corwin thesis, is the fact, as they see it, that
Vergennes himself knew that there was no danger of a British at-
tack in 1777. After a secret British agent, Forth, had failed to
make any headway in July, 1777, Lord Stormont officially offered
to the French foreign secretary on September 2, 1777, a guarantee

7 French Policy, p. 141,

that if France did not send troops to her West Indies, Great
Britain would similarly refrain from sending troops to her Carib-
bean possessions. Corwin omits discussion of the reactions of French
statesmen to this proposal.28 Louis XVI and Maurepas agreed
with Vergennes that Stormont's proposal could not be accepted.
When Vergennes gave the British ambassador the French refusal,
Stormont could not hide his chagrin at not being able to "extract
a complaisance that would have given his court an advantage over
us which she would certainly have abused." Vergennes further told
Stormont that Great Britain could send troops and ships to the
West Indies if she so desired but that he recommended that they
stay out of the waters of the French colonies. Vergennes also wrote
Noailles on September 6, 1777, that France intended to exercise her
right to send troops to the French West Indies since they were
going there for defensive purposes only.
Even more significant is the judgment passed by Vergennes upon
the demarche of Stormont in a letter that he wrote to Ossun two
weeks later. What the British were really trying to do, according
to Vergennes, was to intimidate France in order to prove to the
Americans that they could not rely upon France in a time of crisis.
At the same time he instructed Noailles in rather bellicose tones to
inform Weymouth that the French fleet would leave for the West
Indies in about a week. France, he wrote, recognized of course the
right of Great Britain to increase her West Indian fleet in the same
proportions.29 In addition to noting this response, one might ask
whether it was unusual for statesmen of the eighteenth century not
to place faith in the official assurances of a rival power. Vergennes
would have been naive indeed if he had accepted at face value the
pledge of any nation.30
I have examined this question at some length because it has been
one of the major controversies in American diplomatic history.
On the whole it would seem that the later judgment of American

8 See ibid., especially pp. 116 ff.
29 Doniol, Participation de la France, II, 539-550.
o If Vergennes, seasoned diplomat as he was, needed caution, he received
sufficient warning when Noailles reminded him on September 12, 1777, of a
famous story in which Lord Sandwich had declared that only novices put faith
in promises made by the British government.-Ibid., II, 596-597.

historians has supported the Corwin thesis. I have reopened the
case because of some new materials which, combined with my own
reading of the two principal sources"3 used by other writers, shed
new light on the problem but which do not, I hasten to add, com-
pletely solve it.
These new materials are first, the detailed negotiations between
France and Spain to settle the boundary between Saint Domingue
and Santo Domingo and certain difficulties arising therefrom dur-
ing the period 1770-1777; second, and much more important, the
correspondence between Vergennes and Count D'Ennery, the
governor-general of Saint Domingue in 1775 and 1776. On August
27, 1773, D'Aiguillon, who was at that time the French foreign
minister, wrote to Ossun in Madrid that France had to exercise
special care in putting Saint Domingue in a state of defense in case
of war with Great Britain. He gave no reason, however, why war
might be expected at that time. Since the military experts in
France had declared that the proposed boundary would make it
impossible adequately to defend Saint Domingue, D'Aiguillon sug-
gested to Ossun that in return for France's having given Louisiana
to Spain in 1763, Charles III might abandon Santo Domingo to
France. On January 22, 1774, the foreign minister proposed the
fortification of the Bay of Mancenille as a necessary precaution
against possible British attack. On February 10, 1774, he declared
that it was absolutely necessary for France to pass easily from
one end of the island to the other in case of British attack and that
without French aid the Spanish part would surely fall into the
hands of the British. Later he argued that the British had planned
an attack during the Seven Years' War and that they would un-
deniably renew the project. It was therefore necessary that the two
Bourbon houses should settle their difficulties in the island.
But on December 18, 1774, De Aranda, the Spanish ambassador
to France, expressed no grave fear of a British attack and told
Vergennes that there was plenty of time to prepare for one. With
respect to the suggestion that Spain cede Santo Domingo in return
for having received Louisiana, De Aranda twitted Vergennes that
s" Namely, Doniol, Participation de la France, especially Vols. I and II, and
Juan F. Yela.Utrilla,.ed., Espaila ante la independencia de los Estados Unidos
(Leiida, 1925).

he was introducing into their relations the principles that had
governed the partition of Poland in 1772. He saw, however, no in-
convenience in permitting French troops to pass through the
Spanish part of the island in the event of a British invasion. In
order to deny to France the boundary that she wanted, the Spanish
ambassador contended that Spain's own losses at the end of the
/' Seven Years' War had made Santo Domingo the center of her de-
fense for Cuba and her possessions on the mainland. He further
contended that France did not need extensive fortifications in
Saint Domingue because she was interested only in commerce and
agriculture there. Vergennes insisted, however, on January 10,
1775, that Fort Dauphin was absolutely necessary to France in
case of war with Great Britain. But it seems clear that he was con-
sidering only an eventual war. The fact that he did not want Great
Britain to learn of the difficulties between the two Bourbon thrones32
may be attributed to considerations of general policy rather than
to any immediate fear of a British attack in the Caribbean. On the
whole, this correspondence left the impression that there was no
real alarm on the part of either France or Spain. Indeed, the
documents suggest rather that both sides were willing to resort to
any argument in order to obtain the best boundary possible.
There is, on the other hand, a note of sincerity in the letter of
Vergennes to Ossun of February 14, 1775, that is rather con-
vincing. It is, moreover, the first time that Vergennes, in this cor-
respondence, made a definite allusion to the impending revolution
in the Thirteen Colonies. He pointed out first of all that the British,
because of their difficulties with the colonies, would hardly urge the
Portuguese to stir up trouble with Spain in the Rio de la Plata
region. He then concluded:

But the more their embarrassment increases and compels them to un-
dertake serious measures, the more it is necessary for us and for
Spain to take precautions so that the counterblow will not fall upon
us at a time when we least expect it. I am not without worry (Je ne
suis pas tranquille), I confess to you, Sir, when I see the British
sending to America such large military and naval forces.33
'2 A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 42vo, 43-43vo, 83vo-84, 97-97vo, 106, 106vo, 167,
182-184, 215-215vo, 220-220vo.
"Ibid., XIII, 225vo.

The expression of Vergennes, "I am not without worry," seems
to be the best statement of his attitude as well as of that of
D'Ennery during the following twenty-two months. We know from
other sources that Vergennes wrote the French ambassador to
London on June 23, 1775, that the French possessions in the Carib-
bean might tempt the British and that, therefore, if the British
increased their fleet to America, France might have to reEnforce
her colonial garrisons. But in September of that year France sent
only three battalions to Saint Domingue and three to Martinique.34
This attitude of anxiety was further expressed in a missing
despatch of September 22 to D'Ennery, for the governor-general
in replying to it at the end of the year, described the lamentable
state of the colony's defenses with especial respect to the lack of
powder, rifles and ammunition. On the other hand, a long despatch
which Vergennes wrote on October 27, 1775, to D'Ennery made no
reference to the situation in the Thirteen Colonies.35 This silence
may have been prompted by a letter in October from the French
charge d'affaires in London to the effect that the danger of a
British attack on the French West Indies need not cause grave con-
cern.36 Anxiety but no panic is also evident in a letter from
D'Ennery of March 28, 1776, in which he declared that only the
expenditure of an enormous sum would make Saint Domingue
secure against attack.37
This attitude is supported by an analysis of the two treaties
signed by D'Ennery and Count de Solano, the governor and cap-
tain general of Santo Domingo, on February 29, 1776. The bound-
ary treaty provided in Article X for the passage of French and
Spanish troops through each other's colony. Article IX of the
treaty for the policing of the frontier stipulated: "In case of war or
unexpected attack on one of the two parts of the colony, the nation
that is not attacked will furnish to the other all the help possible in
men, money, arms, ammunition and supplies. ." But the cor-
respondence of Vergennes with D'Ennery, Ossun and Sartine, the

"Doniol, Participation de la France, I, 83, 97-146 passim; Yela Utrilla,
Espaila ante la independencia, 1, 50.
A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 282-290vo, 292-294.
Doniol, Participation de la France, I, 168-169.
"A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 331vo-332.

minister of the navy and colonies, attached no great importance
to these provisions although Vergennes did deplore in a letter of
May 13, 1776, to Ossun the fact that the new boundary did not
permit the French greater facility of communication between the
northern and southern parts of Saint Domingue. Nor did the Coun-
cil of State that considered the treaties on May 5, 1776, make any
reference to the value of the permission to pass through Santo
Domingo.38 One might look upon this silence as having some signifi-
cance in view of the fact this was the crucial period when France
decided upon secret aid to the Thirteen Colonies. In fact, Vergennes
had, at just about this time, evidently informed D'Ennery that
there was no real danger of a British attack, for the governor-
general wrote him on May 19, 1776: "I think entirely as you do;
there is nothing to be feared at this moment on the part of the
English; they are too much occupied with their colonies." He
added, however, that either a British success or reconciliation
should be feared. For that reason, he continued: "It would be neces-
sary to be in some measure of defense here; if they [the British]
believe that we are able to defend ourselves, certainly they would at-
tempt nothing; it is only the ease with which an expedition could
be made and the assurance of success that would tempt them. It
would, therefore, be very wise to prevent any effort since we have
time." 39
After France had decided secretly to aid the colonies, this same
attitude of "watchful waiting" prevailed. On June 15, 1776,
Vergennes instructed D'Ennery not to leave on a vacation as he
had planned to do "until calmer circumstances dispel all the
anxieties against which it is very difficult to defend ourselves." He
believed that the British had too many difficulties with their colonies
to try to cause France any trouble in her possessions. But, al-
though the British difficulties might assure France safety in her
colonies, "it would be more prudent, I think, to owe it [the safety]
only to ourselves. That is the doctrine that I preach here, but you
can better establish the necessity [for defense]. You are on the
ground. We need your advice." 40 One might ask, in accordance

"Ibid., XIII, 317-328vo, 331vo, 333-343. "Ibid., XIII, 348-349.
"Ibid., XIII, 356-356vo.

with the Corwin thesis, whether Vergennes really wanted advice or
additional arguments with which to convince his ministers and
Spain of the danger of a British attack. At all events, D'Ennery
reluctantly agreed on July 18, 1776, to stay at his post.41
News of the American declaration of independence which Ver-
gennes first received at the end of August through British news-
papers seemed to strengthen his conviction that there was little
danger of a British attack. On August 28, 1776, for example, he
wrote D'Ennery that the critical situation in America required the
continued services of an administrator endowed with his foresight.
Vergennes feared, however, that "despair" on the part of the
British might "bring about a catastrophe against which it is wise
to be prepared." But he felt that the establishment of a number
of posts, held by small detachments, would suffice to hold off a
large invading force until the deadly climate forced its withdrawal.
Such an invasion was not immediately to be feared because not only
was there little danger of reconciliation between the United States
and Great Britain but the struggle would probably be long and
bloody. He would like to believe that the fire in his neighbor's house
would be confined to it, but one could never be sure. France's in-
tentions were peaceful but the desire for peace did not always in-
sure it. Vergennes would have more faith in strong and vigorous
demonstrations, for in politics as in other matters fear is as power-
ful an argument as is love.42
But not even the American defeat on Long Island in the summer
of 1776 radically changed the attitude of Vergennes or D'Ennery.
Vergennes did inform him on September 20 that he could count
upon the aid of Solano in case of attack and he did instruct him
to ascertain the strength of the Spanish forces in the island. But
he gave no detailed orders (nor, apparently did Sartine) for con-
certed action. D'Ennery on October 2, 1776, took exactly the same
position as that which Vergennes had set forth on June 15, namely,
that the British were too busy elsewhere to venture an attack on
Saint Domingue but that "it would be more prudent to owe our
safety only to ourselves." 43 This attitude dovetails perfectly with

" Ibid., XIII, 358. "Ibid., XIII, 366vo-369.
"Ibid., XIII, 380-382, 383vo-384.

the instructions, printed by Doniol, that the King's Council drew up
on November 15, 1776, for Admiral du Chaffault de Besn6, the com-
mander of the fleet about to sail for the Caribbean. In the event of
a British attack on Saint Domingue he was to rush to its assistance
with all his forces. But if he received no word of an attack on
Saint Domingue, he was not to leave the eastern Caribbean. These
instructions reveal no serious alarm but rather the desire to take
elementary precautions against a possible attack.44
Unfortunately, the failure of these colonial documents to reveal
anything of value during 1777 prevents us from seeing more clearly
the French policy on the eve of the American alliance.45 But the
documents already printed by Doniol and Yela Utrilla show rather
convincingly that during most of that year Vergennes was trying
to prove to the Spanish chief secretaries, Grimaldi and Florida
Blanca, that neither wisdom nor necessity required the sending of
twelve thousand French troops to the Caribbean in order to prevent
a British attack. Indeed, when Vergennes began, after he had
received news of the American victory at Saratoga, to drive for
an alliance of the two countries with the United States, the astute
Florida Blanca harped upon France's refusal to accede to his re-
quest as a pretext for obstructing the proposed alliance.46
What, now, are my own conclusions in the light of this old and
new testimony and these conflicting interpretations? First, the
tradition of a British attack upon the French West Indies at the
first favorable moment was so strong in the French foreign office
that Vergennes and most of the Council of State expected an attack
in the early days of the American Revolution. Second, as the strug-
gle revealed each of the contestants increasingly determined to
achieve his objectives, Vergennes and his advisers acquired the
conviction that the danger of attack was not imminent. They never-
theless remained alert. Third, after the American victory at Sara-
"Participation de la France, II, 51, 87-88. For additional evidence of this
same attitude see A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 392-393vo, a despatch of Vergennes
to D'Ennery.
"A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 394 to the end of the volume. D'Ennery died in
Saint Domingue on December 13, 1776.-P. V. Malouet, Mdmoires (Paris, 1874),
I, 383-386.
Doniol, Participation de la France, II, 144-770 passim; Yela Utrilla, Espaiia
ante la independencia, I, 181-342; II, 30-224 passim.

toga, Vergennes either sincerely or cleverly feared reconciliation
and joint attack. The new materials do not help us definitely to
solve the riddle. It is evident, however, from the documents already
published that if he has deceived posterity, he also deceived contem-
porary French statesmen, for Louis XVI, Maurepas and other
members of the Council of State, and Ossun all agreed with him
early in 1778 that there was a real danger of reconciliation and
joint attack.47 Fourth, fear of an attack was not the primary
reason for either French aid or the French alliance because a pos-
sibility is bound to be secondary to a certainty. There could be no
doubt that the loss of the Thirteen Colonies would greatly weaken
Great Britain. There was, on the other hand, only the possibility
that Great Britain would attack the French West Indies. But even
that contingency had to be guarded against because France would
gain little if, while the Thirteen Colonies were being subtracted
from the British scale, France at the same time lost her remaining
possessions in the Western world.
Whatever may have been the role of the French West Indies in
determining French policy from 1775 to 1778, the guarantee of
those possessions by the United States "forever from the present
time and against all other powers" constitutes probably the most
entangling permanent commitment in the history of the United
States. On the face of this provision in Article XI of the Treaty
of Alliance of February 6, 1778,48 the United States promised to
support France by military measures in defending the French West
Indies from attack. It is, of course, possible to argue that this
American guarantee reveals a real fear on France's part of a Brit-
ish attack on her Caribbean colonies. Fortunately for the United
States the wars of the French Revolution were to permit her to
liberate herself from an entanglement that might have changed
her history.
Another possible reason for French aid and the alliance was the
desire to promote commerce between the United States and France,
including the French West Indies. In the opinion of one writer at
least, the desire to increase France's commerce with the United
<' Doniol, Participation de la France, II, 664*-737.
8 [David] Hunter Miller, comp., Treaties and Other International Acts of
the United States of America (Washington, 1931-), II, 39.

States was the main reason for French policy.49 This interpreta-
tion, even with the support of new documents, seems strained. It is
true that Vergennes adumbrated the importance of commerce be-
tween the United States and Saint Domingue as early as September
20, 1776. In a letter of that date to D'Ennery he referred to Spain's
permission for France to obtain supplies for her West Indian colo-
nies from certain of Spain's possessions, including Louisiana. Since
these would hardly suffice, however, help from the Americans
"would be more direct and more abundant." He therefore favored
a relaxation of the former restrictive measures. "Our best friend,"
he concluded, "is the one who helps us to live." Again, on December
20 of the same year he expressed to D'Ennery the hope that many
American ships would carry to Saint Domingue during the winter
supplies, timber and tobacco. He was even optimistic enough to
foresee the possibility that D'Ennery might obtain from the
Americans a surplus that he could send to France.50 How much
American commerce went to Saint Domingue during the war is dif-
ficult to determine. At all events, Stephen Girard, "the first private
banker in the Untied States," laid the foundation for his later
enormous fortune by trading with Saint Domingue during the
American Revolution and the years afterward."5 The opening of
the colonial ports to foreign vessels in 1778 shows the dependence
of those possessions upon foreign trade when France was engaged
in war.52 Finally, Louis-Guillaume Otto, a competent French diplo-
mat who was at one time charge d'affaires in the United States,
declared in 1797: "In sacrificing so many men and millions [of
francs] to sustain the United States, the Royal Government had in
view making the United States the complement to our western
colonies by finding in the United States at all times provisions for
our West Indies or for our warships." 53 In other words, an inde-

George F. Zook, "Proposals for a New Commercial Treaty between France
and the United States, 1778-1793," South Atlantic Quarterly, VIII (July, 1909),
267. 5' A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 381vo, 391vo.
John Bach McMaster, The Life and Times of Stephen Girard, Mariner and
Merchant (Philadelphia and London, 1918), I, 1-35. For a glimpse of the com-
merce between North Carolina and Saint Domingue, see Charles C. Crittenden,
The Commerce of North Carolina, 1763-1789 (New Haven, 1936), pp. 128, 145.
"Nussbaum, "French Colonial Arr8t of 1784," S. A. Q., XXVII, 64.
"A. E., C. P., E. U., LXVII, 416vo-417vo.

pendent United States would, in war as well as in peace, furnish
Saint Domingue and the other French Caribbean possessions with
necessary supplies that British colonies might be prevented from
providing. But this argument was advanced at a time when, as
will be shown later,54 some French statesmen were advocating in
the face of considerable opposition a friendly policy toward the
United States.
That the desire for commerce between the United States and the
French West Indies was only a secondary consideration is evidenced
by the terms of the treaty of commerce which was also signed on
February 6, 1778. The most-favored-nation treatment which it
granted to Americans was confined to the French ports in Europe.
France did promise to keep open the existing free ports in the
Caribbean, but she did not open any new ones there. In only one
respect did the treaty seek to promote trade between the United
States and the French West Indies. The original treaty exempted
molasses taken by Americans from those islands from the payment
of duty in the United States in return for a promise not to impose
an export tax on goods taken by Frenchmen from the United States
to those possessions.55 When temperance advocates and Southern
interests, which saw in these provisions an increase in trade for
the Northern States, prevented the adoption of these clauses by the
Continental Congress, France did not insist upon their being re-
tained.56 Later, commerce between Saint Domingue and the United
States did assume a role of major importance, but it seems not to
have been a primary reason for the French desire in the days of the
American Revolution to aid in the establishment of an independent
United States.
In evaluating the motives behind the French policy, we must
also consider the opportunity for profits foreseen by some enter-
prising French friends of the United States. This examination will
permit us at the same time to assay the importance of Saint
Domingue in the scheme of secret aid and to indicate the personal

"See below, p. 60.
Miller, Treaties, II, 10-11.
SZook, "Proposals for a New Commercial Treaty," S. A. Q., VIII, 269;
Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the
United States (Washington, 1889), I, 344-346.

interest of some American officials in transactions conducted
through the colony.
As early as September, 1775, D'Ennery reported that Americans
had bought a lot of powder in Saint Domingue during that year.
"You understand," he wrote perhaps facetiously to Vergennes,
"how very difficult it is, even with the best intentions in the world,
to prevent a merchant here from selling his powder to one who is
obscurely the secret agent of some merchant from New England."
He further reported that the Dutch had purchased a lot of powder
in Saint Domingue and had carried it to the Dutch island of
Saint Eustatius for resale to the Americans.5" The role of that is-
land in providing powder that enabled the Americans to keep
fighting and to win at Saratoga has been convincingly portrayed,58
but the powder that went to the United States from Saint Domingue
either directly or by way of Saint Eustatius can not be entirely
discounted. The Continental Congress did not fail to take ad-
vantage of the opportunities for buying in the Caribbean the sup-
plies that the Americans sorely needed. On October 13, 1775, the
Committee of the Whole resolved that it be recommended to the
various revolutionary assemblies that they export certain products
at their own risk to the foreign West Indies in return for "arms,
ammunition, sulphur and salt petre." Lord Stormont was al-
ready beginning to complain that the governor of Saint Domingue
was sending munitions to the Americans."6 Bonvouloir, a French
agent in the United States, reported at the end of 1775 that the
Americans wanted to purchase supplies in Saint Domingue and to
receive by way of that island two military engineers.61
But it was the fertile mind and the penurious circumstances of
Caron de Beaumarchais that evolved the scheme by which France
sent through Saint Domingue considerable aid to the Americans.
Beaumarchais had already had a romantic interest in Saint
A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 293-293vo.
'Orlando W. Stephenson, "The Supply of Gunpowder in 1776," American
Historical Review, XXX (January, 1925), 271-297. See also J. Franklin Jame-
son, "St. Eustatius in the American Revolution," American Historical Review,
VIII (July, 1903), 683-708.
'"Library of Congress, ed., Some Papers Laid before the Continental Con-
gress, 1775 (Washington, 1905), p. 51.
0* Doniol, Participation de la France, I, 199, 201. $ Ibid., I, 289.

