Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Hayti, its geography
 Outward bound
 Return to Hayti
 Departure from Cape Haytien
 City of Port-au-Prince
 Constitution of Hayti
 Carnival at Port-au-Prince
 The fine arts

Title: Brief notices of Hayti
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095184/00001
 Material Information
Title: Brief notices of Hayti with its condition, resources, and prospects
Physical Description: viii, 175 p. : ; 19 x 11 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Candler, John, 1787-1869
Donor: unknown ( endowment )
Publisher: T. Ward
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1842
Copyright Date: 1842
Subject: Description and travel -- Haiti   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Haiti   ( lcsh )
Histoire -- Haïti   ( rvm )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Haiti
Statement of Responsibility: By John Candler.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095184
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 - 04658165
lccn - 02012376

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Hayti, its geography
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Outward bound
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Return to Hayti
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Departure from Cape Haytien
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    City of Port-au-Prince
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Constitution of Hayti
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    Carnival at Port-au-Prince
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
    The fine arts
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
Full Text
















IN bringing before the public a view of the present
state of Hayti, it seemed desirable to prefix to the
narrative, a brief sketch of the history of the island.
The Author had intended to prepare such a sketch;
but upon examining those works, both French and
English, which are considered as authorities, he
found so many discrepancies and counter state-
ments, involving the character of several of the
leaders in the late revolution, that he abandoned
the attempt in despair. The history of Hayti has
yet to be written, nor can it be written impartially,
so as to establish the truth, and the whole truth,
till the present generation shall have passed away.
The literary public of France and England may
yet look for an accession of historical materials,
that will throw great light on the late contests
between the free and the servile classes, and between
the whites and the men of colour. The present
Secretary of State for Hayti, General Inginac, who
is now advanced in age, and who was engaged iu
the wars of the revolution, almost from his boy-
hood, has prepared a narrative of the passing events
of the period, both civil and military, which is
intended for publication at his decease. This nar-


rative, when published, will, no doubt, illustrate
many circumstances that are now obscure, and
serve to unfold more clearly the character and
motives of some remarkable men, his contempora-
ries. It is the delight of the lovers of liberty to
dwell with enthusiasm on the talents and exploits
of Toussaint L'Ouverture, undoubtedly the greatest
man that took part in the revolution of St.
Domingo, and one of the ablest Generals of his
age; but it is very doubtful whether his character,
as a leader in the great struggle, will come out
of the crucible of impartial history, with all that
brightness and purity that some modern narratives,
half history, half romance, seem to assign to it.
The opinion of many persons in Hayti, whether
well or ill-founded, we stop not to inquire, is cer-
tainly adverse to such high pretensions : these
individuals represent Toussaint as one of the best
men of his day; but not as free from many of
the blemishes which generally attach to warriors.
The lines of Pope are become an axiom, and are
often quoted as decisive with regard to men who
are engaged in the dismal work of slaughtering
their follows :
All heroes are alike : the points agreed;
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede."

and it is remarkable to observe, as a confirmation
of the poet's doctrine, which is true to a certain
extent, that the character of Hannibal, as penned


by the severe and vigorous hand of Juvenal,
has been accommodated by Dr. Johnson in his
" Vanity of Human Wishes," to represent the
life and exploits of Charles the Twelfth; and that
the portrait drawn of the latter, might, with the
omission of a line or two, and the change of half a
dozen words, be made literally to apply to Napoleon
Buonaparte. If there be any exception to the truth
of Pope's apothegm in modern days, that exception
may undoubtedly be made in favour of Washington
and Toussaint. But those great men who act in
a public contest, where the passions of a whole
people are stirred up and roused into revengeful
activity, however mild they may be by nature, and
however disposed to act with mercy, often contract
the stains that attach to the party they embrace,
or the cause in which they embark, and exhibit in
their conduct more than a common frailty. The
civil wars of Hayti are now ended; and happy
would it be for humanity's sake, if we could draw
the curtain of night on the many dark transactions
that disgraced the period of their progress The
people of that country, however, have learned from
them an awful lesson ; and this one good con-
sequence has resulted, that the Republic, weary of
contending with the sword, is now desirous of
keeping it sheathed in the scabbard, and of main-
taining an honourable and lasting peace.
The author of the following brief notices"
declines the task of an historian ; but if his pages,


which are intended to exhibit the present state of
Hayti, with its resources and prospects, should
afford amusement or instruction, in any degree, to
those who read them, his end will be fully answered,
and he will receive all the reward he desires or
looks for.

York, Third Month, 1842.




HAYTI, ITS GEOGRAPHY .................... ............ 1


OF SLAVERY IN THE WEST INDIES .... ............... .


TIONS ........................................ 12


PORT-AU-PRINCE ... ......... ................ .... 47


THE PRESIDENT ..... ............................. 6)





THE CAPITAL ..... ..... .. .................. 134


CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS ....... ................ 162




TUE island of Hayti, formerly Hispaniola or St.
Domingo, placed between the 18th and 20th degrees of
north latitude, and from 68 to 75 degrees west, has a
length of 360 miles from east to west, and a breadth,
varying from 60 to 120 miles. Its circumference mea-
sured by an even line, excluding the bays, is nearly
a thousand miles. This island so important for its
situation and great natural advantages, is four times
as large as Jamaica, and nearly equal in extent to
Ireland. It is situated at the entrance of the Gulf
of Mexico: is one of the four larger Antilles, and holds
the second rank after Cuba, from which it is distant
only twenty leagues. Jamaica lies westward of it
about forty leagues; and Porto Rico, a large and now
populous island belonging to Spain, twenty-two leagues
eastward. On the north are the Bahama islands, at a
distance of two or three days' sail; and southward,
separated by 700 miles of ocean, is the great continent
of South America.


