Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Half Title
 Part one: Haiti before Toussai...
 Part two: Toussaint's climb to...
 Part three: Toussaint rules
 Part four: Toussaint's fall and...
 Back Cover

Title: Citizen Toussaint
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081411/00001
 Material Information
Title: Citizen Toussaint
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Korngold, Ralph,
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1965
Copyright Date: 1944
Edition: First paperback edition
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081411
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 346406

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Front Matter
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Half Title
        Page v
        Page vi
    Title Page
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Table of Contents
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Part one: Haiti before Toussaint
        Page 3
        Page 4
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    Part two: Toussaint's climb to power
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    Part three: Toussaint rules
        Page 199
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    Part four: Toussaint's fall and death
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    Back Cover
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Full Text


Sa biograp

; a "


hy by Ralph Korngold

ri- j





_ _



by Ralph Korgold


Copyright I944, by Ralph Korngold
All rights reserved


Manufactured in the United States of America


ON May 23, 1799, Edward Stevens, Consul General of the
United States of America to the French colony of St. Domingo,*
wrote to General Thomas Maitland, Commander i- Ti- ef of
the British Expeditionary Force to the same colony, warning
him that the British colony of Jamaica, along with the United
States of America, was m danger of invasion by the armed-
forces of St. Domingo under he rmmnand of GeneralTous-
saint Louverture. The paragraph relating to the threatened in-
vasion reads: -
The Agency of Saint-Domingo had received positive orders from
the Executive Directory to invade both the Southern States of
America and the Island of Jamaica. Gen. Toussaint Louverture was
consulted on the best mode of making the attack.
General Maitland did not burst out laughing at the notion
that the Negro army of Toussaint Louverture might invade
the American continent. A Britih army of nu nnn well-trained
and excellently equipped soldiers had been decisively defeated
by Toussaint Louverture, and Maitland had orders to evacuate.
Nor did the American Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering,
regard the matter as a joke. Stevens wrote to him: "His [Tous-
saint Louverture's] army amounts to 4S ooa nen, of which
30,000 are of the line and disciplined. The remainder are militia."
This, for the New World, was a formidable army. The largest
That part of the island now called "Haiti" was then called "St.-Domingue"
by the French and "St. Domingo" by EnIishmen and Americans. "San Do-
mingo" will be used to designate the Spanish part. The island as a whole will
be referred to as Haiti, the name given to it by the aboriginal Indians.

force Washington had ever commanded had not exceeded 20,000
Stevens likewise informed the Secretary that the real ruler
of St. Domingo was not the French Directory or its Agent, but
Toussaint Louverture: "The Agent does nothing at present
but what he is desired to do. The whole machine of Govern-
ment, both civil and military, is regulated and guided by the
Since in 1812 the British did not find it difficult to land an
army in the United States, there is reason to believe that with
the aid of the French fleet Toussaint could have done the same.
He might have proved a more formidable adversary than the
British, since thousands of plantation slaves undoubtedly would
have joined him. The invasion plan included seizure of all ships
in Haitian waters for use as transports The American Govern-
ment took the matter sufficiently to heart to forbid American
ships to depart for Haitian ports. However, while the French
Directory desired Toussaint to invade the United States and
Jamaica, he himself had no inclination to do so. He wasTar more
interested in gamini hies id-pen-denc--fom France. Hence, on
g ... . . -- .. -
June i, i799, he made a secret treaty with Great Britain and
ti7e Unted States, n which app_ rs this clause: "No expedition
shall be sent out against any of the possessions of his Britannic
Majesty and the Uited States of America."

The foregoing should convince the reader that the role
played by Toussaint Louverture upon the political stage of his
time was not a minor one. Not only was he an exceedingly
capable military leader, governor and administrator, but the
country he ruled was, in relation to the rest of the world,
far more important, then, than now. The exports of the island
compared favorably with those of the United States. Toussaint's
Army and yearly revenue were larger than those of any Euro-

pean power of the second rank. The two principal cities of the
colony-- Cap Frangis and Port RIpublicain (Port-au-Prince)
- were almost as large as New York. Cap Frangais was incom-
parably better built than any American city. Toussaint wrote
with pardonable pride to Napoleon Bonaparte: "The colony
of St. Domingo, of which I was commander, enjoyed the
greatest tranquillity; agriculture and commerce flourished. The
island had attained a degree of splendor it had never before wit-
nessed. And all this I dare say was my work."
A number of measures for which Napoleon has received great
praise were anticipated by Toussaint. Beauchamp does not hesi-
tate to say: "His [Toussaint Louverture's] political perform-
ance was.suchk that, in a wider sphere, Napo leonappears to
have imitated him."

Toussaint Louverture was fifty-nine when he died. Hisfather
lived!to be 1r 6, and might ave become even older had he
notbeen filed by the French. Hence there is reason to believe
that but for Toussaint's removalto a Toei6gn climate and prison,
he ghti have eignd for another score of years. Would he
have een satisfied with peacefully ruling HaitiwT ie slavery
continued to exist on allotheisland in the Caribbean? Napo-
leon did not think so, and said that unless Toussaint was over-
thrown "m eceptre of the New World would sooner or later
pass into the hands of tiel~E Bonaparte s brothf rn-1aw,
General Leclerc, Commander in Chief of the French Expedition-
ary Force, wrote to the Minister of Marine: "It is here and now
that the issue is being decided whether Europe will preserve any
colonies in the West Indies." His Chief of Staff, General de
Lacroix, wrote: "The sword of Damocles hung suspended by a
thread and threatened the prosperity of Cuba and Jamaica. Only
the whim of a Haitian chief kept it from falling." Napoleon had

but to threaten to recognize Toussaint and to give him a free
hand, to have the British withdraw their objections to his ex-
It is, therefore, no rash assumption that but for the treachery
of his own generals, the Liberator of Haiti might have become
the Liberator of the West Indies. His overthrow had sign chance
for the UnitedShiates an for evert nation_ wth-colonies in the
New World. It was an event of prime importance to the white
race as well as to the Negro race. None of his successors
possessed either his ability or his vision. The danger to white
supremacy in the West Indiesdied with him.

It was not Toussaint's intention to help the United States of
America acquire the Louisiana Territory, which doubled the
.rea of the country and made possible further expansion west-
/ ward; but.there is-eason tohelieve that but for the Negro
general the Territory might have. remained a French colony.
Napoleon's ambition was to build a great colonial empire.
The keystone of that empire was of course to be the incom-
parable colony of St. Domingo, from which France is said to
have derived more profit than all other nations derived from
their combined colonies in Asia, Africa and America. As long
as Toussaint Louverture remained in power, St. Domingo was a
French colony in name only. In reyali it was an independent
state, having its own constitution, making its own laws, main-
taining its own army and negotiating treaties with foreign pow-
ers. Even the last link, the Agent or Commissioner, had dis-
appeared. Thefirst step in Napoleon's colonial program was,
therefore, to plan the elimination of Toussaint Louverture. The
second was the retrocession by Spain, to the French Republic,
of the Louisiana Territory, for- says Henry Adams- "St.
Domingo, like all the West Indies, suffered as a colony under a
serious disadvantage, being dependent for its supplies chiefly on

the United States, a dangerous neighbor both by its political
example and its commercial and maritime rivalry with the
mother country. The First Consul hoped to correct this evil
by substituting Louisiana for the United States as a source of
supplies for St. Domingo."
So, in August 18oo, Napoleon sent Berthier to the Court of
Madrid to negotiate the retrocession of the Territory. He re-
ceived assurance that it would be ceded, and the following year
sent his brother-in-law, General Leclerc, at the head of the most
powerful army that had ever crossed the Atlantic, to St. Do-
mingo to subdue Toussaint Louverture. Had Leclerc succeeded,
Napoleon would have carried out his project, and the Louisiana
Territory would have remained a French colony.
But Leclerc did not succeed. Napoleon's plan suffered ship-
wreck as a result of Toussaint Louverture's stubborn resistance
and his foresight in arming virtually _the. entire Negro and
mulatto population of St. Domingo. "Louisiana could not be
made useful until St. Domingo should be thoroughly subdued,"
says Henry Adams. Having lost St. Domingo, Napoleon lost-
interest in the Louisiana Territory and sold it to Jefferson.
But.t was ToussaintLouvertaureand-the Negroes and mulattoes j-
of St. Domingo who gave Jefferson his opportunity.
Salvador de Madariaga gives credit to the Jewish people for
having produced the man who discovered America. If the United
States of America stretches from Canada to the Gulf and from
the Atlantic to the Pacific, some credit for this is due to a mem-
ber of the Negro race.

This is not a fictional biography, and no attempt has been
made to have Toussaint appear better or wiser than is warranted
by the evidence. But no estimate of Toussaint's character and ac-
complishments would best if it failed to consider that he was
a slave for forty-seven years ntr of the fifty-ine ears of his

existene. If Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln had had such
a handicap to contend with, who knows if they would have at-
ained his stature? Certain it is that slavery would have left its
ark upon them, as it did upon him.
"It is for slaves to lie, for freemen to speak truth," wrote
Apollonius. Duplicity and mendacity are the natural weapons
of the weak and helpless. Toussaint Louverture's liberal use of
these weapons should be ascribed to habits formed in slavery.
This mitigating circumstance cannot be cited in defense of such
honored figures in the white Hall of Fame as Queen Elizabeth
and Napoleon Bonaparte. Of Queen Elizabeth a distinguished
historian has written: "Nothing is more revolting in the queen,
but is more characteristic than her shameless mendacity. A
falsehood was to her an intellectual means of meeting a dif-
ficulty." As for Napoleon, his perfidy has seldom been equaled.
The reader will find documentary evidence of it in this volume.
Still another excuse may be offered for Toussaint. Says Cardi-
nal Newman: "Almost all authors, Catholic and Protestant,
admit that when a just cause is present, there is some kind of
verbal misleading which is not sin." It is now generally con-
ceded that Toussaint's cause was just. Whether the kind of
"verbal misleading" he practised is in conformity with good
ethics the reader may decide for himself.
If no man is a hero to his valet, neither is he to his biographer.
4 All human idols have feet of clay, though of varying friability.
SThis, however, does not deter the biographer of Toussaint from
agreeing with Beauchamp, who pronounces the Negro leader
to have been "one of the most remarkable men in an age rich in
remarkable men."
SItalics, Newman's.


Foreword ix

PART ONE Haiti Before Toussaint
I The Paradise of God 3
II The Buccaneers 8
III St. Domingo Comes of Age Ix
IV The Whites 16
V Mulattoes and Mulattresses 19
VI The Slave Traffic 22
VII Household Slaves and Field Slaves 25
VIII Man's Inhumanity to Man 29 -
IX What Sort of People Were the Slaves? 36-
X How the Slaves Fought Back 41
XI The Revolution Comes to St. Domingo 46 /
XII The Mulattoes Rebel 49 /

PART TWO Toussaint's Climb to Power
I Toussaint on the Breda Plantation 55
II Toussaint Organizes the Insurrection 63
III Peace Negotiations 74
IV Emancipation 84

V Toussaint and the Spaniards 95
VI Toussaint Joins the French 1o8
VII Toussaint and Laveaux 117
VIII Toussaint Worries About a Friend 123
IX Toussaint and Sonthonax 127
X Toussaint and the British 139
XI Toussaint and Hedouville 155
XII Toussaint and Rigaud x69
XIII Toussaint and Roume 187
XIV Toussaint Conquers the Spanish Colony x9x

PART THREE Toussaint Rules
I Toussaint's Statesmanship 199
II Toussaint and the Racial Problem 21o
III Panoply of Power 215
IV The Constitution 219
V Moyse 225

PART FOUR Toussaint's Fall and Death
I Napoleon Hesitates 231
II Toussaint Prepares 235
Im The Expeditionary Force 239
IV Burning of Le Cap 247
V Capture of Port-au-Prince 258
VI Toussaint Writes to His Generals 261
VII Toussaint and His Sons 266
VIII At Grips with Napoleon's Armies 275

IX Toussaint Decides to Submit 283
X Toussaint and Leclerc 290
XI Toussaint's Arrest 295
XII Toussaint's Imprisonment and Death 302
Epilogue 321
Appendix 329
Index 333

Capacity to learn comes with dependence on
education; and as that animal which at birth is
most incapable and immature is the most teach-
able, so too those human races which are most
precocious are most incorrigible, and while they
seem the cleverest at first prove ultimately the
least intelligent . It is perhaps the duller
races,"with a long childhood and a brooding
mind, that bear the hopes of the world within
them, if only nature avails to execute what she
has planned on so great a scale.



Haiti Before Toussaint

The Paradise of God

COLUMBUS had tasted the joy of discovery. He had set foot in
the New World and had taken possession for his king "with
proclaiming heralds and flying standards, no one objecting." In
Cuba he was told of an island to the east where there was an
abundance of gold. The natives called it "Haiti" The Land of
Mountains. On December 1492, Columbus set sail for the
island with two caravels. That same evening he sighted it and saw
a beautiful bay, sheltered by a high bluff, "like the bay of Cidiz."
Adverse currents prevented him from entering until the follow-
ing morning, when he named it M6le St. Nicolas, in honor of
the saint of that day. Since, however, the natives had taken fright
and remained undiscoverable, Columbus drew up anchor the
following day and sailed northward along the coast to explore
other parts of the island.
The more he saw of it, the better he liked it. In some ways it
reminded him of Spain, so he called it "Espagnola," later Latin-
ized to the diminutive Hispaniola Little Sain. Still later
eieFrench were to call it "St. Domingue," after the city Co-
lumbus' brother founded on the island.
In letters to his two friends and patrons, Luis de Sant Angel
and Gabriel Sanchez, and in his journal, Columbus is enthusiastic
about Haiti, which he calls "the most beautiful thing in the
world," and "the most pleasant place in the world." Once

he refers to it as "the Paradise of God," -and writes: "Here
I will dwell, I and my children, here I shall remain and the last
remnant of my days be spent, and here I will be buried."
If Columbus was pleased with the island, he was equally
pleased with its inhabitants. To read him one might think that
this was indeed paradise, inhabited by beings unaffected by the
fall of man. To the King he wrote: "They are loving people,
without covetousness. I declare to Your Highness that there is
not a better country nor a better people in the world than these.
They love their neighbors as themselves and their speech is the
sweetest and gentlest in the world, and always with a smile."
It must be acknowledged that the conduct of the Haitian
Indians toward Columbus and his companions merited the Ad-
miral's flattering opinion of them. On the. night before Christ-
mas, the sea being motionless, the rudder of Columbus' flag-
ship, the Santa Maria, was entrusted to a boy. An imperceptible
current carried the ship towards the coastal reefs, which it
struck with a thundering noise. Columbus, who had given strict
orders not to give the rudder to such inexperienced hands, rushed
on deck, only to discover that the ship was irretrievably lost.
No sooner had the "king" of that region, whom Columbus
had visited the previous day, heard about this shipwreck than
he hastened to the Admiral's assistance with a large force of men.
Nothing could be done to save the ship, but all the cargo and
the stores were saved and placed under shelter in several houses
the "king" ordered cleared for that purpose. He visited Colum-
bus the following day and besought him "with tears in his eyes"
not to grieve over the loss, as he would do what he could to
compensate him for it. Columbus informs us that not the small-
est article was stolen, although the ship was loaded with gew-
gaws dear to the heart of an Indian.
The fact that the Indians believed the Spaniards to be visitors
from heaven may, in part, have accounted for their exemplary
behavior, but travelers who visited the island when much had
happened to dispel that illusion, likewise assure us that the

Haitian Indians were simple, mild and humane. "More like
children than men," says Jefferys. Columbus tells us that they
were whiter and handsomer than any aborigines he had yet
seen and that the skin of some was "as white as any that could
be seen in Spain."
Haiti was divided into five kingdoms, each ruled by a heredi-
tary absolute king called a "cacique." The caciques do not appear
to have been tyrannical or bellicose. When a difference arose
between them they met and usually managed to reach an agree-
ment without resort to arms.

The West Indian historian Bryan Edwards has said: "The
whole story of mankind affords no scene of barbarity equal to
that of the cruelties exercised by the Spaniards on the inoffensive
natives of the Leeward Islands." Listen to the Dominican friar
Bartolome de Las Casas, future Bishop of Chiapa, who was
an eyewitness: -

I once beheld four or five Indian chiefs roasted on a slow fire, and
as the victims poured forth screams which disturbed the command-
ing officer in his slumbers, he sent word that they should be
strangled. But the officer on guard (I know his name, and I know
his relations in Seville), would not suffer it; but causing their mouths
to be gagged, that their cries might not be heard, he stirred up the
fire with his own hands and roasted them till they expired.

SWhen Columbus discovered Haiti, the island which is about
the size of Ireland had a population estimated at from 1,ooo,-
000 to 3,ooo,oo. When forty-three years later Oviedo visited
ih there were nn-r over n n jof the original inhabitanTs
left. What ennid thav hben the reon for the ,r 1 ,t.-,prmmn-
tion of a peopJe of whm .W s Cor sa ys. "They never committed
against the Spaniards anyone mortalfn punishabe hy the
law of man"?