Domingue as a result of his love affair with the beautiful "dark-
skinned" Pauline de Breton from that colony. He had also had a
financial interest in the colony as a result of investments that he
had made there.62 He may have had Saint Domingue in mind -when
he wrote his famous memoir, "Peace or War," on February 29,
1776, that helped to crystallize the ideas already in the mind of
Vergennes.63 At about the same time Beaumarchais submitted a
confidential memorandum to the king in which he proposed the
formation of a commercial house, Roderigue Hortalez and Com-
pany, to facilitate the secret French aid. He pointed out that by
using French vessels they could be absolutely sure of the "trans-
portation of munitions to Cap Fran9ais which Hortalez has chosen
to be his first port of deposit in America." In the spring of 1776
Arthur Lee, on the basis of information given him by Beaumarchais,
wrote from London to the Secret Committee of Congress that
France was "ready to send five millions worth of arms and ammuni-
tion to Cap Francais to be thence sent to the colonies." 65 Vergennes
in his Reflexions of April, 1776, suggested: "The colonists would
send to our ports their ships laden with goods and take in return
arms and ammunition, paying the difference not in currency but in
goods delivered to either Saint Domingue or to one of our European
ports." 66 It is thus evident not only that aid would be sent to the
Americans through Saint Domingue but that the Americans would
be expected to aid the French colony.
Just how much aid. went to the Americans by way of Saint Do-
mingue could be established only after exhaustive research. The
British curtailed trade relations early in 1776 by stationing two
frigates off M6le St. Nicolas.67 In June, however, the British were
"Paul Frischauer, Beaumarchais, Adventurer in the Century of Women
(New York, 1935), pp. 85-87, 114 ff.
"The priority of the memoir over the Rdflexions of Vergennes has only re-
cently been established. See John J. Meng, "A Footnote to Secret Aid in the
American Revolution," American Historical Review, XLIII (July, 1938), 791-
"Silas Deane, The Deane Papers, New York Historical Society Collections,
XIX (New York, 1886), 106, 113.
"Quoted by Elizabeth S. Kite, Beaumarchais and the War of American Inde-
pendence (Boston, 1918), II, 68.
Doniol, Participation de la France, I, 246.
7 A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 332.

again protesting against the sale of powder in Saint Domingue to
the Americans.68 Vergennes wrote D'Ennery four months later that
the contraband trade between the colony and the United States
was probably not so great as Stormont alleged it to be. Neverthe-
less, in order to convince Great Britain of France's desire to remain
on friendly terms with her, he wanted the contraband trade com-
pletely stopped."9
Behind this cloak of friendship for Great Britain Vergennes and
Beaumarchais were perfecting their plan of secret aid to the Ameri-
cans. It was not until the end of the year, however, that apparently
the first ship of Hortalez and Company set sail for the United
States via Saint Domingue. In December of that year Beaumar-
chais informed Vergennes that he had ready the Amphitrite to
carry a regiment of Irish soldiers and supplies to the United States.
All the ship's papers were in order to show that the entire consign-
ment was for D'Ennery. (France, of course, had the right to send
reinforcements and supplies to her own colony.) In order to
supervise the operations of his company in Saint Domingue
Beaumarchais kept one of his agents, Carabas, there for a number
of years. On July 1, 1777, Beaumarchais notified Vergennes that
the cargo of the Amlie had already reached Saint Domingue and
had left for the United States on several American ships. On De-
cember 20 of that year Beaumarchais wrote to Francy, his agent
in the United States, that he was sending to Saint Domingue a
vessel with uniforms for American soldiers and more than one
hundred cannon. The United States was to send ships to lie off
Cap Frangais. After giving a preliminary signal, they were to hoist
the Dutch flag to the main mast and then fire five shots. The French
ship was then to go out and permit itself to be captured and carried
into an American port where, after trial, it was to be released. But,
in the meanwhile, the cargo would have been turned over to the
Americans.70 Evidently, the inimitable author of Le marriage de
Figaro and of Le barber de Siville had not exhausted in those two
delightful comedies his genius for intrigue and skullduggery.
The Americans, in the meanwhile, were equally active. Their
8 Doniol, Participation de la France, I, 463.
A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 390-391vo.
~oLouis de Lom6nie, Beaumarchais et son temps (Paris, 1856), II, 139 ff.

first purchasing agent in the Caribbean, William Bingham, went
out to Martinique in the middle of 1776 and played an important
part in forwarding supplies to the United States. Richard Morris
of the Secret Committee of Congress wrote Silas Deane, the first
American agent in Paris, on August 11, 1776, that Richard Har-
rison was being sent in a similar capacity to Cap Frangais, but evi-
dence is lacking that he fulfilled his mission. At the same time Mor-
ris suggested to Deane that they engage in a little private business
for themselves through Saint Domingue. A month later Morris
wrote him that Stephen Ceronio and John Dupuy were the Ameri-
can purchasing agents at Cap Frangais and M61le St. Nicolas
respectively. He instructed Deane to continue sending supplies by
way of Martinique and Saint Domingue since they were the safest
routes. In January, 1777, Deane was urging the French to speed up
shipments by way of Saint Domingue. Three months later Nicholas
Rogers, an American agent at Port-au-Prince, informed Deane
that there were eleven American ships at the Cap and that five or
six had just left the M61le for the United States. At the end of June,
1777, Morris announced to Deane the safe arrival at Charleston,
South Carolina, via Saint Domingue, of the ship La Roche in
which he and Deane had an interest of one hundred thousand livres.
On September 5 Deane advised a Captain Landais to go to the
United States by way of the colony. If he took any artillery of-
ficers with him, they should be disguised as sailors or passengers
for Saint Domingue. A few days later Deane wrote the Committee
on Foreign Affairs of the Continental Congress that he hoped that
the ThUrese which he had sent by that route had arrived.7'
One must be very cautious in any statement as to the value of
the aid that the United States received through Saint Domingue.
Even when ships landed their cargo in the island, it did not neces-
sarily reach its ultimate destination. For example, Franklin in
1779 wrote to the Continental Congress that the supplies from two
Deane, The Deane Papers, XIX, 174, 235, 333, 335, 349, 356, 471, 473, 494;
XX, 81, 123-124, 134; Silas Deane, The Deane Papers, Correspondence between
Silas Deane, His Brothers and Their Business and Political Associates, 1771-
1795, Connecticut Historical Society Collections, XXIII (Hartford, 1930), 34,
57, 89-90, 93; Charles Oscar Paullin, ed., Out-Letters of the Continental Marine
Committee and Board of Admiralty, August, 1776-1780 (New York, 1914),
I, 68-124 passim,

large ships were still in Saint Domingue although they had been
landed there many months before.72 It is nevertheless clear that
the aid both prior to the French alliance and after it was con-
Saint Domingue was also utilized by some of the foreign volun-
teers as a means of assuring safe passage to the United States. One
of the very first of these, a Prussian by the name of Voidke who
later participated in the siege of Quebec with the rank of brigadier
general, passed through the colony in the fall of 1775 with a pass-
port from Vergennes authorizing him to join the Americans.74
General du Portail who served as chief of engineers at Valley Forge
in the winter of 1777-1778 and who, according to his biographer,
constructed there the defenses that saved Washington's army, had
gone to Philadelphia by way of Saint Domingue.75 Lafayette, De
Kalb, and their comrades on La Victoire solemnly but falsely swore
to the port authorities of Bordeaux in March, 1777, that they were
going to Saint Domingue.76
Prior to the French alliance Saint Domingue was not the scene
of any important military or naval operations. On May 9, 1777,
the Continental Congress did appoint a committee to arrange
with a Frenchman, Bajeu Laporte, the terms of a contract for
raising a regiment of French soldiers in Saint Domingue and
Martinique,77 but the records fail to reveal whether the contract
was executed. The Continental brig, Lexington, did make a cruise
to the Caribbean in the spring of 1776, but it was captured on its

72 Paullin, Out-Letters, II, 206.
7 Lomenie, Beaumarchais, II, 153 if. The following sources proved of no ad-
ditional value in determining the extent of French aid by way of Saint Domin-
gue: Adolphe de Circourt, "France and the United States," Historical Review
(Boston, 1877) ; Jules Marsan, Beaumarchais et les affaires d'Amdrique, lettres
inddites (Paris, 1919); John Bigelow, Beaumarchais the Merchant, Letters of
Thiveneau de Francey, 1777-1780 (New York, 1870).
7 A. E., M. et D., A., XIII, 293-293vo, 346.
Elizabeth Kite, Brigadier General Louis Lebegue Duportail, Commandant
of Engineers in the Continental Army 1777-1783 (Baltimore, Philadelphia, Lon-
don, 1933), pp. 1, 25.
Doniol, Participation de la France, II, 419-420.
"7 Gaillard Hunt and Worthington C. Ford, eds., Journals of the Continental
Congress (Washington, 1904-1931), VII, 342,

way back from Cap Frangais."7 Most of the hundreds of privateers
which the Americans commissioned confined their activities, as far
as the Caribbean was concerned, to the eastern end.79
Even after France entered the war, most of the naval engage-
ments took place in the eastern end of the Caribbean.s8 But when
the French wished to join the Americans in naval or military opera-
tions on the North American mainland, Saint Domingue naturally
became the base of operations. It was from there that Admiral
D'Estaing sailed in 1779 to attack the British at Savannah. Some
six hundred colored and Negro troops from Saint Domingue par-
ticipated in the attack.8" According to a reliable report, they dis-
played conspicuous courage in covering the retreat of the French
and American forces after a brave but poorly organized attack
on October 9 that had been revealed in advance to the British.82
Although the attack failed and the French fleet had to return to
the West Indies, news of the expedition, in the opinion of Mahan,
made the British abandon Narragansett Bay which Rodney called
"the best and noblest harbour in America." It may well be that
the experience of fighting for the independence of others awakened
a yearning for their own liberty in the minds of the more intelligent
Negroes and mulattoes like Christophe and Martial Besse.84

"Gardner W. Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution (Boston
and New York, 1913), I, 159.
SGeorge E. Emmons, comp., The Navy of the United States from the Com-
mencement 1775 to 1853 (Washington, 1853), especially pp. 40-47, 127-169.
Alfred T. Mahan, The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of
American Independence (Boston, 1913), pp. 99-115, 128-168.
The number has been estimated at from six hundred to fifteen hundred.
Compare A. E., C. P., E. U., supp., I, 326-327vo, 383-383vo; Jean-Joseph Rob-
ert Calmon-Maison, L'Amiral d'Estaing, 1729-1794 (Paris, 1910), p. 284; F. B.
Hough, The Siege of Savannah (Albany, 1866), pp. 53, 95, 145, 173.
Theophilus G. Steward based this statement upon an official report which
Rush was supposed to have obtained while minister to France and which Stew-
ard said he had before him as he wrote.-How the Black St. Domingo Legion
Saved the Patriot Army in the Siege of Savannah, 1779 (Washington, 1899),
p. 12. The Secretary of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania informs me, how-
ever, that a member of the staff had not found it among the papers of Rush
during that time. (Letter of February 6, 1939.)
"Mahan, Major Operations of the Navies, p. 115.
Steward, Black St. Domingo Legion, p. 12,

It was from Cap Frangais that the French fleet under Admiral
de Grasse sailed on August 5, 1781, and by its victory in Lynn-
haven Bay brought the actual fighting, as far as the Americans
were concerned, to a close with the surrender of Cornwallis at
Yorktown."8 At Cap Francais was assembled also a large part of
the French fleet that Rodney defeated in the decisive Battle of the
Saints on April 9, 1782. Rodney kept a close watch on the Wind-
ward Passage to the end of the war.86 On the other hand, French
naval assistance to the United States was limited by the necessity
of guarding the merchant fleet from Saint Domingue from the
danger of a British attack, the possibility of which caused "con-
sternation" among French merchants.87
Although Saint Domingue was not mentioned in the treaty of
peace between France and Great Britain, it had been frequently
discussed in the negotiations. One of the proposals looked to the
exchange of Gibraltar by the British for certain French and
Spanish possessions. But some British planters feared that France,
in return for helping Spain in her efforts to recover Gibraltar,
/might be given Santo Domingo. In that event, they contended,
France with her already vast sugar estates in Saint Domingue
would be able to control the world sugar market.88 While this fear
was not the only reason for Britain's refusal to relinquish Gibraltar,
it indicates a vital interest in Saint Domingue that will help to
clarify British policy during the quarter of a century in which the
diplomatic history of the United States was most closely connected
with events in Saint Domingue and Haiti.
The war was hardly over before Americans began to turn their
eyes toward Saint Domingue. There was probably no real founda-

"Randolph G. Adams, "A View of Cornwallis's Surrender at Yorktown,"
American Historical Review, XXXVII (October, 1931), 25-50.
"George, Lord Rodney, Letter-Books and Order-Book of George, Lord Rod-
ney, Admiral of the White Squadron, 1780-1783, ed. by the Naval History So-
ciety (New York, 1932), especially I, 329; II, 757, 826-827.
7 France, Affaires 6trangbres, correspondence politique, Angleterre, DXXX,
225vo. Hereafter cited as A. E., C. P., A.
"George III, The Correspondence of King George the Third from 1760 to
December, 1783, ed. by Sir John Fortescue (London, 1927-1928), VI, 123-125,
169, 196; Legg, ed., British Diplomatic Instructions, XLIX, 202.

tion for the fear of certain French statesmen in 1783 and later
that the winning of independence by the United States would lead
her naturally to attempt a conquest of the French West Indies.89
But the repetition of this fear might lead one to conclude that the
French had developed a psychosis with respect to their cherished
possessions in the Caribbean. At all events, they were entirely cor-
rect in their fears that the United States would demand additional
commercial facilities there, for during the "critical period" of early
American independence one of the gravest problems was commerce.
At the conclusion of the war Franklin had induced Lafayette to
submit a memoir to Vergennes in which he urged that, in order to
develop commerce between France and the United States, France-'
should remove some of her restrictions on American trade with the
West Indies.90 French policy was naturally divided. On the one
hand, the French government revoked in 1783 an ordinance of 1778
that had freely admitted foreign vessels into the colonial ports. But
the repeatedly expressed fear of an American invasion and the
realization that, while France had helped to liberate the United
States from Great Britain, American commercial relations were
continuing as much as possible in their former British channels,91
led to important commercial concessions in the French West Indies.
The first of these were contained in the royal ordinance of August
30, 1784. It opened all the French West Indian ports to foreign
ships under sixty tons carrying foreign products that included
some of the principal American exports, except flour, provided that
they did not compete with goods of French origin. The limitation to
sixty tons greatly aided the American vessels since European ves-
sels of such small size could hardly compete with the American ships
which had a much shorter distance to travel. The decree added
Cap Frangais and Cayes-St.-Louis to the M61le as free ports in Saint
Domingue, but allowed the exportation of only molasses and rum.
Even before the promulgation of the decree the merchants of
Bordeaux had protested against it,92 and a flood of new protests
condemned it after it had been published. As a consequence, a new
s For these fears see A. E., M. et D., A., XVI, 360; XVII, 84-84vo.
"Zook, "Proposals for a New Commercial Treaty," S. A. Q., VIII, 270.
A. E., C. P., E. U., XXIX, 271-294. Ibid., XXVII, 238-249vo.

decree of October 31, 1784, restricted the colonial trade to ports
capable of receiving vessels of one hundred fifty tons.93
But, according to Otto who was about to leave for the United
States as charge d'affaires, even these liberal concessions would not
satisfy the Americans. Nothing short of complete liberty of trade
with the French West Indies, he declared in a long memoir of May
17, 1785, would be acceptable to the Americans. He contended that
France would not benefit in a corresponding measure because the
Americans preferred British goods and because the weakness of the
American government would prevent the execution of a treaty be-
tween France and the United States. On the other hand, certain
modifications in the colonial commercial regulations might "cement
more and more our relations with the United States." Moreover,
he concluded, there would probably be so much smuggling from the
United States into the French West Indies that it might be politic
to permit the articles to come in legally.94
Otto's prophecy that the concessions granted by the decree of
August 30, 1784, would not satisfy the Americans proved to be
correct. Their demands continued to be so insistent that, in spite
of an important anonymous publication that renewed in 1787 the
denunciation of the decree,95 the French government in its instruc-
tions of October 10, 1787, to Moustier, the new minister to the
United States, examined the possible necessity for granting new
commercial concessions in the French West Indies. The instructions
pointed out that the Americans would probably complain of the
few favors that they enjoyed in the French possessions and that
Great Britain would use their complaints in order to "diminish the
sentiments that should attach the United States to France."
Moustier soon became convinced of the determination of the Ameri-
cans to enjoy complete liberty of trade in the French colonies in
the Caribbean. Even Washington, who opposed the importation
of rum from the French West Indies because of its baneful effects,

"3 A. E., M. et D., A., XVII, 63. See also Nussbaum, "French Colonial Arret
of 1784," 8. A. Q., XXVII, 62-78.
4 A. E., C. P., E. U., XXIX, 271-294. The subterfuges to which Stephen Gi-
rard resorted in order to carry on prohibited trade with Saint Domingue (Mc-
Master, Girard, I, 52-92) abundantly justify Otto's conclusion.
Rdflexions sur le commerce, la navigation et les colonies (Paris, 1787).