The principal islands adjacent to IHayti and belonging
to it, are Gonave, La Saone, Isle de Vaches, and Tortue,
all of considerable extent ; but all through the policy of
the government uncultivated. Hayti presents the aspect
of a large territory composed of mountains and plains,
watered by a few extensive unnavigable rivers and in-
numerable streams: it abounds in forests of mahogany
wood and other fine timber-affords a great variety of
climate ; and, displays a grandeur and beauty of natural
scenery, not surpassed in the tropical regions of the New
World, or perhaps of the globe itself.
Like all the other islands of this region, it is subject
to awful tempests, known by their Indian name of
hurricanes, and is liable to frequent shocks of earth-
quake. The latter formidable phenomenon in 1564,
destroyed the newly founded city of Concepcion de la
Vega, and has occasioned at several different and dis-
tant periods, the overthrow or disturbance of Port-au-
Prince, its present capital. A line of demarcation, in
some places artificially drawn, formerly separated the
Spanish part of the island from the French ; but there
is now no political distinction of territory, the whole
country being united under one political head subject to
the same laws. The ancient part of the island where
the Spanish language is still spoken, embraces more than
two-thirds of the soil, and contains only one-sixth of
the inhabitants. The population of the Spanish part is
estimated at a hundred and thirty thousand; of the
French part, nearly seven hundred thousand. The
French or western territory, is the only part of the
island that has numerous towns and villages, and it is
here principally, that commerce carries on its exchanges
with other nations. A large quantity of mahogany


wood is exported from Santa Domingo, and a good deal
of tobacco from Santiago and Port au Platte, all towns
once belonging to the Spaniards, and still Spanish as to
language and the customs of the people; but the great
staples of coffee, cotton, mahogany, and dye-wood, are
collected on the French side and shipped from Cape
Haytien, Port-au-Prince, Cayes, Gonaives and Jacmel.
The mountains of Hayti are many of them of great
height. The principal range, is that of Cibao, near the
centre of the island, from which other chains of hills
diverge in different directions. The peak of Cibao is
7200 feet above the level of the sea. The mountains
bearing the name of La Selle, Le Mexique, and Le
Maniel, are parts of the same range terminating on the
southern coast. La Selle has an elevation of 7000 feet,
and bears south-west of Port-au-Prince, at a distance of
forty miles. The La Hotte mountains rise in the
neighbourhood of Cayes, some of which are said to be
as high as those of La Selle and Cibao. Besides these,
there are the mountains of Monte Christo running from
the north of the island eastward to the Peninsula of
Samana, from the summits of which, Columbus gazed
with astonishment at the extent and fertility of the
plains below, since that period deprived by death and
massacre of its original inhabitants, and now known by
the expressive name of la despoblada or the unpeopled.
The other ranges are those of Cahos and Los Muertos,
which are rather hills than high mountains, having a
mean elevation of about 2500 feet. This configura-
tion," says Moreau de St. Mery, and the height of
the mountains is the cause why, notwithstanding the
great extent of many of its plains, the island when
viewed from seaboard appears mountainous altogether,


and that its aspect is so forbidding. But the observer,"
he continues, who contemplates these vast chains and
all the branches that diverge from them, and pursues
their various ramifications over the surface of the island,
will see at once the cause of its fertility : they form an
immense reservoir for the waters which are distributed to
the soil by rivers without number: they temper the
heat of a burning sun, arrest the fury of the winds,
and multiply the resources of human industry to an
astonishing extent."
The most spacious of the plains, is that of Vega
eal, which traverses several of the northern depart-
ments: its length is 220 miles: it is exceedingly fertile
and well watered. Its chief produce, is tobacco of an
excellent quality: it grows also sugar and cocoa, and
affords pasturage to large herds of cattle; but owing to
its present sparse population, yields comparatively little
of food or agreeable luxuries to the wants of man. The
noble rivers Yague and Youna which traverse its whole
extent, will serve greatly to facilitate the transit of its
produce, whenever a large and active body of settlers
may devote themselves to the cultivation of its soil.
This plain alone might well support its million of inha-
bitants. That of Santa Domingo is the next in import-
ance, and has very few people upon it, although from its
fertility and extent of surface-700 square leagues-
it would yield, if cultivated, an immensity of produce.
The plain of Azua has a surface of 150 square
leagues, and that of Neyb6 eighty square leagues. Of
the remaining plains, it is only needful to mention,
La plaine du Nord, near Cape Haytien, and Le cul
de sac, near Port au Prince, in both of which,
sugar was formerly cultivated to a great extent, and


where a large number of sugar works and distilleries
are still in operation to furnish syrup and rum for the
home market.
The principal rivers are the Yague and Youna before
mentioned and the Artibonite, whose entire course is
160 miles long in almost a direct line, and which, dur-
ing the time of its floods, floats on its bosom to the sea,
those vast logs of mahogany that find so ready a sale in
the markets of Europe, under the name of Spanish
Hayti has some lakes of considerable size, where
alligators abound: it is rich also in mineral springs, and
is believed to possess vast treasures of iron and copper
ores, together with gold and silver. The mines that
contain the precious metals have long since been aban-
doned for want of capital.
Such in its physical structure, is one of the islands
we proposed to visit on our leaving home in 1839, for
a voyage to the West Indies.




IN the latter part of the year 1839, I left home,
accompanied by my wife, on a missionary tour to
Jamaica. After stopping by the way at Barbados,
Martinique, Tortola, St. Thomas, and Porto Rico, our
vessel the Hecla steamer made for the windward
passage, and coasted the northern shores of Hayti.
The bold outlines of the mountains, which in many
places approached to within twenty miles of the shore,
and the numerous stupendous cliffs which beetled over
it, casting their shadows to a great distance on the
deep-the dark retreating bays, particularly that of
Samana, and extensive plains opening inland between
the lofty cloud covered hills, or running for uncounted
leagues by the sea side, covered with trees and bushes,
but affording no glimpse of a human habitation-pre-
sented a picture of gloom and grandeur, calculated
deeply to depress the mind; such a picture as dense
solitude unenlivened by a single trace of civilization,
is ever apt to produce. Where, we inquired of our-
selves, are the people of the country? Where its culti-
vation ? Are the ancient Indian possessors of the soil
all extinct, and their cruel conquerors and successors
entombed with them in a common grave ? For hun-
dreds of miles as we swept along its shores, we saw


