Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Chapter XIII
 Chapter XIV

Group Title: present state of Hayti (Saint Domingo)
Title: The present state of Hayti (Saint Domingo)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028620/00001
 Material Information
Title: The present state of Hayti (Saint Domingo) with remarks on its agriculture, commerce, laws, religion, finances, and population, etc., etc.
Physical Description: viii, 411, 1 p. : ;
Language: English
Creator: Franklin, James
Publisher: J. Murray
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1828
Subject: History -- Haiti -- Revolution, 1791-1804   ( lcsh )
History -- Haiti -- 1804-1844   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Haiti   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Haiti   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Additional Physical Form: Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
Statement of Responsibility: by James Franklin.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028620
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000588403
notis - ADB7154
oclc - 02561862
lccn - 02012896

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
        Front Matter 4
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Chapter I
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Chapter II
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
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        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
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        Page 53
        Page 54
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        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Chapter III
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
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        Page 81
        Page 82
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        Page 84
        Page 85
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        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Chapter IV
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
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        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    Chapter V
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
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        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
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        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
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        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Chapter VI
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
    Chapter VII
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
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        Page 185
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        Page 189
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        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Chapter VIII
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
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        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
    Chapter IX
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
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        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
    Chapter X
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
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        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
    Chapter XI
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
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        Page 329
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        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
    Chapter XII
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
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    Chapter XIII
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
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    Chapter XIV
        Page 402
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Full Text

;)/, 11013














I '

tf Itl V r




PREFACE ............ .. ............ ...... .. .. Vii
Introduction ..................................... 1


Situation and general description of the French and
Spanish divisions, previously to the revolution in the
former country ............... .. .... .............. 13


Cause of the revolution in the colony.-People of
colour in France.-Their proceedings.-League with the
society of Amis des Noirs.-Og6's rebellion.-His defeat
and death.-Conduct of the proprietors and planters.-
Consequences of it ................ ..... ......... 39


First revolt of the slaves in 1791.-Their ravages.-
Decree of the national assembly 4th April 1792.-
Santhonax and Polverel-their secret agency.-Encou-
rage the slaves;-Their declaration of freedom to the
slaves-Consequences arising from it.-Character of
the slaves.-Disabilities of the coloured people ...... 64


Effects of emancipating the slaves.-Arrival of the
British forces.-Their subsequent operations.-E vacua.

tion by General Maitland.-M. Charmilly negotiates
with the English.-Views of the English cabinet.-Par-
ties in the contest.-And insincerity of the French
planters .................... ......... .......... 97


The period between the evacuation by the British
forces and the arrival of the French army under Le
Clerc.-Cultivation.-Law to enforce it.-Character of
Toussaint. Reverses. His arrangement with the
French general.-His seizure and removal to France.. 117


The period from the seizure of Toussaint to the final
expulsion of the French by Dessalines, in 1803.-State
of cultivation.-Commerce declined-and observations
on the population.-Its extent. .................... 161


Independence declared.-Dessalines attempts to take
the city of Santo Domingo-Raised to the imperial dig-
nity.-New constitution.-His atrocious massacres.-At-
tempts to import negroes from Africa. Encourages
cultivators. Census taken.-State of his army.- His
death and character .............. ............. 175


Christophe takes the command. His officers of go-
vernment. Promotes agriculture and commerce. -
Petion opposes him. Cessation of arms mutually
agreed upon.-Christophe crowned king.-Code Henry.


- Baron de Vastey's opinions. Commissioners from
France. Conduct to them. Christophe pursues his
system of government. Petion relaxes in his. His
offers to the British government.-State of his dominions.
-Has recourse to a debased currency.-Consequences.
-His death.-Christophe negotiates for the possession
of the Spanish part.- Revolution in his dominions.-
H is death ....................................... 195


Boyer elected president.- His character. Revolu-
tion in the north-annexed to the south.-Revolution
in Spanish part.-Union of the whole.- Measures
pursued after. Overtures to France. Arrival of
French fleet.-Negotiation and independence.- Baron
Mackau.-Dissatisfaction prevails. British consul-ge-
neral.-Further dissatisfaction.-Determination not to
pay the indemnity.-Voluntary loan attempted-it fails.
- Observations on the inefficiency of government.-
State of the military.-Naval force, etc. ............ 232


Topographical sketch.-State of the roads.-Mode
of repair by criminals.-How criminals are treated.-
Description of inns. Accommodations at them. -
Mode of travelling.--Value of land in several districts,
and in towns. .................................. 271


Agriculture. Crops in Toussaint's and Dessalines'
time. System of Christophe and Petion. Decline


under Boyer.-Crops in his time.-Attempts to revive
it. Coercion resorted to. Code Rural doubts on
enforcing its clauses.-Disposal of lands.-Consequences
from it.-Incompetency of planters.-State of cultiva-
tion of sugar, coffee, cocoa, cotton, indigo.-Free labour.
-Consequences arising from it-its inefficacy, etc..... 517


Commerce.- State of exports and imports.- Exac-
tions at the customs depredations and impositions.-
Foreign merchants disabilities they labour under.-
Insecurity.--State of finances.-Revenue, etc ....... 368


Haytian jurisprudence.-State of the courts.-Trial
by jury.-The judges.-Justices of the peace-their cor-
ruption.-State of the church.-Account of a mission-
ary.-Schism in the church.-Moral and religious state
of the people shewn by their mode of living.--Descrip-
tion of this mode.-Habitations described.-Furniture,
etc.-Education-its progress.-Government do not en-
courage it.-Remarks on the consequences of not doing
so.-Qualifications of senators and communes shew
the state of knowledge and education .............. 358


Population.-Census 1824-opinion on it.-Further
statement.-Manner of taking the census--Checks to
increase-decrease is evident-nature of those checks.
-Increase in the United States, according to Raymond.
- Conclusion ... . . . .. .. . . . . .. .. . . ....... 402

. vi

/"/- :



THE Author has prepared this work for the press
somewhat hastily, and under many circumstances
which heavily oppressed him; he hopes therefore
that the want of arrangement, and the dearth of
matter which may be observed in his narrative, will
not subject it to a severe condemnation. In present-
ing it to the public, he is not actuated by any per-
sonal considerations, his object being to convey some
information respecting the resources of a country,
and the character of a people, which have been so
variously represented. The short delineation here
attempted will, in all probability, suffice to shew that
the accounts which have been given at.different times
of Hayti and its inhabitants have been much too
highly coloured by the zealous advocates of negro
independence; and he is ready to confess that at
one time he was somewhat dazzled by the descrip-
tion, and was almost made a convert to their opi-
nions. It having been his lot however, at a sub-
sequent period, to hold considerable intercourse with
the country, he has been enabled to form what he
considers a more correct estimate of its present con-

3i^l' ^G9


edition. Experience has convinced him that the re-
presentations so generally received of the improve-
ment which it has made are greatly exaggerated, and
he is not without the hope that the following sheets
will convey more correct information on the subject,
and thus prove useful to the merchant, if not inter-
esting to the general reader.
He readily admits that in the historical part
he has touched upon matters which have been al-
ready handled by other and much abler writers;
this could not be very well avoided, the annals of
Hayti affording but few events, and those having
been often detailed. He conceived that such a
summary of the history of the country would be
necessary to illustrate the cause of the revolution,
to shew the decline which ensued in agriculture and
commerce, the decay of knowledge, and the progress
of vice and immorality among the inhabitants.
Actuated therefore by the desire of throwing some
light on the state of Hayti, and giving a faithful
representation of the condition of its population,
he ventures to solicit the attention of the public
to the facts which have fallen under his own per-
sonal observation.






AN account of the present state of Hayti I believe
has not yet been submitted to the public; to offer
one likely to meet with a favourable reception is, I
am aware, an undertaking of considerable difficulty:
it requires, no doubt, that the author should be well
skilled in the various branches of knowledge, in
order to render it in every respect satisfactory and
interesting to the public. Ignorant as I acknow-
ledge myself to be in the higher walks of philoso-
phy, and educated solely for the more humble avo-
cations of a mercantile life, I can lay no claim to
such acquirements: I must therefore rest my hope
of commanding any degree of attention, on the
truth and correctness of the statements which I


shall produce, founded as they are on actual observ-
ation. I am conscious that I am standing on deli-
cate ground, and touching on a subject likely to
excite angry feelings in those who have long been
the eulogists of the republic, who have been its ad-
vocates when assailed, and who have held it forth
to the world as a country in which wealth abounds,
virtue flourishes, and freedom reigns triumphant,
instead of the oppression, the vice, and the poverty
which once prevailed there; but I will not shrink
from the undertaking, though powerful obstacles
may present themselves, and formidable opponents
be arrayed against me. My object in the following
sheets is, to endeavour to dissipate this delusion, and
to shew that there is nothing to warrant the unquali-
fied panegyrics poured forth by those individuals who
have been the most conspicuous for their zeal and en-
thusiasm, in holding up Hayti as a land flowing
with milk and honey ". In the performance of this,
I have no other aim than that of benefiting the
merchant and capitalist, the manufacturer, and the
trader, who have had no opportunity of visiting a
country to ,which their speculations in commerce
may lead them, by guarding them against the shoals
and quicksands upon which adventurers, destitute of
information, are so frequently wrecked.
The admirers of Hayti have been very indus-
trious in circulating the most deceptive accounts of
the state of its commerce, by garbled and exagge-


rated specifications. They have led many to be-
lieve that its imports and exports are daily on the
increase, and that the resources of the people for
the purchase of the products and manufactures of
other states receive a gradual and steady augmenta-
tion. I am much deceived if I shall not succeed
in convincing the reader that this representation is
a perfect delusion, and that from the diminished
means of the people, the commerce of Hayti, in-
stead of increasing, annually sustains a considerable
diminution; and that while the present state of
things continues to exist-while its rulers are weak
and imbecile, and the mass of the population are
kept in a state of the grossest ignorance-there does
not appear a ray of hope that any improvement may
take place in the circumstances of the country, or
that any change will be effected, likely to prove ad-
vantageous to foreigners disposed to embark in an
intercourse with Hayti.
Several visits to Hayti-in two of which I had,
from the nature of my mission, occasion to remain
there a considerable time-gave me opportunities of
seeing the actual state of it, in all its different
branches of agriculture, commerce, finances, and
the moral and religious condition of its people, to-
gether with the state of its government and the
views of its chief. I am therefore encouraged to
hope that my details may be productive of some
benefit to the commercial part of the community,
B 2


and not be altogether unacceptable to others, whose
avocations are different, but who may be desirous of
correct information respecting those parts of the
globe of which they may know but little except the
An historical account of Hayti would be a super-
fluous undertaking; I see nothing to add to what
has already been written by Charlevoix, Raynal,
Edwards, Walton, and others, in their elaborate
and voluminous works, and who have omitted no-
thing interesting, or worthy of being recorded, from
its first discovery by the illustrious Columbus down
to a very recent period. Every event connected
with its history seems to have been most faithfully
detailed by these writers, and their works are enti-
tled to the highest credit and consideration, as con-
taining the best and most authentic account of this
very extensive island.
Impelled, no doubt, as they were with a desire
to afford to the world every possible information re-
lative to the resources of the country, and of the
character and general habits of the people, they
have left little to be performed by their successors,
except to notice the changes and events which may
have taken place since the date of their latest pro-
ductions. Besides a copious and a faithful histori-
cal sketch, they have given a correct statistical view
of its agriculture, its commerce, and public revenue;
they have also pointed out the slow advances made


by the people in industry, in morality, and in ge-
neral knowledge : but little, therefore, remains to
be said on these subjects, except to call the attention
of the reader to the striking contrast which the pre-
sent situation of the republic exhibits, when com-
pared with that which it displayed before the revo-
lution; to give a brief sketch of Hayti as it is, with
an occasional reference to Hayti as it was. I must
beg leave to assure my readers, that in executing
this task, I am actuated by no unfair nor unjust
motives; I am only anxious that the highly coloured
statements which have been published respecting its
present wealth and prosperity should be submitted
to the test of candid and impartial scrutiny. For a
series of years Hayti has been made the theme of
constant praise, and has excited no little share of
the public attention, on account of the unexampled
efforts which its slave population made to throw
off the fetters by which they had been previously
bound, and on account of their having, as their
eulogists declare, made the most rapid and extraor-
dinary strides in civilization and social improve-
ment. It must be admitted that the revolution
effected in Hayti, was an event almost unparal-
leled in history; and that a people just emerg-
ing from a state of barbarism should have so suc-
cessfully combated and defeated the finest troops
of France, is no doubt a circumstance calculated to
call forth no trifling portion of astonishment and ad-


miration : but when the partial eulogists of the Hay-
tians go to the length of asserting that they have
arrived at a high degree of moral improvement, that
they have reached a state of refinement little infe-
rior to that which generally prevails in Europe, the
limits of truth are overstepped: such overstrained
assertions are totally destitute even of the semblance
of truth, and my personal experience enables me to
declare, in the most explicit and unqualified terms,
that at this very moment, the people of Hayti arc
in a worse state of ignorance than the slave popula-
tion in the British colonies. There are some cases,
it is true, in which instances of intelligence have been
discovered in the Haytian citizen, but this never
occurs except where individuals have had the ad-
vantages of an European education, or who, being
the descendants of persons who previously to the
revolution were possessed of wealth, had the means
of travelling, for the purpose of acquiring the man-
ners and customs of more enlightened nations. But
taking the people in the aggregate, they are far from
having made any advances in knowledge.
It has also been commonly asserted by the friends
of Hayti, and I believe very generally credited in
Europe, that it preserves its agricultural pre-emi-
nence solely by free labour; now I think I shall be
able to prove to a demonstration that this is not the
case, and that it is too evident, from every document
that has yet appeared on the subject, that agricul-.