urgently advocated further opportunities for commerce there. On
March 12, 1788, Moustier reported that the Americans were carry-
ing on an extensive smuggling trade with the French West Indies.96
The reports of Moustier evidently more than offset the cries of
alarm and demands for a limitation of American trade with the
French colonies that were being sent by the French consular agent,
Ducher.7 It may have been fear of American violence coupled with
the desire to woo the Americans from their British predilections
that swung the balance in favor of additional concessions. By the
decrees of December 29, 1787, and December 7, 1788, France ad-
mitted American whale oil to the West Indies while at the same time
she forbade the importation of that product from any other foreign
country.9 In the latter year two-thirds of the produce of the
American codfisheries found free sale in the French West Indies,
and fifty thousand barrels of sugar went to the United States from
Saint Domingue.99
But even then the Americans were dissatisfied. On July 2, 1789,
therefore, Moustier submitted a memoir to the French foreign
secretary, Montmorin, in which he recommended first, the increase
of the French triangular trade by granting permission to French
ships to carry flour, salt pork, butter and cheese from the United
States to the French West Indies; second, the manufacture of
molasses into rum in the islands for sale in the United States;
third, permission for French ships to carry directly from the
French West Indies sugar and coffee to the United States in ex-
change for rice and naval stores since the winds forced the French
ships to take that route back to France and since two-thirds of the

Henry E. Bourne, ed., "Correspondence of the Comte de Moustier with the
Comte de Montmorin, 1787-1789," American Historical Revier, VIII (July,
1903), 711, 724-725; Zook, "Proposals for a New Commercial Treaty," S. A. Q.,
VIII, 275.
17 Frederick L. Nussbaum, Commercial Policy in the French Revolution, A
Study of the Career of G. J. A. Ducher (Washington, 1923), pp. 26-36.
"A. E., M. et D., A., IV, 32-197, 210-293; XIV, 27-70, 279-299, 431-432; XV,
80-84vo, 91-92.
"American State Papers, Foreign Relations, 1, 110. (Hereafter cited as
A. S. P., F. R.) Particularly valuable for this period is James Duncan Phillips,
"Salem Ocean-Borne Commerce from the Close of the Revolution to the Estab-
lishment of the Constitution, 1783-1789," Essex Institute Historical Collections,
LXXV (April, July, 1939), 135-158, 249-276.

sugar and coffee consumed in the United States came from the
French West Indies. Under no circumstances, however, should the
Americans be allowed to carry flour to the French West Indies or
to reexport the sugar and coffee from the islands. On the contrary,
they should be kept within the clauses of the decree of August 30,
1784, which "already give them too many advantages." Above all,
whatever concessions were made to the Americans, they should not
be embodied into a convention. "It is necessary that with regard
to the West Indies," Moustier continued, "the Americans persuade
themselves that they have nothing to demand, and that they must
expect everything from the benevolence rather than from any ob-
ligation of His Majesty." If, later on, political considerations de-
manded a departure from these recommendations, it should be ac-
companied by some concession on the part of the United States.
But yielding at that time would necessitate the purchase by France
in some other way of the concessions which she would later need.100
Moustier's memoir arrived in France shortly after the govern-
ment had taken action that reveals clearly the clash of interests
between the planters and the mercantilists. Because of a shortage
of flour in France, Governor-General Du Chilleau on May 9, 1789,
had opened the ports of Jerimie, Les Cayes, and Jacmel during five
years for the purchase of flour and other commodities largely of
American origin. These commodities could be paid for in sugar or
in any other colonial product. As soon as this decree arrived in
France, the Council of State on June 28, 1789, annulled it and dis-
missed Du Chilleau.10' But meanwhile Stephen Girard and other
Americans had shipped in so much flour that the price had con-
siderably declined.o02
The glimpse of the increased opportunities for trade that Du
Chilleau's decree made possible certainly whetted the appetite of
the Americans who already had more than five hundred ships en-
gaged in the Saint Domingue trade.x'0 In January, 1790, Gouver-
neur Morris who, after the departure of Jefferson, was the most

o A. E., C. P., E. U., XXIV, 225-226. This memoir is not published by Bourne
in his "Correspondence of Moustier."
I" J. Saintoyant, La colonisation frangaise pendant la revolution (1789-1799)
(Paris, 1930), II, 8-11.
Ia McMaster, Girard, I, 91-113. 1" A. E., C. P., E. U., XLVII, 416vo-417vo.

influential American in Paris, told Montmorin that "nothing could
tend so much to make the United States desirous of an alliance with
Britain, as to exclude them from a free trade with the French
colonies. .. ." '04 Six months later Secretary of State Jefferson ap-
pointed Sylvanus Bourne consul to "Hispaniola" in accordance
with his interpretation of the commercial treaty of 1778 and of the
consular convention that he had signed with Montmorin in Paris
on November 14, 1788. The first draft of the consular convention
had expressly designated the kingdom of France only, but in com-
pliance with Jefferson's written objections the word "France" had
been stricken out and in its place was put "dominions of the M [ost]
C[hristian] K[ing]." "The object of this alteration," he argued
in a letter of July 26, 1790, to Short, the American envoy to
France, "was the appointment of Consuls in the free ports allowed
us in the French West Indies, where our commerce has greater need
of protection than anywhere. ." 105 Since, however, the French
authorities at Cap Frangais declared that the United States had
no right to appoint consuls to the French colonies, Jefferson would
not insist upon formal acknowledgment of Bourne. Bourne left Cap
Franyais in July, 1791, and resigned in December of the same
These developments may well justify the conclusion of a special-
ist of the period that "the background of Genet's failure, of the Jay
Treaty, and of the Quasi War is to be found in the failure of French
policy to develop the natural sympathies of the Americans by in-
tensifying the bonds of commerce." 10o If this conclusion is correct,
Saint Domingue, which was much more important than either Mar-
tinique or Guadeloupe, loomed conspicuously in the background.
o 4 A. S. P., F. R., I, 381; Gouverneur Morris, The Diary and Letters of Gouv-
erneur Morris, ed. by Anne Cary Morris (New York, 1888), I, 275. For Morris's
influence in Paris, see the article by David S. Muzzey in the D. A. B., XIII, 211.
Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial ed.
Washington, 1903-1904), VIII, 69. See also Jefferson to Short, April 25, 1791,
ibid., VIII, 186-187. For the use of the word "dominions" in place of "France,"
see Articles I, VII, XII, XIII of the Consular Convention in Miller, Treaties,
II, 228-240.
Amsterdam, Consular Despatches, I, Bourne to Jefferson, April 29 and
July 14, 1791; A. E. Ingram, "Early American Consular Service Notes,"
American Foreign Service Journal, VI (May, 1929), 170.
"' Nussbaum, "French Colonial Arret of 1784," S. A. Q., XXVII, 62.

Chapter II


In 1789 the first president of the first republic in the Western
world began to grapple, under a new Constitution, with the perplex-
ing problems of creating a stable nation. In the same year one of
the oldest monarchies in Europe was trying to save its prerogatives
and power from the threat of revolutionary philosophies and bank-
ruptcy. Two years later the Negro slaves of Saint Domingue
sought to burst the bonds that held them in perpetual servitude.
And two years after the insurrection war broke out between Britain
and France. Since the financial stability of the United States de-
pended very largely upon her foreign commerce, she naturally
tried to trade with both belligerents. As far as European commerce
was concerned, Great Britain, her former enemy, was her most
profitable customer. But in the Caribbean more than five hundred
American ships carried indispensable supplies to Saint Domingue,
one of the French possessions that the United States had pledged
herself to defend "forever." Since British troops occupied in 1793
some of the most important ports of the colony, the attempt of the
United States to trade with Saint Domingue involved her in a
struggle for the maintenance of her neutral rights comparable to
her attempt to trade with Britain and France. Though the com-
mercial stakes in Saint Domingue were not so great as those in
Europe, the problem in Saint Domingue was complicated by the
emancipation of the slaves there in 1794.
At the same time peace was threatened on the American western
frontier by activities among the Indians that Britain was certainly
encouraging. Since the Indian danger was more imminent than the
consequences of the slave insurrection, and since peace, friendship
and commerce with Great Britain were more important than grati-
tude to France, the United States in 1794 signed Jay's Treaty with
Britain. Some French statesmen suggested, therefore, the retroces-
sion to France of Louisiana by Spain so that France might re-
establish her ascendancy over the American government and liber-

ate Saint Domingue from dependence on the United States for sup-
plies. In the same year in which this suggestion was advanced,
Napoleon Bonaparte fired the famous "whiff of grape-shot" that
definitely launched him upon his extraordinary career. By the
time that he set out upon his first Italian campaign an ex-slave,
Toussaint Louverture, had so distinguished himself that he was
made the commanding general of the French forces in Saint Domin-
gue. He rescued the colony from Britain in the same year that the
quarrels between the United States and France were to lead them
into war. It can hardly be gainsaid, then, that the policy of the
United States in Saint Domingue from 1789 to 1798 constitutes an
illuminating chapter in the diplomatic history of the United States
and, at least, an indispensable paragraph in the history of world
affairs during those crucial years.
Whether or not the slave insurrection surpassed in brutality
any other uprising, as one contemporary observer believed,1 the
plight of the planters quickly necessitated supplies, arms and am-
munition. Because of the extensive commerce between the United
States and the colony, the Saint Domingue general assembly natur-
ally sent agents to Philadelphia to obtain assistance.2 The first con-
cern of Ternant, the French minister to the United States, was to
procure the necessary supplies but not to allow the agents to ne-
gotiate directly with the American government. It would have been
irregular for them to do so. Ternant feared, moreover, that these
agents were more desirous of defending the interests of the planters
than they were solicitous of keeping the colony for France. There
was also the danger in his mind that the arms and ammunition
which the agents requested might fall into the hands of the British
in Jamaica to whom appeals had also been made.3
Bryan Edwards, The History, Civil and Commercial of the British West
Indies (4th ed., London, 1807), III, gE The official French report is J. Ph.
Garran de Coulon, Rapport sur les troubles de Saint Domingue, fait au nom de
la commission des colonies (Paris, 1797-1799).
*The best printed documentary source is Frederick Jackson Turner, ed.,
"Correspondence of the French Ministers to the United States, 1791-1792,"
Annual Report, American Historical Association for 1903 (Washington, 1904),
II, 43-200.
'Ibid., II, 47-102; Journal of the Assembly of Jamaica, IX, 50 ff. The aid
given by Jamaica was not particularly valuable. See Vicomte Henri de Grim-
oilard, ed. "L'Amiral de Grimoiiard au Port-au-Prince, d'apres sa correspond-

These agents from Saint Domingue gave the United States her
first experience in dealing with colonial representatives. In this in-
stance, however, as in many others connected with Saint Domingue
and later Haiti, peculiar circumstances prevailed. This was the
only instance in which the slaveholding United States was asked
for aid to put down a servile insurrection in a foreign colony. The
policy of the United States in the circumstances is almost as-in-
teresting as her later policy with respect to the revolutions for the
independence of the South and Middle American nations.4
In 1791 slavery was by no means the absorbing issue that it was
to become in the middle of the nineteenth century. The cotton gin
which was to help fasten slavery upon the South was not patented
until 1793. At that time slavery was declining so rapidly in the
United States that in a few years provisions for its abolition had
been made in all of the original thirteen states down to Maryland
and Delaware. It had been prohibited in the Northwest Territory
and had been continued in the old Southwest Territory by the de-
ciding vote of only one state. There were, however, at the end of
the eighteenth century more than seven hundred thousand slaves in
the United States.5
Washington and Jefferson both were slaveholders, but neither
held such strong views on the subject as did the "fireaters" on the
eve of the American Civil War. Naturally, however, both feared the
possible effect of the uprising in Saint Domingue on the slaves in
the United States. Washington clearly revealed his attitude when
he answered Ternant's request for aid by saying on September 24,
1791: "Sincerely regretting as I do the cause which has given rise
to this application, I am happy that the United States are to
render every aid in their power to quell 'the alarming insurrection
of the negroes of Hispaniola'." He further declared on October 2,

ance et son journal de bord (mars, 1791-juillet, 1792)," Revue d'histoire des
colonies franCaises (25th year, 2nd quarter, 1937), pp. 146-149.
For this later policy, see Isaac J. Cox, "Monroe and the Early Mexican
Revolutionary Agents," Annual Report, American Historical Association for
1911 (Washington, 1913), I, 199-215; William Ray Manning, comp., Diplomatic
Correspondence of the United States Concerning the Independence of the Latin-
American Nations (New York, 1925).
5 Ulrich B. Phillips, American Negro Slavery (New York and London, 1918),
pp. 115-204.

1791: "Whatever the final issue of this affair may be, it is difficult
at this distance ... to foretell, but, certain it is, the commencement
has been both daring and alarming. Let us, however, hope for the
best." 6 In 1791 Jefferson wrote to a free colored man, Benjamin
Banneker, who had sent him a copy of his almanac, usually con-
sidered the first published in this country: "Nobody wishes more
than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given
to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colors of
men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing only to
the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa and
America." 7 But Jefferson could not fail to be disturbed by pro-
jected slave uprisings in Northampton, York and Powhatan coun-
ties, and in Norfolk and Petersburg, Virginia, in 1792 and 1793,
which were said to have been inspired by the insurrection in Saint
Domingue.8 Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the treasury, had
urged the formation of Negro troops in the South during the
American Revolution and the manumission of those who fought in
the Continental armies.9 Thus none of the three men who most
largely controlled American foreign policy in 1791 was a crusader
in behalf of slavery. All three were to consider the problem in the
light of the best interests of the United States. They did not be-
lieve it necessary to undertake an armed intervention to put down
the uprising, and the "peculiar institution" was not entrenched
strongly enough in 1791 to force the hand of the administration.
The United States did, however, grant most of Ternant's re-
quests. Washington and Jefferson readily agreed, for example, not
to have any official dealings with the agents from Saint Domingue.
Almost from the beginning, American statesmen saw in the slave
revolt not only a threat to the security of the United States but
also a possible increase in British trade with the colony and a cor-

George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, ed. by Jared
Sparks (Boston, 1834-1837), X, 194, 195. For Washington's views on slavery
in the United States, see Walter Mazyck, George Washington and the Negro
(Washington, 1932).
The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Ed.), VIII, 241-242.
For these insurrections, see Joseph A. Carroll, Slave Insurrections in the
United States, 1800-1865 (Boston, 1938), pp. 43-44.
'Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. by John C.
Hamilton (New York, 1850-1851), I, 76-77.

responding decrease in American commerce. As early as November
14, 1791, Jefferson told Ternant that the loss by France of Saint
Domingue would probably result in a monopoly of trade for Great
Britain.i0 The United States was therefore doubly desirous of
helping France to maintain her sovereignty over her colony. Late
in September, 1791, the government advanced $40,000 to Ternant
which was to be deducted from the amount owed to France on her
loans during the American Revolution. The government also per-
mitted the sale of a small quantity of arms and ammunition worth
$8,962 from the arsenal at West Point." Eventually the United
States advanced $726,000 out of the debt owed to France by which
arms, ammunition, and supplies were purchased to aid the harassed
planters of Saint Domingue.12 Here, then, is another case in which,
as Professor Samuel Flagg Bemis has pointed out in other in-
stances, the United States profited from the distress of a European
nation."3 But the United States refused to drive a hard bargain-
she reckoned the dollar at the full value of the livre instead of on
the basis of the depreciated French assignats.14 Moreover, the
French authorities in the colony recognized the fact that aid from
the United States had saved the colony, temporarily at least, from
the slaves." Jefferson did insist, however, that the money should be
spent in the United States.16
The continuation of the insurrection and the refusal of the
United States to make large advances after the establishment of
the Convention in France led the colonial authorities to issue drafts

0 Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 72-75. I have nowhere found any evi-
dence to justify the undocumented assertion of Castonnet des Fosses that there
was some discussion at the time of admitting Saint Domingue as the fifteenth
state in the Union.-La perte d'une colonie, la rHvolution de Saint-Domingue
(Paris, .1893), p. 88.
"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 83; Hamilton, Works (Hamilton, ed.)
IV, 174-175.
"Alphonse Aulard, "La dette americaine envers la France sous Louis XVI
et sous la revolution," Revue de Paris, XXXII, No. 3 (1925), 319-338, 534-550.
A. E., C. P., E. U., XXXVII, 85, gives the amount as $729,564.37 up to Janu-
ary 1, 1793.
"See, for example, his Pinckney's Treaty; A Study of America's Advantage
from Europe's Distress, 1783-1800 (Baltimore, 1926).
1 Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 87-93, 97-99. "Ibid., II, 171.
I Writings of Jefferson (Memorial Ed.), VIII, 419-420.

on Ternant. Since the French government did not provide him
with funds with which to pay these drafts, he was forced to an-
nounce on August 8, 1792, the suspension of payments"7-a later
source of friction between the United States and France. The de-
mands for supplies created, in fact, such an increase in the volume
of trade between the United States and Saint Domingue that
Ternant feared that French commerce would suffer. He was in a
delicate situation. He had, until the end of his mission, no instruc-
tions to use funds from the debt for the purchase of supplies, but
he knew that bad crops in France prevented the mother country
from furnishing the colony with sorely needed supplies. He re-
gretted so keenly the expansion of American commerce that he
opposed the sending of an American consul to Saint Domingue.
But he had to accept this commerce because otherwise the colony
might be lost to either the slaves or Great Britain.s1
Although Jefferson was the "Friend of France," he was not
going to overlook the benefits that might accrue to the United
States from France's distress. Even before the slave insurrection
Jefferson had told Short that the French colonies would doubtless
claim in their new constitution a right to receive the necessities of
life from the cheapest source. In a letter dated August 26, 1790,
he instructed Short to urge the colonial deputies to make the de-
mand if they needed any prompting. He suggested that Short time
the payment on the French debt in such a way as to induce the
French ministers to grant this freedom of trade. On making the
payment, Short might add that

measures have been taken which will enable us to pay up, within a
very short time all arrears of principal and interest now due, and
further, that Congress has fully authorized our government to go on
and pay even the balance not yet due, which we mean to do, if that
money can be borrowed on reasonable terms; and that favorable ar-
rangements of commerce between us and their colonies, might dispose
us to effect that payment with less regard to terms. You will, of course,
find excuses for not paying the money which is ready and put under
your orders, till you see that the moment has arrived when the emo-

17 Ibid., VIII, 440-442; Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 153.
18Ibid., II, 49, 64, 85.

tions it may excite, may give a decisive cast to the demands of the

But Jefferson did not desire to acquire the colonies for the United
States. As he wrote Short in cipher on July 28, 1791, less than a
month before the insurrection began: "If there be one principle
more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American,
it is, that we should have nothing to do with conquest." But, he
hastened to add in the next sentence: "As to commerce, indeed, we
have strong sensations." In looking around the world, Jefferson
could see no other instance of a nation forbidden as was the United
States to trade with neighbors. This question was one that con-
cerned not only the foreign power and the neighbor of the United
States (meaning, of course, France and her West Indian colonies)
but also the United States. "We are interested in it equally with
the latter, and nothing but moderation, at least with respect to us,
can render us indifferent to its continuance." Jefferson, as one
might expect, even declared that neighboring nations had "both
a right and a duty under the moral law" to exchange their surplus
products. After suggesting that Short might attempt to make
Lafayette understand the force of these statements, Jefferson
closed the paragraph in cipher with this vague threat: "In policy,
if not in justice, the [European colonial powers] should be disposed
to avoid oppression, which falling on us, as well as on their colonies,
might tempt us to act together." Jefferson sent Washington a copy
of this letter on July 30, 1791, and explained that the "ill humor
into which the French colonies are getting might make the National
Assembly hesitate as to the freedom of trade they would allow in
the colonial constitutions." Jefferson felt that they could rely upon
Short's judgment to decide how far he should use the veiled threat.20
But before Short could make use of these instructions, the slave
uprising upset all calculations. The arrival of the agents from
Saint Domingue necessitated an entirely new policy. On November
24, 1791, Jefferson told Short that by agreement with Ternant he
had held an unofficial interview with them. He had told them that
while the United States was willing to aid a neighbor "whose in-