The. Spanish adventurers who flocked to Haiti had only one
aim in view: They wanted gold and colonial products. They
had been trading with the natives, giving them leather thongs,
bits of glass, mirrors, earthenware, strings of beads, etc., in ex-
change for their gold, but the Indians could not use an unlimited
supply of such treasures and had no desire to engage in gold
mining as a regular occupation. They regarded gold as a sacred
metal and before going in search of it used to purify them-
selves by fasting and continence, neither of which appealed
to them. As for cultivating the soil on a scale requiring long
hours of labor in the hot sun, they had not the slightest inclina-
tion to do so. The Spaniards were as indolent as the Indians, but
far better armed and skilled in the art of warfare. Moreover,
they possessed horses, unknown to the Indians and greatly feared
by them. They defeated the Indians, enslaved them andA F -
pelled them to work for them.
S When the Indians had been conquered they as well as their
land were divided among the Spanish grandeP and lesser ad-
venturers. The Spanish government collected a twenty-five-
per-cent tax on exports, but as long as Indians were plentiful,
slaves could be had for the asking. Indians were regarded as a
natural resource, and in newly settled countries natural resources
are usually wasted. Raynal s hat Cas:ihan gendtemen went
out shooting Indians for pleasure and considered the hunting
poor if they did not kiat eastdoze~n "one for each apostle."
If the Indians perished by tens and by hundreds of thousands,
the white colonists prospered. Mines and plantations were de-
veloped. The ports of the island were crowded with proud gal-
leons bringing manufactured products from the mother country
and carrying away rich colonial produce. For many of the
colonists the dream of wealth came true. Some returned to
Spain and spent in riotous living the wealth wrung from the In-
dians. Others built fine houses, imported costly furniture and
clothing and set out to found a colonial aristocracy. Oviedo
wrote to Charles V that there was not a city in Spain com-

parable with Santo Domingo City, where there were mansions
surpassing in size, splendor and comfort the palaces in which
royalty lived in the mother country.
But the reservoir of Indian slave labor was not inexhastible.
One day the Spanards discovered that it was beginning to run
y o, ooo nd we imported from the Bahamas torepen-
is e The wanton killing of natives was stopped. When
all this proved inadequate, Negro slaves were imported. But
the African slave track was as yet poorly organized and a labor
shortage soon made itself felt Her a plantartinn there a mine
had to be abandoned. Exports and imports began to dro alarm-
ing. Ma ave upin disst and moved to
Mexico .or. Peru.
More misfortunes came when England and Holland fitted out
privateers to prey upon Spanish commerce. The waters around
Hispaniola began to swarm with them to such an extent that a
galleon stood little chance of arriving at its destination unless
convoyed by a man-of-war. The government was obliged to
close all the ports of the island, except Santo Domingo City. In
i586, Sir Francis Drake captured the city and held it for nearly
a month. Before leaving he decided to reduce it to ashes, and
had made a promising beginning when the citizens ransomed the
remainder by paying him 8o,000 pieces of eight.
The Spanish colony never regained its former prosperity.
Agriculture was almost entirely abandoned, and the inhabitants
became ranchers and herdsmen. In the seventeenthcentury the
western art of the island was lostot race.


The Buccaneers

IN L625 some P rsIiand Flench adventurers took possession
of the island o St. Christophe), one of the smallest of the Lee-
ward Islands. Thyad-be n on the island five years and were
feeling thoroughly established, when the Spanish admiral Don
Federico de Toledo came to pay them an unwelcome visit, When
the visit was over, the surviving members of the colony found
themselves at sea in open boats, with no particular aim in view
except to get away as far as possible from the admiral's barking
The early history of the fugitives is somewhat obscure. The
preponderance of evidence indicates that they first landed on the
northwest coast of Hispaniola, a wild and uninhabited country.
The Spaniards had introduced horses, cattle and pigs into the
island. These had rapidly multiplied and great herds ranged the
savannas. So the fugitives, who were well armed, did not lack
sustenance. They had learned from the Indians how to preserve
meat without salt, which was costly and hard to obtain. The
meat was cut into strips, cured in the sun and then smoked over
a green-wood fire. The process was called "boucanning," hence
the settlers became known as "buccaneers." The rude sheds in
which they lived and smoked their meat were called "boucans."
Shortly after the fugitives came to Hispaniola some of them
decided that there was a more lucrative way of making a living
than hunting the bull and the boar and selling hides to smugglers.
A few miles from the coast was the small island of Tortug. It
was cigar-shaped, with a north coast inaccessible even to a canoe
and a south coast that had only one narrow harbor, easily de-
fended. The more venturesome among the buccaneers decided
to seize Tortuga and use it as a base for piratical operations.

A garrison of twenty-five Spaniards stationed on the island was
ordered to leave and obligingly complied. The adventurers now
built a small ship, and, luck being with them, had soon captured
several from the Spaniards. Their success attracted others and
Tortuga became a veritable breeding place for pirates. They
becaine known as "filibusters or "freebooters," terrorized the
Spanish Main and extended their operations as far as the Pacific.
Many others of the buccaneers now moved to Tortuga to
trade with the freebooters, and as time progressed abandoned
hunting for agriculture. The Spaniards, however, were now
fully awake to the danger of the situation and made persistent
efforts to get rid of the intruders. They recaptured Tortuga
several times and waged a war of extermination on the buc-
caneers. One finds on the map of Haiti such names as River of
the Massacre, Plain of the Massacre, Mountain of the Massacre,
all of which antedate the Haitian Revolution and are a reminder
of the bloody encounters between Spaniards and buccaneers.
But try as they might, the Spaniards were unable to dislodge
their enemies permanently and new recruits kept constantly
When not fighting the Spaniards, the buccaneers kept in trim
by fighting among themselves. Some were French, some Eng-
lish and some Dutch. The Dutch, being a small minority, made
no bid for leadership, but the French and the English constantly
fought for supremacy, with now one, now the other faction hav-
ing the better of an argument that lasted forty years. By 1664,
however, the French were firmly in the saddle, owing to the
support of their home government:-Thein-Ffiiice took charge
of the colony and d'Ogeron de la Bouere was appointed Gov-

The French Government now made an attempt to people the
colon with Frenchmen. It sent over indentured servants, called

engages. They were given free passage, but had to sign an
agreement promising to work three years for whoever wished
to purchase their services. They were inhumanly treated. Du
Tertre tells of fifty dying in the service of a single master.
Finally it was decided to send convicts. It was comparatively
easy for aoor man to become a convict in those days, so those
tran orted wer d erate aracters.
The first Governor, d'Ogeron, convinced that a colony with-
out women did not have much of a future, had asked that women
be sent; he received two consignments of fifty. "They were,"
says de Wimpffen, "vixens from the Salpetriire [the women's
prison in Paris], sluts picked up from the gutter, shameless hus-
sies whose language was as vile as their morals." Nevertheless
d'Ogeron had no difficulty in disposing of them to the highest
bidder, and they were considered such prizes that their employ-
ers usually married them. But the young women were such a
handful that, after several more shiploads had arrived, a harassed
governor sent this plaint to the Minister of Marine: "It were
better to send no more women than the kind we have been get-
ting. They ruin the men's health and cause them so much
worry as to drive them to an early grave not to speak of all
the other mischief with which they disturb peace and order."
Immigrants who began flocking to the colony, intent on mak-
inga fortune, were almost equally undesirable. "Colonial life,
it is true, writes the Intendant Mithon, "does not usually attract
the cream of the population, but what we get here is riffraff
from every part of the world, whom licentious conduct or a
spotted past have forced to emigrate."


St. Domingo Comes of Age

UNTIL the middle of the seventeenth century the principal prod-
ucts of St. Domingo had been cocoa, indigo and tobacco. In
i644, l Brazilian JerBe1jamin Dacosta introduced sugar cane
fron)Java into thKAntilled and brought about a great economic
revolution. Sugar cine- might have been profitably grown on
small farms had independent mills been erected. But there ap-
peared instead large sugar plantations that had their own mills
and were manufactories as well as agricultural establishments.
To produce sugar in this fashion required a great outlay of
capital. Vast estates swallowed up the small farms. "More than
four thousand people have left whose land is now owned by
twelve or fifteen sugar plantations," wrote in 1680 the Intendant
Patoulet. Indentured servants no longer sufficed. Negroes were
imported in ever greater numbers.
B y 78 neary o.oo Negroes had been imported- over
40,000 in 1787 alone, not counting some ooo smuggled in to
avoid the head tax. A eat varety 0 Arr ih wr rprP.
seated. Moreau de Saint-Mery enumerates thirty, differing as
widely from one another in physical and mental characteristics
as a Nordic from a Semite. There were Senegalese, "strong,
well-made, tall and ebony-hued"; copper-colored Fulahs, with
straight hair and Caucasian features; Angolese, who, says du
Tertre, "smelt so horribly that the air was tainted for a quarter
of an hour after they had passed"; cannibal Mondongos, with
teeth filed to sharp points. There were Bambaras, tall, insolent
and given to thieving; Aradas, proud, but excellent agricultur-
ists; Congos, small and active, but prone to run away; Nagos,
kind and docile; Mines, resolute and capricious; Ardras, talk-
ative and quarrelsome; Ibos, good field workers, but easily

despairing and apt to hang themselves; and many others. Urged
by the whips of drivers and under the supervision of white over-
seers, this vast army of Negroes did a prodigious amount of
work. Towns grew into cities, and new towns and villages
sprang up. Roads and bridges were built, aqueducts and irriga-
tion works constructed. The broad savannas, where wild cattle
and horses had ranged, were transformed into sugar and cotton
plantations separated by hedges of citron and lime. Mountain
slopes were cleared and became coffee plantations. Nearly a
quarter of a million acres were under cultivation. There came a
time when two thirds of all French import. and- export trade
was with-Si7.Domingo. The combined imports and exports of the
colony reached the astounding total of 716,ooo,ooo livres; Iooo
merchant vessels, employing 80,ooo sailors, were required to
carry the tonnage to and from the mother country. At the
time of the Revolution there were nearly 800 sugar plantations,
about half that many cotton and indigo plantations, and 3000
coffee plantations. Where land was unfit for cultivation cattle
and pigs were bred. Says H. E. Mills: "In 1789 St. Domingo
had attained a height of prosperity not surpassed in th-eiltory
of Europeancolonies. It supplied half Europe withrsugar, coffee
and cotton."
About the middle of the eighteenth century the French nobil-
ity went into decline. Money was needed to restore some of the
proudest blazons of France to their former luster. So the Segurs,
Noailles, La Rochefoucaulds, Rohans, Chabans, Guy-d'Arseys
- all that was Vieille France formed alliances by marriage
with the purse-proud planters of St. Domingo. A young noble's
colonial bride might betray in speech and manner her descent
from a buccaneer and a Paris prostitute, but an income of 200,-
ooo livres easily compensated for such shortcomings. Many
nobles came to live in the colony and a veritable squirearchy was
created. In the neighborhood of Le Cap alone some 200 nobles
lived on their estates. "Sire, your Court has become Creole by

alliances," a delegation from St. Domingo said proudly to Louis

There sprang up a legend concerning life in the colony that
has not died to this day. To be "a St. Domingo planter" was
considered equivalent to being a nabob. The average Frenchman
imagined life in the colony as a -crss between Mardi Gras and
Arabian Nights. Visiting planters were responsible for this fan-
tastic notion. One arrived in Paris with an exotic retinue of
mulatto and Negro servants. He established himself in the most
elegant suite of the leading hostelry and entertained like an
oriental potentate. It is not unlikely he was spending a ten
years' income to indulge his vanity, but Paris did not know that.
When he described his colonial country residence one received
the impression of a tropical Trianon, and when he enlarged upon
the attractions of the colony's two principal cities, Cap Frangais
and Port-au-Prince, Paris looked drab by comparison. No won-
der that when in 1790 Baron de Wimpffen landed in the heart
of Port-au-Prince, he imagined himself in one of the meaner
suburbs and went looking for the metropolis he had heard
described in such glowing terms. The disillusioned baron com-
mented that St. Domingo's famed capital reminded him of a
Tartar camp.
Cap Frangais, or "Le Cap," as it was colloquially called, would
have been less disappoming. It compared favorably with most
European cities of the second rank. The colonists referred to
it as "the Paris of the New World." The streets were straight,
narrow and for the most-part paved, a luxury few European
cities permitted themselves. There were several fine squares,
two of them embellished with fountains. The houses were of
hewn stone, transported at great cost from Europe. The ma-
jority had two stories and wrought iron balconies, which were

sometimes gilded. There were many public buildings, several
churches, two large hospitals, a theater, a bathing establish-
ment wheremen and women could enjoy each. others-com-
pany at the_ ath, c gi, gambling houses and innumerable
Le Cap had over 20o,ooo inhabitants and a large floating popula-
tion. The streets were filled with a noisy and colorful crowd -
mulatto women, with towering headdresses and fantastic ear-
rings; Negresses with vivid-colored turbans; richly dressed Cre-
ole women; planters, dressed in white and wearing broad-
brimmed straw hats; fortune seekers, sailors, officers and soldiers
of the garrison. There were men on horseback, women in sedan
chairs carried by Negroes or horses, or one might see "an elegant
carriage, drawn by horses or mules of different colors and sizes,
with ropes for traces, covered with the most filthy trappings and
driven by a postilion glittering with gold and barefoot."
It was an animated spectacle, but there was something facti-
tious about it, as if it were a stagesetting. There was a feverish-
ness in the atmosphere, which extended into the country, where
the planters lived in houses that obviously were a makeshift,
devoid of architectural beauty and scantily furnished. There
was, in fact, hardly a white man in St. Domingo who did not
look forward to the time when he would be able to leave the
colony and go to live in France. "All wish to be gone," says
Raynal, "everyone is in a hurry; these people have the air of
merchants at a fair."

The colony was divided into three provinces: the.Nor t
anrI Sm The WNnrrh Province wa thetoldet, best developed
4I; and most densely populated. Its capital was CapFrancais. The
West Province was almost twice as largebut not as ruitfulor
well developed. The capital was Port-au-Prince, which was
likewise ihe seat of the colonial government. The SouthProv-

since, with the town of T.es Cayes for capital had been colonized
last, was little d 'lnopd and spar-nely serrled
1I 1789 there were approximately 39,000 whites, 27,000 "free
people of color" (commonly called "mulattoes"), and 452,000
slaves in the cology. An undetermined number of thetree
people of color" were Negroes, and about ten per cent of the
slaves were mulattoes. Some of the free people of color owned
slaves, but a free Negro would not have attempted town a
mulatto slave who would have preferred death to such a humil-
St Domingo was governed by officials sent over from France.
'There was no self-government even in municipal affairs. At the
head of thegovernment were the Governor and the Intendant,
appointed by the King and responsible to the Minister of Marine.
The Governor, usually a bluff old soldier, commanded the gar-
rison, the colonial militia, the gendarmes, the squadron. He
promulgated the laws and gave land concessions. The Intendant,
generally an astute man of the law, had charge of the judiciary
and managed the finances. It,as a dual government that worked
badly. Because of his control of the armed forces, the Governor
was more powerful, but he and the Intendant were sufficiently
equal to be at loggerheads most of the time. Under these two
principal functionaries served a host of minor officials, who
imitated the quarrel of their superiors. On one point, however,
all were agreed: they, toohad no intention of remaining
manenly in the colony and wished to make as much money as
possible in a minimum uof time. Graft and corruption were ram-
pant. St. Domiingoboasted one of the most extravagant and ex-
pensive governments in the world.
But it was not the dishonesty of the government officials that
worried the colonists. Perhaps under the circumstances they
preferred them to be dishonest. A dishonest official could more
easily be induced to temper the severity of the Colonial Pact,
that instrument of the Devil, the very thought of which could
raise the temperature of a colonist. The Pact permitted the

colonists to sell only to France and to buy only from France.
Now, France could use barely a fourth of their exports. All the
rest was bought by French merchants, for resale elsewhere.
Millions that the colonists could have made went into the pockets
of theFrench traders. When it came to imports if a colonist
wanted flour from Philadelphia, he had to get it by way of
Bordeaux! For many articles he paid double what he would
have paid had he been able to buy in the open market. As a
result of all this, officialdom and the.colonists_ were far from
being friends. The planters looked enviously at the United
States of America, whose example they would have liked to


S-..'The Whites
THE most substantial part of the population were the C'prel *
planters the Grands Blancs. The typical Creole planer was
tall ter thn the ag Frenchma handsome an rmani-
looking dark-eyed,_ebonyi-haired lie-skirnned. He possessed
a feline grace, due to a childhood spent in the open, unen-
cumbered by much clothing. He was courageous and open-
handed. At one time he had been famed for his hospitality,
but towards the close of the eighteenth century that trait had
in a large measure disappeared. Against this meager catalogue of
virtues there was a long list of defects and vices. Montesquieu
calls the St. Domingo planters "ferocious, proud, quarrelsome,
voluptuous and cruel." Baron de Wimpffen charges them with
*Originally a Creole was a person of European descent born in the
French or Spanish West Indies. Later any person born there was called a
Creole. Thus there were Creole Negroes and Afican Negroes, ie. Negroes
born in Africa.

being "irascible, capricious, willful and imperious." Both be-
lieveAtrhtplantetrso have developed-their-least admirable traits
of character in the exercise of absolute-power-overheir slaves.
The Creole planter's wife was often a charming creature, if
seldom sylphlike. Large dark eyes, abundant and glossy black
or brown tresses, an ivory complexion, fine teeth, graceful
languor, drawling and melodious speech captivated the new-
comer. Usually she could be found lying in a hammock or on
a couch, reading a French novel, receiving the attentions of
an admirer or listening to naughty ballads, sung in Creole by a
mulatto slave girl. Another slave girl, at the foot of the couch,
might be supplying her with her favorite excitation, which con-
sisted of having the soles of her bare feet tickled with a feather.
The charm of this Arabian Nights scene would be rudely shat-
tered if the lady lost her temper. At such a time she might spit :
at her slae girls, pinch them, or abuse them in language reminis- -
cent ofher ancestresswhohad madea-forcedjourney to the
colony. If a giri protested he_ stood a good chance of being
flogged. Practically all authorities agree that Creole women were -
more crueTto the slaves than the men. Says Descourtilz: "They
order and witness with perfect equanimity the most inhuman
punishments inflicted upon the slaves and appear completely in-
sensible to cries of mercy or to the effusion of blood."
An American girl, Miss Hassall, who made a prolonged visit
to the colony, wrote to her friend Aaron Burr, former Vice
President of the United States: "The Creole lady divides her
time between the bath, the table, the toilette and the lover. The
faux pas of a married lady is so much a matter of course, that
she who has only one lover, and retains him long in her chains,
is considered a model of constancy and discretion."