ture has been long on the wane, and has sunk to the
lowest possible ebb in every district of the republic;
that the true art and principles of the culture of
the soil, are not understood, or if in the least known,
they are not practically applied. There is nothing
to be seen having the least resemblance to a colony,
flourishing in the wealth derived from a properly
regulated system of agriculture.
On the subject of free labour I shall have occa-
sion to offer a few remarks, and I trust that in doing
so, I shall not be considered as inimical to it, where-
ever it may be found practicable to obtain it; on
the contrary, no man would be more happy to see
that our own colonies could be cultivated by free
labour, provided a full compensation should be ho-
nourably made to those whose interests might be en-
dangered by the experiment, if unsuccessful; but I
shall, I think, be able to shew that this is absolutely
impracticable, and that the system of labour so pur-
sued in Hayti, instead of affording us a proof of
what may be accomplished by it, is illustrative of
the fact, that it is by coercion, and coercion only,
that any return can be expected from the employ-
ment of capital in the cultivation of soil in our
West India islands. I shall also be able to shew
that Hayti presents no instance in which the cul-
tivation of the soil is successfully carried on without
the application of force to constrain the labourer:
on the estates of every individual connected with


the government, all the labourers employed work
under the superintendence of a military police, and
it is on these properties alone that any thing re-
sembling successful agriculture exists in Hayti. I
am aware that this will excite the astonishment of
persons who have been accustomed to think other-
wise; but I shall state facts which cannot be con-
troverted, even by President Boyer himself-nay,
I shall produce circumstances which I have seen
with the utmost surprise on his own estate; cir-
cumstances that must shew his warmest advocates,
that all his boasted productions have not been ob-
tained without the application of that system against
which they loudly exclaim.
Instead of holding out an example of what might
be accomplished by a people released from bondage,
without first having been prepared for freedom by
moral and religious instruction, I think Hayti ra-
ther forms a beacon to warn us against the dangers
and difficulties by which that unhappy country has
been overtaken. The present condition of Hayti,
arising from the events which have taken place since
the revolution, should render us exceedingly cautious
how we plunge our own colonies into the same misery
and calamity; by conferring on a rude and untaught
people, without qualification, or without the least
restraint, an uncontrolled command over themselves.
However acutely we may feel for the miseries to
which the West Indian slave was at one period sub-


ejected, yet I cannot conceiw it possible that aln ebA
can be so destitute of correct information on the sub-
ject as not to know, that a* ahis moment the slave is'
in a condition far more happy, that he possesses infi-
nitely greater comforts and enjoyments, than any class
of labourers in Hayti, and that, from the judicious
measures which have been already adopted by the
colonial legislatures, and from others which are in
contemplation, for improving the condition of the
slave, it is very rational to conclude that before long
slavery will only be considered as a name; and that
were it to receive any other designation it would fur-
nish no peg on which the European philanthropist
might hang his declamations against slavery.
To place the slaves in the British colonies upon
a footing with the free labourers in Hayti, or with
the largest proportion of the people in that country,
would be a work of easy accomplishment; but the
effect would be, to cause them to exchange a state
of comparative plenty and comfort, for one in
which every species of tyranny and oppression, with
their concomitants, disease and want, are most la-
mentably conspicuous. Whatever may be the views
of the British Cabinet relative to their colonies, I
should warn it to steer clear of the erroneous policy
which has proved so fatal to Hayti, and should it
be determined that a change should be introduced
into the policy hitherto pursued with so much suc-
cess, and with so much advantage in our colonial


possessions, I trust it will not be by emancipating
the slave, before he is prepared for freedom by a
proper moral and religious education. Let the
system of slavery be gradually improved, and the
slave will glide imperceptibly into a state of freedom.
It is not my intention, in this early stage of my
remarks, to enter into any lengthened detail of the
disunion or want of cordiality subsisting between
the two classes of people in Hayti: this I shall re-
serve for its proper place; where it will be seen, that
a very strong dissatisfaction prevails amongst the
black population, which manifests itself upon almost
every occasion of celebrating public events, and
festivities. This acrimonious feeling evidently arises
from the jealousy excited by the predominant in-
fluence of the coloured people in the government.
This influence, detrimental as it may be to the good
order and repose of the country, is courted and
nurtured by the president, to the great danger of
overthrowing the whole establishment. One or two
attempts at revolt have been made by the people of
the north, who were the subjects of the late Chris-
tophc, and from these efforts, although abortive, it
may be inferred, that the spirit for a more extensive
commotion still lurks in their minds, and that the
least possible irritation would so agitate and inflame
them, that the whole would be thrown into a scene
of disorder, tumult, and irremediable confusion.
The combinations are numerous and powerful, but


such was the extraordinary apathy of the govern-
ment, that until a communication was made by an
individual to Boyer, neither he nor any one of his
officers had the least intimation that such proceed-
ings were in contemplation. The want of energy
visible in the government makes it obnoxious to the
people, and no country like Hayti can be expected
to remain long in repose and tranquillity, unless its
governors possess both talent and resolution to com-
That the government of Hayti is the most ineffi-
cient and enervated of any of the modern repub-
lics cannot be denied, and I cannot see the least
hope of an improvement, unless there be a complete
revision of its constitution, and a new one framed,
better suited to the tastes of the people, and more
adapted to their present very rude state of know-
ledge. From the present rulers it would be vain to
expect any effort which might prove beneficial to
the country; any attempt to cultivate or improve
the habits and morals of the people, or to promote
agriculture. The members composing the present
government, seem to consider the poverty and ignor-
ance of the people, as the best safeguards of the
security and permanence of their own property and
A recognition of the independence of Hayti by
Great Britain may give some strength to the mea-
sures of its government, because the people have


called out loudly for the protection of that power,
whilst they have as loudly exclaimed against the
policy pursued towards France. No event in its his-
tory has excited in the republic greater abhorrence
or more general murmuring, than the act of purchas-
ing from France that which it had de facto possessed
for twenty-one years unmolested and undisturbed;
thereby at once admitting the sovereignty of that
power over the island, and which sovereignty France
will, at some convenient period, unquestionably as-
sert, and that without the least fear of any incon-
venient consequences arising from it; for what
power can give aid to the Haytians against France,
when the former have openly and formally admitted
themselves to be a colony dependent upon the
French crown. Whatever intercourse Englishmen
may be disposed to maintain with Hayti, it is in-
dispensable that they should use the most vigilant
precaution, and exact a rigid adherence to such
treaties as may have been entered into, if they
would avoid certain loss; for the Haytian character,
taken generally, will be found, so far from being
entitled either to credit or confidence, not even to
possess common honesty. Compacts with them arc
easily made; but a faithful adherence to agreements
must. not be expected ;-their maxim is to break
them, whenever they find it can be accomplished
with advantage.


Situation and general description of the French and
Spanish divisions, previously to the Revolution in the
former country.

THE island of St. Domingo, once the abode of
fertility, and the scene of extraordinary political
changes and events, lies in latitude 180 20' north
and in longitude 680 40' west from Greenwich,
having on its west the islands of Cuba and Jamaica,
on its east Porto Rico, the Bahamas on its north,
and bounded southerly by the Carribean Sea. Its
extent has been variously stated; but Edwards, who
describes it to be about 390 miles in length from
east to west, seems the most correct; and it appears
from late surveys to be nearly 150 miles in breadth
from north to south. The Abbe Raynal has re-
presented it at 200 leagues in length, and from 60
to 80 in breadth, but it is evident that his estima-
tion is erroneous. Rainsford also states it to be
about 450 miles in length, but from every informa-
tion which I could obtain, its length does not ap-
pear to exceed 400 miles, nor its breadth 140. The
reader, therefore, must look into these discrepancies,
and judge between them. As it is not easy to sur-


vey a country intersected by wilds and impenetrable
mountains, much is necessarily left to conjecture.
It is the most extensive, and was at one period of
its history the most productive of the Antilles, and
was called by the aborigines Haiti, or Highland, and
by which ancient designation it is now generally
known, that of St. Domingo having been abolished
at the revolution. To convey an adequate idea of
what this once delightful island was, is not the ob-
ject of the present work; on this head it is sufficient
to observe that in the richness and extent of its pro-
ductions, and in its-local beauties, it exceeded every
other island in the western hemisphere, and that the
two divisions of the east and the west, when under
the respective governments of Spain and France,
were considered and indeed known to be the most
splendid and most important appendages to those
crowns. Its plains and valleys presented the most
inviting scenes from the richness of the pastures and
the verdure with which they eternally abounded.
Its mountains were also said to contain ores of the
most valuable kind, and produce timber admirably
adapted for every useful or ornamental purpose.
Nothing could exceed the extreme salubrity of the
whole country, nor could it be surpassed in the vast
exuberance of its luscious fruits, and in those pro-
ductions of the soil which became the general arti-
cles of export, and from which all the wealth and
all commerce of this colony flowed.


The French division, though infinitely less ex-
tensive than the Spanish part, and not containing a
third of the whole island, has been considered the
most valuable spot in the western world. The
Spanish division however has greater natural re-
sources, and 'affords greater facilities for agricultural
operations: but the very extraordinary exertions of
the French planter in the culture of the soil, com-
pensated for the want of those advantages possessed
by their Spanish neighbours, who, more indolently
disposed, relied on the produce of their mines, which
afforded, as they imagined, greater local riches than
those which could be obtained from either agricul-
ture or commerce, forgetting that these alone fur-
nish the wealth which can render any country really
and permanently prosperous and great.
It appears from every authority, that the first
colony established here by the French, was settled
in the sixteenth century, having been attracted
thither by the Buccaneers, who had previously ob-
tained a footing in the island from excursions which
they often made from Tortuga, for the purpose of
hunting the bulls of the Spaniards. These hardy
and predatory warriors attracted the French, who
supplied them with such necessaries as they required,
and even sent them many settlers, with arms and
implements for defence and labour. The extreme
fertility of the country invited them to make some
efforts to gain a permanent footing in it, and by



means of intrigue coupled with a little force, they
succeeded in obtaining possession of the whole of
the west end, the line of which seems to have run
in an oblique direction, from about Cape Francois
on the north to Cape Rosa on the south. Having
surmounted all the obstacles that presented them-
selves, and having overcome those difficulties which
generally accompany the first attempts at coloni-
zation, or are met with in a newly discovered land,
they pursued with incredible ardour and industry
the culture of the soil, and the improvement of their
valuable acquisition.
The Spanish court, jealous of and unable to con-
tend with their rival colonists, submitted to France,
when the two cabinets at home came to a mutual
understanding and adjustment, respecting these
foreign possessions. An arrangement was entered
into, under which commissioners were appointed
for settling the boundaries, and fixing the rights
which had formed the ground of disputes between
the settlers of these rival nations. The line of de-
marcation finally agreed upon commenced at the
bay of Mansenillo on the north, dividing in its
course the river Massacre; thence taking rather
a westerly course, it reached an acute point at Don-
don, and afterwards proceeded southerly to the river
This tract of country, as conceded to the French,
contained about 1000 square leagues, exceedingly


irregular in its character, intersected with moun-
tains, and having plains confined and difficult of
approach, so as to make it altogether much inferior
in point of natural value to even a single district of
the Spanish division; having also two extreme
points or capes, Cape Nicolas Mole on the north,
and Cape Tiburon on the south-west extremity, in
both of which the soil is less valuable, from its being
so very mountainous, and from its not possessing
those facilities of communication which can be ob-
tained in other districts. Notwithstanding the dis-
advantages against which the first settlers had to
contend, and in defiance of every local obstacle,
they seemed to have been impressed with the con-
viction, that if a spirit of perseverance and labour
could be diffused amongst them, they would ulti-
niately be richly rewarded for all their toil, and all
that anxiety and deprivation to which it appears, at
their first setting out, they were unquestionably
subjected. Their conclusions were just, and time
shewed the correctness of the principles on which
they reasoned and acted, for their colony gradually
rose in estimation; and at so early a period as the
year 1703, under the government of M. Auger, a
native of America, and who in early life had been
in a state of slavery, it had become of so much
consideration to France, that the greatest possible
efforts were made to extend their system of cultiva-
tion to the whole of their colonial territory. That



officer was indefatigable, it is said, in his exertions
in encouraging and in stimulating the colonists in
the culture of the lands, and as he had been pre-
viously governor of Guadaloupe, it is to be inferred
that he possessed no ordinary skill in the business of
preparing the ground for the production of those
exotic and indigenous plants which became the main
articles of export to the mother-country. That he
was a most efficient governor all writers admit, for
he had brought the state of his colony to a very
high pitch of prosperity, when he died, lamented
by all who had lived under his command. The
plantations at this period had increased in every
part, particularly in the valleys, where the soil was
more congenial, and where the labour could be per-
formed without being attended with those difficulties
which impeded it in the more mountainous districts.
In the western parts the cocoa-tree had begun to
produce most luxuriantly, yielding great wealth to
individuals, and a large revenue to the state. The
sugar-cane had also arrived at great perfection, and
the art of manufacturing the sugar from it had been
for some time carried on with astonishing success.
Coffee plantations were establishing, and the plant-
ers in every direction were vying with each other in
bringing their properties into the highest possible
state of cultivation.
In the year 1715, however, the island suffered a
very severe calamity, and in the succeeding year


another followed, in both of which almost all the
cocoa-trees perished, and considerable damage was
done to every vegetable production ; and the plant-
ers, who had by this time acquired an easy, if not a
competent fortune, sustained losses that only time
and continued exertion could possibly repair. It
will be seen, however, that a great improvement
gradually followed, and that agriculture had not
been neglected, for in the year 1754 the colony had
advanced to a wonderful pitch of prosperity, and
seems to have satisfied the wishes of the proprietors
of the soil, as well as the most sanguine expecta-
tions of the government. It is said by an anony-
mous writer, that the various commodities ex-
ported from the island amounted to a million and a
quarter sterling, and the imports to one million
seven hundred and seventy-seven thousand five
hundred and nine pounds. There were fourteen
thousand white inhabitants, nearly four thousand
free mulattoes, and one hundred and seventy-two
thousand negroes; five hundred and ninety-nine
sugar plantations, three thousand three hundred
and seventy-nine of indigo, ninety-eight thousand
nine hundred and forty-six cocoa-trees, six million
three hundred thousand three hundred and sixty-
seven cotton plants, and about twenty-two millions
of cassia-trees, sixty-three thousand horses and
mules, ninety-three thousand head of horned cattle,
six millions of bannana trees, upwards of one million