Writings of Jefferson (Memorial Ed.), VIII, 98-99.
SIbid., VIII, 219-220, 225-226.

terests had some common points of union with ours in matters of
commerce," he could not receive them officially. Since the question
of independence under the French planters had been discussed in
the press, Jefferson had alluded to it in his conversation.. The
agents seemed not to desire independence and Jefferson had told
them that independence "was neither desirable on their part, nor
attainable; that as to ourselves, there was one case which would be
peculiarly alarming to us, to wit, were there a danger of their
[the French West Indies] falling under any other power; that
we conceived it to be strongly our interests, that they should retain
their connection with the mother country, that we had a common
interest with them in furnishing the necessaries of life in exchange
for sugar and coffee for our own consumption." After informing
Short that Congress had taken no official action on the agents' ap-
peal for aid, Jefferson warned him: "It would be unwise in the
highest degree that the colonists should be disgusted with either
France or us; for it might then be made to depend on the modera-
tion of another power whether what appears a chimera might not
become a reality." 21
Jefferson's policy was thus quite clear. He planned to obtain
every possible advantage from France's difficulties especially since,
by so doing, he might avoid the danger of seeing the French West
Indies fall into the hands of Britain. Alexander Hamilton also saw
in the insurrection an opportunity to exact additional commercial
privileges with the colony. But when he approached Ternant on
the subject, October 7, 1791, the French minister reminded him
that the United States did not seem desirous of granting France
any concessions for her trade with the United States. Jefferson fol-
lowed Hamilton's initial demarche shortly thereafter with a sugges-
tion to Ternant that France place American trade with her West
Indies on the footing of nationals. Since Jefferson received no en-
couragement, he waited until April, 1792, before he again raised
the question of a new commercial treaty with France. Ternant then
suggested to his government the possibility of agreement upon
certain principles, among which was one to the effect that American

Ibid., VIII, 262-263. For Girard's commercial operations with Saint Domin-
gue at this time, see McMaster, Girard, I, 145-187.

ships might carry to the French colonies only the products of the
soil and fisheries of the United States and bring back commodities
for consumption in the United States alone. American ships would
pay a slightly higher tariff than would French ships engaged in the
colonial trade. Since France did not respond to these overtures,
Jefferson turned his attention more actively to a new treaty with
Great Britain. Finally, when Ternant learned in February, 1793,
that Genet was coming with full authority to negotiate a new
treaty, he let the matter drop.22
The problem of relief to refugee planters did not occasion such
great difficulty at this time as it did later when the number had
considerably increased. It did, however, soon become involved in the
conflict between the political theories of the French minister and
those of the imigris. Ternant rather skillfully rode the waves of
the revolution in France. When, therefore, these refugees from
Saint Domingue drank a public toast to the Duke of Brunswick
who had threatened to burn Paris to the ground, Ternant refused
to receive them at the legation.23 After the outbreak of war between
France and Great Britain, relief by the ministers of republican
France to royalist imigres and the meddling of these refugees in the
politics of the United States became more intricate problems.
During this earlier period the insurrection in Saint Domingue
prompted a proposal that reveals clearly the important role that
the colony was to play in the vast drama of world politics. In the
summer of 1792 some French statesmen already saw that war
would likely ensue between France on the one hand and Great
Britain and Spain on the other. They realized also that, as in the
previous wars of the eighteenth century, the Caribbean would be
the center of major operations. A French admiral, Kersaint, there-
fore outlined in August, 1792, a project for an expedition, includ-
ing six thousand colored troops from the French West Indies, to
sail from Saint Domingue against the Spanish colonies of Mexico,
"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 57-62, 108-112, 129, 181, 199. Jefferson,
in his first letter of instructions, January 23, 1792, to Gouverneur Morris, the
new minister to France, wrote that the "most important" of his duties was "the
patronage of our commerce, and the extension of the privileges, both in France
and her colonies, but most especially the latter."--Writings of Jefferson (Me-
morial Ed.), VIII, 291. Italics not in the original.
2 Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 163.

Colombia and Louisiana. The Girondin, Brissot de Warville, in ac-
cordance with this plan, offered to Francisco de Miranda, "the
Precursor of South American Independence," the governorship of
Saint Domingue to permit him to carry out his long cherished
scheme of revolutionizing the Spanish possessions in America. But
Miranda preferred not to undertake the expedition since, as he
wrote, the cause of liberty in Europe was his greatest obligation
at that time, since he knew nothing of the situation in Saint Domin-
gue, and since he realized that his mere departure for the Caribbean
would alarm both Great Britain and Spain.24 Although the pro-
posal did not materialize in 1792, Saint Domingue was, on many
later occasions, to figure prominently in the struggle for the inde-
pendence of northern South America.
In 1793 there occurred two events of world-wide significance,
both of which complicated American foreign policy for twenty-
two years and one of which continued to influence foreign and
domestic affairs for another forty-seven years. The first of these
was the outbreak of war between republican France and monarchi-
cal Great Britain and Spain. The second was the unofficial emanci-
pation of the slaves in Saint Domingue, made official by the decree
of the French Convention of February 4, 1794. The American
policy in Saint Domingue became all the more involved because
from 1793 to 1798 British forces occupied a part of the colony.
The outbreak of war between France and Great Britain occas-
ioned one of the most momentous debates on foreign policy in the
history of the United States. Should the United States recognize
the republican, regicide government of France? Were the commer-
cial and political treaties of 1778 with France still binding? What
policy should the United States adopt with respect to the war?
In the second and third of these questions Saint Domingue was of
importance because the United States had guaranteed it, along
with the other French colonies, "forever." In the third question,
Saint Domingue could not be ignored because the answer would
control the future commercial relations between the United States
and the colony.
2 J P. Brissot, Correspondance et papers, ed. by Claude Perroud (Paris,
1911), pp. 301-355; Francisco de Miranda, Archivo del general Miranda, ed.
by Vicente Davila (Caracas, 1929-1932), XIII, 25-27, 32-33, 43.

The cabinet finally decided to recognize the French government
and declared the treaties still binding.25 On April 22, 1793, Wash-
ington issued a proclamation designed to assure the neutrality of
the United States. Although French statesmen excoriated the
United States for her "cowardly abandonment" 26 of the ally who
had aided her to win independence, the exigencies of the French
situation made it impossible for the National Convention to de-
mand the fulfillment of the treaty of alliance. Gen6t, the new French
minister, had been instructed at the end of 1792 to make the Ameri-
can guarantee of the French West Indies the sine qua non of a new
treaty which would give the United States unrestricted trade with
those possessions. "It is important," the instructions read, "that a
people whose revenues increase in an incalculable measure and
whom nature has placed so near to our rich colonies should be as-
sociated by their own engagements in the preservation of those
islands." The French Executive Council believed that Genet would
have little difficulty in obtaining the renewal of the guarantee be-
cause the lucrative commerce with the colonies would more than
offset the sacrifices that the United States would have to make and
because during a long time the guarantee would be merely a
"nominal" one.27 Thus, even before the outbreak of war the French
government was willing to grant additional commercial privileges
in the West Indies in order to induce the United States to live up
to the promise that had formed a part of the basis for the French
alliance during the American Revolution.
But Genet was never able to negotiate his new commercial treaty
nor insist upon the American guarantee. In the first place, French
statesmen believed that American neutrality would permit Genet
to use American soil for attacks on the colonies of Great Britain
and Spain, American ports for bringing in prizes and fitting out
privateers, and American ships for carrying to France neutral
goods which France sorely needed. Since the United States had en-

'Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. by Henry
Cabot Lodge (New York and London, 1904), IV, 366-408; Charles Marion
Thomas, American Neutrality in 1793: A Study in Cabinet Government (New
York, 1931).
"A. 8. P., F. R., I, 151. Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 204-211.

gaged in trade with Saint Domingue before the outbreak of war, she
could continue to do so in accordance with the Rule of the War of
1756.28 It may be argued, therefore, that France expected to derive
more benefits from American neutrality than from American ad-
herence to the treaty of alliance. Consequently, from the point of
view of French interests it is of little moment whether the United
States adopted neutrality in order to profit from the trade or in
order to avoid involvement in Europe's wars.29
In the second place, the dependence of the French colonies, and
especially of Saint Domingue, upon the United States for supplies
forced the Convention to grant the very concession that Genet was
to use as a compensation for the renewal of the American guarantee.
As early as October, 1792, the municipality of St. Marc, in defiance
of the orders of the acting governor-general, La Salle, kept its
port open to "interlopers." 30 By the decrees of February 19 and
March 26, 1793, the Convention put American trade with the
French West Indies on the footing of French nationals."3 The out-
break of war with Great Britain had thus compelled France tardily
to grant the Americans the free trade that they had been demand-
ing for many years. But in so far as this freedom of trade had not
been permitted prior to the beginning of hostilities between France
and Britain, the latter could argue that it violated the Rule of the
War of 1756.
The war only made Saint Domingue more dependent than ever
upon the United States for supplies. On May 2, 1793, Polverel and
Sonthonax, French civil commissioners in Saint Domingue, wrote
to Genet: "The troops have not been paid ... the navy is in the most

For a brief discussion of this Rule see Philip C. Jessup and Francis Deak,
Neutrality, Its History, Economics and Law (New York, 1935), I, 152-156.
2 For the opposing views, see Charles S. Hyneman, The First American Neu-
trality (Urbana, Illinois, 1935), pp. 11 ff. and 145 ff.; and the review of this
monograph by Samuel Flagg Bemis in Journal of Modern History, VII (De-
cember, 1935), 480-481.
a A.-N. de la Salle, Les papers du gindral A.-N. de la Salle (Saint-Domin-
gue, 1792-1793), ed. by A. Corre (Quimper, 1897), p. 39.
SA. E., C. P., E. U., XXVII, 210-213, 233-234; A. S. P., F. R., I, 362-363. For
French opposition to these decrees, see Nussbaum, Commercial Policy, pp.

complete destitution; the storehouses are empty, and if the English
in the New World [Americans] do not come promptly to our aid,
the ruin of Saint Domingue is consummated." 32 Genet realized this
plight of Saint Domingue when he wrote on June 14, 1793, that
without supplies from the United States, which he still hoped would
be paid for out of the American debt to France, she and her colonies
"would be consigned to the horror of famine." 33 In October, 1793,
he lamented that "all of the commerce is already in their [the
Americans'] hands as a result of the war and of the necessity for
us to open the ports so that they would not perish from famine."
The Americans, he reported, realized fully that France could do
nothing to alter the situation. He therefore feared that all of the
islands in the West Indies would ultimately fall under the control
of the "peoples of the continent from which they had been de-
tached." This early expression of a belief in a kind of political
Manifest Destiny was exaggerated. Jefferson was nearer the truth
when he was quoted by Fauchet in February, 1795, as having re-
marked: "The force of events hands over the French colonies to us;
France enjoys the sovereignty over them and we, the profit from
them." 3
As already indicated, Genet planned to use the neutral soil of
the United States to organize expeditions against the colonies of
Great Britain and Spain. The failure of these efforts, including
the employment of George Rogers Clark and Andre Michaux, is
well known.36 Less familiar is his project to employ a fleet from
Saint Domingue for the same purpose. Lebrun, the Girondist
minister of foreign affairs, ordered Genet to organize the Negroes
of the colony for an attack on those colonies.37 In June, 1793, the
new governor-general of Saint Domingue, Galbaud, had precipi-
tated a riot that drove the French fleet of twelve warships and
2 A. E., C. P., E. U., supp. XXX, 132.
"A. S. P., F. R., I, 157.
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 219-265 passim, 305, 307. For a very
"Ibid., 1, 564.
F. J. Turner, ed., "Correspondence of Clark and Genet," Annual Report,
American Historical Association for 1896 (Washington, 1897), I, 930-1107;
James A. James, The Life of George Rogers Clark (Chicago, 1928), pp. 411-
"Clark and Genet," I, 1010-1011.

some one hundred merchant ships to the United States.38 Since
France had declared war on Great Britain, it was dangerous to
send these ships to France. Genet, in accordance with what he con-
strued to be the general purpose of Lebrun, worked out a grandiose
scheme which included the use of these ships for an attack on St.
Pierre and Miquelon, the Bahamas, and Louisiana. But a mutiny
of the sailors and Jefferson's watchfulness prevented the execution
of the plan. The ships eventually sailed back to France, carrying
a number of emigris and a quantity of provisions.39 Fauchet,
Genet's successor, also played with the idea of using Saint Do-
mingue as a base for attacks on the Spanish and British colonies40
but the British occupation of some of the most important ports of
the colony made the execution of the plan impracticable.
Although the United States thus escaped involvement in the
utilization of the fleet from Saint Domingue against the colonies
of powers with which the United States was at peace, she could
not avoid other consequences of the revolution in the colony. The
flight of Galbaud to the United States, the emancipation of those
slaves who would join the French armies in Saint Domingue, and
temporary victories of the French armies there, resulted in a con-
siderable increase in the number of insular refugee planters in the
United States. Many of them became a burden upon the states and
the federal government especially since the French ministers dis-
played no great zeal to support these enemies of the French repub-
lic. Genet, for example, granted them relief only in order to avoid
public criticism.4' Fauchet was opposed to aiding them since he
believed that they remained in the United States only to avoid serv-
ice under the colors of France. He was determined to pay the
imigris three dollars a week each only until he could obtain passage
to France for them. Since he received no funds for their passage,
and since the United States had refused to make any additional ad-
8 A. E., C. P., E. U., XXXIX, 113vo-114; McMaster, Girard, I, 192-206. For
the accusation that many Americans, including Girard, failed to return the
possessions of refugees consigned to them, see McMaster, Girard, I, 212-224.
"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 219-265, passim, 305, 307. For a very
entertaining account see Meade Minnigerode, Jefferson, Friend of France, 1793
(New York and London, 1928), pp. 289-316.
"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 569-570.
SIbid., II, 256, 259, 276.

vances on the debt owed to France, these refugees, who numbered
some twenty thousand by the spring of 1797, became a real burden.
The federal government did advance fifteen thousand dollars for
their relief in 1794, which it expected to be charged against the
debt to France. Since, however, the money had been distributed in-
discriminately to royalists and republicans, Fauchet had refused,
until he received instructions, to agree to the assignment against
the debt.42 Some of the states supplemented the federal aid-Penn-
sylvania, for example, appropriated in 1797 one thousand dollars
for the relief of the emigres.4
The royalist leanings of most of these imigris led many of them
into American politics. At no time in American history have foreign
affairs influenced domestic issues more than in the 1790's. Hamilton
and the Federalists favored a friendly policy toward Great Britain
with whose financiers and statesmen they had close business and
personal relations. Jefferson, Madison and Monroe inclined toward
France. This difference as to foreign policy helped to consolidate
the two emerging parties, the Federalists and the Republicans.44
The royalist imigres naturally gravitated toward the former. They
began at the end of 1793 at Philadelphia the Journal des rivolu-
tions de la parties franfaise de Saint Domingue which consistently
opposed the republicanism of France in both Europe and Saint
Domingue.4" Tanguy, a refugee along with Galbaud, started the
Star for the same purpose. Royalist emigres helped to stir up the
mutiny on Galbaud's fleet that prevented Genet from using it
against the British and Spanish colonies. Fauchet accused them
of conspiring to deliver the French West Indies to Great Britain
until, under a monarchy, France could recover them. They bor-
rowed cannon to salute Jay when he left to negotiate the treaty
with Great Britain. As early as 1794 Congress had begun to debate

A. E., C. P., E. U., XLI, 316-324.
"Ibid., XLVII, 218vo, 219; L, 226, 390-393. Fauchet asked for $1,000,000
from Congress in 1794, payable in six months. The House approved the appro-
priation, 53 to 23, but the Senate disallowed it, 12 to 7.-Annals of Congress,
1789-1824 (Washington, 1834-1856), 3rd Cong., 1st sess., col. 130. Hereafter
cited as Annals.
"Edward Channing, A History of the United States (New York, 1905-1925),
especially IV, 116-209.
'A. E., C. P., E. U., XLV, 279vo; ibid., supp., XXX, 218-219vo.

laws to govern immigrants many of whom, according to Fauchet,
were insular emigrds who had taken an oath to support the enemies
of France.46 A somewhat excitable French ex-consul believed that
they and continental imigris would join supporters of Great Brit-
ain in the United States in overthrowing the United States.47
To offset the influence of the "monocrats" the French govern-
ment and its ministers in the United States sought to strengthen
the Republicans. Adet, Fauchet's successor, had definite instruc-
tions to establish close relations with the Francophils in the United
States. "Washington must go," declared Delacroix, the French
minister of foreign affairs. In a deliberate attempt to influence the
presidential election of 1796 Adet, on instructions from his govern-
ment, proclaimed the suspension of diplomatic relations on the
very eve of the election. It was this meddling by both Anglophobes
and Francophobes that prompted Washington's warning to the
American people in his Farewell Address "against the insidious
wiles of foreign influence." 48 It is difficult to determine the exact
extent to which the insular imigre planters employed these "in-
sidious wiles," but there is every reason to believe that they were
just as vociferous as were the continental imigrds at Coblentz,
London, and Turin.
On the other hand, some of these insular emigre planters and
their descendants contributed in many ways to the development
of the American people.49 Important colonies settled in Philadel-
phia, New York, Newark, Wilmington, Baltimore, Norfolk, Peters-
burg, Charleston, and New Orleans. Some four thousand refugees-
white, gens de couleur and slaves-landed at the last named port
in 1791, and an additional seven thousand came over to it, after
a temporary sojourn in Cuba, in 1808. Howard Mumford Jones is
convinced that many of the buildings of Old Charleston were con-
structed according to plans of the imigres from Saint Domingue
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 380.
47 A. E., C. P., E. U., XLIV, 382-384vo.
"Samuel Flagg Bemis, "Washington's Farewell Address; a Foreign Policy of
Independence," American Historical Review, XXXIX (January, 1934), 250-
Unless otherwise indicated the material in this paragraph is based upon
Howard Mumford Jones, America and French Culture (Chapel Hill, 1927),
and Herbert Asbury, The French Quarter (New York and London, 1936).