2 -^ ":'
Thenemenpr officials on arl y men in he colony kept
aoof frmn the Crpfnle whn retrned thlir d lilra with .en-

gene. When in 1760 Count d'Estaing, Governor of St. Do-
mingo, made a tour of the colony, he found it advisable to make
long detours to find accommodations with free mulattoes and
Negroes. In a letter he speaks of the "shameful reception and
humiliating disappointments" he experienced at the houses of
some of the planters and warns his compatriots not to rely on
The relationship between the planters and the bourgeois of
the cities was little more cordial. The bourgeois bankers,
merchants, lawyers were usually Frenchmen representing con-
cerns with whom the planters did business and to whom, as a
rule, they owed money.
The largest class of whites were known asPetits Bancs. In the
country they were small farmers, overseers and handicraftsmen
descendants of the engaggs, not quite free from the obloquy
that had attached to their ancestors; in the cities the class con-
sisted of a miscellaneous lot of rapscallions gamblers, gaming
establishment and bawdyhouse keepers, cardsharps, soldiers of
fortune, small shopowners and tavernkeepers, all of whom
considered physicalhabor beneaththe.dignity .of a white man.
If they condescended to keep a shop and could not afford to
buy slaves, they hired them. They considered it a crying in-
justice for anybody with Negro blood to have more than they.
The free mulattoes were reasonably well protected in the owner-
ship of their property, though in little else, and the Petits Blancs
avenged themselves by heaping humiliations upon them. In this
they were encouraged by the planters, who were glad to see the
dissatisfactions of propertyless whites directed into racial chan-
t r, Ecclesiastics were fairly numerous in the colony and their
reputation-was-eo-heworst. "Perhaps nowhere in Christendom
have the clergy so profaned their sacred calling," said in 1863
the Haitian Minister of Public Worship, Lizaire. The Arch-
bishop of Port-au-Prince, Gailloux, mournfully declared: "For
the honor of the Church I wish I could wipe out their [the

priests'] shame with my tears and plunge their acts into eternal
oblivion." Many of the priests had concubines and children,
with whom they lived openly. "He is a good father, even if he
is a bad priest," was said in defense of one of them. The clergy
were usually monks who had broken their vows, or priests
who had disgraced themselves in France and had been relegated
to the colony instead of being unfrocked. Their religious in-
fluence was naturally small.
But it was not the debauchees among the clergy who incurred
the wrath of the colonists. The priests upon whom the colonists
heaped anathema and whom they charged with every con-
ceivable crime were a half-dozen men who, like Father Delahaye,
came tothe colony because of their genuine sympathy with the
Negres WJ-h thre rehpllion broke out these priests com-
mitted the unpardonable sin they ranged themselves nn the
side of the rebels.


Mulattoes and Mulattresses

THE colloquial term "mulatto" designated all persons of mixed
white and Negro blood. There were, however, thirteen subdivi-
sions mutre, griffe, quarteron, tierceron, metis, mameluc,
and more. Amulatto's socialstanding depended in a large measure
on the amount of white blood in his veins.
Haitian historians tell us that in the early days of the colony
mulattoes had enjoyed near-equality with the whites. There
had been an unwritten law that the child of a white man and a
slave woman became free at the age of twenty-four. Many
planters had not regarded their mulatto offspring as slaves at
any time and had endowed them with considerable property.

Whites and mulattoes had met on a friendly footing and mar-
riage between them had been frequent. The change in racial
relations is supposed to have taken place when white women
began arriving in the colony in considerable numbers. They
were nearly always poor and discovered to their chagrin that
white men preferred their propertied mulatto sisters. It is even
claimed that, apart from property considerations, white men
found mulattresses more attractive. The white women managed
to exhibit such scorn for misgenation (at least of a legal char-
acter) that the men became infected and racial barriers sprang
Mulattoes could not hold public office or practice any of the
learnedprofessions. Even some of the skilled trades were closed
to them. They had to serve three years in the militia and to
provide their own equipment. Inchurch,at the theater, in a
public conveyance, they had to occupy special seats. They were
not allowed to wear certain kinds of clothing and jewelry and
could not ride in a carriage. If they rode on horseback, they had
to dismount before entering a city or town. It was forbidden to
address them as "Monsieur" or "Madame." A white man could
insult or beat a mulatto with impunity. A complaint to the
authorities would have been useless and woe to him if he tried
to retaliate: a mulatto who raised his hand against a white man
ran the risk of having his hand cut-off. This law had, it is true,
.fallen into desuetude, but shortly before the Revolution a free
mulatto was sold into slavery for having struck a white man.
With practically every avenue of social advancement, except
Ji the ac uisitigonof property, barred to them. the mulattoes of St.
Domingo did what the Jews had done under similar ciru-
stances they devoted themselves to amassing wealth. In 1790
eyput ot the claim that one third of the land and one
fourth of the slaves belonged to them. The claim has been
called into question, but a report the Administrators of the
Colony sent in 1755 to the Minister of Marine, appears to
confirm it. We read: -

Their economical way of living enables them to lay aside each
year a good part of their earnings and thus accumulate considerable
capital. When a property is auctioned, they bid it up, until the price
has reached astronomical figures. The whites, not possessing as much
money as they, cannot buy it, or if they do, find themselves ruined.
In many districts the finest estates have fallen into their hands. They
are arrogant because they are rich and in proportion to their riches.
Unless appropriate measures are taken, the time is not far distant
when they will succeed in forming alliances with the most distin-
guished families in the kingdom, so that a mulatto might actually
become a member of a family in which his mother had been a slave.

Wealthy mulattoes sometimes managed to cross the color
line. Napoleon's dislike for the colored race may, in part, have
been due to the fact that he did not relish having a mulatto
brother-in-law. A sister of the Empress Josephine had married
a mulatto named Castaigns. There were some two hundred
white men in the colony married to mulattresses. In_ 88 a royal
edict forbade marriage between whites and mulattoes or Negroes.
Mulatto slaveowners identified their interests with those of the
white planters and had the reputation of being even harder task-
masters than their white colleagues.

The St. Domingo census of 1774 lists over seven thousand
mulattresses, five thousand of whom are listed as white men's
concubines. Since there ,were twice as many white men as white
women in the colony this is not surprising. A mulatto concubine
was, for that matter, as necessary to a married planter as to
a bachelor. She was the link between the plantation house and
the slave quarter. Where two or three white men lived on a
lonely plantation in the midst of a hundred times that many
slaves, the link was indispensable. The safety of the planter
and of his family often depended on the loyalty of the con-

Mulattresses had the reputation of being vain, extravagant and
lascivious, but also of being kind, generous and compassionate.
They were far more skillful than their white sisters in attract-
ing men and in keeping them interested. They possessed greater
gaiety and vitality, were better-natured and less exacting. White
women found their taste vulgar, but men liked the originality
with which they dressed and arranged their hair.
Once the white women of Le Cap struck a telling blow at
their rivals by prevailing upon the authorities to issue a decree
forbidding mulatto women to appear in public wearing silk
clothing and without a handkerchief knotted about the head.
The Abbe Gregoire says that guards were stationed in the streets
and at the doors of churches who tore the clothes off mulat-
tresses wearing the forbidden finery "until they were dressed
only in their modesty." The mulatto women struck back by
ceasing to go out. The result upon trade was so disastrous that
the merchants demanded and obtained the revocation of the


The Slave Traffic

As early as 1503 a few Negroes had been transported from
Guinea to Hispaniola and sold into slavery. Much hardier than
the Indians, the were incomparably better suited for plantation
work. he old Spaish storian errea says: "The African
prospered so much in the colony that it was the opinion that
unless a Negro should happen to beJiung-he would never die,
for as yet none had been known to perish from infirmity." And
we are assured that "The work of one Negro was more than
equal to that of four Indians."

In 5 x 6CharlesV granted a patent.toaJFlemish favorite to
import annually 4ooo. Negroes intn Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and
Puerto Rico. The courtier had no intention of engaging in the
traffic himself, but sold his patent to Genoese merchants, who
disposed of it to Portuguese.
The slave trade was at first poorly organized, or rather not
organized at all. Captains trading along the African coast usually
brought a few Negroes along with their cargo of gold, ivory
and gum. As the demand for slaves increased, it was found that
to be really profitable the traffic should be organized. Hence,
along the west coast of Africa, from Cape Verde to the equator,
"slave factories" were established.
A "slave factory" was a combined fQe and trading post.
Within the fortified enclosure were the soldiers' barracks, offices,
warehouses, living quarters of officials, etc. Here the slaves were
accumulated and kept until the arrival of the slave ship. The
man in charge of trading operations was the factor. He re-
mained at the fort and directed the activities of junior factors,
scattered in the interior, who kept a steady flow of slaves mov-
ing towards the factory. By exciting the cupidity of a chieftain
they often induced him to condemn scores of his own subjects
to be sold into slavery. By displaying a clasp knife, a string of
beads, a bright piece of cloth before the eager eyes of primitive
people, iiey wo7ulfdget a husband to sell his wife, parents to sell
their children, children to sell their parents.
It has been estimated that in the course of three centuries -
from 5Ioo to I8oo thirty million Negroes were taken from
A cand.frjIjnto slavery. One million of these were brought
to the French colony of St. Domingo. Moreau de Saint-Mery
estimates that in 1789, at the outbreak of the Revolution, two
thirds of the slaves in the colony were African-born.

Negro slave traders drove the slaves to the factory, yoked to-
gether neck to neck with heavy forkeIpolesand linked together

with chains. Through blazing heat, through torrential rain,
through dense jungles and over the parched African plain, ford-
ing streams infested by crocodiles, lashed by the whips of the
drivers, stung by insects, torn by briars, the black men, women
and children toiled on towards the factory. Here they were
herded into "trunks" barracks devoid of furnishings or sanita-
tion to await the coming of the slave ship.
Testimony before a Select Committee of the House of Com-
mons proves that as many as six hundred slaves were loaded into
a vessel of one hundred and twenty tons. The male slaves, com-
pletely naked, had a chain running from wrist to ankle. They
were driven into the hold and forced to lie down on wooden
shelves, built one above the other. The space allotted to each
was "not over a foot and a half in width and five feet and six
inches in length." Since the distance between the shelves was
found to be "two feet in many cases and two feet and a few
inches in the rest," the testimony of the captain who said:
"They had not so much space as a man in a coffin," was not
a mere figure of speech. Each slave was now fastened to a ring-
bolt in the floor, or to an iron bar running the entire length of
the shelf. Women and children were not chained, but had little
more space.
The voyage lasted from five weeks to eighty days, depending
on the wind and the location of the factory. The reader will be
reminded of the Black Hole of Calcutta and wonder why the
consequences were not equally disastrous. The reason was that
the slaves were frequently taken out on deck for exercise. The
exercise consisted in making them jump up and down in their
chains. This was called "dancing" by the slave traders. If they
refused to dance they were beaten with a cat-o'-nine-tails.
The average death rate during the voyagewas between seven
and eight per cent, but in some cases half the cargo was lost.
Taking into account those who died on the way to the factory,
in the trunks, in the raging surf when the light boats upset that
carried the Negroes to the ship, on arrival at their destination

and during the "seasoning process," not more than half the
slaves purchased.by..the factors lived to.work on a plantation.


Household Slaves and Field Slaves

ON their arrival at Le-Cap, the principal slave mart of St. Do-
mingo, the slaves were herded into barracks at some distance
from the city. An inspection of these barracks, made in 1784 by
order of the Minister of Marine, is stated in the official report
to have "revealed a revolting scene of dead and dying strewn
pell-mell in filth."
When a slave was purchased he, or shewas-branded on the
breast with-the-owner's-initials. The practice had been aban-
doned throughout the West Indies, but persisted in St. Domingo.
A report submitted by the St. Domingo planters to the French
National Assembly after the outbreak of the slave rebellion as-
sures us, however, that the condition of the Negroes in the
colony left little to be desired. The report says: -
Let any fair-minded and well-informed person compare the de-
plorable state of the Negroes in Africa with the mild and pleasant lot
of those in our colonies. Guaranteed against want; supplied with
comforts unknown to the greater part of the peasants of Europe;
secure in the enjoyment of their property (for they had property
and it was sacred); nursed in times of sickness at a cost and with
a care unknown in the vaunted hospitals of England; protected and
respected in the infirmity of old age; at ease in respect to their
children, their relatives and their friends; subjected to a labor pro-
portioned to the strength of each individual; enfranchised when they
merited it such was the true, unvarnished picture of the lot of our

One is reminded of Lincoln's query why those who vaunted
the advantages of slavery to the slaves never applied for the
privilege of becoming slaves themselves.
The report admits that some slaveowners abused their
power: -
Not that we would deny that there did exist among the planters
a very small number of hard and ferocious masters. But what was
the lot of these wicked men? Abhorred, detested by men of charac-
ter, ostracized, discredited, they lived in disgrace and dishonor, and
died in misery and despair.

Consideration of the lot of the slaves makes it necessary to
separate them into two principalgroups household slaves and
Authorities agree that household slaves were, as a rule, not ill-
treated; but they were as much at the mercy of their masters as
the field slaves, and the testimony before the Select Committee
contains accounts of hair-raising cruelties inflicted by sadistic
masters upon household slaves. Granted that in the case of
household slaves such treatment was exceptional, yet the fact
remains that it did take place and that the slaves had no redress.
4 Household slaves were usually Creole-Negroes. They wqre
privileged class among the slaves and looked down upon the field
slaves most of whom were African-born. They sometimes ob-
tained their freedom, either for faithful service, or for amorous
satisfaction given to the master or mistress. A free Negro was
practically always a former household slave or the descendant
of one.
A planter's social standing depended in a large measure on
the nmhr of household hy him Moreau de Saint-
Mery says that most St. Domingo planters kept from four to
eight times as many as they needed. When a planter gave a
formal dinner there was often a slave behind every chair, so that

much needed circulation was impeded. Under these circum-
stances household slaves were not overworked. In fact, they
were idle most of the time. Each had some small special task to
perform and if ordered to do anything else felt that he was im-
posed upon. "The generous hospitality with which travelers
were received on the island and the sight of the many more
or less indolent and smiling household slaves busily engaged
doing nothing, have betrayed such travelers into attempting an
apology of slavery," says Peytraud.
When the master-was-good to him, the household slave some-
times developed a genuine affection for him. When the slaves
rose in revolt many planters and their families were saved by
their household slaves. But not the least remarkable feature of
the St. Domingo slave uprising was that household slaves whom
their masters had treated with every consideration nevertheless
felt theirolidarity with the field slaves. Having led their masters
to safety, they usually joined the rebels.

V The field slaves were the proletariat of the olve world. On
their arrival at the plantation they were assigned to one of three
principal groups. The first comprised vigorous men and women;
the second, the old, the weak, adolescents and women with child;
the third was composed of children, whose work mainly con-
sisted of gathering grass for the cattle.
The field slaves were wakened before sunrise by the cracking
of the whips of the drivers mulatto and Negro freedmen.
The whiprack was the most characteristic sound on a St. Do-
mingo plantation. It gave the signal to rise in the morning, to
kneel for prayer, to commence or to cease work. "The crack-
ing of whips, suppressed cries of pain, the dull moaning of Ne-
groes take the place of the crowing of the cock. It is to such in-
fernal sounds as these that I awakened from sleep the morning
after my arrival in St. Domingo," writes de Wimpffen.