CHIAP. 1.]


plots of potatoes, two hundred and twenty-six thou-
sand of yams, and nearly three million trenches of
From this period up to the French revolution
the colony advanced still further in prosperity, every
year adding to the wealth of the planters, and to
the revenue of the crown. Nothing could exceed
the condition into which the plantations had been
brought by their owners; a steady and enlightened
system of agriculture had been established, which
had been productive of the most beneficial results.
Every plantation, laid out with the greatest care
and neatness, was so arranged as to bring every part
of the soil into use in its proper order of succession
-not the least particle appears to have escaped the
eye of the owner, for what could not be rendered fit
for the production of the cane, served either for
cotton, coffee, indigo, or other plants. In the val-
leys surrounded by mountains, the access to which
for carriages was attended with some danger, and
consequently were chiefly in pasture, the verdure
was astonishing. These valleys having small rivu-
lets or streams running through them, and shaded
by occasional groups of trees and shrubs, which
grew spontaneously on the margins of a spring, or
round any body of water that might occasionally be
collected from the mountain falls, became extremely
valuable for the raising of cattle for the consump-
tion of the planters, and on this account extremely


profitable to their owners; for here the animals could
graze undisturbed and cool under a meridian sun,
and range unmolested, indulging in the richness of
the surrounding herbage. The culture of the land
for the sugar-cane at this period seems to have en-
gaged the greatest attention of the planter, for at
no time had such amazing crops been produced as
in the year preceding the revolution ; the soil in the
plains of the north, Artibanite and the Cul de Sac,
being peculiarly adapted for it, from its extreme
strength and excellent quality, and from its situa-
tion, which enabled it to receive the aid of irriga-
tion in seasons when drought prevails. The estates
also appropriated to the production of sugar exhibit-
ed a degree of uniformity and order, in all the
departments of plantation labour, which can scarcely
be exceeded even at the present period, when the
system is supposed to have become more mature,
and its true principles better understood.
The coffee plantations had at this time arrived at
great perfection-they were extensive, and exceed-
ingly fruitful; for the genius and industry of the
proprietors were exerted to their utmost limits in
this branch of agriculture. Every property was di-
vided and subdivided into small fields, in which the
trees were planted with all that nicety and regula-
rity which is often seen in a well regulated nursery.
The pruning-knife and the hoe were regularly ap-
plied to the trees requiring to be dismembered of

CHAXP. 1.]


their superfluous branches, and wanting nurture at
their half expiring roots. The cotton and indigo
plantations had also arrived at the height of excel-
lence in planting, and it was not possible that
greater abundance could have been obtained from
them, than that which was usually returned at or a
few years previously to the convulsion which took
place. The cocoa tree was also at this time exceed-
ingly flourishing, and much care and attention were
bestowed upon its cultivation; its produce being
found an article of no inconsiderable demand, and
extremely profitable in the returns which it yielded
the cultivator.
A better or clearer proof cannot be given of the
highly improved state of agriculture at this time,
than by a reference to the number of plantations
which had been established, and to the quantity of
produce which had been exported to France, with
the value of the whole, as estimated by persons
whose authority may be relied on, and who were
doubtless competent judges, from having in the
island filled situations which gave them opportuni-
ties of fairly estimating everything connected with
the country.
Moreau St. Mery, a writer of great credit, and a
native of St. Domingo, states, that in the year
1791 there were, in the French division alone,
seven hundred and ninety-three sugar estates, seven
hundred and cighty-nine cotton plantations, three


thousand one hundred and seventeen of coffee,
three thousand one hundred and fifty of indigo,
fifty-four cocoa manufactories, and six hundred
and twenty-three smaller settlements, on which
were produced large quantities of Indian corn, rice,
pulse, and almost every description of vegetables
required for the consumption of the people. There
were also forty thousand horses, fifty thousand
mules, and two hundred and fifty thousand cattle
and sheep ; and that the quantity of land actually
in cultivation was about two million two hundred
and eighty-nine thousand four hundred and eighty
The quantity of produce exported from the island
to France appears, by various accounts, to have
been very large indeed, furnishing a very strong
corroboration of the flourishing state of the colony,
and of the extent to which agriculture had been
carried. It would appear that not much regard
was paid to other means by which the prosperity of
the country might have been enhanced, the inha-
bitants resting solely on the culture of the soil to
exalt the island in the eyes of the parent state, and
to make it an appendage worthy to be cherished and
protected. Mr. Edwards and others have stated
the amount of exports as follows: that is to say,
about one hundred and sixty-three millions four
hundred thousand pounds of sugar, sixty-eight mil-
lions one hundred and fifty thousand pounds of



coffee, six millions two hundred and eighty-six
thousand pounds of cotton, nine hundred and thirty
thousand pounds of indigo, twenty-nine thousand
hogsheads of molasses, and three hundred puncheons
of rum. Walton, in his Appendix, enumerates
many other articles of export besides those which I
have named, and he states the quantity of each much
larger, and values the whole at about six millions and
ninety-four thousand two hundred and thirty pounds,
English money. The same writer observes, that the
value of the imports into the country about that
time from France was four millions one hundred
and twenty-five thousand six hundred and ten
pounds sterling. At this period, also, it appears
from authority, that the population amounted to
about forty thousand white people, twenty-eight
thousand free persons of colour, and about four
hundred and fifty-five thousand slaves; and that the
valuation of the whole of the plantations in culture,
with the buildings, slaves, cattle, and every imple-
ment for the use of agriculture, was estimated at
fourteen hundred and ninety millions of livres, or
somewhat about seventy millions English money.
The Spanish division of Hayti is said to contain
two-thirds of the whole, and is estimated at about
three thousand one hundred and fifty square leagues,
an extent of country capable of affording the means
of subsistence to a population of at least seven mil-
lions of souls. In local advantages this part ccr-



tainly exceeds the western division, from its soil
being almost in a virgin state, and a very large pro-
portion of its valleys and elevations never having
been tilled. The indolence and inactivity inherent
in the Spanish character have been displayed in all
their colours, in this part of St. Domingo; for al-
though their district possessed. all the natural means
required to raise them to an equal pitch of splen-
dour with their French neighbours, yet so powerful
were their propensities for pleasure, and every spe-
cies of amusement, that they devoted but little of
their time to the improvement of their properties,
and they obtained from them but little beyond a
scanty supply for their own immediate wants. From
every source of information that can be consulted,
it appears that the Spaniards, from their earliest
settlement down to the period when they finally
quitted the country, depended more on their mines
than on anything that possibly could be derived
from either agriculture or commerce; consequently
agriculture was in a backward state, and the culture
of the soil made but a very slow progress: indeed,
but a very small proportion of the country was in a
state of tillage ; the inhabitants merely paid a little
attention to the natural pastures which abounded in
all the plains of the east, and whose luxuriance and
verdure continued throughout the whole year. In
these they raised large herds of cattle, for which
they found a market, not only among their neigh-



bours the French, who required a considerable sup-
ply for their estates, but they exported very large
quantities to Jamaica and Cuba. To the raising
of cattle, therefore, and to the occasional cutting
of wood-mahogany, cedar, and a variety of other
timbers for ornamental work, as well as dye-woods,
-did the Spaniards devote their time, and hence
did they contrive to satisfy their moderate and con-
tracted wants, without having recourse to tillage.
It has been observed, and I think very truly,
that the most important obstacle to the advance-
ment of this part of Hayti, was the policy pur-
sued by Spain towards her colonies. The system
of government under which she ruled her trans-
atlantic settlements seems to have been one of ex-
treme oppression, and of unexampled rigour, and,
from the earliest period of her sway, this system
was most rigidly enforced in HispaiTcola. There
does not appear upon record any circumstance pre-
viously to the year 1700, which evinced a disposition
on the part of Spain to promote the welfare of the
colony, by calling forth its local resources, and by
encouraging and tolerating settlers from others of
their unprofitable and barren islands, in which all
their energies and efforts had been fruitless and un-
availing. The high state of the west end, under
their prudent and more assiduous neighbours the
French, whose industry and perseverance had asto-
nished the world, and whose judicious and highly


commendable system for promoting the cultivation
of their country had become the theme of much
praise and admiration, seemed about this time to
have produced among the Spaniards some disposi-
tion to adopt measures for insuring to the parent
state a more' lucrative trade from their colonies.
The force of example was too powerful to be resist-
ed, and even the Court of Madrid began about this
time to devise measures which might improve, and
which might call into play all those resources which
this highly fertile and most congenial soil was known
to possess. Governors of known prudence and pa-
triotic zeal for the interest of their nation were select-
ed, and sent out, with injunctions to promote the in-
terests of agriculture, and to give a spur to commerce,
by opening an intercourse with their neighbours.
The wants of the French in cattle, mules, and horses,
were exceedingly extensive, and offered to the Spa-
niards an opportunity of improving their properties,
by providing a vent for the sale of their stock. It
gave an impulse to industry, and the once inert and
unconcerned Spanish planter became in time an
active and enterprising agriculturist, shaking off
that languor by which he had been previously cha-
racterized, and at length assuming a degree of ani-
mation and spirit, which enabled him to take ad-
'vantage of those resources which nature had placed
within his reach.
A mutual interchange and good understanding


CHAP. 1.]


between the two powers of France and Spain having
taken place, this intercourse, become more frequent
and reciprocally beneficial, continued for a series of
years. In 1790, however, this most important branch
of their commerce was cut off by the convulsion into
which the neighboring province was thrown. All
that part of the population who dwelt on the
frontiers withdrew themselves into the interior, leav-
ing behind them their cattle, which fell into the
hands of their rapacious neighbours, whose inroads
caused much consternation amongst the proprie-
tors; but their slaves, from habit or from some
other powerful cause, remained unmoved and at-
tached to them, although they had before them such
strong incentives to revolt. Every appeal made by
these people (and it is said, that they made in-
numerable ones) to the cabinet of Spain for protec-
tion against the fatal example of the French divi-
sion, met with a very cold reception, if not a posi-
tive rejection. In this state of suspense and con-
tinued fear and alarm the people remained, until
the disgraceful treaty of Basle gave Hispanieola to
the republican government of France; and this
event I cannot better describe than in the language
of one of the most correct writers on this country*,
whom I shall here quote as an authority which has
been hitherto deemed unquestionable. Speaking of

* Walton.