no living thing, but now and then a mariner in a
solitary skiff, or birds of the land and ocean sailing in the
air, as if to shew us that nature had not wholly lost its
animation, and sunk into the sleep of death. Towards
the north-west extremity of the island our course
became a little enlivened : we entered the bay of Cape
Haytien, formerly Cape Frangois, since Cape Henry,
and now, for brevity's sake, The Cape. The terrible
fortress of La Ferriere, which commemorates the rule
of Christophe, and which serves as a mausoleum for
his remains, looked down upon us from a distant moun-
tain; two forts commanded the entrance to the harbour,
in which were numerous merchant vessels lying at
anchor, taking in or discharging their cargoes ; and on
our right hand, flanked by forest-crowned hills, rose the
city itself, once denominated the little Paris-the hand-
some city of the queen of the Antilles. Our stay was
short: we landed for two hours, left the mail from
Europe, spoke to the British Vice-Consul, visited the
markets, conversed with a few of the black citizens,
and again set sail. Before we had passed through
the narrow strait that separates Tortue (the Turtle
island) from the main-land, we were gratified with
a distant view of the town of Port de Paix, rising
in amphitheatre on the hills, illumined by the rays
of the setting sun. Soon after we headed the Cape
St. Nicholas Mole; and the following day landed
at Santiago, the eastern capital of Cuba. Here as at
Cape Haytien our stay was limited to the time allowed
for post-office business; the next day we reached King-
ston in Jamaica. It is not the object of this little
volume to detail the incidents of our travels in Jamaica,
an island so often visited and so well known; but we


cannot, in connexion with it, avoid a brief notice of
that memorable event which has done so much to
change the condition of its people, and seems fraught
with such inestimable blessings to posterity. Here we
trace the interesting spectacle of a colony, once deeply
distressed and clamouring for fiscal aid to the mother-
country; now smiling in prosperity and brightened by
mercantile hope; not long since distracted by civil dis-
turbances, the fruits of oppression inseparable from its
institutions; now enjoying peace and tranquillity, with a
docile, loyal, industrious population, whom the Queen
of England, or the ruler of any nation, might well be
gratified to own as subjects. The grand experiment of
giving unqualified freedom to the slaves of Jamaica and
our other West Indian islands, has been attended with
the happiest success. All classes of the population rejoice
in the result. The prognostications of the planters and
the mortgagees of colonial property, that the slaves
when emancipated would become an idle vagabond race,
a nuisance to the soil-that the fields would go out of
cultivation-the lives of the white inhabitants be en-
dangered-and the properties ruined-these and other
prophecies of the same sackcloth cast, are all falsified by
the most gratifying facts. Just the reverse of all this
has taken place; and Jamaica and the other islands
have begun a new race of prosperity. "Magnus ab
integro saeclorum nascitur ordo." The labourers work
well for wages, and squatting and vagabondage are
unknown. The cane and coffee fields partially ne-
glected at the coming in of freedom, owing to the
injudicious attempts of overseers and attorneys to coerce
labour, by means of rent, are recovering their former
fruitfulness. Two years have passed away in which we


have seen diminished produce, the consequence of unwise
conduct on the part of the planters; and a third, in
which the deficiency has sprung from a visitation of
Divine providence in a long continued drought.
Sounder views of political economy, and a wiser con-
duct than was once pursued have succeeded; the seasons
are again propitious, and there is now every reason, with
regard to the future, to look for extended commerce and
increased prosperity. In passing through Jamaica (and
we went into almost every district) we scarcely met
with a single individual who seemed to regret the
change that had taken place-not one who professed a
wish, even for gain's sake, to return to the former
system of slavery. We conversed with men of every
rank and condition, from the Governor and Judges of
the island to the Clerk who serves in the counting-
house, and all bore their unqualified testimony to the
important fact, that freedom works well. That it
works well for the labourer is obvious at every step of
the stranger's progress: the proofs are on every hand;
that it works well for the proprietor is demonstrable by
a few simple and striking facts. The estates of pro-
prietors, in numerous instances, are worked at a less cost
now than under slavery. Penn or pasture land, we were
told as a matter of common observation, may be worked
cheaper than before: some of the large coffee planta-
tions we know are so worked, from the testimony of
the managers themselves ; and we have in our -posses-
sion a letter from the attorney of some of the largest
sugar estates in the island, in which he distinctly tells
us, that he sees no reason why sugar properties in the
district where he lives should not be cultivated as cheap
as ever they were. To all the proprietors of such lands,


it is quite evident, that the share of the twenty millions
which fell to their lot, was given them for nothing.
The compensation money paid by Great Britain to the
planters, however it might be intended to operate, serves,
not as an indemnity to meet losses accruing from the
great and happy change from slavery to freedom, but to
clear off the accumulated and fast increasing incum-
brances which the oppressive and wasteful system of
slavery had induced. A large proportion of the estates
in the West Indies had been brought dreadfully into
debt, and made subject to heavy mortgages. The com-
pensation money has served to unlock the iron chests
and set the securities and title deeds free. Instead of
being subject, as formerly, to all the heavy charges of an
imperious consignee, imperious and unbending, because
the estates were under his power, the planter is now
at liberty to send his produce to the best market, to
choose for a correspondent the ablest merchant he can
find, and to bring the expenses of transport within the
utmost economical limits. One step in economy leads
to another : he looks about him on every hand:
pleased with the success of one experiment, lie tries
another, and going on as a cautious, prudent man
ever will do, gets delivered from the consequences of
former poverty, neglect, and waste. The consequence
of the present state of things: of physical freedom to
the slave, and commercial freedom to the master, is this,
that landed estates are rising in value. The former
money-value of the slaves has already, in perhaps the
majority of instances, been transferred to the soil, many
properties in land now selling for a much larger sum,
than during the agitation of the slavery question the
land and the slaves would have sold for together.