The workday was exceedingly long. The Negroes were in
the field from dawn until sunset, without any respite except
the time necessary to swallow their food. "They have no more
, than three or four hours' sleep, especially in harvest time," says
du Tertre. Governor de Gallifet writes: "The majority of the
colonists force their Negroes to work beyond human endurance,
all day and the greater part of the night." Witnesses before the
Select Committee testified that "the slaves work as long as they
can keep awake or can stand on their legs."
If the slave worked at the mill, failing to keep awake might
have serious consequences. A hand or arm might be caught in
the machinery, or the sleep-drugged unfortunate might fall into
a cauldron of boiling sugar. To keep the slaves awake the over-
seer frequently ordered them to sing, which appears to have mis-
led superficial observers.
For their many hours of toil the slaves were entitled to food,
clothing and shelter. The Black Code specified that adult slaves
were to receive a weekly ration of two measures and a half of
manioc, or three of cassava, and two pounds of salted beef, or
three of fish. The law, however, was disregarded. In St. Do-
mingo only one planter out of every four gave any rations what-
ever to his slaves. Planters in the French colony had adopted a
.system originating in Brazil which relieved them of all re-
sponsibility to feed or clothe their slaves. Each Negro family was
assigned a plot of land on which to raise fruit and vegetables
for its private consumption. Whatever surplus the slaves had
they could sell in town on Sunday, and purchase meat, fish and
clothing. To enable them to cultivate their land they were
given Saturday as well as Sunday free. In 1782, Baron de St. Vic-
tor, who was far from being an abolitionist, wrote: "Three
fourths of the masters of St. Domingo do not feed their slaves
and rob them of all the leisure to which the law entitles them.
It is too much! Sooner or later despair will drive these unfortu-
nates to extremes."
His prediction came true within a decade. The Negroesm

St. Domingo did not, as is generally supposed, rebel tnnhtain
their liberty At the beginning of the rebellion not even Tous-
saint Louverture believed emancipation possible. Their princ.al
demand was for one additional day a week in which to cul-
vate their allotments of 1 .
unger-was so prevalent among the St. Domingo slavP that
many spent part of the night roaming the country in search of
food, that is, robbing the gardens of Negroes on neighboring
plantations and those of small white farmers and free mulattoes.
The Intendant Patoulet wrote to the Minister of Marine that
measures should be taken to compel the planters to feed their
slaves, which would "bring relief to people harassed and often
ruined by slaves who steal and pillage, hunting food wherever
they can, because their masters do not feed them."
Testimony before the Select Committee shows that in the
British West Indies those too old to work "had no food except
what they could get from such relations as they might have
had." It is hardly to be supposed that in St. Domingo, where
even able-bodied slaves were not fed, things were different. The
claim of the planters that the slaves were "protected and re-
spected in the infirmity of old age," would, if true, confer
credit upon the relations of the superannuated slaves, but hardly
on the slaveowners. It was likewise shown that many planters
did not care to have such useless slaves around and "drove them
forth to plunder, beg or steal."


Man's Inhumanity to Man

IN theory the slaveowner's power over his slave was limited.
SThe Black Code forh le the master n miflirtr enroral nnih-

ment upon his slave for anything except laxness n his work, and
thenonly to a very limited deee. other offenses were to
e pushed by the authorities, whom no one ever accused of
undue leniency towards the slaves t the law and
could not be enforced. Plantation r often far removed from
thc' neaesr m'mjimry Les es masters felt punishment
inflicted in the presence of their slaves was more effective.
Slaves had the right to complain to the authorities, but Gov-
ernor Gallifet and other colonial officials frankly a irard that
this provision of the law was meaningless. Hilliard d'Auberteuil,
who did not wish to abolish slavery, but to reform it, writes:
"Negroes die daily in chains and under the lash. They are
beaten, strangled, burned to death without any legal formality.
Every act of cruelty against them remains unpunished. In St.
Domingo any white man can ill-treat a Negro with impunity.
The situation is such that the Negroes may be said to be the
slaves not only of their masters, but also of the general public.
An injury done to a slave is considered by the magistrates only
from the point of view of the pecuniary damage suffered by
the owners."
I~ In 1786, the King of France, aroused by the r
office et w ich did honor to his intentions. Ia ve-
owners were forbidden to adnier more han fifty lashes to
a slave. Violators were to be fined 2000 livres for the first of-
fense and at the second violaion were e e r
ing slaves.-If a slave died 2A a renlr of punishment inflicted by
his master, e penalty was death.
The fact that so severe an edict was deemed necessary proves
that the situation was serious. Unfortunately this law, like nearly
all others designed to humanize slaveryproved effective. The
edct was put tohe test in 1788, when the planter Le Jeune
committed such cruelties against his slaves that fourteen of them,
in fear of their lives, ran to Le Cap to seek protection. The magis-
trates went to the plantation. They found that Le Jeune had
killed four slaves and had put two Negresses to the torture. The

women were laden with chains, their feet, legs and buttocks
horribly burned, their wounds festering. One had an iron collar
fastened tightly around her neck, preventing her from swallow-
ing. Both died as a result of the ordeal.
A warrant for Le Jeune's arrest was issued, but he disappeared.
The Governor and the Intendant wrote in a joint report to the
Minister of Marine: "On the 23rd of March we received a
petition from a group of citizens by no means those worthy of
least respect declaring their solidarity with the Sieur Le Jeune
and demanding that the slaves who denounced him should each
receive fifty lashes." The case was tried and Le Jeune acquitted.
The government appealed, but the Supreme Court, showered
with demands, threats and petitions, confirmed the acquittal. "In
a word," writes the Intendant, "it would appear that the safety
of the colony depends on the acquittal of the Sieur Le Jeune."

^ 2
-4 The most common form of punishment woflqgging The
whip with which the punishment was administered is thus de-
scribed in the Abstract of Evidence of the Select Committee:
"The whip is generally made of plaited cow-skin, with a thick,
strong lash. It is so formidable an instrument in the hands of
some overseers, that by means of it they can take the skin off
a horse's back. He [the witness] has heard them boast of laying
the marks of it in a deal board and has seen it done. On its ap-
plication to a slave's back, he has seen blood spurt on the first
Other witnesses testified that "at every stroke a piece of flesh
was drawn out," that "it will even bring blood through the
clothes," that "such is the effusion of blood as to make their
frocks, if immediately put on, appear as stiff as buckram," that
"the visions _are sometimes so deep you may lay your fingers
in the wounds."
OierF piii_ shfl nts considered legitimate were branding the

slavepon the cheek, putting him in irons or in the stocks, mak-
ing him wear an iron collar (often with projections extending
high above the head, to make escape into the forest impossiTe),
cutting off one or both ears._ A,-,dripnary pexr .iii It-l)o-
miing adied cutting off the nose instead of the ears, to prevent
Negroes from hiingthe mutilation by wearing a handkerchi
Notwithstanding the premeditated destruction of court records
in St. Domingo, the list of well-authenticated "extraordinary"
punishments is found to include: throwing the slave alive into a
flaming furnace; suspending him by arms and legs over a slow
fire; buryingalive; burying up to the neck and smearing head
and face_with burnt sugar, to attract flies-and other insects;
tying into a bag and drowning; rubbing the body with sugar and
pouring spoonfuls of ants into all the bodily cavities; stuffing
into a barrel into which nails had been driven and rolling down
a mountainside; ladling boiling sugar over the victim's shaven
head; forcing him to eat human excrements; hanging by the
ears, or with head down; amputating the genitals; stuffinggun-
powder into the rectum and causing it to explode (this was
a favorite form of punishment and went by the name of bruler
un peu de poudre au cul d'un ngre); applying fire to the
genitals, crucifying, etc.
. There is abundant evidence to show that no matter how_bar-
barous a later's conduct he hadn ren
to ear ostracism. Baron de Wimpffen wrote in 1790 from St.
Domingo to a friend: "A woman whom I have seen, a young
woman, one of the most beautiful on the island, gave a formal
dinner. When a platter with cakes that had not turned out well
was served, she became infuriated and ordered her Negro cook
seized and thrown jnto the furnace in which the fire was still
burning. This horrible termagant, whose name I withhold out
of consideration for her family, still daily receives the homage
of society, for she has wealth and beauty."
I need it appears that barbarous conduct towards one's slaves
evoked admiration ad heightened a man's repute. On July 18,

1791, Guiton, an agent of the Club Massiac, the famous planters'
club in Paris, wrote a letter to Billard, the president of the club,
in which he says: -
If a man is needed who does not scruple to cut off heads, Citizen
General de Caradeux (Commander of the district of Port-au-Prince)
is the man to put in charge. When he was manager of the Aubry
plantation he chopped off about fifty. So that the lesson might not
be lost, he had them stuck upon pickets, all along the plantation
hedge, as another might plant palms, and as if it were the most
natural decoration in the world.

( In St. Domingo the death rate among the slaves ecrpp the
birth rate by two and a half per cent. Had the traffic been
abolished and slavery been maintained, the Negroes would have
disappeared in forty years as completely as the Indians. "There
is hardly a plantation in the colony," says Frossard, "where the
number of slaves can be maintained without annual purchases."
This, we are assured by the apologists of the slaveowners, was
because the planters preferred buying slaves to breeding them,
as pregnancy interfered with the work. To this argument, which
bears little relation to truth, Leroy-Beaulieu has added the further
argument that "by some fundamental law of nature slavery
hinders man's reproductive capacity, as captivity does that of
wild animals." Whether this be true or not, it has no bearing on
the situation in St. Domingo, where the birth rate was not low,
but remarkably high between eight and nine per cent. The
Negrous are a prolific-race. With or without encouragement,
they continued to breed.
The reason thousands of Negroes had to be imported an-
nu to bride te gap between birth and death rate, was due
not to a low birth rate but to an appalinlhigdeath rate. In
his report to the French National Assembly, Garran-Coulon
gives the annual death rate among the slaves of St. Domingo as

eleven per cent "higher," he says, "than the death rate during
many a bloody battle." Frossard says that it was one-third higher
than the death rate in the hospitals of Lyon. Ev~ey 'year one
Ninth of the slaves in St. Domino died. It would have had to
be an extraordinary birth rate to have kept pace with such
slaughter. It is interesting to note that the population, which
slavery would have exterminated in forty years, trebled in
the thirty-eight years following the abolition of slavery, al-
though the importation of Negroes had entirely ceased.
How could such a wanton waste of life have been in the in-
terest of the planters?
Light is thrown upon this matter by testimony before the
Select Committee. Plantation managers testified that experience
had shown it to be profitable to artize a slave in seven years
and during that period to drive him to the limit of his endur-
ance. If at the conclusion of that period he died or became use-
less, it did not matter; he had been amortized; a new slave
could be bought to take his place. A Jamaican super-efficiency
expert called Yeman testified that in his opinion even better
results could be obtained by exhausting the slave in four years.

Something can and should be said in defense of the planters.
It is only the exceptional man who is endowed with creative
imagination enough to resist appearances with gifts in their
hands. The average man is the dupe of such appearances. It
should also be considered-thatfew-of the planters came in direct
contact with the field slaves. Usually they employed managers.
Ignorance they could not plead, but they could have pleaded
that their susceptibilities were not directly engaged. And they
could have pleaded that acts of cruelty to which we become ac-
customed not only fail to shock us, but may even become a source
of enjoyment witness the attraction of the arena at Rome to
all classes of Roman citizens.

The owners of the largest plantations did not live in St. Do-
mingo, but in France. Some were cultured men, and it is but
reasonable to suppose that on their rare visits to the colony they
were shocked by what they saw. But unless one is a born al-
truist, does one quarrel with a manager who makes one's capital
yield twenty-five per cent or more? Does one even risk interfer-
ing with him?
The resident planters were, with few exceptions, anxious to
leave the colony and live in France, an ambition seven out of
every ten were able to satisfy. Undoubtedly there were some
who were painfully affected by the wretched lot of the field
slaves, by the enormous mortality rate. But the method the
managers were using was known to give the best financial re-
sults. Should one condemn oneself and one's family to perpetual
exile in the colony to make the slaves more comfortable? Should
one see one's friends and neighbors depart while one remained
behind? No! One owed it to oneself and to one's children to
flee this brutalizing atmosphere as quickly as possible. In the
meantime one shut one's eyes to what went on in the sugar field
and in the mill, and found comfort in benevolence towards the
household slaves.
As for the managers in a colony where the proprietors were
either absentee owners or anxious to be gone, it was inevitable
that ruthlsnmen, able to produce rapid results, should have
replaced those whose milder methods proved less remunerative.
There were few exceptions. Sometimes a big-hearted planter
hired a humane manager and told him he was willing to take the
consequences of a milder policy. Such men, not the Le Jeunes,
had to fear the ostracism of their colleagues, for their methods
created greater dissatisfaction among the slaves of neighboring


What Sort of People Were the Slaves?

ONE can glean from the authorities almost any opinion one
wishes about the Negro slaves. Does one desire support for the
claim that they were by nature indolent? One can find it in
the writings of Moreau de Saint-M6ry, who says: "The Africans
were indolent and lazy." Does one prefer to represent them as
industrious? One can quote Hilliard d'Auberteuil, who says:
"They are industrious when not discouraged." De Charmilly
considers them timid; de Reille says: "They have great courage
before real danger," but maintains that they were of "mediocre
intelligence." In this he is contradicted by d'Auberteuil, who
says: "I know of no other race possessing greater natural in-
Perhaps it is safest to take the opinion of a comparative out-
sider, a man of keen intelligence and few prejudices, who spent
many months in the colony, was neither a slaveowner nor an
abolitionist, and numbered many planters among his friends-
de Wimpffen. In a letter to a friend he writes: -
One will find among the Negroes some that are good, some that
are bad, some that are admirable, others who are detestable. The ex-
ample of Creole Negroes who have shown themselves capable of
acquiring art and virtue when their masters have pointed the way
and have given them the opportunity, proves thatthe infefrioity of the
African is largely. mtter of education. It seems absurd to believe
that the comparatively slight physical difference which distinguishes
the average white man from the average Negro should prove an
insurmountable obstacle for the latter to attain the norm of in-
tlligence and perfection of which the former is capable.
S Many of the defects i ti- f&E- eh-white. contemporaries
of the Negro slaves complain have no racial significant but

were the result ofi Wr1hite men kept in slavery would have
developed similar characteristics, just as mulatto slaveowners ac-
quired characteristics peculiar to the slaveowner. When Aris-
totle said: "Slavery excludes any kind of virtue," he may have
been exaggerating, but he had white slaves, not black, in mind.
De Charmilly, one of the few who differentiates between racial
and slave characteristics, lists among the latter indolence, glut-
tony, dishonesty, falsehood and vindictiveness.

If one thing is characteristic of the African race, it is its amaz-
ing ability to wring a few drops of joy from the most hopeless
situations to laugh, to sing, to dance in the face of injustice
and tyranny, to mock the oppressor by a gaiety all his power
cannot buy him.*TheNero has the.ability-to live in the mn-
ment. It is a power children have and philosophers have vainly
striven to attain through the power of the intellect. Tobanish
the phantoms- of-past-and-future,-tornnw nnrohing hut the
moment and its intensity of pleasure or pain what liberty!
The field slaves laughed and sang and danced whenever they
had the least excuse or opportunity.*When Alexander von Hum-
boldt wrote after his voyage to the West Indies: "Every eve-
ning the slaves of both sexes were to be seen dancing in festive
circles and the sound of music and the voice of gladness were
heard on all sides," he proved not that he understood what was
happening in the Antilles, but that he did not understand Negro
character. "They sing on their deathbeds," wrote the amazed
du Tertre. "They advanced against us singing, for the Negro
sings everywhere __nd_ ak_ songsabouteverything" wrote
Lamour-Delafosse about the soldiers of Toussaint Louverture.
Captains of slave ships related before the Select Committee how
Negroes sang in the holds of ships amidst corpses. "Their
bodies," writes du Tertre, "might be subjected to the terrible
ordeal of slavery, but their souls have remained free."