this event, which occurred in the year 1795, and of
the designs of the French rulers, he says, though
busied in the plans of universal dominion on their
own continent, their cabinet did not lose sight or
cease to entertain a hope of again possessing colonies
abroad, and they were well aware which were the
most desirable. Perhaps no system of invasion
had been longer or more deeply premeditated, and
digested with more mysterious secrecy, than the
entire subjugation of Spain and her American set-
tlements, in which, besides the common views of
aggrandizement, their constitutional enmity to the
reigning family acted as a powerful stimulus. This
policy was coeval with that ambition which marked
the first career of the present ruler of France and
the specious veil under which the hidden, but con-
tinued advances were regularly made towards the
-end iz view, adds to the guilt of duplicity and in-
gratitude, when we consider that Spain has scrupu-
lously maintained her treaty of alliance and has ful-
filled the stipulations entered into in 1795, not-
withstanding all the three changes that have given
other names to the French government, without al-
tering its entity, or revolutionary or destructive
system; that the cabinets of Madrid have bended
to a degree of abject condescension, rather than be
precipitated into a war; that they have sacrificed
the interests and inclinations of their people, and




have been driven at length into a state of non-re-
prisal, rather than risk a warfare with a nation they
respected, and though an ally, furnishing both men
and money under promises to share in the conquests
made, they have been treated rather as a faithless
neutral without claim, representation, or character,
and thus their country has been impoverished and
laid waste, and the supports of national union and
energy undermined."
Further, in continuation of this disgraceful treaty,
by which Spain so abjectly submitted to surrender
her colony to France, he says, by this instrument of
diplomatic intrigue and subtlety Hispaieola was made
over unreservedly to France; the oldest subjects of
the Snanish crown in- the western world were thus
bartered like so many sheep, and an island, not the
capture of an enemy during war, and given up at its
termination, but one that had descended to them as a
primitive right, and had formed the glory of the pre-
ceding monarchs, who saw it discovered and settled.
When possession was given in further aggravation
of the Spanish natives, the transfer was received by
Toussaint at the head of the intrusive settlers of one
division of the island, with whom the former had
previously and generously shared their territory;
in short by a horde of emancipated slaves to whom
the French republic had given equality, consistence,
and power, and who now came to erect a new



standard on the spot consecrated by the labours and
ashes of Columbus, and long revered as an object of
national pride."
In justice to the Dominican people it may be
said, that none of the Spanish settlements possess
more of the amor patria which ought to distinguish
loyal subjects: they received the news as a thunder-
bolt, and the country presented an universal scene
of lamentation. They appealed to the humanity
of their sovereign, but without effect, and then had
recourse to remonstrances."
Receiving no answer to their prayers or to their
remonstrances, the people were left in a state bor-
dering on despondency, with the only alternative
of leaving their native land, or of swearing alle-
giance to a power in whom they could not confide,
and which they had been taught to detest. Emi-
gration therefore was determined on, and all orders-
nuns, friars, clergy, and men of property and in-
fluence-with their families and their slaves, em-
barked for Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Spanish main,
leaving behind them their possessions, to seek a
shelter, and to find homes and occupations, in a
country in which they might be protected by laws
to which they had been accustomed, and submit
to a government which they had been taught to re-
spect. The extent of this emigration was consider-
able, and is said to have amounted to one third of the
population; and it is evident from a subsequent



census that this was not an exaggeration, and that
so large a proportion of the people absolutely left
the country, abandoning their abodes and much
wealth rather than submit to a people whom they
hated as the usurpers of their possessions.
In the years 1789 and 1790, about which time the
first disturbances among the slaves in theFrenchpart
of the island commenced, it appears the Spanish divi-
sion contained about one hundred and fifty thousand
souls or upwards; but by a subsequent census taken
immediately after the cession to the French, and after
the spirit for emigration had in some measure sub-
sided, there remained only about one hundred thou-
sand of all descriptions, a very strong proof of the
detestation in which the Spaniards held this treaty,
which assigned them over as subjects of the re-
publican government of France. It is very evident,
however, whatever impressions this arrangement
might have made on the Spanish colonists, that it was
one dictated by the rulers in France, and therefore ac-
cepted from necessity, and not from choice. The
infamous Godoy, Prince of Peace (which high sound-
ing title was confirmed by this treaty) was the lead-
ing personage in its negotiation, and being secretly
league with the French ministry, became a will-
ing instrument in consigning this bright and valu-
able appendage of the Spanish crown to the more
designing and crafty schemes of the French cabinet,
which had been from the beginning of their ambi-


tious aim at universal dominion, not unmindful of
the advantages that -were to be derived from colo-
nial possessions. When it is seen that the mistaken
and weak policy, as well as the pusillanimity of the
Spanish cabinet, caused so -great a sacrifice as the
dismemberment of their most valuable colony, it be-
comes a matter of no astonishment that the people
should relax in their efforts to aid the means and
resources of their parent state, by any exertions, in
the cultivation of their lands, beyond what might be
requisite for their own support. As this neglect and
heedless inattention to their prosperity had been
for a series of years observable, and as every incen-
tive to industry was checked by the measures of the
crown, it is not to be wondered at that this division
of the island did not advance at the same rate as
that which was under the dominion of France.
However manifest the declension of the colony was to
Spain, she never made any movements, nor adopted
any means indicating a desire to revive the droop-
ing energies of the colonists, and reinstate them in
their former easy circumstances and affluence. If
the cabinet of Madrid had had recourse to those
wise plans which would have promoted the cause of
agriculture and commerce, instead of becoming a
calm and unconcerned spectator of the decline of
both, this colony might still have remained the most
brilliant gem in the Spanish crown. A people who
had, from the example of their neighbours, and by



an impulse the most surprising, been roused from a
state of lethargy and inactivity to great exertions in
the culture of the soil, in the breeding of cattle, and
in commercial-enterprise, might have exalted their
country to the highest possible state of prosperity,
had their efforts been seconded by the regulations
of a wise government, and had that protection been
given to them to which they were surely entitled; but
instead of such support and protection, instead of
being watched over and guarded by their parent
state, their prayers, their petitions, and entreaties,
were unattended to, and they were given up as a
prey to their rebellious and uncivilized neighbours,
who used every exertion to throw their country into
a state of anarchy and confusion. The individual
and unsupported energies of the colonists, however,
were roused by the alarming predicament into which
they had been thrown, through the apathy and su-
pineness of the cabinet of Spain, and they effec-
tually stopped the incursions of the pillagers for a
time, prevented the destruction of their towns and
plantations, and finally, by their firmness and per-
severance, saved their properties from the devasta-
tions which had destroyed those of the western di-
To the astonishment of the world, the slaves, as I
have before remarked, adhered with extraordinary
fidelity to the cause of their masters, and evinced
no disposition to become participators in the work



of rebellion, nor to enrich themselves by the spoils
obtained by plunder, rapine, and every kind of pre-
datory warfare. Although the example to throw off
the yoke of slavery was constantly before them, few
were the instances in which a slave joined the in-
surgents. Such an attachment on the part of the
slave towards his master, however, is not to be won-
dered at, when it is known, that the Spaniards were
kind, indulgent, and liberal owners, always attentive
to their wants, and alive to their comforts; seldom
inflicting punishment, except for flagrant acts of in-
subordination and theft, but treating them with a le-
niency and humanity which softened the rigours of
slavery, and left it to be known only by name.
Notwithstanding the enmity which always existed
between the two colonies, a smuggling trade was
carried on, which, although not very extensive, was
exceedingly productive to the Spaniards, as it took
off part of their horned cattle, mules, horses, &c.,
and in return for which they received the products
and manufactures of Europe, and slaves, which they
could not obtain by the regular course of importa-
tion, on any thing like the same moderate or favour-
able terms. It is stated, that the French purchased
annually upwards of twenty-five thousand head of
horned cattle and about two thousand five hun-
dred mules and horses; and that the Spaniards also
transmitted upwards of half a million of dollars in
specie during the year, for the purchase of goods,



implements of agriculture, and negroes. Large
shipments of mahogany and dye-woods found their
way to Spain and different parts of Europe, and the
United States, and indirectly to England: and a
considerable intercourse existed with the islands of
Porto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica, to which latter two
islands cattle were exported, and mahogany and
dye-woods found a market in Jamaica more advan-
tageous than any that could be fund in Europe,
owing to their being able to procure their returns in
a more direct way than through the mother-country
or any of the European states.
The commerce with Porto Rico and the Spanish
main was also productive of some profit to the peo-
ple of St. Domingo. The advantages accruing to
the former arose from the facilities of smuggling, by
which the enormous duties on foreign European
goods of thirty-four per cent. in most cases were
saved; and these goods could be purchased in St.
Domingo on more moderate terms, from having
been illicitly obtained from the French part of the
The trade to the United States was also of no
little importance; for the vessels of that country
took large quantities of mahogany, hides, some cof-
fee, and a little dye-wood, in return for the cargoes
which they brought thither, consisting of flour, beef,
pork, butter, salted herrings, and dried cod-fish,
with some East India goods, and various descrip-



tions of lumber of America, more useful and easy
in working for buildings than the hard wood of the
country. The aggregate value of the exports and
imports of this part of the island I have seen no-
where correctly stated: it is very evident, however,
from the various accounts which I have seen, that it
was infinitely less than the aggregate of the French
part; and this may be safely confided in from the
extremely fertile state of the one, when compared
with the uncultivated condition of the other; from
the industrious, the assiduous, and enterprising spi-
rit, so characteristic of the French colonist, aided
by the judicious measures of the cabinet of France,
which sought to protect and encourage the agricul-
ture and commerce of her colonies, whilst the Spa-
niards of the eastern division were left to pursue
both their agricultural and commercial avocations
under every species of discouragement and restraint.
The energy displayed by one government, and the
very relaxed system pursued by the other, accounts
for the flourishing state of one part of this rich co-
lony, whilst its rival was steeped in poverty: no-
thing, therefore, is left for conjecture as to the
cause of so great a contrast; and both having sub-
sequently been shaken by the effects of those per-
nicious doctrines so generally propagated at the Re-
volution, little is to be seen of the antecedent state
of either, and chaos, ignorance, and indolence have
superseded order, light, and industry.



Such was the state of the island at and during the
two or three succeeding years of the revolution, as
related by several writers, and confirmed by informa-
tion obtained from individuals now residing in the
country, who were present during the troubles which
agitated and destroyed it, and reduced them from
the height of affluence and peace into misery, and
oftentimes into want-from them, much, of course,
was to be elicited; and although I thought it a
matter of prudence and a necessary caution, not to
rely too implicitly on their communications, yet I
always found them justly entitled to my confidence,
on the fullest investigation. I never had a cause to
question their veracity. Their account of the
scenes which took place during the early stages and
progress of the revolution, accords with the state-
ments of others who have described them, and I
have not been able to discover any discrepancies be-
tween them.


Cause of the revolution in the colony.-People of co-
lour in France.-Their proceedings.-League with the
society of Amis des Noirs.-Oge's rebellion.-His de-
feat and death.-Conduct of the proprietors and plant-
ers.-Consequences of it.

IT has been very erroneously thought by some per-
sons, who feel interested in the fate of the slave
population of the West Indies, or at all events they
have, with no little industry, propagated the im-
pression, that the revolution in Hayti begun with the
revolt of the blacks, when it is evident, from the
very best authors and from the testimony of people
now living, who were present during its opening
scenes, that such was not the fact, and that the
slaves remained perfectly tranquil for two years after
the celebrated Declaration of Rights" was pro-
mulgated in France. Such persons give themselves
but little trouble in searching the history of the
island-they are satisfied with the report of others,
who maybe equally uninformed with themselves; and
thus it is that they imbibe ideas and notions of the
wonderful capacities of the negro population, who
could have commenced, and so effectually carried



themselves through a struggle for freedom, without,
as they allege, the aid of any other more enlightened
or more powerful auxiliary. It requires no observa-
tion of mine to shew that the first symptom of dis-
order shewed itself among that class of people in
the colony denominated, at the time, Sang-m^I6es,
or Gens de Couleur, or, as termed in the British co-
lonies, mulattoes, who from their numbers formed a
very powerful body, and not being countenanced
by the whites, became in time inveterately opposed
to them : many of them, natives of the colony and of
the other French islands, were residing in France at
the time of the Revolution, and these consisted of
persons who had been sent thither in early life for
their education, together with others who possessed
considerable property, as well as some talent and
intelligence. At this period also, from an extra-
ordinary prejudice that prevailed in France against
the inhabitants of the colonies, arising from an
aversion to the principles of slavery, and which was
much encouraged by the denunciation against every-
thing having the least appearance of despotism, a
society was established, denominated "Amis des
Noirs" (Friends of the Blacks), which aimed at the
subversion of the government, and called for an im-
mediate abolition of the slave-trade, as well as a
general emancipation of all those who were at the
time living in a state of slavery.
"With these people" (meaning the men of colour


in France), says a writer on this subject, "the so-
ciety of Amis des Noirs formed an intimate connec-
tion. Their personal appearance excited pity, and,
cooperating with the spirit of the times and the
representations of those who deeply sympathized
upon principles of humanity with their condition,
all ranks of people became clamorous against the
white colonists, and their total annihilation was
threatened." Not long after the formation of this
union of feeling and sentiment between the friends
of the blacks and the men of colour in France, the
national assembly promulgated their famous decla-
ration of rights, an act certainly contemplating the
destruction of all order, and having an evident ten-
dency to excite the lower classes of the people into
every species of insubordination and general ferment;
one of its leading and most important clauses
being, that "all men are born and continue free
and equal as to their rights."
The society of Amis des Noirs, aided by a cor-
responding institution in London, together with the
united body of the coloured people in France, lost no
time in sending out this very celebrated declaration,
and in disseminating its principles throughout the
whole island; their efforts were not unavailing, for
the mulattoes, conscious that the French nation
were favourable towards their designs of demanding
a restitution of their rights, and the full and un-
qualified enjoyment of those privileges hitherto con-



fined to the white colonists, had recourse to arms,
and appeared in bodies for the purpose of awing the
provincial assemblies into concession; but their num-
ber not being great, they were in the onset easily
subdued. It is said, however, that notwithstanding
this check to their progress, the assemblies were
much disposed to concede to the demands of the
mulattoes; but in no instance could they think of
permitting those white inhabitants to participate in
these privileges, who had in any way cooperated
with them. Several of the civil officers of the colo-
ny and magistrates declaimed against slavery, and
openly avowed themselves supporters of the decla-
ration of the national assembly of the mother-coun-
try; they were arrested by the provincial assemblies,
and committed to prison, and such was the irritation
and fury of the mob, that Mons. Beaudierre, a
respectable magistrate at Petit Goane, was taken out
by force, and, in spite of the municipality and other
powers, put to death. In some cases the governor
successfully interposed, and those who were most
obnoxious to the people were conveyed out of the co-
lonyby secret means. During all these outrages, there
is no account upon record of the negroes taking any
part, and the fact seems to be established, that at
this period they were quite tranquil and unmoved,
although their several proprietors were concerned
either for or against the measures from which the
agitations sprung.