and that the justly famous wrought iron railings of many of the
buildings in the Vieux Carrd of New Orleans were forged by slaves
from there. The first professional theatrical performance in New
Orleans was given in 1791 by a company of refugees from the
colony. In addition to the Journal and Star already mentioned,
6migris started a newspaper at Charleston in 1794. To them should
also probably be attributed the first French newspaper in New
Orleans, the Moniteur de la Louisiane, which began publication
in the same year. Tanguy published at Philadelphia a Mimoire sur
la situation commercial de la France avec les Etats-Unis d'Amiri-
que. Moreau de Saint M6ry published also at Philadelphia the two
volumes of one of the best known works on the colony. In 1799
another group of actors from Saint Domingue presented in New
Orleans a series of comedies, dramas, and vaudeville. The first two
heads of the College of New Orleans, created by the legislature in
1805, came from Saint Domingue. The father of William Cullen
Bryant was a pupil of the imigri, Lepprilkte, who settled in Newton,
Massachusetts. Most of the members of the Grand Orient Lodge in
Virginia are said to have been insular imigres. Especially in
Philadelphia, Charleston and New Orleans some of these refugees
became famous as pastry cooks, dancing and fencing masters,
bakers, dressmakers, hairdressers, "clearstarchers," gardeners,
teachers of deportment, botanists, physicians and surgeons. A. R.
Terrier de Riviere, a French consul in Wilmington, North Caro-
lina, believed that the refugees helped greatly to increase cotton
production in the Southern states.50 There is considerable evidence
that Etienne Bor6, who is usually credited with first granulating
sugar from sugar cane in Louisiana, learned the process from
Morin, a Saint Domingue refugee.51 A small group began the
abortive settlement at Asylum on the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania.
Victor S6jour, a mulatto who wrote many plays that were pre-
sented on the stage in Paris and who became one of the secretaries
of Napoleon III, was the son of a Saint Domingue imigrd to New
Orleans."2 The role of the free Negro imigris to New Orleans and
o A. E., C. P., E. U., LXI, 194vo.
Arthur P. Whitaker, The Mississippi Question, 1795-1803: A Study in Trade,
Politics and Diplomacy (New York, 1934), pp. 131-132, 295, note 4.
Charles B. Rousseve, The Negro in Louisiana (New Orleans, 1937), pp.

to a lesser extent to other cities is not easily ascertainable because
the descendants of some were assimilated by the white population
and by the already not inconsiderable free Negro population. Free
Negroes fought with Jackson at New Orleans; they served on
both sides during the American Civil War; they played an im-
portant part in the reconstruction, especially of Louisiana and
South Carolina."3
If two French reports may be believed, the insurrection also re-
sulted in a slave trade from Saint Domingue to the United States.
The same ex-consul who expressed alarm over the possibility of a
plot to subvert the republic asserted in 1795 that some ten thousand
slaves had been brought to the United States in American ships
from the French colony. He objected to this slave trade, not on
principle, but because of fear that the importation of large num-
bers of slaves would result in the impoverishment of Saint Domingue
and a corresponding enrichment of the United States. He pro-
posed, therefore, that since slavery had been abolished in the
French colonies the French consuls in the United States should see
to it that no more Negroes be imported for sale into the United
States.54 I have not been able to find any evidence that the subject
involved diplomatic negotiations between the United States and
France. It is probable that emancipation in Saint Domingue had
put an end to this little-known slave trade.
The emancipation of the slaves, officially decreed by the French
Convention on February 4, 1794, naturally provoked considerable
discussion in the United States. As early as 1791, in fact, disaffec-
tion existed among the slaves in Louisiana as a result of the up-
rising of the slaves in Saint Domingue.55 On September 21 of that
same year a member of the House of Representatives of Pennsyl-
vania had opposed sending provisions to the planters because "it
would be inconsistent for a free State to take action against a
people who were using the only means they had to shake off the

"See especially Alice Dunbar-Nelson, "People of Color in Louisiana," Jour-
nal of Negro History, I (October, 1916), 361-376; II (January, 1917), 51-78.
Professor L. P. Jackson of Virginia State College, Petersburg, has discovered
some illuminating information in the courthouse records of that city concerning
many free Negroes from Saint Domingue.
"A. E., C. P., E. U., XLIV, 381-384vo; XLVII, 179-180vo.
SAsbury, French Quarter, p. 62.

yoke of the most frightful slavery and because if the insurrection
of the Negroes were treated as a rebellion what name could be given
to that of the Americans which won their independence?" But
this remarkable appeal in behalf of the Negroes of Saint Domingue
fell on deaf ears. The dominant sentiment seems to have been that
of Washington. In the South, of course, there was considerable
alarm. A meeting was called there in June, 1794, for the purpose
of adopting effective measures against the "diabolical decree of the
national convention which emancipates all the slaves in the french
colonies, a circumstance the most alarming that could happen to
this country." Genet believed, moreover, at the end of 1793 that
Jefferson had grown lukewarm in the French cause because of the
defeat of the French armies in Europe and because of the fear that
the uprising in Saint Domingue had put into the hearts of slave-
holders.58 Genet nevertheless doubted that there was any serious
danger of a slave revolt in the United States.59
Two other incidents reveal the possibility of embarrassment to
the United States from emancipation in Saint Domingue. Genet's
son made the statement many years later that his father had re-
ceived "as ambassadors" and invited to dinner a group of mulattoes
and Negroes from Saint Domingue who explained "their loyalty
to the French Republic and their present intentions." 60 Genet's
correspondence fails to shed any additional light on this mission.
But for the other incident there is abundant evidence. Victor
Dupont, the French consul at Charleston, South Carolina, protest-
ed vigorously against the action of that city in forcing the mulatto
general, Martial Besse, to put up a bond in 1797 as required by the
South Carolina law. The bond was remitted after Dupont had
pointed out that General Besse was on an official mission for the
French government and that he had been wounded at the siege of

Quoted in Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 53.
Quoted by Ulrich B. Phillips, "The South Carolina Federalists," American
Historical Review, XIV (July, 1909), 735.
s Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 245-246.
9 A. E., C. P., E. U., XXXIX, 269.
oGeorge Clinton Genet, Washington, Jefferson and "Citizen" Genet (New
York, 1899), pp. 49-50. The younger Genet stated that his father raised the
question whether this exhibition of social equality could "have been the cause
of Washington's great antipathy."-Loc. cit.

Savannah during the American Revolution. The law which required
the posting of a bond for Negroes who came into South Carolina
remained, of course, in effect.6
The French declaration of war on England, February 1, 1793,
followed by that on Spain shortly thereafter, removed the problem
of Saint Domingue from the domain of domestic politics to the
intricate labyrinth of the diplomacy of the French Revolution. An
early indication of the difficulties that the United States would en-
counter in Saint Domingue is seen by the end of the year. When
Genet arrived at Philadephia in May, 1793, he found offers from
American farmers to send six hundred thousand barrels of flour to
the French West Indies.62 Although the refusal of the United
States to make additional advances on the American debt prevented
him from taking full advantage of the opportunities offered to
supply Saint Domingue, the American merchants were willing to
accept drafts drawn by the French authorities in the colony. The
non-payment of these drafts added to the grievance that had begin
under Ternant.63
The British, in order to put a stop to this neutral trade with
the French colonies, issued the order-in-council of November 6,
1793, which authorized the seizure of all (including neutral) ves-
sels carrying supplies to them or laden with their produce. The ex-
tent of the American trade with the French West Indies may be
seen in the fact that by the time the order was revoked, January
8, 1794, to permit in accordance with the Rule of the War of 1756
bona fide neutral trade, some two hundred fifty American ships
had been seized and one hundred -6f them condemned. But the new
order still authorized the seizure of all ships laden in whole or in
part with contraband for the French colonies and of all ships going
to a blockaded port. Since the order defined neither contraband nor
blockade, it created two new difficulties in place of the one that it
had removed.64

A. E., C. P., E. U., XLVII, 311-312vo.
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 215.
"A. E., C. P., E. U., XLI, 132-145, 316-324; XLII, 128-129vo, 173-174vo;
XLIV, 412; XLV, 92-94vo.
Samuel Flagg Bemis, Jay's Treaty, A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy
(New York, 1923), especially pp. 158-159. Girard was chairman of a committee

The prior interest of Great Britain in Saint Domingue has al-
ready been noted. Gouverneur Morris, writing to Washington from
England in March, 1792, asserted that Pitt was planning to bring
about the independence of Saint Domingue. Thomas Clarkson, the
famous advocate of the abolition of the slave trade, was in Paris
on a special mission connected with this plan. Pitt was going to ap-
proach the United States in an effort to have her accept his plan
in return for which he would mediate with the Indian tribes
threatening the American western frontier. Morris did not believe
that the United States would countenance such a scheme, but its
success, he felt, would "be entirely for our advantage, and a mere
preliminary of the sort which must happen to Jamaica on the first
change of the wind in the political world." 6 But Pitt was still
pursuing in Saint Domingue the policy of neutrality that he was
following in France. In November, 1791, he had refused to grant
the request of De Charmilly, an agent of the planters, that he inter-
vene in their behalf. Not until the French republic adopted in
November, 1792, decrees menacing the "channel ports" and on
February 1, 1793, declared war on Britain did Pitt adopt an ag-
gressive policy. Foreign Secretary Grenville agreed in a minute
which he signed on April 5, 1793, with Malouet, another French
colonial agent, to aid in restoring the French colony to the planters
until the treaty of peace should determine its eventual sovereignty.66
At the end of 1793 the British began a five-year occupation of Saint
Domingue that, in the opinion of the most distinguished British
military historian, made Britain "impotent" in her war against
France because of the "two fatal words, St. Domingo." 6T

that met in Philadelphia and drafted a memorial against the decree of Novem-
ber 6.-McMaster, Girard, I, 239-242.
SMorris, Diary, I, 520-521. The latest biographer of Clarkson makes no
reference to this alleged trip.-Earl L. Griggs, Thomas Clarkson, the Friend of
Slaves (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1938), pp. 65-72.
Holden Furber, Henry Dundas, First Viscount Melville, 1742-1811 (Lon-
don, 1931), Part I, Chap. IV. The minute is in Ward and Gooch, eds., British
Foreign Policy, I, 550-551. See also Malouet, Mdmoires, I, 260-277. A similar but
more detailed agreement between De Charmilly and Lieutenant-Governor Wil-
liamson of Jamaica, September 3, 1793, may be conveniently consulted in Garran
de Coulon, Rapport, IV, 127-132.
"Sir John Fortescue, A History of the British Army (New York, 1899-1927),
IV, Part I, 565. Mahan points out that the withdrawal of British troops from

Since both the British and the French in Saint Domingue sought
to obtain supplies, arms and ammunition from the United States,
and since both Britain and France attempted to restrict the neutral
trade with the ports in the enemy's possession, the struggle in Saint
Domingue became a miniature of the efforts of the United States
to trade with Britain and France in Europe. The eagerness with
which American merchants endeavored to trade with all of the
ports in Saint Domingue led a French official to call them the
"Dutch of the New World" and "Jews." 68
In order to put an end to this trade with the ports of Saint
Domingue under British control, Genet protested on November 29,
1793, against an alleged filibustering expedition to carry arms and
ammunition from the United States to two of the ports held by the
British, J4remie and M6le St. Nicolas. The French minister further
asserted that American vessels had already carried arms and am-
munition to those ports and that "emissaries of men with whom
your ministers associate, have gone to that island ... there to nego-
tiate insurrections." 69 It is true that some of the imigres had re-
turned to the island to recover, with the aid of the British, their
property,70 as they had every right to do. But Genet offered no
evidence that members of Washington's cabinet had aided any at-
tempt to drive out the French troops from Saint Domingue. He
nevertheless made the extraordinary demand that Washington
issue orders to the armed vessels of the United States to stop every
merchant vessel sailing for Saint Domingue unless it had a passport
signed by Genet.
Jefferson made short shrift of this demand. He pointed out that
the sale of arms and ammunition by private individuals was not
forbidden by the laws of the United States. He rather sharply in-

Guadeloupe for the invasion of Saint Domingue permitted the redoubtable
Victor Hugues to drive the British out of Guadeloupe in December, 1794. As a
consequence, Guadeloupe became an important base from which sallied forth
French privateers to prey upon British and American commerce.-The Influ-
ence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812 (Boston,
1892), I, 116-121.
'" A. E., C. P., E. U., XLIV, 412-413vo. Girard, on the other hand, virtually
stopped trading with Saint Domingue since his ships were likely to be captured
by either belligerent.-McMaster, Girard, I, 299, 307-310, 313-318.
A. S. P., F. R., I, 187. '" A. E., C. P., E. U., XLI, 316-317.

formed Genet that it was unnecessary to state the objections to the
issuing of passports signed by Genet since the president had no
authority to sign such an order. Jefferson totally ignored the ac-
cusation involving the alleged connivance of cabinet officers with
the returning imigres. In brief, his investigation found none of the
ships engaged in any forbidden trade.71
Early in 1794 the sum total of the difficulties of the United States
with Great Britain exceeded that with France. But the Federalists
highly prized the value of British friendship and commerce. In
spite of loud public clamor against Great Britain, Congress merely
placed an embargo, approved June 4, 1794, against all shipments.72
Fauchet was, of course, indignant when Edmund Randolph, Jeffer-
son's successor, applied the law to prevent the sailing of a ship
which was to carry supplies, arms and ammunition to Saint Domin-
gue.73 This action was, indeed, a forerunner of the "betrayal" of
France by the United States when on November 19, 1794, the sign-
ing of Jay's Treaty with Britain revealed that ties of blood, com-
merce, and the desire to achieve the full fruits of independence out-
weighed gratitude to France.
Adet believed that the refusal of the United States to put an end
to the commerce between American merchants and the British in
Saint Domingue provided additional evidence of the "base" cater-
ing to Great Britain. On January 12, 1796, he requested that the
United States prevent the sale of flour and cavalry horses which
were to be carried on ships purchased in the United States and
manned by American sailors. That the United States was not
bound to stop the sale of flour is seen in the fact that Adet asked
that his request be granted as a "favor." The refusal to stop the
sale of cavalry horses, as contraband of war, was in line with a
policy to which the United States has consistently adhered, al-
though with a notable exception later in Haiti, namely, that the

A. S. P., F. R., I, 188.
"2Statutes at Large of the United States of America, 1789-1891 (Boston,
1845-1873; Washington, 1875-1891), I, 372. Hereafter cited as Stat. L.
I- A. E., C. P., E. U., XLI, 220.
74Ibid., XLV, 92-94vo; A. S. P., F. R., I, 645-650; Turner, ed., "Correspond-
ence," II, 824-825.

duty of stopping the sale of contraband devolves upon the belliger-
ent who suffers from it.75
But the signing of Jay's Treaty did more than merely arouse in-
dignation and anger among French statesmen. It resulted in the
renewal of suggestions that Spain retrocede Louisiana to France
not only to enable France to regain her lost ascendancy over the
American government, but also to enable her to liberate Saint
Domingue from dependence on the United States for supplies. The
French minister to the United States, Moustier, was the first re-
sponsible French official to offer this as a serious proposal. In a
memoir dated March 10, 1789, he pictured Saint Domingue and
Louisiana as military complements for the shifting of garrisons.
He declared that their products were also complementary-the
sugar, coffee, molasses and rum of the colony would be exchanged
for the timber and food supplies from Louisiana.76 The plans of
Brissot, Genet and Lebrun to recover Louisiana by force have al-
ready been noted. Fauchet had received definite instructions to put
an end to expeditions organized on American soil," but he none-
theless gave his approval to the mission of Captain Auguste
Lachaise who had been sent from Saint Domingue to investigate
the possibilities of stirring up the Kentuckians to march against
Louisiana, and he later sent him to France to submit to the Com-
mittee of Public Safety the information that he had gained."7 Then
when Fauchet had heard only rumors that the United States had
signed a treaty with Great Britain, he wrote on February 4, 1795,
a despatch that removes any doubt as to the connection between
Louisiana and Saint Domingue, in his mind, at any rate.
Fauchet quoted Jefferson's statement of the dependence of Saint
Domingue on the United States as his point of departure. He was,
therefore, at first fearful that the rumored treaty would mean a
joint Anglo-American attack on the French colonies. But these
fears were in part allayed by the fact that emancipation of the

"'Carlton Savage, ed., Policy of the United States toward Maritime Com-
merce in War 1776-1918 (Washington, 1934-1936), passim.
This document was found in the French archives by Professor E. Wilson
Lyon. See his Louisiana in French Diplomacy, pp. 60-66.
"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 292. 8 A. E., C. P., E. U., XLVI, 67.

slaves made those possessions less desirable to the two slaveholding
powers, Great Britain and the United States. He believed that
eventually the free population of Saint Domingue could produce
enough to liberate it from the United States and thereby enable
France to restore an empire capable of imposing its will upon the
United States. Meanwhile, close commercial relations between the
French West Indies and the United States were evident from the
fact that during 1793 some sixty million pounds of coffee and a
large quantity of sugar had been shipped to American ports. At
least as much had been shipped in 1794, he asserted. In order,
therefore, to liberate the French colonies from dependence on the
United States, continued Fauchet, "Louisiana extends her arms
to us; we find there all we have to hope for from America, and we
fortify ourselves doubly in that way against all we may fear from
her." He proposed, therefore, that France seek to obtain Louisiana
from Spain at the peace negotiations that were soon to be opened.
In the event that negotiations should fail, he suggested a secret
expedition from France or from the colonies. But in this familiar
proposal there appears a new danger. How would the slaveholders
in Louisiana view French rule which might mean emancipation of
the slaves? (And, we might ask, how would American slaveholders
view acquisition by France?) At all events, Fauchet concluded, the
acquisition of Louisiana would greatly alter the hostile attitude of
the United States toward France.79
During the peace negotiations at Basel in the summer of 1795
the French Executive Directory did attempt to make Spain retro-
cede Louisiana, but the skillfulness of the Spanish envoy, Yriarte,
limited Spain's territorial losses to Santo Domingo. The effect of
Fauchet's despatch of February 4 on the instructions of April 17
which for the first time suddenly introduced the demand for Lou-
isiana has been the subject of some discussion. One of the best
known American scholars interested in the Louisiana question,
Professor Arthur P. Whitaker, believes, although without positive
proof, that Fauchet's despatch had been received before the in-
structions had been drawn up.80
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 559-571; "Clark and Genet," I, 1078.
""Louisiana in the Treaty of Basel," Journal of Modern History, VIII
(March, 1936), especially note 16, pp. 7-8; Lyon, Louisiana in French Diplomacy,
p. 80.