> They loved dancing even better than singing. Their fa-
vorite dance was the chica, which is of phallic origin. "Their
passion for it," writes Father Labat, "surpasses all imagination.
All take part in it, the old, the young, even children barely able
to stand. One might think they had danced it in their mothers'
-- The dance orchestra was composed of two drums, one long,
- the other short. They were of hollowed logs, with goat- or
sheepskin stretched over the openings. A man or boy would sit
astride each drum and beat upon the sheepskin with the tips
of his fingers and the ball of his hand. One player beat fast, the
other slow. The rhythmic sound thus produced had a hypnotic
quality. It was like the pulsating of the blood in one's veins.
The drums were often supplemented by the twanging of a
four-stringed instrument resembling a violin, and always by
the clapping of hands, the shaking of small hollowed gourds in
which dried grains of maize were rattling, and weird, seemingly
discordant chanting that yet obeyed some primitive law of
At the commencement of the dance, the two sexes, arms
akimbo, would face each other in two rows, some distance apart.
Then the dancers would begin swaying slowly, in rhythm to
the music. First the shoulders, then the hips, finally the whole
body would sway, twitch and shake. Slowly the two rows would
now advance towards each other, stopping now and then to
engage in more violent contortions. At last men and women,
Joys and girls, would stand face to face, eye probing into eye.
They would provoke, invite, taunt each other with look, gesture
and movement circle around each other, sometimes stopping
to rub bellies and thighs together, after which they would
recoil, as if violently repulsed, or resoundingly slap each other's
buttockSThen the music would break off suddenly, and when
a moment later it recommended, the rows would have reformed
and would fall back slowly, to come to a final halt and begin
a fresh advance. This was repeated over and over, sometimes

for hours, and however tired or hungry a slave might be, he
found strength to join in the dancing.

3 /
The planters and their managers considered the Christian
religion dangerous doctrine when taught to a slave. Says iraud-
Chantrans: "The slaveowners of St. Domingo, far from being
worried about their slaves lihv ithgg eoutlpereHg ,ie pleased.
In their 'opinion the Catholic religion contains elements that
might generate ideas of equality in the mind of the Negro."
Their opinion was shared by officialdom in the French Antilles.
Governor de F6n6lon of Martinique wrote to the Minister of
Marine: "I arrived in the Antilles favoring instruction which
the principles of our religion command, but I became convinced
that the security of the white population requires keeping the
Negroes in profound ignorance."
The law, however, required the planters to acquaint the Ne-
Swit the Catholic relin nd t have
them baptize. Baptism ook place"mt..bisTan: -
A-h-uned or s-N egroes, freshly arrived from Africa, would
b/e herded into a church. Whips cracked and they were ordered
to kneel. A priest and his acolytes appeared before the altar and
Mass was said. Then the priest, followed by an acolyte carrying
a basin with holy water, walked slowly down the aisle and with
vigorous swings of the aspergillum scattered the water over the
heads of the crowd, chanting in Latin. The whips cracked again,
the slaves rose from their knees and emerged into the sunlight,
converts to the Christian religion.
It is therefore not surprising that when the Negroes felt in

S on, known a'vo r vodun.
tre to rhei Afr

Volumes have been written about the voodoo religion, which
is a combined nature and ancestor worship. Voodoo or vodun
means God, and is a generic name for all the gods of the voodoo

pantheon. Some of these, the rada, are nature gods, with do-
minion over the sky, the earth, the sea, the soul, etc.; others, the
petro, are deified ancestors, who intervene with the nature gods
on behalf of the worshiper and may be compared with the
saints. There is a host of spirits, called loa, whose power is
limited, but who can work only good. They may be compared
with the angels and often exercise the function of guardian
angels. The chief god is Damballa, whose symbol is the serpent.
Slave traders being no respectors of persons, there was no
lack of voodoo priests and priestesses in the colony. The priests,
called hu gans, and the priestesses, called mambus, continued to
exercise their calling. By day they might be indistinguishable
from other slaves, but at night, officiating at a voodoo cere-
monial in the depth of the forest or in some lonely ravine, they
were important personages, representatives of a religion as old
as the human race.
When the planter and his overseers had retired for the night
and all was quiet on the plantation, there often could be heard
so faintly that only an African ear could catch it the far-off
throbbing of the voodoo drums. Soon dark figures cautiously
emerged. Unerringly guided by the sound, they found their way
to where the voodoo priest or priestess, fantastically arrayed,
Waited before an improvised altar. On the altar, in the midst of
gourds filled with offerings of corn, cassava, figs, oil and so on,
stood the carved image of a serpent.
The ceremony varied in accordance with the occasion, but
there was usually a blood offering, the animals most frequently
sacrificed being pigeons, hens, roosters, goats or pigs. Some
writers have claimed that human sacrifices took place occasion-
ally, but the evidence is not convincing and the statement is
emphatically denied by Negro scholars.
When the animal had been sacrificed, the worshipersdrank
of the blood, which was usually mixed with rum and sometimes
with gunpowder. Under the influence of the pulsating beat of the
drums, the religious exultation and the strong drink, there took

place a ritual dance that had some terrifying aspects. As the
dance progressed the participants lost control over their bodies,
which apparently became the playthings of invisible hands that
shook, jerked and twisted them, as if they were rag dolls. The
head swung limply, as if the neck had been broken, the eyes
bulged and stared, the lips foamed. Now and then a ghostly
manipulator relinquished his prey, which immediately collapsed;
or a dancer suddenly stiffened and toppled over like a ninepin.
At the conclusion of the dance the priest and his entire congre-
gation might be lying in a coma.
The fact that the Negroes possessed a religion and a priest-
hood of their own so that slve from ( -iffprpnr n... ri wt'
secretly in the forest, was of immense significance in the events
tat were to come. ome the voodoo pri-ests r d ti m-
fluence to arouse the slaves to revol TLng h-ere Toussaint
Louverture methodically organized the rebellion, chants of re-
volt and prayers voking the ad of the voodoo deities against
the'witEfli wfere hierd in the 6iiiirnalgatherngs. -


How the Slaves Fought Back

4So effective was the terror maintained by thplanters that until
the great insurrection of I I, such slave rebellions as tookplace
minSt. Do-T- re ne li ble., t is claimed that in 1757 a bold
attempt was made by the Negroes to capture Le Cap, but the
evidence is somewhat doubtful. If, however, the slaves did not
rebel, it was not from lack of inclination. They fought back as
best they cogl with such weapons as were at their o -
suicide,poson, co mnsirac
"'T T1eylh emselves, hang themselves, cut their own throats,

often for trifling reasons, usually with the object of injuring
tiir masters," writes Father Labat. There were suicide pacts,
/ when a dozen or more slaves on a plantation would hang them-
selves simultaneously, as if heeding Seneca's counsel: "You
complain of being a slave? See that tree? Freedom hangs from
its branches."
(Suicid was favored by the belief, current among the Negroes,
That death was a form of migration to Africa. I a slave died, his
relatives never said "He is dead," but "He has gone away." As
it was virtually impossible to keep a slave from destroying him-
self if he had a mind to do so, the owners faced a difficult prob-
lem, which they met by taking advantage of a Negro supersti-
tion. Most of the Negroes believed that when a corpse is
mutilated the disfigurement persists in after-life. Hence, when a
slave killed himself, the master cut off the head and hands, or
the nose and ears, as a warning to his rema_~ n aves. Since
spending eternity deprived of such useful organs had obvious
disadvantages, most slaves preferred to live out the short span
of their existence.

S' 2
I T w n the slaveowners dreaded most was poison. .Poi-
son," writes Xavier Eyma, "is the offensive as well as the de-
Sfensi w p f the slave." @There were over a quarter of a
million cattle in the colony, but so many died of poisoning that
the industry was considered extremely hazardous.*Le Pole, a
celebrated veterinary at Le Cap, wrote a monograph on the
subject, in which he says: "It is not without reason that a million
[sic] slaves whom the masters have entrusted with the care of
cattle, have died under the lash or at the stake." In 1777 a Negro
named Jacques was burned at the stake for having poisoned
over a hundred head of cattle. An official memorandum, ad-
dressed in 1726 to the Minister of Marine, says: "It would be
impossible to believe to what extent the Negroes make use of
poison if there were not a thousand examples on every hand.

There are few colonists who have not suffered loss and many
have been ruined."
S*Slavesoften killed fellow slaves to innr, thP;r mapters On
the Larnage plantation, in 7, one hundred slaves died of
poisoning out of a total of one hundred and fifty. The planter
Le Jeune, who was prosecuted for his cruelty towards his slaves,
lost, in the course of two years, fifty-seven Negroes and thirty
mules by poison. His father, in the course of twenty-five years,
lost over four hundred slaves in the same manner, fifty-two dy-
ing during a six-month period.
The poison commonly used wasar~i It was easily pro-
curable, since the planters were forced to use large quantities
of the drug in combating the dreaded sugar ant. The household
slaves of doctors and apothecaries did a thriving business selling
arsenic and other poisons to those unable to supply themselves
any other way. The slaves, however, had numerous sources of
supply. They used dogwood root, black-eye, ground glass,
chopped horse's tail. One of the commonest poisons used was
germ-ladenearth takenirmgraves.No less an authority than
Pasteur has warned against the dangers of cemetery soil, so the
instinct of the slaves did not deceive them. "Threappear,"
says Peytraud, "to have existed veritable secret associations of
slaves to manufacture, distribute and administer poison to the
cattle and to the colonists."
It is easy to understand the effect of all this on the nervous
systems of the slaveowners. Some of the gruesome punishments
inflicted upon slaves were undoubtedly the result of hysterical
fear. Many a planter who had a stomach ache imagined himself
poisoned and tortured a slave to force him to confess. It is
claimed that colonists sometimes died as a result of a toxic con-
dition produced by the imagination.

1f< Poison figures in what is claim-d.to havebeenathe boldest
ate-mp icj e by the Neroes before thReolution to throw

off the yoke of slavery. A Negro named Macandal is thesup-
td of the ln- : canda's attempt to
poison the jjhitr ;nhhir nrc f Te rp in, preitrP h hy p.rimgs
it must be said that. documentary evidence is lacking. A semi-
ofcial memorandum, written in 1779 (twenty-two years after
the supposed attempt), gives the story of the plot, but furnishes
no proof. The records of Macandal's trial show that he was
accused of being "a seducer, profaner and poisoner," but no
evidence of any such widespread conspiracy as is related in the
memorandum was introduced. There is good reason to believe
that the author of the memorandum accepted without question-
ing a legend to which the poisoning obsession of the colonists
had given birth.
Macandal, who, whatever the truth about the poison plot,
must be regarded as Toussaint Louverture's principal forerun-
ner, was a Maroon chieftain. Maroon Negroes were futive
slaves or the offspring of fugitives. Theyyed in inaccessible
camps in the mountains and supported themselves iy fiuntng
and pillaging. They made the roads unsafe and sometimes at-
tacked lonely plantations, driving off the cattle and taking the
slaves with them. A colony of several thousand Maroon Negroes,
living in the mountains along the Spanish border, became
such a menace that, in 1784, the government made a treaty with
them, recognizing their independence for a promise of good be-
Macandal, the most famous of their chieftains, was an African
Negro, born in Guinea. He had been a slave on the Lenormand
plantation near Le Cap. Having lost a hand in the mill, he was
put to guarding cattle, which gave him ample time to reflect.
About the year 1751, he escaped and soon rose to leadership
among the Maroons. What to his predecessors had been merely a
means of obtaining bggy, was t-o hlgerrijaarfare intended
to free the Negroes from white domination. He held meetings
in the woods and Negroes would awI miles and risk severe
punishment to hear him speak,

According to the memorandum before mentioned, Macandal
resolved, in 177, to capture Le Cap. Lacking military strength,
he decided to us poisoiLIe had thousands of packets of poison
distributed among the Negroes of the city, with instructions
that on a given day they were to poison any food or beverage
the whites were likely to absorb. When the white population
was in the throes of death, he would descend from the moun-
tains with his warriors and kill the survivors. Th ai s-
covered and frustrated in the nick oLtime.
\ Like many another prophet, Macandal iad a tg end, due
Sto a weEec-ssffmm nin the profession- love of strong dii,
women and dancing. In his wild retreat he kept a well-assorted
harem, and when he heard about a dance on some plantation
near where he was encamped, it was hard for him to remain
away. He ran comparatively little risk in attending such dances,
for no Negro would betray him, and few white men had ever
seen him.
One Sunday he attended a dance at the Dufresne plantation
near Le Cap. It so happened that the paramour of a Negro on
the plantation had been seduced by the prophet and had fol-
lowed him into the forest. The deserted lover forgot his awe of
the holy man and betrayed his presence to the manager. The
white man distributed a large quantity of rum among the dancers
and soon all, including the prophet, were helplessly drunk.
Macandal was seized, securely tied and taken to the office. A
messenger was sent on horseback to notify the authorities at
Le Cap. It was night, so the manager and a white assistant took
turns in keeping an eye on the prisoner and his Negro guards.
The manager dozed off, awakening just i toe to see Macandal
disappear through-a window.
The escape availed the Negro little. Dogs trailed him, he was
recaptured and lodged in prison at Le Cap, where h died a the
Stake, in March, S 8. As the flames licked his body, he wrenched
himself loose from the chains that bound him, but collapsed
in the fire and gave up the ghost. His followers claimed that he

had metamorphosed himself into a mosquito and had flown
away, to resume human shape later.


The Revolution Comes to St. Domingo

THE absentee slaveowners living in Paris had fnrm~ d-wsrl
known as the "Club Marnac." When, in May 1789, the States-
General was called to meet at Versailles, the members of the
club felt that the colony should send commissioners to negotiate
what might be termed "dominion status." The resident planters,
while no less anxious to obtain self-government for the colony,
thought better results could be obtained by electing deputies to
the new representative body. Defying officialdom, which did
not consider the colony entitled to representation of any kind,
they called an election. In each province invitations were sent
to planters considered socially and financially eligible to attend
a gathering at the house of one of their number. The Almanach
de Gotha must have been used as a guide, for the eighteen Depu-
ties chosen (six from each province) all boasted noble lineage.
They were provided with a cashier embodying the grievances of
the planters and proposing a remedy. The principal grievances
were of course the Colonial Pact and lac ofself-government
the remedy proposed was-a Colonial Assembly elected ex-
clusively by the great landed proprietors.
Now, the members of the French National Assembly, which
emerged from the States-General, were, with few exceptions,
solid property owners or respectable members of the bar. They
had no intention of upsetting the apple cart and having the
mob scramble for the apples. A mountain of oratory frequently
produced a legislative mouse. Some had itching palms, a dis-

comfort the planters were prepared to allay. With the help
of the Colonial Committee, the Deputies from St. Domingo
managed to get what they wanted-a Coloial Assembly the
manner of whose election assured control by the great landed

The free mulattoes had elected a Commissioner, Julien Rai-
mond, to look after their interests in France. He was a wealthy
and cultured young mulatto who had been residing in Paris for
some time. Although a slaveowner, he favored a gradual aboli-
tion of slavery and had many friends in the Socifte des Amis des
Noirs, the French abolitionist society to which such important
men as Lafyette, Brissot, Claviere, Gr6goire and Robespierre be-
longed. Granting civic rights to the mulattoes seemed to them a
step in the right direction, and when Raimond made his plea
before the National Assembly he did not lack supporters. There
can be no doubt that when the Colonial Assembly was created
it had been the intention of the National Assembly to grant the
mulattoes civic rights, but the decree was so ambiguously
worded that it could be interpreted either way. When the elec-
tion was called the mulattoes were bluntly told that they would
not be permitted to vote.
Now, there was a mulatto in Paris less patient than Raimond.
His name was VncentOQg His widowed mother possessed a
plantation near Dondon, in the North Province, and owned a
number of slaves, but Og6 favored abolition, although not in
the immediate future. For the present he was mostly concerned
about the injustice done to the mulatto caste. He decided to re-
turn to St. Domingn and organize the mulattoes into an armed
dyeir- rhts. The Club
however, got wind of his project and was sucieny power
to mae it imossle or any man o color to k a
Frenc ortut the mis des Noirs were not without influence

themselves and with their help Og6 finally reached London,
I where he was received by Clarkson, Secretary of the English
Abolitionist Society. With Clarkson's help he crossed the ocean
to Charleston, where American abolitionists arranged his passage
for St. Domingo and furnished him money with which to buy
Before leaving France, Og6 had purchased a colonel's com-
mission in the army of the Duke of Luxembourg, which gave
him the right to wear a natty gold-braided uniform calculated
to impress. He had acquired the uniform, but the commission
was intercepted by agents of the Club Massiac, who forwarded
it to the authorities at Le Cap, together with Og6's portrait and
the urgent request that he be arrested as soon as he set foot on
the island. He managed, however, to elude the police and
reached his mother's plantation, where his two brothers and his
principal lieutenant Jean BaptisteChavaane received him en-
Chavanne, who had fought at Savannah, was of the opinion
that in order to succeed they must call the Negroes as well as
the mulattoes to arms, but Oge recoiled from so bold a step.
When they had recruited some three hundred men and_had
armed them with muskets landed from an American sloop, Og6
wrote three somewhat highfaluting letters- to the Governor,
to the Provincial Assembly and to the Commander of the Le
Cap garrison. He assured them that his only intention was to
have the decree of the National Assembly respected, but that
if force was used against him he would repel it. He then marched
his followers to Grande-Riviire, a short distance from Le Cap,
and entrenched himself.
General Vincent at the head of 800 men sallied forth from
Le Cap to teach the mulattoes a lesson. He was worsted during
a skirmish and beat a hasty retreat. General Cambefort took the
field with 150o men and artillery. Against such an overwhelm-
ing force-Oge and Chavanne could not hold out. Their force
was scattered and many prisoners fell into the hands of the

whites. The two leaders and a few followers escaped to the
Spanish colony, but were handed over to the French.
The trial of the rebels lasted two months and made a profound
impression. Thirteen were condemned to the galleys; twenty-
one sentenced to be hanged; Og6 and Chavanne were to be
broken on the wheel.
Og6 broke down and wept when the sentence was pronounced,
but he did not beg for mercy and did not make a confession
implicating others, as stated by Bryan Edwards, who confuses
Vincent with his brother Jacques. There exists a ennfession
signed by Jacques Og6, but Garran-Coulon has proved beyond
a shadow of a doubt that it is a forgery.