It appears that the governor of the colony had
lost a great deal of his popularity, and consequently
of his power, by his interposition; for a general co-
lonial assembly, convoked in January 1790 by
order from the king, determined that his instruc-
tions were iniperfect and inapplicable, and the people
therefore proceeded on a plan of their own, and
changed both the time and the place at which the
assembly should be held. Nothing could have
emanated from the deliberations of the body con-
voked by this determination of the people, for the
discontented and confused state of the colony being
soon known in the mother-country, and an appre-
hension having arisen that the island was likely
soon to be declared independent, the national as-
sembly, in March 1790, came to the following deci-
sion: That it never was the intention of the as-
sembly to comprehend the interior government of
the colonies in the constitution which they had
framed for the mother-country, or to subject them
to laws which were incompatible with their local
establishments; they therefore authorize the inha-
bitants of each colony to signify to the national as-
sembly their sentiments and wishes concerning the
plan of interior legislation and commercial arrange-
ment which would be most conducive to their pros-
perity." Then followed a resolution, That the
national assembly would not cause any innovation
to be made, directly or indirectly, in any system of

CHAP. 1I.]


commerce in which the colonies were already con-
cerned." *
The people of colour and the society of Amis
des Noirs were, as it might have been anticipated,
thrown into considerable alarm by the promulgation
of a decree of so ambiguous a character, and no
little surprise and consternation followed its appear-
ance in the island. It was construed into an ac-
quiescence in the further continuance of the slave-
trade; it was also conceived to confer upon the
colonists the power of settling and affixing their co-
lonial constitutions, and to absolve them from their
allegiance to the French crown.
The first general assembly of the island which
was convoked after these decrees had been received,
and had excited the astonishment of the people,
was held at St. Marc on the 16th of April 1790.
Their deliberative functions commenced with a dis-
cussion upon the hardships to which the people of
colour were subjected under the military system of
the colony, and it was determined, that on no sub-
sequent occasion should they be required to perform
more duty than was usually exacted from the
An inquiry into the abuses alleged to prevail in
the colonial courts of judicature, and the discussion
of a new plan of colonial government, were the

* Anonymous,


principal subjects which occupied the attention of
the assembly until the end of May, when it was ad-
journed or prorogued.
M. Paynier was at this time governor-general of
St. Domingo: he had neither the capacity nor the
disposition required for administering the affairs of
the colony at such a period. Instead of being ac-
tuated with the desire of conciliating the parties
opposed to each other, he secretly gave every pos-
sible aid and encouragement to the supporters of
ancient despotism. The appearance of Colonel
Mauduit, however, a man of some talent and energy,
effected a change; for he soon acquired much influ-
ence over the governor-general, and prevented the
coalition which was about to take place between the
assembly and the mulattoes; and declaring himself
the protector of the latter, he speedily gained over to
his interest the greater part of that class of people.
The planters at this time, too, were in an undecided
state, wavering in their opinions, and fixed to no
measures likely to preserve the tranquillity of the
island, and there was not one of their body capable
of impressing them with a due sense of the condi-
tion into which they were likely to be precipitated
by their want of energy and decision. Forming as
they did a numerous class of the inhabitants, had
they been unanimous in their opinions, and united
in their views, the repose of the colony would in all
probability have been preserved. Such not being

CHAP. 11.]


the case, however, and some of the provincial as-
semblies making efforts to counteract the measures
of the general one, a civil war seemed likely to be
the result of so much diversity of sentiment. The
decree of the general colonial assembly of the 28th
of May was indicative of an approaching convul-
sion, which before long might be expected to burst
forth; the preamble to this decree exhibited senti-
ments which seemed to breathe a spirit hostile to
the peace of the people. The articles themselves
assume it as a branch of the prerogative of the
crown to confirm or annul the acts of the colonial
legislature at pleasure. These articles are import-
ant, and I shall detail them as they have been given
by others.
First. The legislative authority, in every thing
which relates to the internal concerns of the colony
regimee interieur), is vested in the assembly of its
representatives, which shall be called The General
Assembly of the French Part of St. Domingo.'
Secondly. No act of the legislative body, in
what relates to the internal concerns of the colony,
shall be considered as a law definitive, unless it may
be made by the representatives of the French part
of St. Domingo, freely and legally chosen, and con-
firmed by the king.
Thirdly. In cases of urgent necessity, a legis-
lative decree of the general assembly, in what re-
lates to the internal concerns of the colony, shall



be considered as a law provisional. In all such
cases the decree shall be notified forthwith to the
governor-general, who, within ten days after such
notification, shall cause it to be published and en-
forced, or transmit to the general assembly his ob-
servations thereon.
Fourthly. The necessity of the case, on which
the execution of such provisional decree is to de-
pend, shall be a separate question, and be carried in
the affirmative by a majority of two-thirds of the
general assembly; the names and numbers being
taken down prisess par Pappel nominal).
Fifthly. If the governor-general shall send
down his observations on any such decree, the same
shall be entered in the journals of the general as-
sembly, who shall then proceed to revise the decree,
and consider the observations thereon, in three se-
veral sittings. The votes for confirming or annul-
ling the decree shall be given in the words Yes or
No, and a minute of the proceedings shall be signed
by the members present, in which shall be enume-
rated the votes on each side of the question, and if
there appears a majority of two-thirds for confirming
the decree, it shall be immediately enforced by the
Sixthly. As every law ought to be founded on
the consent of those who are to be bound by it, the
French part of St. Domingo shall be allowed to
propose regulations concerning commercial arrange-

CHAP. 11.1


ments, and the system of mutual connexion (rap-
ports commerciaux, et autres rapports communs),
and the decrees which the national assembly shall
make in all such cases, shall not be enforced in the
colony, until the general assembly shall have con-
sented thereto.
Seventhly. In cases of pressing necessity, the
importation of articles for the support of the inha-
bitants shall not be considered as any breach of the
system of commercial regulations between St. Do-
mingo and France; provided that the decrees to be
made in such cases by the general assembly shall be
submitted to the revision of the governor-general,
under the same conditions and modifications as are
prescribed in articles three and five.
Eighthly. Provided also, that every legislative
act of the general assembly executed provisionally,
in cases of urgent necessity, shall be transmitted
forthwith for the royal sanction. And if the king
shall refuse his consent to any such act, its execu-
tion shall be suspended as soon as the king's refusal
shall be legally notified to the general assembly.
Ninthly. A new general assembly shall be
chosen every two years, and none of the members
who have served in the former assembly shall be
eligible in the new one.
Tenthly. The general assembly decree that the
preceding articles, as forming part of the constitu-
tion of the French colony in St. Domingo, shall be

[CHAP. 11.


immediately transmitted to France for the accept-
ance of the national assembly and the king. They
shall likewise be transmitted to all the parishes and
districts of the colony, and be notified to the go-
It was not likely that a decree, the articles of
which were thus opposed to the maintenance of
order, could exact the acquiescence and submission
of the people, and lead them to an approval of that
which seemed to aim at the destruction of all sub-
ordination. Serious apprehensions arose as to the
measures which would be adopted and pursued at
this juncture, to avert the impending storm which
was expected at no distant period to burst forth.
It was imagined, and was a received opinion, that
the declaring of the colony an independent state,
in imitation of the English American provinces ",
was certain, and every effort was made to avert such
a proceeding. No obedience to the general assem-
bly could be enforced. The inhabitants of Cape
Francois were the first to set the example of re-
nouncing all respect for that body, and of calling
upon the governor-general to dissolve them. With
this request he instantly complied, charging the
general assembly with a design of undermining the
peace of the colony, by forming projects of inde-
pendency, contrary to the voice of the colonists; lie
even charged them with having been accessories or
instigators of the mutiny of the crew of one of the



king's ships, and pronouncing them traitors to their
king and country, he declared that he should take
the most prompt and effective measures for bringing
them to that punishment for which their treachery
so loudly called.
An attempt was made to arrest the committee of
the western provincial assembly, and a force under
M. Maudnit was sent for that purpose, but he failed
in effecting his object, for the members, hearing of
his approach, collected about four hundred of the
national guard for their defence, and M. Mauduit
retired after a skirmish or two, without any other
advantage than the capture of the national colours.
The general assembly being apprised of this at-
tack, immediately summoned the people to the sup-
port and protection of their representatives. The
northern provincial assembly adhered to the govern-
or-general, and, to oppose the progress of his op,
ponents, they sent him all the troops stationed in
that quarter, together with an additional force of
about two hundred mulattoes. The western pro-
vince collected a much greater force, and every-
thing seemed to indicate a sanguinary civil war,
when an event occurred which for a time averted all
those unhappy results that would inevitably have
taken place, had the opposing parties come in contact.
Most unexpectedly, at this momentous juncture,
for the purpose of trying the effect of a personal ap-
peal .to the national assembly of France, the general



assembly of the island determined on a voyage to
Europe. About one hundred members, all that re-
mained of their body, from the effects of sickness
and desertion, embarked on board the Leopard (that
very ship, the crew of which had declared them-
selves in their interest a very short time previously)
on the 8th of August, and took their departure,
hailed with the warmest acclamations of the popu-
lace, who could not restrain their admiration at so
extraordinary an act of devotion to the good of their
country. It is said, that tears of sensibility and
affection were shed at their departure by all classes
of people, and the parties in arms appeared mutually
disposed to submit their differences to the king and
the national assembly."
Immediately after this storm had subsided, every
effort was made by the governor-general, Paynier,
to restore confidence and tranquillity amongst the
people, and for some time, there was a strong indi-
cation of the peace of the colony being once more
established; but the designs of the people of colour
in France, abetted by the society of Amis des Noirs,
at the head of which were some of the most violent
of the revolutionary characters of France, destroyed
all their hopes, and every species of anarchy and
confusion was anticipated from the proceedings of
these disseminators of the pernicious doctrine of
equality and the rights of man.



It was at this period that the first mulatto rebel-
lion took place, at the head of which was the famous
Oge, the protege and disciple of La Fayette and
Robespierre, a young man about thirty years of age,
and a native of the northern part of St. Domingo.
He had been educated in France at the expense
of his mother, a woman of property living near
Cape Francois; having been admitted to the
meetings of the society of Amis des Noirs, he had
imbibed all their principles, and had become enthu-
siastic in demanding an equality of rights and pri-
vileges for his coloured brethren. Encouraged by
the society, and the revolutionary leaders, he left
France for the purpose of instigating his fellow co-
lonists of colour to take up arms in the assertion of
their claims. To give him something like an ap-
pearance of military command, the society purchased
for him the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the army of
one of the German states. To conceal his designs
from the king and the national assembly, he made a
circuitous voyage by North America; but his object
was known before he left France, and intimation
was sent out to the governor-general that he had
embarked for St. Domingo, and that his scheme was
to excite his coloured brethren to arms. A descrip-
tion of his person, and I believe a portrait also, were
transmitted for the better discovery of him on his
arrival; but notwithstanding every precaution, he



landed secretly, and the circumstance remained un-
known, until some weeks afterwards he wrote to the
governor, reviling him for his proceedings, and in the
name of all the mulattoes, of which he declared
himself to be the protector, demanding in the most
contumelious language the immediate execution of
all the statutes of the Code Noir, and that in all times
to come there should be no distinction, as to rights
and privileges, between the whites 'and the other
inhabitants of the island., To give a greater force
as he thought to his demand, lie vauntingly stated,
that unless the governor-general acceded to his pro-
positions, he should assert them by the force of arms.
Oge, however, was somewhat premature in his cal-
culations of support and aid in the carrying into effect
the object of his voyage; for although some consi-
derable time had elapsed from his landing, and he
had the assistance of his brothers, who were tainted
with the same love of insubordination and tumult, he
never could collect at any one time more than from
two to three hundred to join him in his cause. He
encamped his followers near the Grand Riviere, and
it is said, that his brothers and another chief, Che-
vane, instigated their people to commit many ex-
cesses, and at times murdered the unoffending in-
habitants in the vicinity, with the most shocking
cruelty, whenever they declined to join in their pro-
ceedings. Instances were many, in which whole
families were murdered, from the circumstance of a

CHAP. 11.]