Fauchet's later despatches frequently adverted to the neces-
sity of acquiring Louisiana. On February 16, 1795, he declared
that the acquisition was necessary even if France should prevent
whatever Jay had concocted at London."8 Shortly thereafter he
gave as additional evidence of the dependence of Saint Domingue
on the United States the fact that the only means of communica-
tion between the colony and France was through the French minis-
ter in the United States. On April 3 and again on April 19, 1795,
he insisted that the restitution of Louisiana would have such evi-
dent advantages for the French colonies that it was unnecessary
for him to prove the case.82 Even after the end of his mission he
submitted a memoir, dated December 15, 1795, in which he de-
clared: "In order for us to be independent in our measures with
them [the Americans] it must not be necessary for us to depend on
them for supplying our colonies and for repairing our naval
forces." 8"
The failure of France to obtain Louisiana at Basel led an anony-
mous memorialist to point out that Louisiana was still necessary
since Santo Domingo did not furnish the things that Saint Domin-
gue needed. France should hasten to obtain Louisiana, he declared,
before Pinckney, the American envoy to Spain, did so" and made
the French colonies more dependent than ever on the United States.
Consequently France should send agents to Louisiana to arouse
among the inhabitants a desire for annexation to France. With
Louisiana in the hands of France, he asserted, her colonies would be
able to obtain timber, cattle, fodder, wheat, rice, tobacco, indigo,
cotton, fish, iron, tar "and a thousand other precious products."
France would then be even stronger in America than in Europe,
and she would be able to compel the United States to observe strict-
ly the treaties between the two countries.8" While this memoir pre-
sents an exaggerated estimate of the productivity of Louisiana at

"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 580.
Ibid., II, 613, 624, 652-653.
A. E., C. P., E. U., XLIV, 468. Douhb, an official in the French foreign
office, declared, on December 3, 1795, that "if we had New Orleans, it would be
the storehouse for our colonies."-Ibid., XLIV, 416vo.
Pinckney had no instructions to obtain Louisiana.-Bemis, Pinckney's
Treaty, pp. 290-291.
A. E., C. P., E. U., XLVII, 179-180vo,

the time,86 it leaves no doubt that the French foreign office was be-
ing reminded of the double value of Louisiana as a means of liber-
ating the colonies from dependence on the United States and of re-
establishing French power in the Western Hemisphere.
The Thermidorians revealed their continued interest in Louisi-
ana when they requested the French minister in the United States
on November 2, 1794, to send all available information on Louisi-
ana.87 Nevertheless, the Gulf of Mexico seemed less important than
the Mediterranean, for the Directory rejected the treaty of June
22, 1796, by which Spain was willing to sell Louisiana, but at a
price which France considered too high.88 Adet, however, in accord-
ance with the instructions of November 2, 1794, sent General
Victor Collot in 1796 to make a study of the terrain for future
military operations.89 But Adet does not appear to have been a
very ardent advocate of the thesis that Louisiana would be the
"liberator" of France and of her West Indian colonies. On March
21, 1796, in a long review of his conversation with several Ameri-
cans in which he raised the question whether the "illusion" of the
American guarantee of the West Indies was sufficient recompense
for the commercial facilities granted, he did not propose Louisiana
as the solution to France's difficulties.90
The failure to take advantage of the Spanish offer of 1796 prob-
ably had a profound effect on both the United States and Saint
Domingue. This is perhaps even more true after the Treaty of
Campo Formio, October 27, 1797, left Bonaparte free to map a
new course. He sought first to create a French empire in the Near
East and thereby lost a splendid opportunity to guide the destiny
of Saint Domingue and of Louisiana. Speculations upon the "if's"

See, for example, James A. Robertson, Louisiana under the Rule of Spain,
France and the United States as Portrayed in Hitherto Unpublished Con-
temporary Accounts (Cleveland, 1911).
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 928-930.
"Whitaker, Mississippi Question, p. 183. Raymond Guyot has clearly set
forth the role of Louisiana in the European diplomacy of France in Chapter
XI of his Le directoire et la paix de l'Europe (Paris, 1912).
As a result of this trip he wrote his valuable Voyage dans l'Amdrique sep-
tentrionale, onu description des pays arrosJs par le Missisipi, I'Ohio, le Mis-
souri et autres riviires affluentes (Paris, 1826).
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 879.

of history are of no real value, but few more fascinating ventures
could be imagined than the one resulting from a voyage with Bona-
parte across the Atlantic to Saint Domingue instead of across the
Mediterranean to Egypt in 1798.
The French Directory, as a matter of fact, did not take such an
alarming view of Jay's Treaty as did some memorialists. When
Charbonnat Duplaine, a French consul in the United States, as-
serted probably early in 1796 that the Treaty was but a pre-
liminary to an Anglo-American alliance for the purpose of seizing
the French West Indies,91 the French foreign minister commented
that any American administration that proposed such an alliance
would be "crushed by the people." In the meantime, nevertheless, he
recommended that France defend her Caribbean possessions,
threaten the British colonies there, and establish herself on the Mis-
sissippi.92 Adet warned, however, that France should proceed cau-
tiously against Jay's Treaty because a rupture with the United
States would mean the starvation of the French colonies.93
French policy could not avoid the very rupture that many ad-
visers prophesied would be disastrous. And it was the policy in the
Caribbean that was a prime cause of the quasi war of 1798-1800.
Early in 1796 the Executive Directory ordered the French agents
in the West Indies to declare the British colonies there in a state
of siege and, since Jay's Treaty, in its opinion, had violated the
principles of neutrality, to seize all neutral vessels that sought to
carry provisions to them. The agents were to pay for-the cargoes
seized and to send back the ships. Privateers commissioned by these
agents were to exclude from this "rigor" the ships of nations that
caused their neutrality to be respected.94 On July 2, 1796, the Di-
rectory ordered French ships to treat American ships just as the
British did,95 and on November 15 Adet published his proclamation
suspending diplomatic relations between France and the United
Similarly, American policy was to become embroiled with France
in spite of Washington's injunction in his Farewell Address that
"1A. E., C. P., E. U., XLV, 101vo-106. Ibid., XLV, 107-108vo.
'Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 988.
A. E., C. P., E. U., XLV, 275vo.
"Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 969. "A. S. P., F. R., I, 579.

the United States should seek to extend her commercial relations
with foreign nations while having with them "as little political con-
nection as possible." In vain did the United States try to sever
her political connection with France by abrogating on July 7,
1798, the guarantee of the French West Indies. The attempt to ex-
tend commercial relations there had helped to bring the two nations
to the parting of the ways.
A long review by Otto in 1797 reveals the importance of the
trade between the United States and the French West Indies. He
pointed out that the Americans, who were in his opinion the best
sailors in the world, had more than six hundred ships engaged in
the trade with Saint Domingue alone. He declared that the United
States was not desirous of an alliance with a European power, but
if France should attack her she would necessarily join Great
Britain and share with her the spoils of the French, Spanish and
Dutch colonies. If the Americans could not trade freely with the
French colonies, they would turn their ships into privateers and
prey upon French commerce. It was in this memoir that Otto de-
clared, as already noticed, that one of the reasons France had for
aiding the American colonies during the American Revolution was
her desire to find supplies at all times in a country free from British
control. If the United States were to close her ports to the French
colonies, the British navy and the American privateers would
destroy forever the French hope of reestablishing her colonial em-
pire and her merchant marine. France would have nothing left but
the regret of having helped create a nation which would crush the
French colonies and commerce. Events in Saint Domingue, he
argued, furnished the best proof that he was right. It was only by
attacks of French privateers upon American merchantmen that
supplies for the colonies were being obtained. The French govern-
ment was ill-advised if it believed that the Americans who had dared
to defy Great Britain would long submit to those seizures.98
James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the
Presidents, 1789-1897 (Washington, 1896-1899), I, 222. Italics as in the original.
8 A. E., C. P., E. U., XLVII, 416-417vo. Adet had already on May 3, 1796,
emphasized that a rupture between France and the United States would de-
prive the colonies of supplies. Exclusion of merchants from the French colonies
would, he contended, be equally harmful.-Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II,

Even before Otto had thus sought to prevent France from driv-
ing the United States into war, Americans were protesting against
seizures by French privateers in the French West Indies. As early
as June 4, 1794, Fauchet had reported that it was the arbitrary
seizures especially in Saint Domingue that aroused the hostility of
the Americans. On April 17, 1795, he reported that these seizures
were driving the Americans to trade with the British colonies."
The French were thus caught in a vicious circle. In reprisal against
the British orders-in-council they had issued decrees, the enforce-
ment of which necessitated further seizures in order to supply the
French colonies with American goods. Fauchet regretted that the
French seizures in the French West Indies more than offset those
in the British West Indies on the eve of the congressional debates
on Jay's Treaty. He believed, however, that the sum total of
British seizures particularly on the coast of North America out-
numbered those of the French. Was there mere coincidence, he
queried, in the fact that the first official protest of the United States
against the French seizures came a few days after Jay's arrival
from England? This protest was based on French seizures in the
colony of Saint Domingue as set forth in a memoir of American
skippers detained at Saint Domingue. Fauchet was convinced that
this protest was for the purpose of assuring ratification of Jay's
Treaty by showing the greater turpitude of France.o00
In 1796 a group of Philadelphia merchants complained to Con-
gress that their losses amounted to more than two million dollars.101
Jacob Mayer, the American consul at Cap Frangais,102 reported on
November 10, 1796, that fifty-two American merchant vessels had
been seized and seven of them condemned.103 These seizures became
"Ibid., II, 370, 644-645. r Ibid., II, 656, 657, 675, 688-691, 704.
"" A. S. P., F. R., I, 760. For the highly entertaining account of the ingenious
methods used by one American to recover his ship and cargo, as well as of the
methods of Sonthonax, see Samuel E. Morison, "A Yankee Skipper in San
Domingo, 1797," in Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, XLIX
(1916), 268-273. This letter had already been published in William Cobbett's
Porcupine's Works (London, 1801), VI, 294-301.
102 Adet, without instructions, had given his consent in June, 1796, to the ap-
pointment of this consul in a French colony (Turner, ed., "Correspondence,"
II, 922) but the question of the right of the United States to make such ap-
pointments was later denied. See below, pp. 111, 114, 117, 131, 134-135, 137, 169.
os A. S. P., F. R., II, 57-61.

more frequent when, in accordance with the orders of the French
Directory, Sonthonax on November 27, 1796, issued a decree at
Cap Frangais which permitted the seizure of all American merchant
vessels bound to or from British ports. This decree was extended
by another dated January 1, 1797, that authorized the seizure of
all neutral vessels bound for ports in Saint Domingue in the
possession of the British. In order to carry out this order
Sonthonax gave letters of marque, it was reported, to eighty-seven
The British were, of course, condemning American merchantmen
that sought to trade with the ports still in the possession of the
French. In the spring of 1795 the British government proclaimed
the blockade of the French West Indies. British ships took position
in Chesapeake Bay to prevent the departure of American merchant-
men to France and to the French West Indies. '0 Richard Court-
auld, judge of the British court of vice-admiralty at M61le St.
Nicolas, supported by a bench said to have included officers of the
British ships patrolling the Caribbean, was particularly active in
condemning American vessels accused of violating the orders-in-
council. When Rufus King, the American minister to Great Britain,
called the attention of the British government to these depreda-
tions, Lord Grenville replied that, since the court had been estab-
lished without authority, its proceedings were void and redress
might be obtained in the high court of admiralty.106 Nevertheless,
as late as June 6, 1798, Hamilton still complained of Courtauld's
condemnations.'07 The British also impressed, sometimes brutally,
a number of American sailors in the ports and waters of Saint
Domingue.'08 Why, then, did the United States go to war against
France rather than against Great Britain?

x4 Dudley W. Knox, comp., Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War
between the United States and France: Naval Operations from February,
1797 to December, 1801 (Washington, 1935-1938) I, 22-24, 29-200 passim. See
also Gardner W. Allen, Our Naval War with France (Boston and New York,
1909), pp. 28-40.
Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II, 667-668, 875.
'o Rufus King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, ed. by Charles
R. King (New York, 1894-1900), II, 276-277, 285.
1o7 Hamilton, Works (J. C. Hamilton, ed.) IV, 298.
-o A. S. P., F. R., I, 763-765; II, 131-136; Turner, ed., "Correspondence," II,

France herself provided the decisive factor in the famous X. Y. Z.
affair. When on April 3, 1798, President Adams revealed to Con-
gress that certain French statesmen had attempted to obtain a
douceur from the American envoys before they would receive them
officially,'09 even some Republicans realized that France had -gone
too far. Congress passed a series of acts between May 28 and July
7, 1798, that made definitive the rupture110 that some statesmen in
both countries had sought to avoid.
Two of these acts involved Saint Domingue. That of June 13
suspended commercial intercourse between the United States and
France and her dependencies. That of July 7 declared the treaties
between France and the United States no longer binding on the
latter. In spite of the attempt, however, to sever relations with
France and her colonies the United States was to find herself within
less than a year engaged in important commercial and political
negotiations with Saint Domingue.
At the end of 1793 the military situation in that colony seemed
dark in spite of the unauthorized decree of Sonthonax ordering the
partial abolition of slavery. The British had begun their occupa-
tion. Some of the Negro leaders were aiding Spain to crush the
slave revolt and to drive out the French. Before long, however,
Danton's exultant cry, "The Englishman is dead," was not greatly
exaggerated as far as Saint Domingue was concerned. The mulat-
toes, fearful that British rule would mean the loss of their political
privileges, begun to support the French commissioners. Toussaint
Louverture deserted the Spanish, bringing with him a considerable
body of experienced troops."11 In spite of the fact that the French

869. For a typical newspaper comment, see the editorial in the Norfolk Herald,
March 14, 1796, p. 3.
x" A. S. P., F. R., II, 153-182.
Io 1 Stat. L., 552-570.
m The literature on Toussaint is voluminous, but most of it is very uncritical.
A contemporary diatribe is Dubroca, La vie de Toussaint-Louverture (Paris,
1802). James Stephen, the author of the famous pamphlet, War in Disguise;
Or, The Frauds of Neutral Flags (London, 1805), wrote a very favorable
pamphlet, Buonaparte in the West Indies (London, 1803), probably because
Toussaint was making difficult Bonaparte's struggle with Britain. Many of us
students of another generation recited the famous peroration from the eulogy
by Wendell Phillips.-Speeches, Lectures and Letters (Boston, 1863), pp. 468-
494. The best biography in French is that by the Haitian author, H. Pauldus-

authorities soon became suspicious of his ambitions, they deemed
it necessary on May 1, 1797, to confer upon him the title of general
in chief of the French army in Saint Domingue. In August of that
year he prevailed upon Sonthonax to leave for France. The Execu-
tive Directory, disturbed by this "act of rebellion," 112 sent General
Hedouville to restore the French authority in the island and to ob-
serve and restrain the ambitions of Toussaint."11
But Toussaint refused to recognize the authority of H6douville.
By the summer of 1798 General Maitland, commanding the British
forces in Saint Domingue, found himself in such a precarious
situation that he was compelled to seek honorable terms for with-
drawal. Toussaint refused to force upon him the terms that
H6douville wished to impose. Instead the Negro general entered
into negotiations with Maitland and signed a convention with him
that has been the source of the greatest controversy concerning
this remarkable ex-slave. The French general, Pamphile de Lacroix,
declared that he and "all of the officers of the general staff of our
army" had seen at Port-au-Prince the secret propositions of Mait-
land that

tended to have Toussaint-Louverture declared king of Haiti, a rank
which General Maitland assured him would be immediately recognized
by Great Britain if he consented, on assuming the crown, to sign,
without restriction, a treaty of exclusive commerce by which Great
Britain would alone have the right to export the colonial products
and to import in return her manufactured products, to the exclusion
of those from the continent. They gave to the king of Haiti the assur-
ance that a strong squadron of British frigates would be always in
his ports or along his coasts to protect them.114

Sannon, Histoire de Toussaint-Louverture (Port-au-Prince, 1920-1933). The
best in English is that by C. L. R. James, Black Jacobins, Toussaint Louver-
ture and the San Domingo Revolution (New York, 1938). No author, however,
has incorporated the wealth of material that is to be found in the French
archives and in the photostats in the Congressional Library. The analysis of
Toussaint's foreign policy in this book is based primarily upon these documents.
11 Castonnet des Fosses, La perte d'une colonie, p. 183.
Antoine Michel, La mission du G" Hddouville 4 Saint-Domingue (Port-
au-Prince, 1929).
11 Mdmoires pour servir a l'histoire de la revolution de Saint Domingue (Paris,
1819), I, 346. The letters in the French archives consulted by Victor Schoelcher
give no proof that Maitland promised to make Toussaint a king.-La Vie de

I am unable to throw any new light on these alleged secret
negotiations but I am able to offer, for the first time, the secret
convention that Toussaint signed with General Maitland on August
31, 1798. It reads as follows in my own translation:

Secret conventions agreed upon between Colonel Harcourt, deputy
adjutant general of the forces of His Britannic Majesty; in the name
of His Excellency, the Honorable Brigadier General Maitland, Com-
mander in Chief of the said forces, & Monsieur Idlinger, adjutant
general, chief of staff, major in the French army, in the name of
General Toussaint-Louverture, Commander in Chief of the said army:
the said conventions having been later ratified, on the one hand, by
His Excellency, the Honorable Brigadier General Maitland and, on
the other hand, by the General in Chief Toussaint-Louverture.
Article 1. General Maitland solemnly promises (s'engage) that
no English troops of any kind will attack under any pretext the isle
of St. Domingue during the entire duration of the present war. [In
the margin opposite this article is written in English: "This Article
applies merely to Genl. Toussaint himself, and his Part of' the
Article 2. General Toussaint-Louverture promises in the most
solemn and positive manner that no colonial troops, whatever they
may be, will attack the isle of Jamaica in any manner during the
entire duration of the present war.
Article 3. General Maitland promises that his government will
not meddle in any way with anything that deals with the internal
and political arrangements of the isle of St. Domingue during the
entire duration of the present war. [In the margin opposite this
article is written in English: "This Article applies merely to General
Toussaint himself and his part of the Island."]
Article 4. General Toussaint-Louverture promises in the most
solemn and positive manner that he will take no part in any way
in the internal and political arrangements & government of the isle
of Jamaica during the entire duration of the present war.
Article 5. General Maitland, in consequence of the articles above
will induce (engagera) his government to allow to arrive in the ports
of St. Domingue that will be later designated a quantity of provisions
which will be later determined, without risks on the part of the
Toussaint-Louverture (2nd. ed., Paris, 1889), pp. 230-231, note 2. For a sober
treatment by a competent French scholar see Saintoyant, La colonisation
franCaise, II, 164-174.

cruisers of His Majesty or of privateers: and the value of these
provisions will be paid for in colonial products which will have the
privilege of leaving the said ports, also without risks on the part of
the British cruisers.
This convention will remain in effect with all of its force until a
contrary declaration shall have been made by one of the parties, of
which, in that case, notice will have been given a month before the
stipulation above can be destroyed by it.
Signed at the Camp of the Point Bourgoone at one league from the
Mole, August 31, 1798, or 15 fructidor, 6th year of the French

Adjutant General D. A. G.
Ratified Ratified
Br. genl. comt en

This translation is based upon the copy that Maitland sent to
Dundas on August 31, 1798."' It differs in only a few minor mat-
ters of punctuation and spelling from the copy that King sent to
Pickering in his letter of December 7, 1798.116 The use of the word
"conventions" in the first line would suggest that there were other
agreements. But the words "Cette convention" in the paragraph
after Article 5 would indicate that the plural form may have been
for the individual articles. King seems not to have been suspicious
of any additional agreement. The most significant article in the
light of the later controversy over the alleged offer of the kingship
to Toussaint is that in which Maitland left Toussaint an absolutely
free hand to establish the form of government that he desired.
The surrender of Maitland brought to an end one of the most
disastrous undertakings in British military history up to that
time.'7 According to Carnot Britain had spent a hundred and

"' Great Britain, War Office, 1/70. (Hereafter cited as W. 0.) The photostat
was made for me by Miss Ruth Anna Fisher.
n' The King Papers are now in the National Archives.
Admiral Sir Hyde Parker bitterly denounced Maitland but Earl Spencer
felt that the general had done the best that he could under the circumstances.-
George Spencer, Second Earl, First Lord of the Admiralty, 1794-1801, ed. by
Julian S. Corbett and H. W. Richmond (London, 1913-1924), III, 269-271.

twenty-five million livres by the beginning of 1797 in a vain attempt
to put down the Negro revolt and crush the French troops.'18 She
had sent one of her ablest colonial diplomats, John Graves Simcoe,
to try to find a solution to a situation that was threatening her
own empire in the West Indies.119 The situation seemed so grave
that Tierney, a member of the British parliament, moved on De-
cember 11, 1798, that peace negotiations begin with France be-
cause of the crisis that resulted in part from the loss of Saint
Domingue. Canning, then undersecretary of state for foreign af-
fairs, refused to admit the force of Tierney's reasoning because
it would leave Europe "the slave of France" 120-not the only in-
stance, by any means of Canning's exaggeration. However, an ex-
slave of France was already taking steps that justify the conclu-
sion of Castonnet des Fosses: "Our colony of Saint-Domingue, the
oldest daughter of our commerce and of our industry had
ceased to belong to us and had become the domain of Toussaint
Louverture." 121 The victory of Toussaint Louverture was as' im-
portant to the United States as it was to Britain, for the United
States was also determined not to become "the slave of France."