What a practical comment on the adage, that justice is
in all cases the truest policy; and what an example to
those nations who, in spite of warning, and in defiance
of Christian principle persist in continuing slavery !
But if, instead of a pecuniary gain to the proprietor,
the planter should be able to prove a loss-if less sugar
and rum were likely to be exported, and the profits of
cane and coffee fields should sink to a minimum: what
would be the trifling inconvenience compared with the
immense advantages gained by the labouring com-
munity ? The proprietary body has rather a smaller
income than before, but the people are well clothed,
housed, and fed; chapels and school-houses are erected,
education is sought after, public worship is frequented,
the prisons are getting gradually emptied, and a fine,
free, moral and religious peasantry tread the soil till lately
disgraced by fetters and the whip. Never was a great
moral experiment more successfully carried out than the
abolition of slavery in the British colonies ; never, in
proportion to the number who were objects of it, was a
political change attended by such speedily happy results.
May England persevere in her righteous legislation till
every vestige of slavery has ceased from her soil in the
East as well as the West, and may her noble conduct
stimulate her daughter on the other side the Atlantic,
and all other nations to follow her example.




THE year 1840 had now nearly passed away, and the
employment which had so long detained us in Jamaica
being brought to a close, we took leave of our many
kind friends at Kingston, and went on board the
Government steamer bound for Barbados, with the
outward mail. The cabin passengers were seventeen
in number :-some bound for Cuba; two, like ourselves,
for Hayti; and the remainder for the windward isles,
or for Europe. The night was stormy, the wind
blowing hard a-head, but early the next morning we
lost sight of land, and at four o'clock, P.M., cast anchor
in the spacious and beautiful harbour of St. Jago.
The commander of the packet, knowing the remorse-
lessness of the Spanish character in these regions,
advised me not to go on shore, as since we landed
there twelve months before, a notification had been
made to the captains of English ships, that no person
known or suspected to favour missionary or anti-slavery
principles would be safe in the city, and that the
British Consul could not, if he would, afford them
protection. We felt no disposition to visit the city
again ; we had perambulated its streets once, and were


quite content to remain on deck, and take a leisurely
view of the shipping and the harbour, and the hills and
mountains that surround it. The dominion of slavery
may transform man into a monster, but throws no
curse on natural scenery. Commerce is ever active in
St. Jago: slaves on the quay and wharf, watched and
superintended by villanous looking white men and
half castes, are constantly busy in stowing away foreign
merchandise, and loading outward-bound vessels with
copper ore from the neighboring mines. The city,
itself gloomy in appearance, like the bondage it fosters,
has streets of houses built after the Moorish fashion.
Heavy gateways open into court-yards, surrounded
by chambers and domestic offices : iron gratings
in front, instead of windows, frown on the strict;
jealousies above are substituted for curtains and blinds,
and broad piazzas on the second floor overhang the
pavement, protecting passengers from the rays of a
vertical sun. The streets are hot, unpaved, and dusty,
and in the middle of the day quiet enough; some
common carts may be seen, and, perhaps, a few volantes
richly painted and gilded, with enormous high wheels,
and springs and axles so arranged as to adapt them to
deep gullies and broken ground, in which the wealthy
slave-owners, or their Creole ladies, without caps or
bonnets, ride out in a lolling careless posture to transact
business, or make their morning calls. At our first
visit to this port, in company with a young Peruvian,
our fellow-passenger, we called at the house of a bar-
rister, a friend of his, whose wife and daughter received
us with much courtesy. Almost as soon as we were
seated fruit was ordered, and when we had partaken
of it, a female slave entered the room with a pitcher of


water and basin, and a towel on her arm, and after
pouring water on our hands in succession, and handing
us the towel, removed the remainder of the feast,
and left the room. The inhabitants of Santiago are
estimated at from twenty-five to thirty thousand, of
whom a large number are household and out-door
slaves, in abject degrading servitude. We saw no
glass windows in a single house, except in the resi-
dence of the British Consul.
In the course of a few hours our commander received
the mail, and we again threaded our way amongst
the many vessels in the harbour, passed the castle of
Moro, and once more set sail in a stormy sea. The
threat now held out to missionaries and abolitionists who
dare to set foot on Cuban soil is, that they shall be sent
to the Moro, and there lie without salvation." Another
rough night and swelling waves; but before noon on
the morrow we came in sight of Cape Nicholas Mole, in
Hayti, leaving the eastern coast of Cuba yet visible far
behind us. Early in the morning of the following day, we
landed a second time at Cape Haytien. It was the first
day of the new year 1841, the thirty-seventh anniversary
of Haytien independence, and of course kept as a
national festival. Liberty was proclaimed by Dessalines
-equal law and liberty to all classes in 1804. The
custom-house was closed, a sentinel or two watched the
landing of the passengers, and their luggage was sent
under guard to the public store. There are no taverns
in Hayti like those of Europe, where strangers are sure
to get accommodated for money; boarding-houses are
found in some of the larger towns, and where there
are none, the traveller must solicit board and lodging
as a favour, and grass for his horses if travelling on the


road, and get on in the best way he can. We obtained
private apartments at the Cape, at the house of La Veuve
Piquion, a respectable coloured matron, who keeps a
store on the quay, and is much esteemed by her neigh-
bours for the prudent manner in which she trains up a
large family of sons and daughters. This good lady
received us as her guests, with liberty to dine alone, or
at a common table with herself and her children. For
the first few days we preferred the latter, and after that,
for several weeks used a common saloon with our friends
Henry and Maria W. Chapman, of Boston, Massachusetts,
who, advocates of anti-slavery principles like ourselves,
had come to this island to inspect the state and condition
of the people, to see the country, and improve their
health. At this house we were handsomely entertained,
with much satisfaction to ourselves, at a moderate cost,
and had no reason to repent our choice of a tavern. Let
not travellers from England and America expect, how-
ever, to find in Hayti well-furnished lodging rooms,
privacy of retirement, or those common comforts which
in their own ordinary family routine at home are consi-
dered as essential. They may depend on being supplied
with good food, and if they wish it, with the fine fruits
of the country, and the light wines of France: they
may find a lodging-room sheltered from the rays of the
sun, and the rains of heaven; more than these in the
shape of entertainment they must not look for. There
are many discombforts in Haytien domestic life, to which
only the mind naturally contented in itself can easily
become reconciled.
We had brought with us to this country some
large cases filled with elementary books for young
people, reading lessons for public schools, and a good