father, or even a brother, refusing to take up arms
to favour their cause.
Supported by so small a body, and no simul-
taneous movement taking place in any other part of
the colony, the career of Oge and his associates was
not likely to be of any long duration. Steps were
immediately taken by the governor to suppress the
revolt, and to bring the leaders to trial, if it were
found practicable to apprehend them. Troops and
the Cape militia were sent to oppose them, when a
skirmish ensued in which many of the rebels fell,
and some were taken prisoners. Oge escaped with
Chevane; but as it was known that they had fled
into the Spanish territory, they were demanded by
the successor of Peynier, M. Blanchelande (the
former having resigned his command, and em-
barked for Europe,) who brought them to trial in
March 1791, and they were condemned: Oge and
Chevane to be broken on the wheel, and his brother
and some of his followers to be hanged. The for-
titude of Chevane never forsook him to the last,
and lie met his fate with extraordinary resolution
and courage; but Ogp exhibited the greatest pusil-
lanimity, supplicating in the most abject manner
that mercy might be extended to him. It appears
that a respite was granted to him, in consideration
of his promise to make the most important disco-
veries were his life spared. He made a full confes-
sion before commissioners appointed for that pur-




pose, and in that confession was detailed the whole
plan which the coloured people had devised to excite
the negro population to open rebellion.
It seemed a case of peculiar hardship, if not of
great injustice, and breach of all faith and honour,
that after the unfortunate and deluded man had
made such important disclosures, and had informed
the governor of the whole of their designs, by
which their further progress might be defeated, his
life should be sacrificed; mercy having been held
out as the price of his confession, it should have
been extended to him, for this he had unquestion-
ably, upon every principle of justice, a right to ex-
pect and to demand. Why it should not have been
granted to him, no reason has been assigned. He
was executed immediately after, and at the fatal
spot he shewed neither the firmness, fortitude, nor
the mind of a brave man suffering in that cause of
which he had been the leader.
The proceedings of the government with respect
to the revolt of Oge, and the very unjust execution
of the latter, excited great animosity between the
whites and the people of colour, the latter of whom
had collected in large bodies in various parts. In
the western and southern districts they formed en-
campments, and displayed a determination to resist
the oppression and the unjust decrees of the go-
vernor. At Jeremie, and at Aux Cazes in particu-
lar, a most formidable body had collected, well



armed and accoutred, and shewed a great desire to
come in contact with the government troops. It
has been generally admitted that Mauduit, who
commanded the troops of the government, was in
secret conference with their leaders, and that on
several occasions he appeared among them singly,
and consulted with them, advising them not to de-
sist from their purpose, but to move forward with
energy and perseverance. That he did this traitor-
ously, is evident, for having obtained intelligence of
the whole of their plans through this ruse, he availed
himself of it for the purpose of defeating them, and
as it afterwards turned out, the mulattoes were dis-
persed and obliged to seek refuge in any place where
it was not likely that they could be known or disco-
The members of the colonial assembly who had
gone to France for the purpose of laying their com-
plaints at the foot of the throne, were not received
with much favour; on the contrary, having ap-
peared at the bar of the national assembly they were
dismissed with considerable disappointment and
chagrin. The report of the committee appointed
to examine their claims, displays no little disappro-
bation of the proceedings of the general colonial as-
sembly. It concludes by saying, that all the pre-
tended decrees and acts of the said colonial assembly
should be reversed and pronounced utterly null and
of no effect'; that the said assembly should be de-


dared dissolved, and its members rendered ineligi-
ble and incapable of being delegated in future to
the colonial assembly of St. Domingo; that testimo-
nies of approbation should be transmitted to the
northern provincial assembly, to Colonel Mauduit
and the regiment of Port-au-Prince, for resisting the
proceedings at St. Marc's; that the king should be
requested to give orders for the forming a new co-
lonial assembly on the principles of the national de-
cree of the 8th of March 1790, and instructions of
the 28th of the same month; finally, that the ci-
devant members, then in France, should continue in
a state of arrest, until the national assembly might
find time to signify its further pleasure concerning
Nothing could exceed the consternation which this
decree excited throughout the colony, and the indig-
nation of the people was manifest from one extremity
of it to the other. To have called another general
colonial assembly would have been an act of impos-
sibility, for the people in many districts absolutely
refused to return other representatives, declaring
those that were under arrest in France to be the only
legal ones, and that they would not proceed to an-
other election.
The national guards, who had for some time felt,
with no little mortification, the insult offered them by
Mauduit, who had previously carried off their co-
lours, evinced a disposition to resent the affront,

CHAP. 11.]


and to refuse all further adherence to the cause in
which they had enlisted; and they were soon after
joined in their revolt by the very regiment of which
Mauduit was the commander, tearing the white
cockade from their hats, and indignantly refusing
obedience to him. Discovering the error into which
he had fallen, he offered to restore the national co-
lours, and appealed to them for protection against
insult, which these faithless wretches pledged. But
because he would not stoop to the humiliation of
begging pardon of the national guards on his
knees, he was, notwithstanding this pledge, on the
day appointed for the ceremony of restoring the co-
lours, suddenly pierced by the bayonets of those
very soldiers whom on innumerable occasions he
had so kindly and so liberally treated. The other
troops who happened to be present at this most das-
tardly and inhuman act, could not witness it with-
out an attempt to revenge themselves on the perpe-
trators; they were however restrained from effect-
ing their intention, and only compelled them to lay
down their arms, when they were sent off prisoners
to France, there to receive that punishment which
such an enormity most justly deserved.
About this period the accounts of the fatal end of
Oge had arrived in Paris, an event that caused an
amazing sensation amongst the advocates of the
people of colour and the society of Amis des Noirs;
it brought forward the Abbe Gregoire, the staunch



friend of the former, who, with extraordinary elo-
quence and great warmth, claimed the benefit which
the instructions of March 1790 gave to them. Af-
ter a violent address from Robespierre, who said,
" Perish the colonies rather than sacrifice one iota
of our principles", the national assembly confirmed
the decree of the 15th of May, 1791, which enacted,
" that the people of colour resident in the French
colonies should be allowed the privileges of French
citizens, and, among others, those of having votes
in the choice of representatives, and of being eligi-
ble to seats both in the parochial and colonial as-
This decree, on being received in the colony, ex-
cited no little sensation; the greatest indignation
was manifested by the white people in every quarter,
but still they refrained from acts of hostility to the
measures of the mother-country, under the hope
that when the new colonial assembly, which was to
meet at Leogane on the 9th of August, entered
upon its legislative functions, it would without
doubt afford them that redress which they so anx-
iously desired.
The mulattoes, no doubt, expected that a most
serious opposition would be given to this decree, as
the governor, M. Blanchelande, had assured the
provincial assembly of the north, that he would
suspend the execution of this obnoxious decree when-
ever it should come to him properly authenticated";




they accordingly assembled in large bodies through-
out the whole colony, and displayed a determination
to enforce by arms the concession of those privileges
to which, under the decree of the national assembly,
they asserted they were entitled.
Here, it will be perceived, the first serious sym-
ptoms of tumult and insubordination appeared, not
from any revolt of the slave population, but from
the unhappy interference of the national assembly
of France, influenced by the supporters and advo-
cates of the people of colour, and the society of
Amis des Noirs. Had this interference been declined
by the mother-country, and had the colonial assem-
bly been invested with the sole legislative power of
framing regulations for the internal government of
the island, all those lamentable scenes which subse-
quently followed would have been averted, and the
colony would have preserved its peace and repose,
and have proceeded on, in its highly rich and culti-
vated condition, to the great advantage of the pro-
prietors, to the enhancement of the revenues of the
parent state, and without, in any way, oppressing the
slave cultivators or increasing the burthens under
which they were said to labour.
At the period of this narrative to which we have
now arrived, the effects of the Revolution in France
had made a very sensible impression on the whites,
as well as on the people of colour; and it has been
a matter of no little astonishment, that during the


disputes which so unhappily existed, and whilst the
adherents of one party were committing acts of hos-
tility against the other, the slave population should
have remained passive observers of the contest be-
tween their respective masters, anid in no instance,
I believe, did they fly to their succour and support.
The proprietors and planters of all denominations
had arrived at a very high state of affluence, their
plantations were extensive, in a high state of culti-
vation; thus possessing a soil rich and productive
in a climate particularly favourable for cultivation,
their wealth scarcely knew any limits. But unfor-
tunately their manners and habits became relaxed
and depraved in proportion as they advanced in af-
fluence and prosperity. Proud, austere, and volup-
tuous, they often committed acts which humanity
must condemn; and in the season of agitation and
disappointment, when the contending factions at
home and abroad were endeavouring to undermine
them, they perhaps were led to the infliction of ex-
cessive punishments, and to practise an unusual de-
gree of severity in exacting labour from their slaves.
Sensual pleasures had also, at this time, become so
prevalent as to excite very general disgust.
The mass of society had become so depraved, that
vice in every shape was gloried in, whilst virtue was
scarcely known; it cannot therefore be a matter of
much surprise, that the rude, untaught, and unlet-
tered slave, just emerging from his savage customs,



should be led by example to imbibe the vicious ha-
bits, and indulge the loose and ungovernable pro-
pensities which characterized his master. Upon the
creole slave example made an instant impression,
whilst the newly imported African, slow to observe,
was only led into excesses by the craft and persuasion
of his creole fellow bondsman. Example, therefore,
most unquestionably suggested the extraordinary
cruelties which in the spirit of revenge were in-
flicted by these infuriated people, instigated'by the
mulattoes in the first instance for the more cer-
tain enforcing of their claims to the privileges which
the decree of the 15th of May, 1791, conferred upon
them. In all these disputes the females of the co-
lony also bore a conspicuous part; entering into all
the views and feelings of their male companions,
they displayed an unparalleled degree of enthusiasm
for the cause in which their husbands, fathers and
brothers had respectively engaged : forgetting their
sex, and lost to the softer feelings of female nature,
they furiously flew to the standards of their party, and
by gesture and menace shewed that they were ready
to meet the fate which seemed likely to fall on their
I cannot better illustrate the characters of the
planters and the slave population at this period,
than by the description given of them by Rainsford
in his History of St. Domingo, who must have been
conversant with them from having been a sojourner



in the colony under circumstances of great danger,
and whose experience, arising from general inter-
course, must enable him to be a very competent
judge. He says of them : Flushed with opulence
and dissipation, the majority of the planters in St.
Domingo had arrived at a state of sentiment the
most vitiated, and manners equally depraved; while
injured by an example so contagious, the slaves had
become more dissolute than those of any British
island. If the master was proud, voluptuous, and
crafty, the slave was equally vicious, and often riot-
ous; the punishment of one was but the consequent
of his own excesses, but that of the other was often
cruel and unnatural. The proprietor would bear
no rival in his parish, and would not bend even to
the ordinances of justice. The creole slaves looked
upon the newly imported Africans with scorn, and
sustained in turn that of the mulattoes, whose com-
plexion was browner, while all were kept at a dis-
tance from an intercourse with the whites; nor did
the boundaries of sex, it is painful to observe, keep
their wanted distinction from the stern impulses
which affect men. The European ladies too often
participated in the austerity and arrogance of their
male kindred, while the jet black beauty among
slaves, though scarcely a native of the island, re-
fused all commerce with those who could not boast
the same distinction with herself."




First revolt of the slaves in 1791.-Their ravages.-
Decree of the national assembly 4th of April 1792.-
Santhonax and Polverel.-Their secret agency.-En-
courage the slaves.-Their declaration of freedom to
the slaves.-Consequences arising from it.-Character
of the slaves.-Disabilities of the coloured people.