Fortescue was probably giving Maitland credit for too much foresight when
he asserted that Maitland laid a snare into which Bonaparte fell.-British Army,
IV, 561-563.
m A. E., M. et D., A., XIV, 376.
n9 E. A. Cruikshank, "Simcoe's Mission to Saint Domingo," Ontario Historical
Society Papers and Records, XXV (Toronto, 1929), 78-111.
SWilliam Cobbett, comp., Parliamentary History of England from the
Earliest Period to the Year 1803 (London, 1819), XXXIV, 26-50.
La perte d'une colonies, p. 193.

Chapter III


The foreign policy of the United States in Saint Domingue from-
1798 to 1800 reveals some of the most peculiar situations in her
whole history. She waged a quasi war with France. John Adams
by a quasi-diplomatic revolution formed a quasi alliance with Great
Britain and with Toussaint Louverture, the Negro leader of a
successful slave revolt. Toussaint established a quasi-independent
government, and the United States extended to it a quasi
One might easily ridicule all these "quasi." They are, however,
perfectly understandable. The war between the United States and
France was little more than a side show as far as France was con-
cerned, because Egypt beckoned to Bonaparte and Britain's second
coalition in 1798 had forced France to pass the first general con-
scription law. The idea of an American expeditionary force to in-
vade France would have aroused more opposition than one to save
Danzig in 1939. John Adams wanted harmony with the nation
from which the United States had won her independence, but he was
as determined to steer an independent- course, as was his son in
1823. And certainly an outright alliance with an ex-slave revolu-
tionary general would have shocked a considerable portion of the
American people. Toussaint Louverture can hardly be censured
for not declaring independence-black men might well fight for
freedom, but who in those days had ever heard of an independent
Negro nation? In brief, the United States and Great Britain sud-
denly found themselves confronted by two geniuses who refused to
play the game according to the traditional rules of the leisurely
diplomacy of the late eighteenth century. Adams, Pitt, Bonaparte,
Toussaint, all sought to out-maneuver the others. The ex-slave
seems to have mastered the techniques as completely as did the
president, the prime minister and the consul, or the ex-bishop,
1 The general European and American background is ably portrayed in
Mahan, French Revolution and Empire, Chaps. IX-XI.

The quasi war was fought largely in the Caribbean where the
United States maintained two regular naval stations, one off Guade-
loupe and the other off Saint Domingue. The only two major naval
engagements of the entire war-the capture of L'Insurgente by the
Constellation and the defeat of La Vengeance by the same frigate-
occurred in the eastern Caribbean, for British ships had already
greatly reduced French activities in the western end when the first
American warship arrived there at the beginning of January,
1799.2 But the Toussaint-Maitland Convention precipitated nego-
tiations that make Saint Domingue one of the focal points not only
in the quasi war but also in the British struggle against Bona-
parte. Rufus King, the American minister to Great Britain,
learned about the agreement from English newspapers as early as
December 1, 1798. In reply to his request to Grenville for informa-
tion, Dundas, the secretary of war, was authorized to allow him
to read the agreement. King, in his conversation with Dundas early
in December, made the issues clear from the beginning. He pointed
out that, if Maitland had treated with Toussaint as with the
"chief" of an independent state, he might have thereby encouraged
Toussaint to declare independence. In that event, the United States
would be as free as was Great Britain to trade with him. If Saint
Domingue was still a colony, King continued, the United States
could not permit British supplies to be carried there because the
United States and France were at war. Dundas confessed that
Maitland had acted without instructions, but he believed that the
British government had "found the Conquest impracticable." Dun-
das recognized the possibility that the United States might also
have the privilege of trading with the colony.3
King then reminded Grenville on December 7 of the dangers that
might result from the independence of Saint Domingue. As early
as the summer of 1798 Grenville had inquired of King about a re-
port sent by Liston, the British minister to the United States, that
the United States might "countenance the establishment of a Re-

2Knox, Naval Documents, I, vi; II, 284.
King, Life and Correspondence, II, 474, 476-477. (Italics as in the original.)
For an extract from an English paper which stated that Great Britain had
recognized Toussaint's independence by the Maitland agreement, see A. E., M.
et D., A., XIV, 402-403. Maitland did not arrive in England until mid-November.
-Ibid., XV, 6.

public of Blacks in St. Domingo." At that time Grenville had ex-
pressed his "horror" at the idea. King had every reason to believe
that Grenville's alarm was still as great as it had been and he there-
fore, as a result of this conversation, doubted whether Grenville
would approve the convention.4
King nevertheless set to work to obtain participation by the
United States in the commerce with Saint Domingue and protection
for that trade by an amendment to the agreement which would pro-
hibit privateering from Saint Domingue and the carrying of
American prizes to the colony. Dundas readily consented to notify
Toussaint that the agreement would not be ratified unless he ac-
cepted the amendment.5
But King constantly kept in mind the dangers that might re-
sult from the independence of Saint Domingue. News from France
in January, 1799, confirmed his fear that Toussaint would "en-
tirely throw off the Dominion of France." 6 He therefore consulted
Grenville early in January, 1799, concerning the advantages that
they might expect from a common policy in the face of "the changes
of which the Independence of Saint Domingo is the forerunner."
King especially apprehended the influence of "the example upon
our slaves in the Southern States," but he associated with this
danger his fear of "Buccaneers and rovers." Grenville, contrary
to King, doubted that Saint Domingue would become independent,
but he did agree that it would be helpful to concert their measures
against the danger to the British slaveholding colonies and against
a "new Barbary power." It is clear, then, that the fear both of a
new piratical nation like those in North Africa and of the danger
to the institution of slavery was uppermost in the mind of the two
statesmen. That the slave question was, to say the least, equally
important as that of commerce is seen in the additional questions
that King put to Grenville and in the latter's answers. "Would not
the independence of Saint Domingue," King queried, "inevitably
have a great influence upon Jamaica and the other islands?" When
Grenville agreed that it would, King pressed the question whether
independence would not necessarily soon be followed "by the aboli-
tion of the whole Colony System in that quarter of the world?"
King, Life and Correspondence, II, 477. Italics as in the original.
"Ibid., II, 484-486. "Ibid., II, 488.

Grenville's answer is especially illuminating. As reported by King,
the foreign secretary replied: "The Colony System must fall to
the ground, we have foreseen it, and nothing remains but to post-
pone it as long as possible and to employ such measures as" seem
best adapted to diminish the Evils of the event when it arrives."
Therefore, Grenville concluded: "Whatever we do, we must a6t in
Harmony with you." 7
I suggest, therefore, the term King-Grenville doctrine to desig-.
nate the Anglo-American policy of concerted action against the
dangers that might result from the independence of a Negro state
founded upon a slave revolt. Grenville had expressed this fear at
least as early as 1793.8 King's attention had been called to the
danger at least as early as 1798 through two intercepted letters
of Bosc, the French consul at Charleston.9 Others had also ex-
pressed that alarm over the emancipation of the slaves. King and
Grenville, however, were the first to translate their fears into,in-
ternational action to prevent the consequences of independence.
Grenville in a letter to King of January 9, 1799, definitely
placed the danger resulting from the slave insurrection above the
value of the trade with Saint Domingue. He proposed an agree-
ment that would provide "equitably" for the commerce of the
two powers, "and what is infinitely more important, wd. afford us
as good security as the nature of things allows of, against the
infinite dangers to which our Islands and your Southern Provinces
[sic] would be exposed from an unrestrained intercourse with St.
Domingo in its present state." The minute of the same date which
Grenville asked King to study before the meeting of the British
cabinet on the following day discussed the details of regulating the
trade with Saint Domingue. Then followed the paragraph:
The exportation of Blacks from St. Domingo to any other
place, (or of any other persons without previous permission to that
effect), or the carrying on any intercourse whatever between that
Island and any other place, except as above, to be prohibited under
the severest penalties.10
On the following morning, January 10, King met with the
Ibid., II, 499-500. Italics as in the original.
'Malouet, Mdmoires, II, 265. 'King, Life and Correspondence, II, 339-341.
'"Ibid., II, 504. (Italics as in the original.) For the statement of January 9,

British cabinet to complete the concert. Pitt, after discussing
certain questions of detail concerning supplies, pointed out that
the Southern states had at least as much to fear from the slave
insurrection as had the British colonies. He suggested, therefore,
that, if the American Constitution did not permit a commercial
monopoly in the hands of one American and one British company,
the individual states might be asked to confirm the plan. King, in
lieu of this extraordinary procedure, suggested that "going upon
the idea of the entire Independence of St. Domingo," Great Britain
and the United States might sign treaties with Toussaint. The two
nations might also come to an agreement among themselves to
regulate their trade with him. Pitt raised certain objections to
these proposals, but all members of the cabinet agreed with King
that the "primary object" was "concert" between the United States
and Great Britain. King inquired what the attitude of Toussaint
would probably be toward a plan that did not recognize his inde-
pendence. Dundas expressed the view that Toussaint would prob-
ably accept it especially since he was, apparently, seeking sup-
port to "throw off the yoke of France." The cabinet and King
decided finally that Great Britain should negotiate with Toussaint
a new convention in accordance with King's proposed amendments,
to which the United States would be invited to accede. King, in
closing his letter to Pickering, referred again to the necessity of
considering the effect of the Anglo-American policy upon the
colony system and to the necessity for joint action."
The question of Saint Domingue thus gave such concern to the
British government that it allowed the American minister to sit
with the cabinet. It would perhaps not be too much to say that the
spectre of a free Negro republic that owed its independence to a
successful slave revolt frightened slaveholding countries as much
as the shadow of Bolshevist Russia alarmed capitalistic countries
in 1917. Nevertheless, King was willing to formulate a policy which
would proceed on the assumption of Haitian independence but which
would also obviate the dire consequences of that independence.
Further consideration of methods resulted in the decision in
1799, by the British privy council, as copied by a French agent, concerning joint
Anglo-American action in Saint Domingue, see A. E., M. et D., A., XV, 4-6.
n King, Life and Correspondence, II, 500-503. Italics as in the original,

mid-January to send Maitland to the United States with full power
for Liston to draw up an agreement with the United States after
which Maitland was to proceed to Saint Domingue to obtain Tous-
saint's consent to it. In this way there was greater assurance of
"Harmony" between the United States and Great Britain than in
having the United States agree to an amended British convention
with Toussaint.12
But while the British government wasted valuable time, during
which it might have obtained a virtual monopoly of the commerce
with Saint Domingue, Toussaint had sent an agent, Bunel, to the
United States, accompanied by Consul Mayer, to seek the reopen-
ing of commerce with the United States. In the letter of November
6, 1798, addressed to "Mr. Adams, President of the Congress of
the United States," Toussaint complained that the cessation of
supplies from the United States had reduced him to a distressing
plight. He expressed his willingness to agree to any condition that
would result in the renewal of the trade that had been suspended
by the act of June 13, 1798.13
Bunel and Mayer found the United States well disposed to grant
his request. Liston had indeed reported to Grenville that Pickering
had from the beginning of the war envisaged the separation of
Saint Domingue from France. In fact, Pickering had written to
Mayer on November 30, 1798, that if the inhabitants of Saint
Domingue had ceased to recognize the power of France over the
island, there existed no barrier to the renewal of commerce."4 The
Ibid., II, 511. Maitland wrote Toussaint on January 15, 1799, that he was
returning to Saint Domingue by way of the United States to carry out the terms
of his August convention.-A. E., M. et D., A., XV, 6-6vo.
Oliver Wolcott, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John
Adams, ed. by George Gibbs (New York, 1846), II, 227. Evidently the aid that
Letombe charge6 d'affaires when diplomatic relations between the United States
and France had been severed) had been instructed in July, 1798, to send to
Toussaint with the connivance of the Spanish minister (A. E., C. P., E. U., L,
127-127vo) either had not arrived or had helped him but very little. Toussaint
had also been corresponding with John Hollingsworth, a merchant of Phila-
delphia, who had suggested that Toussaint seek the reopening of commerce.-
Knox, Naval Documents, II, 216-218. The omitted document, a photostat of
which the Connecticut Historical Society furnished me, adds nothing of im-
""Letters of Toussaint Louverture and Edward Stevens, 1798-1800," ed. by
J, Franklin Jameson, American Historical Review, XVI (October, 1910), 64,

United States was thus eager to grant concessions to the repre-
sentatives of Toussaint just as she had done to the envoys of the
planters in 1791. The desire to enjoy a lucrative trade operated
in both instances, but political considerations also played a part.
In 1791 American statesmen feared that failure to aid the planters
would lead to British control over the island. In 1798 they were
willing to aid an ex-slave in order to hinder the naval operations of
Bunel's mission resulted in the beginning of a most anomalous
American policy in Saint Domingue. That anomaly may well be
considered through the eyes of L4tombe,- the French charge
d'affaires who had remained after the severance of diplomatic re-
lations. He definitely suspected that Toussaint was ready to de-
clare independence but that he had refrained from doing so until
Bunel could discover the views of the United States on the subject.
Pickering also believed that Toussaint was awaiting the outcome
of Bunel's mission before he declared independence. L6tombe's sus-
picions were increased by the fact that Bunel had no communica-
tion for him and by the conviction that Bunel also intended to see
Liston. Moreover, Toussaint had written on November 17, 1798,
to Rozier, the French consul at New York, that since events had
forced the departure of Hedouville, he had been compelled to as-
sume "temporarily the reins of government." Finally, in a letter
of January 6, 1799, which one of L6tombe's agents said he had
copied word for word, Toussaint referred to Bunel as "Mon envoy
aupris du government des Etats Unis." In this letter Toussaint
authorized Bunel to "promise under the guarantee of my good
faith and of my promises, that in case the object of your visit
should have for result the reunion reunionn] of Saint Domingue
with the United States, I undertake authentically to protect with
all my power, the Americans who will sail to the ports of this col-
ony." 15
What could Toussaint possibly have meant by reunion? He em-
ployed Frenchmen or well-trained free Negroes for his diplomatic
correspondence who surely knew the meaning of the word. It may
be that some word was omitted by the agent who is supposed to
have copied it for Letombe or that the word reunion was mistaken

"A. E., C. P., E. U., LI, 74, 83-83vo,

for some other. In another part of the same letter Toussaint ex-
pressed his desire to "renew the friendship and the good intelligence
that never should have been troubled between the two peoples."
Finally, a previously unnoticed account by Mayer in 1801 of his
mission makes no mention of any political connection between the
United States and Saint Domingue. As Tench Coxe reported
Mayer's statements, Mayer left Saint Domingue on November 16
(hence before Pickering's letter of November 30 had arrived)
"with orders from Genl. T. to communicate his plan & measures
towards the separation of that part of the empire from the rest."
Pickering showed Mayer and Bunel a letter from King, probably
the first after learning of the Maitland Convention with Toussaint,
and questioned them in the presence of Robert G. Harper and some
others "but not of Mr. J. nor Mr. H." (Jefferson and Hamilton?)
about the independence and separation of Saint Domingue from
France. The assurances given by Mayer and Bunel "were fully
understood by all, and particularly received with joy by Mr. W.- t
[Wolcott?]." 16
Whatever may have been Toussaint's other intentions, he
authorized Bunel and Mayer to give the assurance that American
merchants would no longer need to fear attacks by French
privateers operating out of Saint Domingue. L6tombe therefore
placed little credence in Toussaint's letter to him in which
Toussaint assured him of his loyalty ("attachemens") to the
French republic. Nor was he convinced of Toussaint's sincerity
when Bunel finally informed him that the purpose of his mission
was the renewal of commerce.'7
Mayer's account of his activities is largely corroborated by
that of Letombe. Toussaint's envoy talked with Adams, Pickering,
Senators Otis of Massachusetts and Harper of South Carolina
and Senator-elect Dayton of New Jersey."8 This lobbying helped
to speed the passage of a law approved on February 9, 1799, that
left it to the discretion of the president to reopen trade with the
French possessions as soon as he was satisfied that spoliations there
had ceased."9 Although the law referred in a general way to the
French possessions, it came only to apply to Saint Domingue.
Coxe to Madison, May 1, 1801, private, Madison Papers, Vol. XXII.
A. E., C. P., E. U., LI, 58.
"Ibid., LI, 15-15vo. "1 Stat. L., 613-616.