store of moral and religious works, chiefly in the
French and Spanish languages, which had been liberally
furnished by our friends in England. The duty on books
imported is very high in this island, amounting to
about twenty-five per cent. on the cost price; but when
I explained to the Director of the Customs that they
were brought for gratuitous distribution, and not as
merchandize, he generously allowed them to pass
duty free. This circumstance was the less expected
by us, and the more welcome, inasmuch as the British
Vice-Consul who had observed these cases in the
store, and knew their contents, had told us we should
probably have much difficulty in getting them passed at
all. Our escape from trouble and cost on this occasion,
was partly owing to a young mulatto who had been in
Europe, and knew something of the religious society to
which we belonged, who told the sable chief he might
safely depend on our word. We are bound to bear
testimony to this act of kindness on the part of the
authorities, and to state that, in passing through the
island, we received everywhere from this and every other
class of public functionaries, polite and confiding atten-
tions. Let not the white man, in the pride of his com-
plexion, look down with disdain on these black repub-
licans : there are men in office in the island of Hayti,
both black and coloured, who would bear comparison
with men of the same class in any part of the world.
Having entered our names at the civil tribunal, and
promised submission to the laws of the state during our
sojourn, we were left at liberty to act as we pleased,
and to go anywhere within the limits of the Cape.
Whoever travels in the interior must procure a passport
from the General commanding the arrondissement.


The city of Cape Haytien, now for a time our resi-
dence, stands on the north-east side of a bay semicircled
by hills of great elevation, such as in most countries
would be called mountains. Byv these hills the extensive
level district of La plaine du Nord" is shut out from
view. Standing on the quay, nothing strikes the eye
but high land and wide ocean, except that at one point
the level land leading to the mountains presents itself,
and the glittering sea-side village of La petite anse. In
former days, under the French dominion, this was con-
sidered the handsomest town of all the West Indies, and
the most flourishing. It is still as large as ever, but
half of it is in ruins, the public buildings and a large
number of the houses having been battered down by
cannon and musquetry, or destroyed by fire during the
wars of the revolution, and never yet rebuilt. The
pavement of some of the streets was broken up during
the same dismal strife, or has since that period been
ploughed up by the torrents which pour down from the
mountains. The toute ensemble of the town, from
these causes, has somewhat of a melancholy aspect, and
gives the stranger at first view an unfavourable and
rather gloomy impression. Its front towards the sea is
nearly a mile in length; and its breadth, backward to
the hills, about three-quarters of a mile. Making allow-
ance for all.irregularities, Cape Haytien may be described
as a city having twenty-seven streets, running cast and
west, crossed at right angles by nineteen others 'from
north to south, containing what once were good houses,
some of them magnificent, of two and three stories,
built of brick or stone, and covered with slates, tiles,
and mahogany or pine shingles. A wide gutter runs
down the middle of each principal street, and con-


veys the mountain rains from the hills to the sea. In
general appearance, the place strikingly resembles St.
Pierre, of Martinique; both are built after the fashion
of France, and have their prototype in the more modern
towns of that country. The basement story of many of
the houses is occupied in stores, warehouses, and stables;
the upper part only being furnished as a residence for
the family. The population in 1789, amounted to
18,500; the present number of the inhabitants, includ-
ing the small garrison, is supposed to be about nine
thousand. The cathedral is a handsome structure,
lately rebuilt by public subscription; the military hos-
pital has been also of late restored, and improvements
are going on in other quarters. There are several hand-
some squares in the city, with fountains yielding good
water, but we looked in vain through them all for the
small temple commemorative of freedom, of which a
drawing is given by Rainsford in his ample quarto, and
which has been copied by the Penny Magazine, in a
sketch of the Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, ascribed to
the pen of Harriet Martineau. There may have been
such a building, but it is not to be found here. The
trade of Cape Haytien is greatly decayed, though still
respectable. Much has been said of the salubrity of
Hayti, but the town and environs of the Cape afford
no proof of it. The rays of a vertical sun beaming
with full force are reflected by the hills behind, and
concentrated to a focus in the streets; added to which
there are marshes, and some low swampy land in the
immediate neighbourhood which yield at certain seasons
a pestiferous malaria. It is true, there are refreshing
winds blowing constantly from the sea in the day time,
which serve to moderate and temper the excessive heat,


and to dissipate the noxious air ; but the place, not-
withstanding, must be unhealthy, especially after the
heavy rains. During the military rule of Christophe,
whom every body, when speaking of him, designates not
as King, but as Monsieur, Cape Haytien was the capital
of the island. This remarkable and very ambitious man
began here the erection of a palace for himself, which
was left unfinished at his death, and which now lies a
desolation, as if to scoff at the pride of kingship, and
level distinctions in the dust. On the western side of
the town is a large open plain, called Le champ de Mars,
where he used to exercise his troops. On this plain,
during our stay at the Cape, we witnessed a review of
the militia of the arrondissement or district, who are
brought out once a quarter for a single day. Early in the
morning the drums were beating in every part of the
city, and the soldiers, some on horseback, some on foot,
clothed in dark military coats and white browsers, not
a precise uniform, were seen pouring in through the
barrier, and sauntering to the place of rendezvous. At
eight o'clock the square was formed. About two
thousand foot soldiers, and three hundred horse, were
mustered on the field. The commander, General Bottex,
once in the confidence of Christophe, but now a sturdy
republican, came to the ground with his field-officers,
handsomely attired and mounted. Every officer had the
accoutrements of his rank, and almost every charger was
covered with a gay saddle-cloth. The troops were
indiscriminately mixed of black and coloured, the latter
bearing a proportion of perhaps two in ten. A con-
siderable number of spectators made their appearance-
women dressed in white and chintz, with gay turban
Madras handkerchiefs, leading their children in holiday