The Mulattoes Rebel

OG- ded war mnr frmidahle than Og6 living. When news
of his martyrdom reached Paris there was a gasp of horror,
followed hy a cry nf indignation The debate on the question
in the National Assembly was one of the most heated to which
Paisliad h everflt-g- n,-a lnar e ecoln 0 throw itself mto
the arms of Enladad a soberigffect. e deree May I,
1791, resulting from the debate, was remiar~ay moderate. It
Qdi eli"t1more -than cfintheA ttof the free mulattoes to
vo.te. and to p ito fice But it did something the previous
decree had failed to do; it left no room for equivocation and
provided that three Commissioners should be sent to watch over
the observance of the decree.
The storm created in Paris by the news of Ogd's martyrdom
was, however, as nothing compared with the hurricane provoked
in St. Domingo by the apparent determination of France to

have the free mulattoes enjoy civic rights. The colonists united
in denouncing the meddlers. In the Provincial Assembly of the
North Province motions were made to seize French ships in the
harbor, to confiscate the property of Frenchmen, to place an
embargo on French goods, to call the colonists to arms, to lower
the national colors, to hoist the British standard! The streets
were littered with national cockades, impulsively torn from head-
gear and trampled underfoot. Persecution of the mulattoes
gained in intensity. Governor Blanchelande, at his wit's end,
suspended the decree.

The mulattoes felt their cup was full to overflowing. In the
West Province, they gathered for self-defense. What made the
situation especially serious was that the whites in that province
were engaged in a particularly bitter quarrel. At Port-au-Prince
the Democrats were in control. Governor Blanchelande had
S 1 been forced to flee to Le Cap. Royalss, w had established
S headquarters at La-Croix-des-Bouquets, now proposed to the
S- mulattoes to make common cause against their mental enemy.
The proposal was accepted. The Royalists supplied most of
/ the officers, the mulattoes most of the men, and there came
7" into existence a wel rganiedmulatto army fourthousand
If party strife had made the Royalists careless about caste
lines, the mulattoes, too, were carried away by their passion.
Mulatto slaveowners armed their slaves. Negroes on surround-
ing plantations became interested and offered to enlist. They,
too, were given arms and a regiment was created composed
entirely of Negroes and nicknamed "the Swiss."
The white and mulatto armies were about evenly matched.
On the side of the Democrats was the garrison of Port-au-
Prince, the white militia and a force the municipality had re-
cruited from the floating population and named "the Filibus-

ters." They had superior equipment, but lacked capable leader-
ship. When the two forces clashed the white militia turned and
fled, the Filibusters added nothing to the valorous tradition of
their name, and the troops of the line, their flanks exposed, were
cut to pieces or taken prisoner.
But now the leaders of both sides began to reflect. Could they
afford to continue their strife and see Negroes desert plantations
in ever greater numbers? Slaves with arms in their hands! Slaves
tasting victory over their masters! It would never do. A white
delegaion came to the mulatto camp with an offer-to neg e.
Apacui m e .e.no pronusedto respect the
cta .o ammy and acknowledged that Qg
and-his friends had been "the nrtunat victims of passion
and prejudice. A contingent of the mulatto army was to enter
Port-au-Prince, not as conquerors, but as brothers in arms.
The mulattoes entered the city and were received with ap-
parent enthusiasm. One saw whites and mulattoes walking arm
in arm, drinking together in taverns. But there remained the
question of the black Swiss. Was it not to the best interest of all
that they be returned to their masters? The mulattoes agreed.

So the slaves were disarmed and sent back to the plantations
theyhad deserted. How their masters received them, how they
proceeded toquench the flame that had been lighted in their
breasts, we can well imagine. There were, however, some two
hundred slaves so obviously spoiled by their heroic adventure
that to allow them to mingle with their fellows would be fool-
hardy. They were put aboard a ship, with provisions to last
three months, and the captain was instructed to convey them to
the far-off Mexican coast. When the ship got as far as Jamaica,
the captain saw a lonely bay he thought would do equally well.
He disembarked his human cargo and sailed away.
It was not long before the British governor heard about the

unauthorized landing. He had the new arrivals rounded up and
conveyed to Le Cap. Here they were transferred to another
ship and sent to M1le St. Nicolas. On the bay where Columbus
had once dropped anchor now stood a strongly fortified town.
The commander would not allow the Negroes to land. They
should be taken to Port-au-Prince.
That night the ship lay peacefully in the bay, its rigging out-
lined against the starry sky. Sometime during the night boats
filled with armed men put off from shore and moved to-
wards the ship. They drew alongside. The men climbed aboard.
The hatch was lifted. Men with lanterns went down the ladder
into the thick, foul atmosphere of the hold, where the Negroes
lay in chains. The glint of steel; startled eyes gazing up at the
intruders. Then, one by one, the Negroes were sent up the
ladder, taken to the bow of the vessel. Astunning blow onthe
back of the head, then the collapsing body was seized and
thrown overboard.
Towards morning the armed men departed. When the town
awoke the ship lay peacefully in the bay, its rigging outlined
against the cerulean sky. For many days thereafter carrion
crows circled about the beaches, where black bodies washed up.
S Cain, where is th brother Abel? Mulattoes. where r .the-
black Swiss who fought for liberty by your side? The mulat-
toes had not wanted this. It was not they who had killed. But
Sin the years to come a phantom regiment would rise up to ac-
cuse them. It fought against them in the bitter quarrel that later
divided the mulattoes from the Negroes.
,The hetrrav 1 aYailedthe mulattoes little. Their trigph was
; short-lived The N inn-1 A --4"ylarmeed by the clamor-in
the colony and urged by the Club Mis' de-
cree grantmg te mul attoes civic ts. ne whites at Port-au-
Prince, expecting the support of the Home Government, re-
pudiated the pact they had made. In the disorders that followed
the city was swept by flanqes.
Yet, if slavery was to be maintained, unity was more than

ever necessary between slaveowners, of whatever complexion.
For that which they had dreaded for a hundred years or more
had finally come to pass. The hbafk flnnd was upn them! In
the North Province the slaves had risen.
The man responsible for the uprising, under whose leadership
Sthe slaves gamed their liberty andsuccssuIy TI'-it
against t past the tish ast the Saniards,
against e armies ofNapoleon, was Toussaint LouYer -
the First oc


Toussaint's Climb to Power


Toussaint on the Breda Plantation
63 --^- c
ON the heights overlooking Le Cap and the blue Caribbean,
in the district called Haut-du-Cap, was the Breda plantation,
one of the largest and best managed in the North Province,
worked by over a thousand slaves. Its owner, the Count de
No6, who had inherited the property from his uncle, the Count
de Br6da, lived in France. He was benevolent by nature and
had instructed his manager, Beager, to be considerate to his
slaves. His instructions were obeyed, and the Breda slaves were
treated with comparative humanity.
', Among the Negro freedmen employed on the plantation wa
one asknowno e es far and wide He as
in somewhat of a phenomenon. Not only could he red
and write, butew rened to ko atn a reputation some-
what exaggerated, for his knowledge of the classical tongue was
co dto a few liturgical phrases. te was besides versed in
pla-tr f cr, e-rTe_ pion f tr m"n and beast.
Tlis- -extraordinary Negro was named Pierre Batiste Simon.)
He had acquired his knowledgin the in service of the Jesuit
hesucihsad-ocTn aftoo at e ap. When the

Pierre Baptiste was a full-blooded Negro of the Arada tribe.
We do not know if he was a Creole Negro or was born in

Africa. If the latter, then he must have been transported to
St. Domingo and sold to the Jesuits when still of tender years,
for he eschewed voodooism and was a devout Catholic. Before
coming to the Br6da estate he had worked on another planta-
tion, where he had had two children by a household slave.
When he left to seek employment elsewhere he had to leave
his family behind.
On the Breda plantation Pierre Baptiste took for helpmate a
l/ Negro slave woman named Pauline, by whom he had eight
-, c ia veboys and three girs. The eldest of the boyswas
SFranois Dominique Toussamit, orn, presumably, in 74 on
All SaintsLDay.*

In his boyhood Toussaint, who remained lean an= wy all
his ifie, was so* h that his playmates called him fatras-bdton -
thrashing-stick. But he was far from being a weakling. He could
run and climb with the best and was an excellent swimmer.
Very early in life he learned to ride horseback and became so
expert that in his manhood he was sometimes referred to as
"the Centaur of the Savannas." Once, when still a child, he fell
off a horse and broke his finger. His father's skill being un-
equal to setting the bone properly, one finger of his right hand
ever after curved upward like a question mark.
Toussaint's father farmed a tract of land on shares, and while
he never earned enough to enable him to buy the freedom
of any of his children, Toussaint seldom went hungry. Pierre
Baptiste was, however, unable to shield his family from all the
unpleasant consequences of slavery: Toussaint's sister Genevieve
was sold to a planter in the South Province when she was a little
girl and he did not see her again until he was past fifty. Tous-
saint's mother died when he was still a boy and his father took
a new female companion, Pelagie. Toussaint's foster mother was
See Appendix concerning Toussaint's parentage and date of birth.

good to him and he later bought her freedom and took care
of her in her old age.
In the family circle Negroes spoke their tribal tongue, but
all, or nearly all, knew Creole a mixture of French, Spanish
and Negro dialects. Toussaint's father taught him to speak,
read and write French, but Creole remained the language in
which he expressed himself with greatest facility. He learned
to write a legible hand, but his orthography remained poor.
He likewise acquired the few liturgical phrases that had es-
tablished his father's reputation as a Latinist and throughout his
life enjoyed rolling them off his tongue. They never failed to
excite the wonder and admiration of his Negro listeners.
While still a slave Toussaint did considerable reading. That
he was acquainted with Romanhiory is evident from his
memorandum to Napoleon aiidfril m several letters. He read
Epictetus in a French translation and the influence of the noble
Stoic upon his character is unmistakable. Raynal he read when
in his thirties. It is not known if he ever read Machiavelli, but
he later practised many tricks of statecraft the astute Florentine
would have approved.

When Tnssaint was in his teens he was pt to guarding
ca ttle which garehbim time for study and reflection. The man-
ager of the Breda plantation, Beager, and his successor, Bayon
de Libertat, did not share the opinion, held by most planters,
that slaves should be kept in ignorance. Most of the books
Toussaint read he obtained from them. Some may have been
lent him by the parish priest, for Toussaint ha braced the
Catholic religion with 'nr al his life sought te

He remained small of stature and by Caucasian standards was
far from being an Adonis. A description of him in the prison
register of the Fort de Joux informs us that he was five feet

two inches tall, very black, lean and wiry, with large expressive
eyes, broad uptilted nose, thick lips, long pointed chin and
long teeth, covered with tartar. The upper and lower incisors
are reported missing, but we know that he lost them in middle
age, during a siege of St. Marc, when hit in the mouth by a
spent cannon ball. Whether as a result of success and power he
acquired an impressive bearing, or whether he always had it,
we do not know; but white men accustomed to meeting the
great ones of the earth were impressed by him. General Vincent
said of him: "Nobodycan-approach Toussaint without fear or
leave him without emotion." Rainsford speaks of his appearance
in dithyrambic terms. His ugliness, likeLincoln's appears to
have had a quality that attracted some and repelled _others.
In his character, as in that of most slaves, there was a tendency
to dissmulate. If convinced that a man meant to deal fairly with
him, he kept his word loyally; if convinced of the contrary, he
met perfidy with perfidy. He despised flattery when it was
offered to him, but did not disdain using it when dealing with
someone who appeared susceptible to it. He could exercise ex-
treme patience and self-control, but was careless of consequences
once his temper was aroused.
When he was eighteen his love for horses led to his appoint-
ment as a stable boy. During a dispute with Beager about a
horse, he struck the manager. For a slave to strike a white man
could have the gravest consequences. If the blow resulted in
effusion of blood- even so much as a nosebleed- the death
penalty could be imposed. It was to the credit of Beager that
he chose to overlook the incident.
During Toussaint's career as a slave only one instance of ill-
treatment by a white man has been recorded. Toussaint was re-
turning from church, dressed in his best and reading his breviary,
when he found himself confronted by a white man carrying
a heavy stick. The man was of those who wished to keep the
Negroes in ignorance. With a blow of his stick he struck the
book from Toussaint's hand and laid on so cruelly that the

Negro was covered with blood. The Haitian historian Madiou
claims that Toussaint refused to allow his bloodstained coat to
be cleaned and took to wearing it every day, until, at the be-
ginning of the insurrection, he met the wielder of the stick and
stabbed him to death.

9 Toussaint did not marry until he was forty.* "I chose my
wife myself," he is quoted as saving. "My masters wished me
to marry a dashing young Negress, but in a matter of this kind
I always managed to resist pressure contrary to my own idea of
what constituted a happy union."
The woman he chose, Suzanne Simon. a relative of his f"lwr
was neither ynnngnnnr hing-. She was fivp yer hiK jinnionr of
ample proportionsand the mother of a four-year-old boy1
Placide Seraphin Clere, the offspring of a mulatto. Planters in
the French Antilles did not wish their slaves to contract legal
unions. When a slave was legally married members of his house-
hold could not be sold separately. Hence only one Negro couple
in five thousand was legally married. Toussaint aind Snanne
were not among these exceptions.
B6ager had died and his place had been taken by Bayon de
Libertat, a man of kindly disposition and liberal tendencies,
with whom Toussaint was on the best of terms. The new man-
ager had made Toussaint his coachman and had allotted him a
plot of land, which the Negro farmed on shares. In a statement
quoted by a traveler Toussaint paints a somewhat idyllic pic-
ture of his existence: "We went to labor in the field, my wife
and I, hand in hand. Scarcely were we conscious of the fatigue
of the day. Heaven always blessed our toil. Not only did we
swim in abundance, but we had the pleasure of giving food to
Blacks who needed it. On the Sabbath and on festival days we
went to church my wife, my parents and myself. Returning
*Presumably. In 18or, when he was fifty-seven, his eldest son was sixteen.

to our cottage, after a pleasant meal, we passed the remainder
of the day in the family circle, and we closed it by prayer,
in which all took part."
Some allowance should be made for Toussaint's inclination to
make his period of bondage appear as little degrading as pos-
sible; nevertheless, it is obvious that hiscondition was icom-
Sparably better than that of the average field slave and superior
to that of.mot household slaves. Ind from better written by
him to.the Directoryin-July, 1797, it appears that de Libertat
, -had granted him what was known in the colony as.liberti de
savanne, under which the slave, while legally remaining the
property of his master, enjoyed most of the privileges of a free-
man. Some Negroes preferred this to unconditional liberty, as
it assured them of the master's protection. Toussaint writes:
"Twenty years ago the yoke of slavery was lifted from my
shoulders by a man who placed duty towards oppressed human-
ity ahead of the advantages to be derived from wringing all
possible profit from an unfortunate fellow being."
Thus Tougsaint and Suzanne lived contentedly enough. Two
children were born to them, Isaac and Saint-Jean. Slavery
weighed lightly upon him and his family; and had it not been for
the sufferings of his fellow slaves, he might have never struck
a blow for liberty and have found consolation for his condition
of bondage in these words of his favorite philosopher, who him-
self had been a slave: L"Man is not the master of man, but death
is, and life and pleasure and pain; for if he comes without these
things, bring Caesar to me and you will see how firm I am. But
if I shall release myself from my masters, that is from the things
by means of which masters are formidable, what further trouble
have I, what master have I still?"

Toussaint was thirteen when the Negro prophet Macandal
died at the stake at Le Cap. He must have heard Macandal's

death and teachings discussed in the Negro quarter, and it may
well be that this set him to thinking about the injustice done to
his race. Or perhaps, when reading the history of Rome, he
was thrilled by the story of Spartacus. He was twenty-six
when the Abbe RaynaLpublished anonymously his famous His-
toire philosophique et politique des etablissements et du com-
merce des Europdens dans les deux Indes, and nearly forty when
that work appeared under the author's own name. Hence it was
in his maturity that he read these words: -
Nations of Europe, your slaves will break the yoke that weighs
upon them. The Negroes only lack a leader. Where is that great
man to be found? He will appear, we cannot doubt it; he will show
himself to raise the sacred standard of liberty and to gather around
him his companions in misfortune. More impetuous than the moun-
tain torrents, they will leave behind them on all sides the inef-
faceable signs of their resentment. The old world as well as the new
will applaud him. The name of the hero who will have re-established
the rights of the human species will be blessed forever.
To Voltaire this was "du rechauffe avec de la declamation,"
but to Toussaint the words must have had a prophetic ring. In
a letter to the Directory, dated August 26, 1797, he writes: "I
was born in slavery, but I received from nature the soul of a
freeman. Every day I raised up my hands to God to implore Him
to come to the aid of my brethren and to shed the light of His
mercy upon them."
He might have been less patient had he himselfsuffered more,
but then his heart would have been filled with rancor against
the white race and his vision would have been blurred. Now
they were not. He remained free from race hatred.te knew
that the Negroes were oppressed not because they were Negroes,
but because they were weak. Epictetus and millions of other
white men had been slaves. The chieftains who sold war prison-
ers and even their own subjects into slavery were of the same
race as their victims. White planters were often cruel, but
mulatto planters were said to be even worse.