IN the preceding chapter I have sought to discover
if the first cause of the revolt of the slaves in Hayti
proceeded from any hatred towards their proprietors,
or if it were excited by the intrigues of the contend-
ing parties, who were each attempting to gain over
that class in favour of their cause; and I find that
the result of my investigation of the subject is in
favour of the latter supposition, From facts that
appear to me undeniable I have come to the conclu-
sion, that unless the national assembly of France
had made an attempt to destroy that principle of
governing the colony which had previously been
adopted, and which before the Revolution had been
sanctioned by every person connected with it, the
slave population would have remained until this day
peaceable and tranquil observers of passing events,
unmindful of their being in bondage, because under
that bondage they had no wants, and in that state,


whatever may be the opinion of mankind, they had
no care beyond that of their daily labour, to which
they felt it was no hardship to submit; for there
does not appear an instance in which it exceeded the
ordinary work of any labourer within the tropics.
The revolt of the slaves, therefore, I take leave
to say, did not proceed from any severity or great
oppression on the part of their proprietors, but from
the proceedings of the parties who at different pe-
riods were striving for a preponderating power in
the colony :-of the whites who aimed at the pre-
servation of their privileges, and resisted all inno-
vation; and of the people of colour, who made
every possible effort to be admitted into the same
sphere, and to the enjoyment of those rights which
Gregoire and his revolutionary colleagues were
willing to concede to them. To these causes, and
to these alone, as it will appear to every unbiassed
reader, are to be attributed all those lamentable
scenes which subsequently ensued, and to which the
human mind cannot turn its attention without ex-
periencing these painful sensations which are excited
by the ravages of civil warfare and rebellion.
The first act of open rebellion among the slaves
appears to have occurred in the vicinity of the Cape
on or about the 23d of August 1791, on the plant-
ation Nod, situated in the parish of Acub. The
principal ringleaders murdered the white inhabit-
ants, whilst the other slaves finished the work of de-


vastation, by demolishing the works and setting fire
to the dwellings, huts, and other places contiguous
to them.
They were joined by the negroes from other
estates in the neighbourhood, upon all of which
similar tragedies were performed, and desolation
seemed likely to spread through the whole plains of
the north. The barbarity which marked their
progress exceeded description; an indiscriminate
slaughter of the whites ensued, except in instances
where some of the females were reserved for a more
wretched doom, being made to submit to the brutal
lusts of the most sanguinary wretches that ever dis-
graced humanity. Cases are upon record, where the
most amiable of the female sex were first brought
forth to see their parents inhumanly butchered, and
were afterwards compelled to submit to the em-
braces of the very villain who acted as their exe-
cutioner. The distinction of age had no effect on
these ruthless savages, for even girls of twelve and
fourteen years were made the objects of satiating
their lust and revenge. Nothing could exceed
the consternation of the white people; and the la-
mentations of the unhappy women struck every one
with horror. Such a scene of massacre has scarcely
been heard of, as that which accompanied the com-
mencement of the rebellion in the north.
Some opposition was made to their progress by a
few militia and troops of the line, which M. De


Tonzard collected for the purpose; not indeed, with
the expectation of effectually dispersing them, but
of enabling the inhabitants of the city of Cape
Francois to put themselves in such a state of de-
fence as might save them from that destruction
which seemed to await them. The citizens flew to
arms, and the national guards, with the seamen from
the ships, were mustered, and ready to receive the
rebels should they make an attempt upon the city.
There was in the city at the time, a large body
of free mulattoes, on whom the lower order of whites
looked with a suspicious eye, as being in some way
the authors or fomenters of the revolt; these were
also enrolled in the militia, the governor and the
colonial assembly confiding in them, and relying on
their fidelity. The report of the revolt was soon
known throughout the whole colony, but more par-
ticularly in the northern districts, the white inhabit-
ants of which, being speedily collected together, es-
tablished two strong posts at Grand Riviere and at
Dondon, for the purpose of checking the advance of
the revolters, until such time as a force could be
concentrated, sufficiently powerful to disperse them:
but in this they were disappointed, for the negroes
had increased their own numbers by the revolt of
the slaves on many other estates, and they had also
been joined by a large body of mulattoes. With
this united force, they successfully attacked the two
positions which were occupied by the whites, who



were completely routed. Success put the rebels in
possession of the extensive plain with all its sur-
rounding mountains, abounding with every produc-
tion of which they stood in need for their suste-
The defeat of the whites was followed by a scene of
cruelties and butcheries which exceeds imagination;
almost every individual who fell into the hands of the
revolters met with a wretched end, tortures of the
most shocking description being resorted to by these
blood-thirsty savages: blacks and mulattoes seemed
eager to rival each other in the extent of their enor-
The union of the mulattoes with the revolted
slaves, was not an event unlocked for; as I have be-
fore remarked, they were strongly suspected of being
the instigators of the rebellion. This junction caused
serious apprehensions, that those mulattoes who had
joined the whites in the city, and had marched for
the purpose of cooperating with the inhabitants of
the plains, would desert their posts and go over to
the revolters; and it is probable that such an event
might have ensued, had not the governor, before he
permitted them to be enrolled, and before he could
implicitly confide in them, demanded from them
their wives and children, as hostages for their ad-
herence to the cause which they had engaged to
In this northern insurrection, the destruction of



the white inhabitants, it is said, was considerable,
exceeding, of all ages, two thousand; besides the
demolition of the buildings of a great many plant-
ations, and the total ruin of many families, who
from a condition of ease and affluence were reduced
to the lowest state of misery and despair, being
driven to the melancholy necessity of supplicating
charity, to relieve the heart-rending calls of their
hungry and naked offspring. The loss of the in-
surgents was however infinitely greater; being ig-
norant of the effects of cannon they were consequent-
ly cut down in masses, while the sword was also ef-
fectually used. It appears that upwards of 10,000
of these sanguinary wretches fell in the field, besides
a very large number who perished by famine, and
by the hands of the executioner; a very just retri-
bution for their savage and inhuman proceedings.
There is every reason to believe that the loss sus-
tained by them in all their engagements must have
been immense, as they seemed to have imbibed a
most extraordinary idea of the effect of artillery:
it is said of them by a writer of repute, that The
blacks suffered greatly in the beginning of the re-
volution by their ignorance of the dreadful effects
of the guns, and by a superstitious belief, very ge-
nerally prevailing at that time, that by a few mys-
terious words, they could prevent the cannon doing
them any harm, which belief induced them to face
the most imminent dangers."

CHA~P. Ill.]


VWhilst these ravages were going on in the north,
the western district was menaced by a body of men
of colour, who had collected at Mirebalais, san-
guinely expecting to be joined by a large party of
slaves from the surrounding parishes. Their aim
was the possession of Port au Prince and the whole
plain of Cul de Sac; but being joined by only about
six or seven hundred of the slaves of the neighbour-
hood, they did not succeed in their object; and
after having set fire to the coffee plantations in the
mountains, and done some injury amongst the es-
tates in the valley, they began to deliberate on their
condition, and to devise some plan, by which they
might be able to rescue themselves from the dilemma
into which they were thrown by their own rash and
improvident proceedings. Some of the most power-
ful of the mulattoes, who found it impossible to gain
the negroes over to their cause, deemed it advisable
to propose an adjustment of their disputes, and at-
tempt to bring about a reconciliation with the whites.
One of the planters, a man of some power and
address, and having been always very highly esteem-
ed by the people of colour, as well as the negroes
through the whole of the Cul de Sac, interposed,
and a treaty was concluded on the Ilth of Septem-
ber, between the people of colour on the one part,
and the white inhabitants of Port au Prince on the
This treaty was called the Concordat: it had for




its basis the oblivion of past differences and the full
recognition of the decree of the national assembly of
the 15th of May. The treaty was subsequently
ratified by the general assembly of the colony, and
a proclamation was issued, in which it was held out
that further 'concessions were contemplated for the
purpose of cementing a good understanding between
both classes, and these concessions, it was supposed,
alluded to the admission of those persons of colour
to the privileges of the whole who were born of en-
slaved parents. Mulattoes also were voted to be
eligible to hold commissions in the companies form-
ed of persons of their own colour, and some other
privileges of minor consideration conceded to them.
This, it was hoped, would restore order, and enable
the people once more to enjoy peace and repose.
But a circumstance occurred which blasted these
hopcs, and the flame, which appears only to have
been partially subdued, was rekindled, and burst
forth again with an astonishing rapidity, devouring
all within its overwhelming reach.
Immediately after the ratification of the Concordat
by the colonial assembly had been announced, and
when itwas admitted by all parties that its several pro-
visions, amongst them the decree of the 15th of May,
were judicious and highly commendable, tending to
preserve order and tranquillitythrough the island, in-
telligence was received of the repeal of that very dc-



cree by the national assembly in France, and of its
having been voted by a very large majority. This
was followed too by an intimation that the na-
tional assembly had determined on sending out
commissioners to enforce the decree of the 24th of
September 1791, which annulled the decree of the
15th of May, and to endeavour to restore order and
subordination. Such unaccountable, and, as they
may be justly characterized, deceptive proceedings
on the part of the national assembly excited the in-
dignation of the people of colour, who immediately
accused the whites of being privy to these transac-
tions, and declared that all further amity and good
understanding must be broken off, and that either
one party or the other must be annihilated. All
the coloured people in the western and southern
parts flew eagerly to the standard of revolt, and
having collected a strong force, they appeared in a
few days before Port au Prince, on which they made
an attempt, but as that city had been strengthened
by an additional force from France, it was enabled
to receive the attack of the insurgents, and ulti-
mately to repel them with no inconsiderable loss.
The city however sustained considerable injury, and
the revolters were successful in several attempts to
set fire to it, by which a very large part of it was
burnt down, or otherwise injured.
In the plains of the Cul de Sac the negroes joined

[cIf~nr- nr.



the mulattoes, allured by the charm of plunder and
the pledge of freedom, and the expectation of satiat-
ing their lust on the defenceless and unoffending
white females who should fall into their hands.
In these plains some sanguinary battles were fought,
remarkable however for nothing except the unre-
lenting cruelties with which the prisoners of the re-
spective combatants were visited, and the barbarous
and inhuman executions which followed them.
In these engagements it is recorded that the
whites had the advantage, but they were unable to
follow up their success, being destitute of a force of
cavalry for the pursuit, a circumstance which made
it quite impossible for them to improve on any deci-
sive movement which they had effected. It appears,
that in every skirmish or engagement the whites
were in all cases most forward and bold in their at-
tacks, and few only were the instances in which the
contest was commenced by the mulattoes ; whenever
they were brought in contact with their opponents
they exhibited no individual or collective displays
of courage and heroism, but, on the contrary, there
seemed a tincture of cowardice in all their proceed-
ings, for they arranged the negroes in front of their
position, and in all cases of advance these deluded
creatures bore the first attack of their adversaries,
whilst their coloured allies, leaders, and deluders,
often remained inactive during the moment of trial
and slaughter.




In December the commissioners Mirbeck, Roosne,
and St. Leger arrived. Their reception was respect-
ful, and there was a peculiar degree of submission
shewn to them; but when they proclaimed a gene-
ral amnesty and pardon to all who should submit
and desist from further acts of insubordination, and
subscribe the articles of the new constitution, a
general murmur was excited, and marks of disap-
probation were shewn towards them, not only by the
colonial assembly, but by every individual of the
contending parties. They remained in the island
but a short time; and as an opinion prevailed that
they were the mere instruments or organ of the
national assembly, they obtained no attention or re-
spect. Without any display of talent, they aspired
to the government of a people, who were not to be
commanded without being first taught that their
commission was of a pacific tendency, and that their
instructions were to appease, and not to excite. In-
stead of this, they declined to give any explanation
of the object of their appointment beyond that
which had been previously known, the enforcing of
the decree of the 24th of September 1791. Find-
ing all their efforts unavailing, and that they were
unsupported by either party, finding that their au..
thority was disputed and their representations de-
spised, and, above all, left without any troops by
which they might attempt to enforce obedience to
their power, and submission to the decrees of the


mother-country, they took their departure from the
island by separate conveyances, after having made
many most ineffectual attempts to obtain the confi-
dence and the good opinion of the people over whom
they were sent to preside, and from whom they were
sent to exact an accordance with such measures as the
national assembly might think it expedient to adopt.
About this time, also, there were some changes
in France which indicated further arrangements
with respect to the administration of the colonies,
which could only tend to widen the breach, and in-
flame the parties to that degree of violence which
would preclude the expectation of any amicable ad-
justment at a future period. The society of Amis
des Noirs had now gained a considerable influence
in the national assembly, and there seemed to exist
an union of feeling in favour of the mulattoes, and
also of the slave population, whom it was designed
at no distant period to emancipate, however unpre-
pared they might be, by moral improvement, to re-
ceive such a boon. It was suggested that instruc-
tions should be sent out to the colonial assemblies,
conveying to them such intentions, as well as their
opinion of the means by which slavery might be
abolished in toto ", without in the least affecting the
interest of the people, or in any way putting their
property in jeopardy. This design, however, of
the anti-slavery party in France met with some mo-
mentary opposition, although the advocates of the



measure uttered loud invectives against the planters
in general; but whatever influence the former might
have collected and brought against the latter, it is
very clear it failed in its desired aim, for in less
than two months this assembly passed another de-
cree, which abrogated that of the 24th of Septem-
ber. This decree is of the 4th of April 1792, and
it is the first step towards an emancipation of sla-
very, although it does not declare such an intention.
It is important, and I shall therefore insert it from
a translation in another work, to the writer of which
I am much indebted.
The national assembly acknowledges and de-
clares, that the people of colour and free negroes in
the colonies ought to enjoy an equality of political
rights with the whites; in consequence of which it
decrees as follows :
Article 1st. Immediately after the publication
of the present decree, the inhabitants of each of
the French colonies in the windward and leeward
islands shall proceed to the re-election of colonial
and parochial assemblies, after the mode prescribed
by the decree of the 8th of March 1790, and the in-
structions of the national assembly of the 28th of
the same month.
2d. The people of colour and free negroes
shall be admitted to vote in all the primary and
electoral assemblies, and shall be eligible to the le-
gislature and all places of trust, provided they


possess the qualifications prescribed by the fourth
article of the aforesaid instructions.
3d. Three civil commissioners shall be named
for the colony of St. Domingo, and four for the
islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe, St. Lucia, and
Tobago, to see this decree enforced.
4th. The said commissioners shall be autho-
rized to dissolve the present colonial assemblies; to
take every measure necessary for accelerating the
convocation of the primary and electoral assemblies,
and therein to establish union, order, and peace, as
well as to determine provisionally (reserving the
power of appeal to the national assembly) upon
every question which may arise concerning the re-
gularity of convocations, the holding of assemblies,
the form of elections, and the eligibility of citizens.
5th. They are authorized to procure every in-
formation possible, in order to discover the authors
of the troubles in St. Domingo, and the continu-
ance thereof, if they still continue; to secure the
persons of the guilty, and to send them over to
France, there to be put in a state of accusation.-&c.
6th. The said civil commissioners shall be di-
rected, for this purpose, to transmit to the national
assembly minutes of their proceedings, and of the
evidence they may have collected concerning the
persons accused as aforesaid.
7th. The national assembly authorizes the civil
commissioners to call forth the public force when-

elIIAp. 111.1


ever they may think it necessary, either for their
own protection, or for the execution of such orders
as they may issue by virtue of the preceding ar-
8th. The executive power is directed to send a
sufficient force to the colonies, to be composed
chiefly of national guards.
9th. The colonial assemblies immediately after
their formation shall signify, in the name of each
colony respectively, their sentiments respecting that
constitution, those laws, and the administration of
them, which will best promote the prosperity and
happiness of the people, conforming themselves ne-
vertheless to those general principles by which the
colonies and the mother-country are connected to-
gether, and by which their respective interests are
best secured, agreeably to the decree of the 8th of
March 1790 and instructions of the 28th of the
same month.
10th. The colonial assemblies are authorized
to send home delegates for the purposes mentioned
in tie preceding article, in numbers proportionate
to the population of each colony, which proportion
shall be forthwith determined by the national as-
sembly, according to the report which its colonial
committee is directed to make.
11th. Former decrees respecting the colonies
shall be in force in every thing not contrary to the
present decree."