garments; and many young black gentlemen, too young
to be yet in the ranks, came well dressed, with cane in
hand, or a handsome whip, riding on good ponies, with
yellow and puce coloured saddle-cloths, and pistol-cases
on their saddle-bows. The scene was gay and lively,
and seemed to afford much delight to the company
assembled; but it was speedily closed: the morning
proved unfavourable, a shower of rain came on, and the
General dismissed the troops before the review had well
begun. Every citizen of a given ago not enrolled in the
standing army, or specially exempt by some profession,
is required to serve in the militia, and every individual
provides at his own cost his arms, clothing, and accoutre-
ments. Great ridicule has been attempted to be cast on
the Haytien soldiery, who are represented in caricature
as so many scarecrows: their appearance on the present
occasion, except in the want of an exact uniform, was
nearly as respectable as that of an English brigade.
The only effectual employment of the soldiery in
Hayti, is that of an armed police : they drum and fife,
and muster on parade, and go through their evolutions,
but the country is in perfect peace, and they have
nothing to do, that tells for anything, but to stand
sentry at the doors of the public offices, and be ready
at the command of the magistrate to hunt up les
mauvais sujets; to guard prisons and prisoners who
work in the chain-gangs, and to loiter or lounge at the
barriers, collecting tolls and examining permits. One of
the most appalling sights at Cape Haytien is the groups
of criminals chained together, and sent into the streets
and suburbs to repair the roads and highways, accom-
panied by soldiers with loaded muskets. These poor
wretches are often ill fed and half naked, and some of


them gaunt and miserable, but happily their number is
not large. The Public Prison is a good building, with
spacious yards and clean apartments: it contained at
the time of our visit only forty sentenced prisoners.
The women are kept apart from the men, and the
debtors and convicts for petty offences have a ward to
themselves. The most hardened criminals who compose
the chain-gang, have a number of small rooms opening
into a close, narrow, common yard, which we were per-
mitted to look into through a sort of wicket, but not to
enter, as we had no special order for this part of the
prison,and CaptainBottex, the Governor's son who kindly
conducted us, had no power to demand an entrance. Some
of the inmates were employed in plaiting grass and
rushes for baskets and mats, to eke out their miserable
subsistence of a few plantains weekly, others were quite
idle, and some nearly naked. The lunatics were kept
distinct from the criminals. This prison afforded us no
very favourable impression with regard to discipline, but
is probably quite as good as some of our English and
Irish prisons even at the present day. The Military
Hospital is a noble edifice, with large, long, well-venti-
lated, well-furnished apartments, and fitted up with a
good kitchen, and hot and cold baths. It contained but
sixteen patients, who appeared to have all the physical
comforts that men under their circumstances could desire.
There is a physician, a lay superintendent, and several
servants. The Hospital for the Poor is in a dilapidated
state and has few inmates. A society is formed to
endeavour to repair the buildings by public subscription,
and to make it an asylum worthy of a good city. We
had no reason to suppose from anything we saw or
heard, that much destitution or extreme poverty


prevails. There is in the negro race a spirit of kindness
not common to barbarous or half-civilised nations;
such is the testimony of Mungo Park and other African
travellers; and a disposition to help others is fostered
in this country by the influence of the Roman Catholic
religion, which teaches its votaries to rely on good works
as the ground of justification, and as meriting an eternal
reward. A few days before our arrival at the Cape, a
ship from Bremen with a hundred and seventy German
emigrants, bound for New Orleans, had been wrecked
at Point Isabella, and driven on shore in a heavy gale
of wind. No lives were lost; much damage was sus-
tained, but the passengers and the crew were brought
in safety to tile Cape. The news of their arrival-
strangers in a strange land, speaking an unknown
tongue, dejected, care-worn, much of their little property
lost in the wreck, some of them sick, and nearly all
without food-aroused the feelings of these good people,
and awakened the liveliest sympathy. No Consul of
their own nation to protect them, they might have
perished of hunger, but for the generous assistance of all
classes of the citizens. The authorities, all black or
coloured men, ordered houses to be open for their
reception, into which beds and moveables were con-
veyed; medical men proffered their assistance, and the
inhabitants supplied them with food and clothing. We
passed through some of the buildings where they were
placed, and were cheered to witness the alacrity with
which they were served. Their sorrows were soon
soothed by these kind attentions, and some of them, fore-
going the pleasure which they had promised themselves
in an early meeting with their friends in Louisiana,
who had left their father-land before them, made


arrangements for a temporary sojourn in Hayti,
where work at fair wages was promised them, and
where they had found an asylum in distress. There are
no poor laws in Hayti; assistance to the poor is volun-
tary ; and from the abundance and cheapness of pro-
visions, a small quantity of silver goes a great way.
There is much reason to fear, however, that great
suffering ensues from want of efficient medical help.
The charges of medical men are not high, as in Jamaica
and other of the islands; but owing to the little
emulation that prevails among the people, and their
consequent want of ready money, they are unable,
especially in country places, to procure good advice and
suitable medicines when needed. When an epidemic
of an alarming character shews itself, a great mortality
ensues. From this cause the increase of population is
probably not larger in Hayti, where the soil is luxuriantly
fertile, and where every man who is industrious, may by
very little exertion procure all the common comforts of
life, than it is in the old and crowded countries of Europe.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to judge of the
healthiness or otherwise of particular districts from the
mortality, owing to the extreme uncertainty of the
number of deaths. Births are well registered, because
almost every infant is brought to the priest to be
baptised ; but large numbers die and are buried in the
country, of whom no notice is ever taken. A census is
only taken in the town, and then in so imperfect a
manner, as to leave the subject of population always in
perplexity and doubt. The following is an abstract of
the register of Cape Haytien:-
1839. Born 329. Died 349. Married -
1840. Born 353. Died 297. Married 32.