Shortly after Bunel's arrival there came also Regis Le Blanc, the
representative of General Desfourneaux, the French commanding
officer in Guadeloupe. But Le Blanc's indiscretion in allowing the
purpose of his mission to be too widely known and his inability to
present suitable evidence that Desfourneaux really planned to stop
privateering led Adams to deny him the benefit accorded to Tous-
Since the negotiations with Bunel and the passage of the law
of February 9, 1799, constitute the first steps of the United States
in what Professor Samuel Flagg Bemis has called "a de facto
recognition of the quasi-independent government of Toussaint
L'Ouverture," 21 a consideration of the recognition policy of the
United States is appropriate at this point. This consideration
evokes at least three interesting conclusions. For the first time the
United States was confronted with the problem of the recognition
of a new state as contrasted with that of the recognition of a new
government as in the case of France in 1793. Second, the United
States, by her refusal during fifty-eight years to recognize this in-
dependence, probably established a record, in modern times, for
the non-recognition of a country that was not formerly a posses-
sion of the non-recognizing power.22 Third, this policy of the
United States government has an interesting parallel in the almost
complete ignoring of the fact by the host of writers on the recogni-
tion policy of the United States.23
This refusal marked, of course, a departure from the traditional
policy of the United States to recognize de facto governments, a

"2A. E., C. P., E. U., LI, 110-110vo, 167vo; Knox, Naval Documents, II, 248-
249, 373, 480-481.
2 A Diplomatic History of the United States (New York, 1936), p. 120.
2 Spain did not recognize the independence of the Dutch Republic until 1648,
some seventy years after the provinces had rather definitely established their
independence. Again, Spain did not recognize the independence of Honduras
until 1894, some seventy years after reconquest by Spain was a virtual impos-
sibility. But these were former possessions of Spain, the non-recognizing power.-
William Spence Robertson, "The Recognition of the Spanish Colonies by the
Motherland," Hispanic American Historical Review, 1 (February, 1918), 90.
This problem is entirely omitted in the most authoritative monograph, Julius
Goebel, The Recognition Policy of the United States (New York, 1915). It is,
however, ably treated by Tansill, United States and Santo Domingo, pp. 110-136.

policy to which she otherwise consistently adhered until 1913 ex-
cept for a variation during the American Civil War and except for
the application of the de jure principle to Haiti in 1888-1889. Sec-
retary of State Thomas Jefferson gave the first full statement of
this policy in his letter of December 30, 1792, to Thomas Pinckney,
the American minister to England. In revealing to Pinckney his
views with regard to the government in France where the king was
in prison, Jefferson wrote:
We certainly cannot deny to other nations that principle whereon
our own government is founded, that every nation has a right to
govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change
those forms at its own will; and externally to transact business with
other nations through whatever organ it chooses, whether that be a
King, Convention, Assembly, Committee, President or whatever it be.
The only essential thing is, the will of the people.24

This well-known principle obviously deals with a question of a
change in the form of government and not with the creation of a
new state as in the case of Haiti. But the United States did in 1822
and the years thereafter recognize the new states formed out of the
former Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Not until 1862, however,
after the Southern states had seceded, did the United States
recognize the independence of Haiti. The evidence is clear that the
major consideration was the fact that the independence of Haiti
resulted from the revolt of Negro slaves and that the ruling class
were Negroes. Grenville and King had wished to surround that in-
dependence with safe-guards for the institution of slavery else-
where. But the United States maintained her policy of non-recogni-
tion much longer than did either France or Great Britain.
While the question of slavery was the major consideration in
non-recognition, other factors can not be ignored. From 1798 to
1804 the significant problem was the status of Saint Domingue
with reference to the mother country. The pioneer student of
American relations with Saint Domingue has, indeed, categorically
declared: "In the meantime [early in 1800] the independence which
the Americans had expected had been asserted. Altogether an
24 Writings of Jefferson (Memorial Ed.), IX, 7-8.

independent negro state seemed to be established under the aegis of
the stars and stripes." 25 Even more striking is the statement by
John Kintzing Kane, an American jurist who settled some of the
claims of the United States against France arising out of the losses
suffered by Americans in Saint Domingue during this period, that
"on the 1st July [1800] the negroes formally declared their in-
dependence and adopted a constitution of government." 26 -An
anonymous writer in the early nineteenth century asserted, without
further comment, that President Adams had tacitly admitted the
independence of Saint Domingue.27
Toussaint, it has already been pointed-out, never declared in-
dependence. What his ultimate views were is difficult to determine.
I am of the opinion that he planned to declare complete independ-
ence when he deemed the moment propitious. Until that moment ar-
rived, he probably wished to avoid taking the final step which would
surely result in a French armed expedition to restore the sover-
eignty of the mother country. On October 13, 1798, he wrote en-
thusiastically to Hedouville that he had substituted for the "flags
of despotism the standard of liberty and the flag of the French
Republic." 28 He protested to Talleyrand on April 7, 1800, against
the calumny which accused him of seeking to establish an independ-
ent government.29 In the summer of 1800 he submitted for ratifica-
tion by the French government the military promotions that he
desired.30 Nevertheless Talleyrand,31 Adams and Stevens, who was
appointed in March, 1799, as American consul general to Saint
Domingue, had serious doubts concerning his eventual designs.
During the quasi war with France, American statesmen gave
careful consideration to the problem of the status of Saint Domin-
gue. It may be noted, in the beginning, that during the debates in
Congress over the reopening of commerce with Saint Domingue no

5 Treudley, United States and Santo Domingo, p. 138.
"John Bassett Moore, ed., International Adjudications Ancient and Modern;
History and Documents (New York, 1934-), V, 412.
27 The Life and Military Achievements of Towsant Loverture [sic] (n. p.,
1804), p. 39.
2 Quoted by Vergniaud Leconte, Christophe dans l'histoire d'Haiti (Paris,
1931), p. 36.
-A. E., M. et D., A., XV, 81-82.
o Leconte, Christophe, p. 42. A. E., C. P., E. U., LI, 169-170.

one apparently demanded recognition of the colony. On the other
hand, even some Southern members envisaged without fear the es-
tablishment of independence. Pinckney of South Carolina, for ex-
ample, stated that he was "clearly of the opinion, that should the
independence of the island take place, the event would be more ad-
vantageous to the Southern States than if it remained under the
dominion of France. If our dispute with France should not be
accommodated they could invade this country only from that
quarter. ." But Pinckney did not express the desire that Saint
Domingue should be recognized.32 As a staunch Federalist and op-
ponent of France, he was willing that Saint Domingue should be-
come independent because the loss of the colony would weaken
France and, in his opinion, remove the danger of invasion of the
United States. But he obviously opposed recognition because such
a step might encourage the Negro slaves in the United States to
seek to emulate the Negroes of Saint Domingue. A little later, in
March, 1799, Robert Goodloe Harper, another South Carolina
Federalist, circulated a story that only Toussaint's seizure of
authority from Hedouville had prevented an invasion of the South-
ern states for the purpose of inciting an insurrection among the
slaves who, he asserted, were already being aroused by French
secret envoys.33
On the other hand, Representative Smith from the slaveholding
state of Maryland declared that if the proposed bill "was con-
nected with the mission from Toussaint and the separation of
Hispaniola from France, or with the intention of dividing the peo-
ple of that island from their government, he should .. be opposed
to it. ." Representative Nicholas of Virginia charged that the
bill encouraged insurrection, and raised squarely the question of
recognition by asking: "When the separation merely commences;
when we know nothing of the means which the revolters possess, but
because some person chooses to declare a place independent, shall
our Government interfere and acknowledge such a place inde-

Annals, 5th Cong., 3rd sess., col. 2766.
SElizabeth Donnan, ed., "Papers of James Bayard, 1796-1815; Letters of
R. G. Harper," Annual Report, American Historical Association for 1913
(Washington, 1915), II, 90. For somewhat similar fears, see Knox, Naval
Documents, I, 118, 140. "Annals, 5th Cong., 3rd sess., cols. 2757-2758.

pendent?" Decidedly no, he felt, because "If you take part with
the revolters, you place yourselves on the same ground with them
in respect to the Government revolted against." Nicholas was
thus correctly raising the question concerning the time when a
country might properly recognize the independence of a rebel
colony. Since, however, Saint Domingue had not then declared in-
dependence, his question was really an academic one.
The most notable speeches in the House, however, were those of
the Federalist, Harrison Gray Otis of Massachusetts, and of the
Republican, Albert Gallatin of Pennsylvania. Otis raised for the
first time the question whether the United States was to depart
from the policy of recognition laid down -by Jefferson in 1792.

Shall we begin now [Otis asked] to examine into the legality of the
powers of the persons in authority, either in France or in her West
Indian possessions ? Have we not uniformly adhered to the principle
that those who exercise power de facto are the only persons we are
bound to recognize? We have sung hosannas and offered adora-
tions to the great Republic [of France], one and indivisible, without
considering by whose hands the power was exercised. It is now too
late to change that system.36

But even Otis felt that it was not desirable for the interests of the
United States that the independence of Saint Domingue should be
proclaimed. In fact, he argued that the bill would prevent just such
a declaration since it permitted intercourse with possessions of
France. If Saint Domingue became independent, it could not benefit
by the provisions of the bill. If, however, Toussaint should pro-
claim independence, it was Otis's opinion that the United States
should be on the best terms with him lest the inhabitants do more
damage than the Barbary pirates were doing."7 Otis apparently
wanted to be sure that the principle of de facto recognition should
be preserved although it was not to be made applicable in the case
of Saint Domingue. Whether Otis was sincere or was merely finding
his usual delight in taunting the Democrats38 is debatable. Of one
"Ibid., col. 2760.
Ibid., cols. 2742, 2744. Ibid., col. 2745.
For the extent to which party feeling influenced politics at this time, see
Samuel E. Morison, The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, Federalist,
1765-1848 (Boston and New York, 1913), I, 72-198.

thing we may be sure, namely, that Otis and the other Federalists
were determined to weaken France in every possible way.
Gallatin made a reply that was in part sound and in part a
rather lame attempt to establish a difference between the revolt in
Saint Domingue and that in the United States or in France.
Recognition of a de facto power, he contended, would "not apply
to the commanding officer of any island. It would apply only to the
Government of a nation, and not to a part or section of a nation.
No one could suppose it right to treat with a town, or any foreign
nation which was in a state of insurrection, from whatever source
the person proposing to treat might have received his power. The
case is different with a nation. Whoever exercises the Government of
a nation, is supposed to do so by consent of the nation. This rule
will not apply to Colonies." The specious argument that Gallatin
was developing would have prevented France from recognizing the
United States and the United States from recognizing, in 1822
and the years thereafter, the former Spanish and Portuguese
colonies in the Western world. Gallatin's attempt to draw a dis-
tinction between an island and a continent is hardly worthy of the
statesman who rendered distinguished service to his country in the
peace negotiations of Ghent in 1814 and later as minister to France
and Great Britain.
Gallatin further stated that it was contrary to Britain's in-
terests to have a black government in Saint Domingue. But not
even Britain would have so much to fear as would the United States.
He concluded his lengthy argument by charging that the bill to
reopen commerce would incite in the Negroes of Saint Domingue
a desire to be free from France, thus giving the "lie to all our
former declarations of abhorrence against the attempts of other
countries to divide the people from their government. .",, 40
Gallatin, as the leading Democrat in the House, thus defended
French interests as strongly as Otis assailed them.
Party politics, in brief, played an important part in the passage
of the law which received the approval of the House by a vote of
fifty-five to thirty-seven and of the Senate by a vote of eighteen to

"Annals, 5th Cong., 3rd sess., col. 2749. Italics not in the original.
Ibid., col. 2791.

ten.4' This law constituted the first move in the game of using Haiti
as a pawn to preserve American pride and the freedom of American
ships on the high seas.
The views of the executive department are also revealing. Since
Hamilton, although he was no longer in the cabinet, greatly in-
fluenced Pickering,42 his views may profitably be examined first.
Hamilton bluntly wrote the secretary of state on February 9, 1799,
the very day on which the bill was signed:

The United States must not be committed on the independence of
St. Domingo. No guaranty-no formal treaty-nothing that can rise
up in judgment. It will be enough to let Toussaint be assured verbally,
but explicitly, that upon his declaration of independence a commer-
cial intercourse will be opened and continue while he maintains it,
and gives due protection to our vessels and property. I incline to think
the declaration ought to precede.43

Thus, in order to obtain trading privileges with Saint Domingue
and at the same time to weaken France with whom the United
States was at war (and for whom Hamilton had no love), Hamilton
urged the establishment of an independent government by Tous-
saint. It is evident, however, that he was not ready to advocate
recognition of Saint Domingue by the United States. Moreover, his
letter of February 21, 1799, to Pickering warned the secretary of
state of the possible consequences of separate negotiations with
Toussaint. He pointedly inquired: "How is the sending of an agent
to Toussaint to encourage the independency of St. Domingo, and
a minister to France to negotiate an accommodation reconcilable
to consistency or good faith?""44

Ibid., cols. 2214, 2791. The party alignments are based upon sketches in the
Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1927 (Washington,
"Henry J. Ford, "Timothy Pickering, Secretary of State," in Bemis, ed.,
American Secretaries of State and their Diplomacy (New York, 1927-1929), II,
166, 177, 216.
Hamilton, Works (Hamilton, ed.), VI, 395. (Italics not in the original.)
There may be some doubt as to the date of this letter since Pickering had written
to Hamilton on the same date, February 9, 1799, asking for his advice. This
latter letter is in the Pickering Papers.
Hamilton, Works (Lodge, ed.), X, 345. Hamilton was referring in the first
instance to his kinsman, Edward Stevens, who had been named consul general to

Pickering's fullest statement of his policy was strikingly similar
in some respects to Hamilton's. Writing privately and confiden-
tially in cipher to King on March 12, 1799, he outlined his policy
as follows:

We meddle not with the politics of the Island. T- T [Tous-
saint] will pursue what he deems the interest of himself and his
countrymen; he will probably declare the island independent. It is
probable that he wished to assure himself of our commerce as the
necessary means of obtaining it. Neither moral nor political con-
siderations could induce us to discourage him; on the contrary both
would warrant us in urging him to the Declaration. Yet we shall not
do it. We go no further than the Act of Congress directs. We shall
never receive from the French Republic indemnification for the in-
juries she has done us. The Commerce of Saint Domingue presents
us the only means of compensation, and this I have no doubt we shall

The only essential difference between Pickering's policy and
Hamilton's view lies in the fact that the secretary of state was
opposed to urging Toussaint to make the declaration of independ-
ence. It is, above all, interesting to note that Pickering, the Mas-
sachusetts Federalist, was as desirous of trading with the rebellious
French colony as Jefferson, the Virginia Republican, had been.
But the New Englander was no more favorably disposed toward the
Negroes of Saint Domingue than was the former secretary of
state. Like other statesmen, he viewed the problem in the light
of its effect on the United States. In this same letter to King, he

He [Toussaint] cannot form a black (colony) [sic]; the blacks
are too ignorant. The Government must be military during the
present war, and perhaps for a much longer period.
The commerce of the United States and of other nations (for you
will observe that we aim at no exclusive privileges) will amply supply
all their wants, and take off all their produce. So that there will not,
and ought not to be, any inducements to withdraw the Blacks from
the cultivation of the Island to navigation; and confined to their own
Saint Domingue. Stevens, however, apparently had no instructions to encourage
the independence of Saint Domingue in the literal sense of the word.
"King, Life and Correspondence, II, 557. Italics-as in the original.

Island they will not be dangerous neighbors. Nothing is more clear
than, if left to themselves, that the Blacks of St. Domingo will be
incomparably less dangerous than if they remain the subjects of
France; she could then form with them military corps of such strength
in a future war, as no other European or other white force could
resist. France with an army of those black troops might conquer all
the British Isles and put in jeopardy our Southern States. Of .this
the Southern Members were convinced, and therefore cordially con-
curred in the policy of the Independence of St. D., if T- T
and his followers will it.

Pickering added that Liston also concurred in this policy, since he
felt that the "evil" of freeing the slaves had already been done,
and that it would be impossible for France to restore slavery. These
reasons led Pickering to conclude: "We, therefore, confidently
reckon on the Independence of St. Domingo. Rigaud is a sub-
ordinate chief, and a Mulatto. This race in the Island are but a
handful, not above one-eighth of the population of the Blacks, and
must be crushed if they resist the will of T-T." "4
The view of Liston and Pickering thus differed from that of
Grenville, Pitt and King in that the three statesmen in London
feared that independence would encourage slave insurrections in
the British West Indies and the United States, whereas the two in
Philadelphia believed that that very independence would prevent
France from using the black troops to launch an attack on slave
areas.47 Tansill rightly declares: "Jefferson Anticipates the
Term Realpolitik," but it is abundantly clear that even Jefferson
had predecessors.
Curiously enough, it was Vice President Jefferson who expressed
the most peculiar view at this time with respect to the independence
of Saint Domingue. In a letter to Madison, February 19, 1799, he
declared that "a consul general is named to St. Domingo; who
may be considered as our Minister to Toussaint." On the same day
he also wrote to Edmund Pendleton that he should "have mentioned
"6 Ibid., II, 557-558. Italics as in the original.
To understand this fear, one needs only to note the importance that France
attaches today to her Negro troops. See, for example, France, Ministere de la
guerre, Annuaire officiel de 1'armde frangaise, troupes mdtropolitaines et troupes
coloniales pour 1914 (Paris, 1913), pp. 1869-2031.
United States and Santo Domingo, heading for Chap. III.

that a nomination is before the Senate of a consul general to St.
Domingo. It is understood that he will present himself to Toussaint
and is, in fact, our minister to him." This extraordinary state-
ment came from the vice president of the United States, a former
minister and a former secretary of state, who must surely have
understood that the sending of a minister constituted one method
of recognition. What Jefferson probably meant was that Stevens,
as consul general, was to carry on negotiations of a diplomatic
nature. But the sending of a consul general does not, of course,
necessarily imply recognition.50 Whatever Jefferson had in mind,
his failure to elaborate upon his statements prevents the historians
of today from knowing whether his views in 1799 differed from his
policy of non-recognition when he became president two years
At least one member of the Cabinet made a definite statement
that independence ought not to be recognized. Oliver Wolcott,
secretary of the treasury, wrote to President Adams in November,
1799, that, in his opinion, "the views of the United States were
purely commercial and pacific and that no assurances would, under
any circumstances be made that the United States would support
a declaration of independence with men, money, or supplies." 51
It remained for President John Adams, however, to take the
most definite stand against even the establishment of independence.
Writing to Pickering on April 17, 1799, he expressed first of all
his doubt as to the best policy to pursue with regard to Toussaint,
and then continued:

The whole affair leads to the independence of the West India
Islands; and although I may be mistaken it appears to me that in-

J Writings of Jefferson (Memorial Ed.), X, 111. Italics as in the original.
Harvard Law School, Research in International Law, Diplomatic Privileges
and Immunities (Cambridge, 1932), pp. 201 ff. See also John Bassett Moore, ed.,
A Digest of International Law (Washington, 1906), I, 206. Even though this
principle may not have been recognized so early as 1799, Jefferson must have
been mindful of the passage of the so-called "Logan Act," of the month previous,
which fixed a penalty for unauthorized diplomatic negotiations.-I Stat. L., 613.
Harold Temperley contends that Adams held the view that the despatch of a
consul to a new country, and the according by that country of an exequator,
implied ultimate recognition.-The Foreign Policy of Canning (London, 1925),
p. 503. "6Gibbs, Oliver Wolcott, II, 301.

dependence is the worst and most dangerous condition they [the
West Indies] can be in for the United States. They would be less
dangerous under the government of England, France, Spain or Hol-
land all together, and least of all under the same powers in parcels
or divisions as they are now. This opinion, however, is liable to so
much uncertainty, that no great dependence can be placed upon it.52

Adams thus stated in substance an early version of the principle
of paramount interest, namely, that the continuation of the
colonies in the Caribbean was the best safeguard for the United
States. One can not be sure, of course, that Adams definitely meant
that slavery should be maintained in those colonies. At all events,
he enunciated a Caribbean policy that seemed to mark out that
area as having problems different from those on the mainland of
Middle and South America. Britain, France, Spain and Holland,
the countries enumerated by Adams, had slave colonies in the
Caribbean. There were also slaves in the other Spanish American
possessions and in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. But not even in
Brazil, which had the largest Negro slave population in South
America, was a revolt envisaged that would bring Negro slaves into
power as the ruling element."3 In the Caribbean alone the free
Negroes and Negro slaves had a sufficiently large population to
give real cause for alarm at the possibility of the establishment of
free Negro governments." Thus, while many prominent South-
erners favored the establishment of independence, one of the most

"John Adams, The Works of John Adams, ed. by Charles Francis Adams
(Boston, 1850-1856), VIII, 634. In September, 1798, Adams was reported as
being inclined to accept the idea of independence in Saint Domingue.-Great
Britain, Foreign Office, 5/22, Liston to Grenville, September 27, 1798. (Here-
after cited as F. 0.)
For the Negro element in the provinces of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Chile
and Peru, see the reports of Theodorick Bland and Joel Poinsett in A. S. P.,
F. R., IV, 283, 307, 329-332. Although these reports were made in 1818 there had
been no substantial change in the proportions. For Venezuela, see Frangois
Raymond Joseph de Pons [Deponds], Voyage d la parties orientale de la Terre-
Ferme (Paris, 1806); for Colombia, Alexander Walker, Colombia (London,
1822); for Mexico, Alexander von Humboldt, Political Essay on the Kingdom
of New Spain (New York, 1811); for Brazil, Robert Southey, History of Brazil
(London, 1810-1819); for Ecuador, Pedro Firmin Ceballos, Resumen de la his-
toria del Ecuador (Lima, 1870); for Paraguay, Benjamin Poncel, Le Paraguay
moderne (Marseilles, 1867).
"See above, pp. 69-71.