Toussaint would nor have Wareed with Macandal that the
. whites should be hanihed from the island. He believed the
Negroes needed the whites o teach them many things. He was
conservative hn r and the abolition of slavery appeared
to him or.a P -"-' Am] t^hatrnld ng tbe brelized1 for
many years. In the meantime he would have been satisfied with
reasonable reforms, such as illiard d'Auberteuil and other
white humantarians advocated. He told General Vincent that
even after the rebellion was in full swing, he would have been
in favor of terminating it had the planters been willing to grant
reforms and to give liberty to only sixty of the principal leaders.
In common with most Negroes. Tonamint looked to the
King o France for improvement in the condition of the chves.
The edicts for their protection had, in fact, all come from the
King and his ministers. Had those edicts been obeyed the lot
of the slaves would have been bearable. He hoped that someday
the King's wrath would be kindled and he would send an
army strong enough to compel the planters to obey the law and
to bring about drastic reforms.
But the years went by and the King did not act. Toussaint was
no longer young. His crinkly hair, gathered into a little pigtail
and tied with a ribbon, was profusely streaked with gray.
He drove his master's carriage, sitting on the box in livery and
barefoot. He worked the land and had charge of the tools at the
Sugar mill. He brewed potions from plants he gathered in the
mountains and distributed them to Negroes who came to seek
relief from bodily ills. Occasionally he read a book lent him by
de Libertat or by the parish priest. He was nearing the half-
century mark and his life seemed almost over. Yet he had not
even begun the career that was to make him famous.


Toussaint Organizes the Insurrection

WHEN Baron de Wimpffen visited St. Domingo in 1790, few
things astonished him more than the recklessness with which the
colonists discussed revolutionary happenings in France in the
presence of their household slaves. Creole nonchalance and
pride were responsible. The colonists considered it below tmeir
"dignity to epreie riantnn legt it be imagined that-they stood
infear of their slaves. Thus, unwittingly, they themselves be-
came edissemiators of the revolutionary see
among the Negroes.
Imagine a formal dinner at a plantation house, with a slave in
attendance behind every chair. Letters and newspapers have ar-
rived from France, and the host describes with dramatic empha-
sis how his uncle or cousin has had to flee with his family be-
cause his scoundrelly peasants have burned down his castle, have
looted his stores and will no longer recognize him as their lord.
The narrator expresses the opinion that if the said uncle or
cousin had made a liberal use of the whip such outrages could
not have occurred. Others tell of similar misfortunes that have
befallen their relatives. One asks if those present have read the
shameful proclamation of the Rights of Man, which asserts that
all men are created free and equal. Another remarks that if the
Amis des Noirs had their way, this would even apply to Negro
slaves! All join in denunciation of the National Assembly, and
even of the King who, if he were not utterly spineless, would
have his soldiers arrest the whole pack of traitors and shoot them.
The household slaves listen, standing barefoot behind each
chair, passing the highly spiced Creole dishes and pouring the
sparkling wines of France. Their expression does not change,
but something in them has been kindled. Many have relatives

among the field and mill slaves, to whom they pay an occasional
visit. They sit with them around the fire, laid on the earthen
floor in the center of the cabin, and tell the exciting news they
7 rf have heard. The field slaves listen; one, more thoughtful than
his fellows, remarks that if the people of France have gained
their freedom, then, obviously, they, too, must have been slaves.
/ ) Whereupon the idea germinartsin.the minds of several that the
k: clgack kh ,s, ,,,n_ oon.h to follow the example of the
white slaves of France,
A secondary but important source of nrda.wsxhe
sailors from the French merchant vessels. All, or nearly all, had
imbibed the wine of the New Freedom and had found it good.
On shore leave in the colony they partook of other intoxi-
cants, and, the mixture having mounted to their heads, they
harangued Negroes, telling them that by virtue of the sacred
Rights of Man they were now free and the equals of their
masters. Anybody who pretended otherwise was an aristocrat
and a traitor, and would eventually be dealt with by the Na-
tional Assembly, unless the Negroes chose to deal with him
themselves. The Negroes compared this with what they had
already heard, and believed it; so that, as early as October 1789,
Frangois Raimond wrote to his brother, the Mulatto Commis-
sioner in Paris: "The Revolution has penetrated here, most of
all among the Blacks. To them the national cockade stands for
liberty and equality. They were ready to revolt, but several
have been sent to the scaffold and things have quieted down
Toussaint knew about these abortive attempts, which con-
firmed him in his belief that revolt would e futile. Except for
their machetes long-bladed, swordlike knives with which the
sugar-canwYas cut- the Negroes were unarmed at cance
would they have against troops of the lne? nd even if they
managed to overcome the garrison, they would be crushed by
armies sent from France. He was too old to be reckless. He
preferred to wait. What did he expect? He probably did not

know himself, yet-e was to say later: "I felt I was destined for
great things s he somehow felt, would show him the
way. In the meantime, when some ot- ooded young egro
would suggest to him that the time had come to rebel, Toussaint
would say in Creole: "Doucement alli loin," or "Patience bat la
force." They were his favorite proverbs.

When the National Assembly passed the measure granting
civic rights to heulatoes.fci m m the colony was forced
to support it, whatever its views eight have been. In
doing so it ran ofo the colonists. Never before relations
bete so strained. Gov e lranchelande's action
Suspending there proved things but tte.The colo-
nists knew that the trend of public opinion in France would
eventually force thie wssueTey T Eo ep nc and
were in open revolt. Blanchelande had been forced to flee from
Port-au-Prince, where blood had already flowed. The situation in
Le Cap was becoming equally alarming. In this emergency the
harassed government party decided to make use of a technique
that had been employed with considerable success in France by
the Third Estate.
Whenever the Third Estate had wished to obtain concessions
from the King and his supporters, it had made use of the Paris
populace and the peasants to frighten them. Supposedly spon-
taneous popular outbursts, such as the storming of the Bastille,
the march of the women on Versailles, the peasant revolt, were
in reality carefully staged performances, ordered and paid for
by financiers like Laborde, Boscary and Dufresnoy, by wealthy
merchants and industrialists. In practically every case they ac-
complished their immediate purpose. There was, however, a
fly in the ointment. When the actors were no longer needed,
they refused to be dismissed and eventually staged a series of
performances of their own, not at all to the liking of the original

promoters. In the summer of 1791, however, the danger of this
J was not as obvious as it was to become a year later, and Gov-
Sernor Blanchelande and the government party decided to employ
' a similar expedient. They arrived at rth nnelnqSin that the best
way to cure the_colonists nf their han i for independence
was to stage a slave rebellion.
A slave rebellion would make the colonists realize that the
support of the mnthPr '-'m"ntr "' ay iindsm1t _n them The
would realize that.hey were too few in nmbhpr rn Lieemp E
slaves in subjection without outside help. Loss of life and de-
struction of property were of course unavoidable to teach them
that lesson, but if things were allowed to drift, blood was bound
to flow anyway, and it might well be the blood of the officials.
Since the officials owned few slaves and possessed little property
in the colony, they were not incurring a great deal of risk. If
the movement got out of hand reinforcements from France
would restore order. The principal difficult was to find a
Negosufficiently capable to organize the .reltYQandato jeepit
under re-aglMahble.on l.

The manager of the Breda plantation, Bayon de Libertat, was
out of sympathy with the attitude of the colonists. For lack of
any other group with which to affiliate, he found himself drawn
to the government party. They welcomed him and admitted him
to their counsels.
One day a government official called on him and disclosed the
hazardous plan. He explained that an exodus rather than an
insurrection slaves were to leave the planta-
tionand take refuge in the mountain, were they were to
remain il the siral was ive for them to return. The would
be reward with a r hdly needed reforms.
Ctligny-Ardouin, the first Haitian hi'oMan to shed light on
this phase of the insurrection, claims that Toussaint overheard

the conversation and offered his services. It appears more prob-
le that de Libertat recommended him. Anyway, he and the
government official were brought face to face and this agreement
as made: -
Toussaint was to organize the insurrection, but was not to
e held responsible for the consequences and was to receive a
afe-conduct, signed by Governor Blanchelande, guaranteeing
The government troops were only to feign an attack upon
e slaves, who were to receive supplies by way of the Spanish
Before returning to the plantations the slaves were to be
granted an additional.rcejday a week and the agblionjfthe

Tgassaint.and all the principal leaders were to be given their
To give the Negroes greater confidence, the news was to
be spread that the reforms had already been granted by the King,
but that the planters refused to carry them out; also, that an
army was on the way from France to force the planters to obey
the edict.
A number of spurious copies of a Paris newspaper were to
be placed in Toussaint's hands, in which the supposed edict and
the news concerning the army was to appear in print.
Toussaint's statement in his memorandum to Bonaparte that
at the outbreak of the insurrection he possessed 648,000 francs
makes it evident that a considerable sum of money was placed
at his disposal.

It was the night of August 14, 1791. The scene was a glade
in a dense forest, known as Bois Caiman,* on the Lenormand
plantation at Morne-Rouge, where Macandal had been a slave.
Several smoking torches illuminated the scene.
*See "Meeting in the Bois Caiman" in Appendix.

On the ground, in a half-circle, some two hundred Negroes
and a mulatto were seated. The Negroes were without exception
gang-foremen two from nearly every plantation in the Plaine-
du-Nord and the surrounding parishes. More than a hundred
plantations were represented. Many of the Negroes had walked
the greater part of the day, which was a Sunday, to attend the
meeting and would walk again a large part of the night to be
back at their work before dawn.
Toussaint was not present and remained in the background
during the enirest phse o the insurrection. apparently he
wished to reserve himself. He had created the elaborate organi-
zation probably as much for the purpose of controlling the
rebellion as for setting it on foot, but undoubtedly realized
that during its first phase, when discipline was necessarily lax,
excesses might be committed which would ruin the reputation
of any man connected with that phase. Sohiaving constructed
the insurrectionary machine, he allowed others to take charge,
whTie watched and waited.
The night was sultry. Occasionally there was a spasm of
lightning and the distant muttering of thunder. A tall Negro
of commanding appearance, who had been in conversation with
the mulatto, arose. His name was Boukmans. He was a Jamaican
Negro, a voodoo priest and gang-foreman on the Turpin and
Flaville plantation, in the parish of Acul. He addressed the
meeting in Creole, telling the delegates that the King, who was
their friend, had issued an edict granting the slaves an additional
free day a week, so they might have time to work their land
allotments and feed themselves and their families properly. They
would thus be working two days a week for themselves, four
for the planters, and have their Sundays free. But would the
planters agree to this? No! They had ignored the King's edict,
as they had ignored the Black Code and all other edicts the
King had issued for the protection of the slaves. This time, how-
ever, the King was resolved to be obeyed. An army was on its
way from France to enforce the law and to punish the planters.

But the Negroes should not wait like helpless children for the
soldiers to come and hand them their rights. They should strike
a blow themselves. They should abandon the plantations and
take refuge in the mountains.
He now turned to the mulatto and asked him to read the
King's edict and the order concerning the army. The mulatto
produced a copy of the spurious newspaper the government
party had fabricated and read the supposedly official documents.
The reading greatly impressed the gathering, and Boukmans now
called on the delegates to express their views.
Some were of the opinion that the insurrection should be
timed to coincide with the arrival of the army. Boukmans, who
knew that the documents were spurious, opposed this and re-
ceived the support of the delegates from the parishes of Acul
and Limb6. Then some of the delegates became wildly enthusias-
tic and proposed that the insurrection begin that very night. This
was rejected as impractical, and the evening of August 22 was
set as the date on which the rebellion was to take place.
This matter having been settled, it was now fitting to invoke
the favor of the gods and offer a suitable sacrifice. Boukmans
led the delegates down a narrow path towards another glade,
where before Damballa's altar stood a tall, gaunt, gray-haired
priestess. At her feet, securely tied, lay a black pig. It was as if
the elements wished to contribute to the impressiveness of the
scene, for as the mambu raised a long, gleaming knife and her
assistants untied and held the pig, there was a jagged flash of
lightning, followed by a loud clap of thunder. She plunged the
knife into the animal and expertly slit its throat and belly, while
her assistants caught the blood in hollowed gourds and added
rum and gunpowder. The vessels then passed from hand to
hand and each delegate drank of the mixture, while Boukmans,
his arms raised to the sky, where now lightning flash followed
lightning flash and the thunder roared and rumbled, intoned this
prayer: -
"The God who created the sun, which gives us light, who

rouses the waves and rules the storm, though hidden in the
clouds, He watches us.
"He beholds the misdeeds of the whites.
"The white man's God inspires him with crimes; our God
calls upon us to do good works.
"But though our God is merciful, He wishes us to be avenged.
"He will direct our arms and aid us.
"Throw away the symbol of the God of the whites- that
God who gloats over our suffering and listen to the voice of
liberty, which finds an echo in our hearts."

On August 22, 1791, at about ten o'clock in the evening,
there was great commotion in the Negro quarter of the Turpin
and Flaville plantation. Men, women and children swarmed from
their cabins. The women and children were laden with the
family possessions, sufficiently scant not to be burdensome; the
men grasped their machetes with an air of resolution. Some had
tied the knife to a pole, constructing a vicious-looking glaive.
Boukmans surveyed the scene and issued orders.
The plantation manager and his white overseers came run-
ning, whips in hand. What they saw filled them with con-
sternation. The passive, bovine creatures of that afternoon
seemed transformed. No longer did they bend their backs
meekly to receive the cutting lash. The looks they cast at the
white men spoke of defiance. 3The great only seem great to
us because we are on our knees let us rise!" the French pub-
licist Loustallot had written. Having risen from their knees the
slaves suddenly realized that their oppressors were far less for-
midable than they had seemed-
The manager and his overseers retreated and barricaded them-
selves in the plantation house. But the Negroes had no intention
of molesting them. Chattering noisily in Creole and in Negro
dialects they poured out of the plantation gate, behind their

leader. There was a moon and stars, but torches helped to light
the way, making visible the exaltation of the Negroes, as they
set out on their great adventure.
The first stop was made at the Clement plantation. The Ne-
groes here had been expecting them and received them with
cheers. They were ready to depart. The two groups of slaves
held a meeting and each elected a leader. Boukmans was con-
firmed as the leader of the Turpin and Flaville slaves; the
Clement Negroes chose a man named Auguste. The augmented
stream now swept onward towards the Tremes plantation.
The Tremes slaves joined with enthusiasm. A white carpen-
ter employed on the estate ventured too close and a shot was
fired in his direction. He tried to escape, but was caught and
brought before the leaders, who ordered him released. Then
the march was resumed towards the Noe plantation.
These details, taken from the report of the special committee
appomted by the Coloni Assembly, prove that mi lmtal
stages the movement wis remarkably orderly and that neither
th ,g ,r _a massacre of the whitesas
o a nt ~Theroubk. -o
ere, too, the slaves joined immediately. but theIfeis was
e port y ele old scores. The manager and the
white refiner were slain; a doctor and his wife, who lived in the
plantation house, were not harmed. The slaves invaded the house
to search for firearms. Other objects took their fancy and they
began to loot. Someone touched a torch to inflammable material
and within a few minutes smoke and flame belched forth. This
released a spirit of destruction. Building after building flamed.
Neftgroe aimed with torches ran into the adjoining fils and 1st
fire tohedr rt
It was then that Toj ^'*- .r n a nllaed.
EithPr he leaders l st nntrnl nf ther fllners. or themselves
became infected. Tljburnigof_-1n the
exoas an orgy ofdestruction. Flames leaped up on all the
surrounding plantations, to be answered by flames throughout

the Plaine-du-Nord and on the mountain sides, where were the
coffee plantations. A luminous haze drowned out the moon and
the stars. The North Province was doomed.