The deaths in this city, which is governed by a
Corporation and regulated by municipal laws, are said
to be accurately recorded : the number of inhabitants is
reported at something less than nine thousand. The
year of 1839, was one of great sickness ; but taking the
average of the two years, the births were as one in
twenty-five of the population-about the same average
as in England : the deaths as one in twenty-six, or
about fifty per cent. higher than in England. The
marriages are one in 266, or less than half the number
that take place in this country, and as a natural
consequence, a large proportion of the children born
are illegitimate. This statement, whilst it proves
nothing as to the general rate of increase in the whole
island, proves very decidedly that Cape Haytien is a
very unhealthy locality. This want of health among
the people cannot arise from bad dwellings, for the
houses are good and airy, and well fortified against the
influence of weather; it must be attributed, as before
observed, to its situation at the foot of high hills,
reflecting the beams of a scorching sun, and from
swampy ground. But few of the merchants or prin-
cipal inhabitants are married men: concubinage is
common, and unhappily, regarded as not dishonourable.
Whenever a ball is given, or a large party invited,
the invitation is equally extended to Monsieur and
Madame ," or to Monsieur and his lady ;"
and by this confounding of moral distinctions among
the upper classes, the evil descends to the lower
ranks, and becomes perpetuated. Some of the mer-
chants at the Cape are wealthy men, keep their coun-
try houses, and give handsome dinners, at which they
make a great display of servants, and costly plate :


they usually attend their stores and counting-houses
during the day, and take their exercise on horseback
an hour or two before sunset. Horses abound in the
island, some of which are trained to great swiftness,
and are always to be had at a moderate cost, either on
purchase or hire. Not choosing to encumber ourselves
with horses and servants during our limited stay, we
hired two steeds which were to be always ready at our
call, and in this manner, sometimes alone, sometimes
accompanied by our friends from America, we explored
the hills above the town, which afford many interesting
rambles; and made sundry excursions to the sugar
estates on the plain. One of the most agreeable
journeys we made in this desultory manner was to Sans
Souci, once the palace of King Henry Christophe,
which lies at five leagues distance from the Cape along
the level plain, and between a defile of hills, that
form the termination of an extensive mountain range.
General Bottex, the Commandant, had given us per-
mission to visit it, as also the citadel. At three o'clock
in the morning, the moon shining bright, the horses for
our little company stood ready caparisoned at the door.
Our good tempered laughing hostess, La veuve Piquion,
a short fat personage, came out attired in a white
muslin robe, with a damask silk shawl of crimson and
white on her shoulders, and a yellow turban handker-
chief on her head; the latter was surmounted by a
new black beaver hat, surrounded by a broad golden
band, bespangled in front by a golden star and buckle,
and adorned with black plumes made to nod like a tuft
of ostrich feathers. The back of her palfrey was spread
over with a rich puce-coloured saddle-cloth, bordered
with a fringe of gold lace: her second son, Francis


whom she had selected to be our guide, stood solemnly
by, with a long sword at his side, according to the
country phrase, pour nous debarasser des merchants ;"
and as soon as he had seen the rest of us mounted,
sprung on his own saddle, which was adorned with
pistol cases, and led the way along the quay to the city
gate. My horse also was duly furnished with pistol
cases, covered with leopard skin, but without fire arms :
that of my wife was unincumbered. We presently
cleared Le champ de Mars, and came to the barrier.
The sentries were perhaps asleep, but the name of our
hostess, Piquion, loudly shouted, brought the officer
out who listened to the watch-word, or the tale she told
him, and the gate was opened. The rain a few days
before had fallen in torrents, and the road was, in some
places, so intolerably deep in mire, that we could only
pick our way slowly and by piecemeal, seldom exceed-
ing a foot pace. About three miles from the city, we
met a curious group of country people in carts, and
with horses and asses loaded with yams, plantains, and
sweet potatoes, and some with bundles of guinea grass,
for sale at the morning market: they were bivouacking
by fire-light, sipping coffee, and waiting for the hour
when the city gate should be thrown open. The glare of
fire-light in the decaying moonbeams, on a company of
faces varying in colour from yellow brown to jet black,
and displaying teeth of ivory whiteness, produced a
singular effect. Soon after, we met other groups,
some on foot, others on horseback; the women riding
astride, like men, with infants in their arms, or asleep
behind them in apron folds at their back. Urchins of
boys, as is almost always the case in these expeditions,
ran before, or behind, and everywhere. "Bon jour,


Monsieur," Bon jour Madame," were the cheerful
salutations that met our ear, accompanied, sometimes
by a sentence of unintelligible Creole, half French,
half African, that amused us from its oddity. The
people were dressed in common clothing; the women
in dark blue check, or printed cotton, with a Madras
handkerchief; the men in white jackets, or worn out
military coats; the children in an Osnaburgh shirt or
shift, some of them more than half-naked. The appear-
ance of the men was rather ragamuffin, something like
that of a banditti. The common people of Hayti are
wonderfully docile, and free from the charge of attempts
at highway robbery, or we should not have wondered at
the strange fashion, for it is only a fashion, of going
armed through the country. It was once a common
custom in the Spanish part of the island, and is now
absurdly adopted on the French side. The roads we
passed over had hedges of the ordinary description, in
some places formed of the penguin aloe, or a plant with
sharp prickly pointed leaves, called Adam's needle; and
in others of logwood, which grows to a great height.
We passed by the massive gateways of many deserted
or neglected sugar estates, where the mansions that once
adorned them, are now crumbling and in ruins, shewing
the marks of their former destruction by fire, and sub-
sequent decay. As the sun rose, we entered the defile
leading to Sans Souci, and as soon as we reached the
village, dismounted and ordered breakfast.
The Major-Commandant of the place had received
orders from the General to shew us respect. In conse-
quence of the numerous books we had distributed, and
the attention we had paid to the public school, the
cognomen of philanthropists had been bestowed on