The carrying of this decree into effect was en-
trusted to Messrs. Santhonax, Polverel, and Ail-
haud, the executive in France sending out a body
comprising eight thousand men of the national
guards, for the purpose of compelling the colonists
to submit to their authority. Having arrived on
the 13th of September, their first act was to dissolve
the colonial assembly, and their next, to send the
governor, Blanchelande, to France, where, after an
examination into his administration, he was sen-
tenced to death, and suffered on the guillotine in
the April following. M. Desparbes, who was in-
vested with chief command in his stead, having
disagreed with the commissioners, was also suspend-
ed, and, like his predecessor, he was sent to France
to undergo a similar fate.
The greatest consternation everywhere prevailed
on the announcement of this decree, and, as I have
before observed, a pretty general feeling existed,
that this was only a prelude to a general emancipa-
tion of the slave population, and which afterwards
was actually realized. The white inhabitants, in
particular, suspected the candour of the commis-
sioners, who were anxious to have it believed that
the object of their mission was nothing more than
to carry into operation the provisions of this decree,
and to settle all those disputes between the one class
and the other, which had been fomented to the great
destruction of persons and property. These agents

CITAP. Ill.]


of the national assembly seem to have been well
skilled in the art of dissimulation, more particularly
the leader, M. Santhonax, who, whilst professing to
the whites the warmest solicitude and anxiety for
the preservation of peace and the promotion of the
prosperity of the colony, was secretly intriguing
with the mulattoes, and holding clandestine meet-
ings with their chiefs; and in the end, in conjunc-
tion with his coadjutors, he openly declared that
they, with the free negroes, should enjoy their pri-
vileges, receive the protection of the national guards,
and that he would espouse their cause in every pos-
sible way in which it could be effectually promoted.
The properties of the white inhabitants, as well
as their lives, seemed at this juncture in the great-
est jeopardy, and they possessed no means of avert-
ing the fate which seemed to await them. Some
little hope, however, was raised in their minds by
the appointment of a new governor, M. Galbaud,
who arrived to take the command in May 1793,
and to place the island in the strongest state of de-
fence, it being apprehended by the French govern-
ment that the British might interpose in the exist-
ing disputes, as war had been declared between the
two powers. His arrival was hailed by the authori-
ties and the inhabitants of the Cape with the
strongest manifestations of joy, and from his having
property in the island, they had the highest confi-
dence in his character for probity, and anticipated


that the most decisive measures would be adopted
for the restoration of their property, and for the
security of their lives. But how vain were their
anticipations, and how fleeting their hope! The
national assembly of France, the great mover of all
the evils which afflicted this unhappy country, again
interposed with new instructions, and suspended the
new governor from his command, decreeing that any
one holding property in the colonies should be in-
eligible to fill any office of trust in the colony in
which his estate was situate.
Galbaud did not, however, resign his appoint-
ment without a struggle; and aided by his brother,
a man of some spirit and great enterprise, he col-
lected a force composed of militia, seamen from the
ships in the harbour of the Cape, and a strong body
of volunteers, and without delay advanced against
the commissioners, whom he found ready to receive
him at the head of the regular troops. A conflict
severe and bloody ensued, and considerable resolu-
tion was displayed by the rival parties, each sup-
porting their cause with unshaken firmness and de-
termined bravery ; but the sailors, who composed
the greatest body of Galbaud's force, having become
disorderly, he was obliged to retire, which he did
without being in the least interrupted or opposed
by the force of the commissioners.
The next day various skirmishes took place, in
which the success was in some degree mutual; and



whilst the brother of Galbaud fell into the hands of
the commissioners' troops, the son of Polverel was
captured by the seamen attached to Galbaud's force.
The commissioners finding,however, that their force
diminished, and that their opponents were resolute
and fought with unexampled bravery, had recourse
to a measure which in the sequel caused much
slaughter, although it succeeded in the destruction
of Galbaud's force; they called in the aid of the
revolted slaves, offering them their freedom, and
promising that the city of the Cape should be given
up for plunder. Some of the rebel chiefs rejected a
proposition which could only produce the sacrifice
of lives and the spilling of human blood, without
in any way promoting their own cause, but Macaya,
a negro possessing some power over his adherents,
and being of a savage and brutal disposition, with
an insatiable thirst for the blood of the whites, ac-
cepted the proposal of the commissioners, and with
three or four thousand of his negro brethren joined
their standard, when a scene of horror and of car-
nage ensued, the recital of which would shock the
hardest and most unfeeling heart. Men, women,
and children were without distinction unmercifully
slaughtered by these barbarians, and those who had
escaped the first rush into the city, and had reached
the water-side, for the purpose of getting on board
the ships in the harbour, were intercepted and their
retreat cut off by these merciless wretches, just at




the moment when arrangements had been accom-
plished for their embarkation. Here the mulattoes
had an opportunity of gratifying their revenge;
here they had arrived at the summit of their great-
est ambition and glory; here it was that these
cowardly and- infamous parricides, gorged with hu-
man blood, sacrificed their own parents, and after-
wards subjected their bodies to every species of in-
sult and indignity; here it was that these disciples
of Robespierre-this injured and oppressed race-
the theme of Gregoire's praise, and the subject of
his appeal and harangue, shewed themselves worthy
disciples of such masters! If any thing were
wanted to establish the fact of these scenes being
unexampled, and without a parallel, one thing, I am
sure, will alone be sufficient, and that is, that the
commissioners, these amiable representatives of the
national assembly, the immaculate Santhonax, and
the equally humane and virtuous Polverel, these
vicegerents of the society of Amis des Noirs, these
protectors of the mulattoes, were struck with horror
at the scene which was presented to them, and re-
paired to the ships, there to become spectators of
the effects of their own crimes, and of a splendid
and opulent city devoured by the flames which had
been lighted by the torch of anarchy and re-
In this destruction of the Cape, some instances
of the most extraordinary brutality were exhibited,


and others of devotedness and heroism were dis-
played ; one or two it will be as well to mention, as
illustrative of the generosity and humanity of the
one party, and of the ferocity and cruelty of the
other. When the revolters first entered the city,
every man, woman, and child were bayoneted or cut
down with such instruments as they could muster,
but the young females were in most cases spared,
for the momentary gratification of the lust of those
into whose hands they fell. One case of the most
singular enormity took place:-a leader of the re-
volted slaves, named Gautier, had entered the
house of a respectable merchant in the square, in
which were the proprietor, his wife, his two sons,
and three daughters ; the sons were young, not ex-
ceeding the age of ten, but the daughters were ele-
gant young women, the eldest about eighteen, and the
youngest not exceeding fourteen. Gautier, assisted
by one or two wretches equally inhuman, pro-
mised to spare the family, on account of his hav-
ing received many acts of kindness and generosity
from the father, to whom he was often sent by
his master on business, he being a domestic slave.
These poor creatures, who were at first half-expir-
ing from the terror of the scene around them,
and from the idea of being the captives of barba-
rians, recovered somewhat from the alarm into
which they had been thrown, though the promises
of security thus unconditionally pledged to them;



and although not permitted to go out of the sight of
their captors, they did not apprehend that any mis-
chief was in embryo, and that their lives were to be
sacrificed. Impressed with the idea of safety, they
proceeded to. prepare a repast for their supposed
guardians, and set it before them in the same splen-
dour as they were wont to do when receiving their
best and dearest friends. Gautier drank freely, and
his compeers did no little justice to the rich repast.
Night coming on, and apprehensive of the conse-
quences of a surprise from the governor's force,
they began to deliberate upon what plan they should
adopt to secure their unhappy captives from flight,
when, not being able to devise any thing likely to
be effectual, they came to the savage resolution of
murdering them all. The daughters were locked
up in a room, under the watch of two of the re-
volters, whilst the remainder of them commenced
the bloody task by bayoneting the two sons. The
mother, on her knees, imploring mercy with pitiful
cries, met with the same fate, whilst the hus-
band, who was bound hand and foot, was barba-
rously mangled, by having first his arms and then
his legs cut off, and afterwards run through the
body. During this blood-thirsty scene, the daugh-
ters, ignorant of the tragic end of their parents,
were in a state of alarm and terror not to be de-
scribed, yet hoping that their lives were safe. But,



alas how deceitful that hope! for their destiny
was fixed, and their time but short. Gautier and
his diabolical associates went into their room,
stripped them naked, and committed on their de-
fenceless persons the most brutal enormities, when
with the dead bodies of their parents they were
thrown into the flames which were then surrounding
them, where they all perished.
I shall mention another case of an opposite cha-
racter, and in which a degree of heroism was exhi-
bited that deserves to be recorded with every praise.
A M. Tardiffe, a planter, and a young man of con-
siderable property and of great courage and pre-
sence of mind, had joined the force of the governor,
and had consequently become an object of great
hatred, particularly on the part of some of the
mulattoes who resided in the vicinity of his estate.
Awakened one night about twelve o'clock by the
cries of females, he jumped up, and rushed to the
room in which his sisters, two amiable young ladies,
were reposing, where he found armed men attempt-
ing to get through the window. He instantly flew
for his sabre and pistols, which were loaded, his
sisters following him, and then returned to the room
to oppose the assassins. He found one had accom-
plished his purpose of getting into the room, whom
lie in an instant ran through the body; when, turn-
ing to the window, he shot another fellow just en-


tering, and afterwards one or two others who made
similar attempts. About this time his domestics had
all come up stairs, and they shewed themselves most
faithful in adhering to their master; for, not content-
ed with merely opposing the entry of the assassins
into the house, they sallied forth to meet them at
the front of it, and although their numbers were
inferior to that of their unprincipled and lawless
invaders, they successfully attacked them, killing
seven, and driving away the rest, with the excep-
tion of one, who was captured, who happened to be
the illegitimate brother of M. Tardiffe, to whom
he had shewed the warmest affection and whom he
had cherished as the dearest relation. In return
for such ingratitude and villainy, how did M. Tar-
diffe act ? Did he give him up for public justice ?
No. Did he permit his faithful and enraged do-
mestics, who were witnesses of his crimes, to exe-
cute momentary vengeance upon him ? No. But
he took him by the hand, mildly remonstrated with
him, and afterwards furnished him with the means
of leaving the colony for America, lest the search-
ing hand of justice might before long stay his ca-
reer. I have thought it adviseable to relate these
two cases, from the extraordinary enormity of the
first, and from the singular circumstances attending
the last, having received the detail of them from
an individual who was engaged in most of the
events which occurred at that period.

CHIAP. 11I.]


After this first revolt of the slaves in the north,
emigrations commenced in almost all parts of the
colony, some going to the United States, many to
the neighboring islands; and some of the most
opulent and powerful of the planters to England,
under the impression that the British government
would be disposed to turn its attention to their cause.
The war between France and England having com-
menced, some regard was paid to their solicitations,
and through the instance of M. Charmilly (the M.
Charmilly of Spanish notoriety) the government of
England sent out directions to the governor of Ja-
maica to afford to those inhabitants of St. Domingo
who were desirous to place themselves under Bri-
tish protection every possible support, and to send
without delay a competent force, and to take posses-
sion of such places as the people might be disposed
to surrender to them.
The intentions of the British government being
known by the means of secret agents, the commis-
sioners, Santhonax and Polverel, had recourse to
every possible means of strengthening the force in
the colony, and of being prepared for the reception
of the British troops whenever they should make
their contemplated descent. They collected the re-
gular troops, militia, and such of the whites as were
in their interest, together with the free negroes and
mulattoes who had hitherto followed their cause.
But this was not deemed by them a sufficient body


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