> A hundred thousand slaves were inirevolt. Within two months
220 sugar plantations, 600 coffee plantations, 200 cotton and in-
digo plantations ceased to exist. Clouds of smoke, from which
fiery tongues were leaping, hung over the mountains, giving
them the appearance of volcanoes in eruption. "The most strik-
Sing feature of the terrible spectacle," writes Carteau, "was a
rain of fire composed of burning cane-straw, which whirled
thickly before the blast, like flakes of snow, and which the wind
carried, now towards the harbor and shipping, now over the
houses of the city." The 'rh1= l"Imlral section of the
island perhaps the xchestinjthe world became a d
and blackened waste. "We arrived in the harbor of Le Cap,"
writes Bryan Edwards, "at evening of September 26, and the
first sight which arrested our attention as we approached was a
dreadful scene of devastation by fire. The noble plain adjoining
Le Cap was covered with ashes, and the surrounding hills, as
far as the eye could reach, everywhere presented to us ruins still
smoking and houses and plantations at that moment in flames."
Two thousand whites and five times that many Negroes were
slam. Bot sides committed citireedom,
testing for revenge, drunk with the rum they were able to ob-
tain in abundance, the slaves indulged in an orgy of violence.
Women and girls were raped before the eyes of husbands and
fathers by Negroes who, even in their delirium, were perhaps
not unmindful of the fact that their own wives and daughters
had been at the mercy of white men's lust. In their report to
the French National Assembly the planters tell of a man placed
between two boards and sectioned with a saw; of another who
was crucified and whose arms and legs were hacked off with an

ax. Shocking as is this testimony, it is not more so than the
atrocities which witnesses before the Select Committee accused
planters of committing in cold blood. The worshipers of voodoo,
but recently emerged from the jungle, could hardly have been
expected to be more humane than the followers of the Nazarene,
inheritors of an ancient civilization.
Yet, strange to say, they -aezamore humane. The Negro
leaders (as we shall see) executed one of their number guilty of
atrocities. One searches in vain for a similar example in the
white camp. "By killing our women you compel us to kill
yours," was the vain appeal the Negro leaders Jean-Francois
and Biassou addressed to the white general Cambefort.

Governor Blanchelande and the government party were in
the unenviable position of men who, wishing to burn under-
brush, have started a forest fire. They were forced to intervene.
With the troops at their disosal they e.aShlisheA fonrifidI, ,ins,
cae"ordons with which the managed t ennfine the re-
o teNorth Pro i -o police the Plain the Governor
had to rely on e white militia, but the planter regime had
benefited so small a portion even of the white population that
the members of the militia were not in the least disposed to
risk their lives in defense of the planters and their property.
Blanchelande wrote to the Minister of Marine: "This city con-
tains a very large number of poor and dissatisfied whites, who
would welcome disorder in the hope of bettering their lot by
plunder. They have clearly shown their evil intention by their
formal refusal to fight the rebels."
When the milit i axedandbribedinto ptrolling
the Plain, their method consisted of shooting A IlL grni. rhey
epounteredo inthe to Le CapE ..rtu "This
city," wrote a British officer, "presents a terrible spectacle, sur-
rounded by ditches and palisades; the streets blocked by barri-

cades and the squares occupied by scaffolds on which captured
Negroes are tortured the whole forming a picture of devasta-
tion and carnage."
The principal result of the efforts of the militia was that
thousands of Negroes who had had no intention of joig the
insurrection were forced to seek safety in the rebel camp.


Peace Negotiations

' BousKM S was captured during attack on Le Capand-died
atj estate. The head ohee voodoo, priest, stuck upon a pike,
grinned derision outside a city gate. Toussaint still kept aloof
from oIl reon wangfr the suaim on to lrf itself.
Two new leaders, Jean-Franois andBiassou, were beginning to
forge an army out ofthe go hordes now roaming the North
Jean-Francois, who styled himself "Grand Admiral and Com-
mander in Chief," was a Creole Negro of pleasing appearance.
His master, the planter Papillon, had treated him well, but Jean-
SFrangois, preferring freedom, had escaped into the mountains
and had spent several years with the Maroon Negroes. There can
be no doubt that he and Biassou owed their elevation to the
government party. The Procurator Gros quotes Jean-Frangois
as saying: "It is not I who have appointed myself General of
the Negroes. Those possessing the power to do so have con-
ferred that title upon me." A letter written to Jean-Francois
by Don Alonzo, a high Spanish functionary, in the early days
of the insurrection, furnishes further proof. The Spanish officials
at that time collaborated with their French colleagues, and Don
Alonzo wrote: "I am sorry I did not know that you lacked

ammunition. Had I known, I should have sent it to you. You will
receive this aid and anything else you might ask as long as you
defend the interests of the King."
The French, not the Spanish, King was meant. The Negro
general's standard was white, with, on one side, the French
coat of arms and the words "vive le Roi," and on the other,
"Ancien Rigime."
Jean-Frangois played his role with gusto. He wore an elegant
gray uniform with yellow facings, large gold epaulettes and a
black cordon, embroidered with white fleurs-de-lis. On his breast
shone the cross of the Order of St. Louis. A plumed and cock-
aded hat, shining top boots with tinkling spurs and a huge cav-
alry sword completed his costume. When he reviewed his army
he would be seated in an open carriage, drawn by six plumed
horses and surrounded by a bodyguard of twelve mounted Ne-
groes in natty uniforms with fleur-de-lis insignia.
His fellow-commander Biassou, who had adopted the title
of "Generalissimo of the Conquered Territories," did not look
nearly as impressive, being small of stature, ill-shapen and ex-
tremely ugly. He had been a slave belonging to the Fathers of
Charity, at Le Cap. Religious orders had the reputation of treat-
ing their slaves well. Theirs were the only agricultural estab-
lishments in the French Antilles on which the birth rate exceeded
the death rate. They not only did not find it necessary to im-
port slaves, but in the words of a cynical Governor, "were able
to export some of their own manufacture."
A third leader, undoubtedly self-appointed. as Jeannot. His
m anter Buthad treaehm wi
brudtal.d the results were now apparent. Judged by stand-
ars which the whites do d during the race war, Jean
rancois and iassou were not exceptionally bloodthirsty: lean-
not, however hated the whites with intensity bordering on
isa He had assumed e significant title of "Grand Judge,"
an a the manner of Citizen-General de Caradeux decorated his
camp with severed heads stuck upon pikes. He had adopted as

his banner the body of a white infant impaled upon a pole and
hanged his white prisoners upon trees, from hooks stuck under
their chins, after first boring out their eyes with a corkscrew.
He was known to cut the throat of a prisoner, scoop up the
blood with both hands, drink it, and with half-closed eyes mur-
mur ecstatically: "Ah, my friends, how sweet, how good this
white blood! Let us take full draughts. Let us swear irreconcil-
able revenge against our oppressors. Peace with them never!
So help me God!"
Monstrous as was Jeannot, he did not lack sincerity. He re-
minds one of Marat, who combined unquestionable sincerity and
pity for the oppressed with an unbalanced nature and a hate
for the oppressors that betrayed him into constant incitements
to massacre. As for Jean-Francois and Biassou, the French Com-
missioner Sonthonax was undoubtedly right when he said that
they were more interested in becoming slaveowners themselves
than in freeing the slaves. When there was no loot to dispose
of and subsidies were slow in arriving, they did not hesitate to
sell Negroes into slavery to the Spaniards, under the pretext
that they were "mauvais sujets," whom they otherwise would
have to execute. Among the "mauvais sujets" were the wives
and children of their own soldiers.

In sharp contrast with the splendid array of the two prin-
cipal generals, the Negro soldiers were dressed in rags or wore
only loincloths. A few wore clothing they had looted, which
varied from ballroom finery to underwear of both sexes. About
one in three had some kind of firearm an old musket or pistol,
for which ammunition was seldom available. The rest were
armed with machetes, iron-pointed sticks, broken or dented
swords, or pieces of rusty iron hoops. The cavalry was mounted
on a heterogeneous collection of draft horses, saddle horses and
mules. There were a few cannon, but the artillerymen knew so

little about handling them that they were known to put the
powder in front of the ball. To compensate for the paucity of
equipment and training there was a superabundance of general
officers. There were few who confessed to any lower rank than
captain and the number of generals was bewildering.
Besides these more or less organized forces there were numer-
ous.bands roaming the country and warring in the primitive
manner of their African ancestors. An anonymous contempo-
rary author gives this description of their mode of combat: -
The Negroes never mass in the open: a thousand Blacks will
never await in line of battle the attack of a hundred whites. They
first advance with a frightful clamor, preceded by a great number
of women and children singing and yelling in chorus. When they
have arrived just out of gunshot, the most profound silence sud-
denly falls, and the Negroes range themselves in such a manner that
they appear six times as numerous as they really are. The man of
faint heart, already daunted by their apparent number, is still
further awed by their posturing and grimacing. All this time the
ominous silence continues; the only sounds coming from the ma-
gicians, who now begin to dance and sing with demoniac contor-
tions. These men are working their incantations, confident that the
bullets cannot touch them and wishing to prove to their followers
the power of their magic charms. The attack now takes place with
cries and howlings.

A week or two before the outbreak of the rebellion, the
manager of the Breda plantation, de Libertat, had been obliged
to go to Le Cap for a prolonged stay. Before leaving he called
Toussaint and told him he relied upon him to maintain order
on the plantation. He especially recommended to him the safety
of Madame de Libertat. Toussaint promised to do his best and
kept his promise. When the insurrection broke out and planta-
tions flamed on all sides, the influence of the middle-aged Negro
saved the Breda estate from a similar fate, and the slaves re-

mained at their work. But Toussaint realized that this could
not last. The Breda Negroes were being constantly solicited to
join the rebellion, and the white militia from Le Cap made it
dangerous for them to remain. Besides, Toussaint reached the
conclusion that the time had now arrived when his presence at
rebel headquarters was indispensable.
One day, about a month after the outbreak of the insurrection,
he called his younger brother Paul and told him to put the horses
before the carriage and be ready to drive to Le Cap. Then he
went to see Madame de Libertat and informed her that he could
no longer guarantee her safety and she must join her husband
in the city. He helped her pack her valuables, and when the
servants had loaded the boxes onto the carriage and she was
seated within, Paul climbed to the coachman's box and drove
Toussaint had already informed his family that they must
prepare to leave. He accompanied them across the frontier to
the Spanish colony, where he established them in comfortable
quarters. Then he returned to St. Domingo and immediately
went to the Gallifet plantation, at Grande-Riviire, where Jean-
Francois and Biassou had their headquarters.


, Toussaint found several white men at Negro headquarters.
J One was the Procurator Gros, who told him, undoubtedly with
j a twinkle, that he (Gros) was a prisoner. There were four
/ priests Fathers Bienvenu, Sulpice, Boucher and Delahaye. The
colonists have made various accusations against them, among
others that they acted as procurers for the Negro generals
among white women prisoners. All, however, were instru-
mental in saving the lives of numerous white persons. Father
Delahaye is known to have been a man of unblemished char-
acter, whose feeling for the Negroes was not unlike that of Las
Casas for the Indians.

Jean-Francois and Biassou being jealous of their authority
it was decided tat ussaint should ocpy
saitary service and should bear the title of "Doctor to the King's
ies. The sanitary service even in the best organized Euro-
pean armies was deplorable at that time and we can well imagine
what it must have been in the Negro army. Voodoo priests
and medicine men took care of the sick and wounded. If patients
became too numerous, the problem, according to one authority,
was solved by carrying them into a building and setting fire to
the premises. With his genius for organization Toussaint must
have improved matters considerably, but he held the office only
a short time. Capable men were scarce, and Biassou soon placed
him in command of a part of his army.
The court-martial and execution of Jeannot took place shortly
after Toussaint's arrival at headquarters and we are justified in
assuming that he was responsible for the decision. On two occa-
sions during his future career he ordered the execution of a
subordinate guilty of atrocities towards the whites. He un-
doubtedly pointed out to Jean-Frangois and Biassou that policy
as well as decency demanded that Jeannot's career be brought
to a close. A counsel was held and the task of punishing Jeannot
entrusted to Jean-Francois. The camp of the fanatic was sur-
rounded during the night. He was taken prisoner, brought be-
fore a drumhead court-martial and sentenced to be shot. He
had been recklessly brave in battle, but now all courage deserted
him. He threw himself at the feet of Jean-Frangois and offered
to work for him in chains the remainder of his existence if his
life were spared. Father Bienvenu, who had accompanied the
expedition, approached the condemned man with a crucifix.
Jeannot clutched the priest's cassock and implored his protec-
tion. Force had to be used to get him to release his hold, and he
was dragged cursing and screaming to a tree, to which he was
tied. He continued to wail and to implore until the muskets
spoke. Jean-Francois had Jeannot's body suspended from a hook
and departed with his men.


Three Civil Commissioners Roume, Mirbeck and Saint-L6ger
- were known to be on their way from France, and it was be-
lieved that an army would soon follow. It seemed, therefore, the
part of wisdom to come to an understanding with the planters
before the arrival of reinforcements deprived the Governor of
an excuse for his inactivity. It also appeared advisable to make
Draconian demands that left ample room for bargaining. A
counsel was held in which the Procurator Gros and the priests
participated. A letter was drawn up to the Governor in which
the Negroes made this declaration: -
That they had taken up arms in defense of the King, whom
the whites kept imprisoned in Paris, because he had wanted to
liberate the Blacks, his loyal subjects;
That they demanded this liberation and the restoration of the
ancien regime;
That if these demands were granted, the whites would not be
harmed, but after being disarmed could return to their dwellings.
Negro emissaries carrying a white flag delivered the letter at
one of the city gates.
A second letter was even more uncompromising. It began
with the statement that it had not been the intention of the
Negroes to throw off the yoke of slavery "We did not wish
to abandon our masters." The insurrection was the result of cruel
ill-treatment "Those who, next to God, should have proved
our fathers, have been tyrants, monsters unworthy of the fruits
of our labor." But now that the yoke had been discarded, the
Negroes would not "throw themselves like sheep into the jaws
of the wolf. No, it is too late! God who fights for the innocent,
is our guide; He will not abandon us. Accordingly, this is our
motto Death or Victory!" Great as have been the wrongs they
have suffered, they do not thirst for vengeance and are willing
to make peace, "but on condition that all the whites, whether

of the plain or of the mountains, shall quit Le Cap without a.
single exception. Let them carry with them their gold and their
jewels; we seek only liberty dear and precious object!" The
letter ends with the words: "Victory or death for Freedom!"
This epistle was undoubtedly written by Father Delahaye,
whom Carteau calls "the most ardent apostle of the liberty of the
Blacks." It was signed: "All the Generals who compose our
Governor Blanchelande, who must have found it somewhat
difficult to play his dual role convincingly, replied that if the
Negroes wished peace, they must surrender their leaders and
return to the plantations. This reply, made to preserve appear-
ances, was of course not taken seriously and soon after a third
communication was prepared, this time addressed to the Colonial
Assembly, which alone had the power to come to an agreement
with the rebels. It bears all the earmarks of having been writ-
ten by a man possessing legal training and must be attributed to
the Procurator Gros. It is far more moderate in tone than either
of the two preceding documents and argues at great length why
the rebels were entitled to benefit from the amnesty decree the
King had recently issued as his contribution towards a better
understanding between whites and mulattoes. The remaining
demands presented viva voce by two mulatto emissaries-
were substantially the same as had been agreed on between
Toussaint and the government party: liberty for four hundred
of the principal leaders, an additional free day a week for the
slaves, and prohibition of the use of the whip. According to
Toussaint's own statement to General Vincent, a reduction of
the number of enfranchisements to fifty or sixty would have
been acceptable.
It has been well said that "whom the gods would destroy
they first make mad." So moderate were the demands that had
the planters possessed the power to crush the revolt, the cost
of doing so would have far exceeded any benefit they could
have derived from such a course. Indeed, the Negro leaders

were themselves far from certain that their followers, having
tasted liberty and become conscious of their strength, would be
willing to agree to the proposed terms. But the Colonial Assem-
bly was not disposed to make any concessions. They received the
emissaries haughtily and dismissed them contemptuously, after
informing them that the rebels must submit unconditionally.
For those who showed themselves truly contrite they might
consider clemency.
The two mulattoes were about to depart disconsolately, when
they were informed that the Civil Commissioners, who had ar-
rived, wished to see them. They answered the summons and
were received with amiability. The Commissioners listened with
obvious sympathy and gave the emissaries a letter, addressed to
the Negro leaders, in which they proposed that Jean-Frangois
meet them at the St. Michel plantation, a short distance from Le
Cap. While this has the appearance of a mise en scene in which
the Assembly and the Commissioners collaborated, subsequent
developments proved that the Commissioners acted entirely on
their own responsibility and that the Assembly disapproved of
their conciliatory attitude.
The two mulattoes now returned to Negro headquarters,
where they gave an account of their reception by the Colonial
Assembly. Biassou flew into a violent rage and ordered that all
white prisoners be shot instantly. Toussaint intervened. He and
Jean-Frangois were not on the best of terms, but his influence
with Biassou was great and he managed to have the order re-
called. The mulattoes now went on with their story and the
atmosphere cleared perceptibly when they produced the letter
the Commissioners had given them.

On the appointed day, Jean-Francois, attired in his gaudiest
uniform and accompanied by several Negro officers, rode to the
St. Michel plantation. He had no sooner passed through the

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