us at the Cape. A mounted cavalier came to the
door, and seeing me, a stranger, addressed our young
attendant with the question, Qui est ce Monsieur,
Le philanthrope ?" Oui, le meme," was the reply.
Leaving his horse to the care of a soldier who stood
by, he immediately entered the house, introduced by
young Piquion, as "Le Commandant de place." Caught
in an undress, much, as we supposed, to his mortifica-
tion, he could not assume the official consequence which
attaches, more particularly, to black officers in the
army. We sat together a few minutes, and I had good
leisure to survey his habiliments. Over a Madras
handkerchief wrapped tight round his head, like a man
suffering with a grievous cold, he had placed a large
cocked hat, which from its rusty colour, seemed to have
done service in the civil wars, twenty years before : the
nap, if it ever had any, was worn off, and a rent in the
front of it had been carelessly repaired by a kind of
packthread. The lace of his coat was tarnished;
sundry rents and gashes exhibited the lining : and his
trowsers, once of blue cotton or jean had been washed
to a dirty white. He was, however, vastly complaisant,
and we were very polite to each other. Was it our
pleasure to visit the citadel ? This we found would
have been too much to accomplish so as to return to
the Cape the same day: we therefore declined it, but
begged permission to visit the palace. He would con-
duct us himself to the palace of "Monsieur Christophe"
with great pleasure, and shew us whatever we wished
to see. A friend of his, Jacques Cresar, a magistrate
and architect of the neighboring chapel, who sat in the
room, requested leave to be one of the party. The
first view of Sans Souci from the village is very striking.


The palace stands between two lofty hills well covered
with fine trees; and mountains rise on the back ground,
on one of which the citadel stands. The buildings,
though once splendid, were never in good architectural
taste, and defaced as they now are from the battering
of cannon and musket balls, windows shattered, walls
crumbling, and the roof falling in, they resemble a huge
deserted cotton factory. The whole domain, when
properly maintained in the days of Christophe, must
have been a princely affair, and adds one to the many
other proofs he gave, that it was his ambition to be
thought every inch of him a King. The rooms were
spacious and lofty, the floors and side panels of polished
mahogany, or beautifully inlaid with mosaic: the apart-
ments are said to have been sumptuously furnished:
and the gardens and the baths for the young princesses
were all in keeping with the general splendour. The
coach-houses and stables were magnificent. A number
of the royal carriages still remain, the panels of which
gilded and emblazoned by the royal arms, shew at how
great a cost they must have been constructed. One of
the coaches was built in London, and cost 700
sterling, and when equipped, as it used to be, with six
fine grey horses and postilions on splendid saddles,
bearing a King and his Chamberlain in their robes of
state, must have struck the gazing negro crowd with
astonishment. These splendid baubles are suffered by
the present republican government to remain and
moulder, and everything belonging to the palace to fall
to decay, as a satire on the follies of kingship, and to
render the name of King odious. The horse barracks
in the vicinity of Sans Souci are deserted; and only a
few straggling soldiers occupy the post. As soon as


the rebel troops heard that Christophe was dead, they
made an immediate furious attack on the palace : the
dead body of their monarch was treated with indignity,
scarcely saved from mutilation by a bribe from the
Queen; musketry was discharged through the windows
from the areas below; the secret chambers were ran-
sacked, and the treasures of gold and silver, of which
there was an ample booty, at once secured. The huge
mirrors that adorned the walls, in which-

He of Gath,
Goliath, might have seen his giant bulk
Whole without stooping, towering crest and all."-

were dashed to atoms. Everything within doors, and
everything without was exposed to the rapine and
fury of a soldier mob.
Christophe was the ruler of Hayti fifteen years. Born
in Grenada or St. Kitt's, (history is doubtful which) he
found his way to Cape Haytien when a very young
man, and entered early on a military life. Accepting
a commission under Toussaint L'Ouverture, he distin-
guished himself in many achievements; and when that
great and deeply injured man was betrayed and sent
prisoner to France, he made common cause with the
ferocious Dessalines to revenge, by renewed hostilities,
the perfidy of the French. At the death of Dessalines,
the northern army elected him chief of Hayti. He
never, however, obtained the rule of more than half the
territory of even that part of the island which had be-
longed to France; and the number of his subjects, when
King, probably never exceeded two hundred thousand.
Although he began his career with an evident desire
to improve the condition of the people, and give them


a standing among civilized nations, the maxims of his
government were unfortunately tyrannical. Wanting a
revenue, and not knowing how otherwise to obtain it,
and believing also that the people had become too
much dissipated by war to labour willingly for wages,
he compelled field labour at the point of the bayonet.
By this means, he secured large crops of sugar and rum;
and making himself, like Mohammed Ali of Egypt, the
principal merchant in his own dominions, he became
rich, kept a court, and maintained a standing army.
He took possession of the best plantations in his own
right, and gave others to some of his military comrades,
and a few civilians who pleased him, on whom he
bestowed the titles of Barons. Counts, and Dukes. The
Chateaux Royaux, as his own and the Queen's domains
were denominated, were worked by soldiers disbanded,
or on leave of absence. In the last year of Christophe,
twenty of these plantations yielded ten millions of
pounds of sugar, equal to 5000 hogsheads of a ton
weight each. One of them, three leagues from the Cape,
called the Queen's Delight, yielded 500 hogsheads of
superior sugar, of the enormous weight of 25 cwt. each.
Many of the estates of his great men were cultivated
like his own, by coerced labour. Liberty did not at
once obtain dominion in Hayti. The black army had
triumphed; but the black generals forgetting the pit of
slavery from whence they had emerged, exercised but
little mercy, and showed but little regard to their
companions in arms who had fought under them in the
ranks. Over this part of the history of the Haytien
revolution, philosophy and humanity might gladly draw
the veil.
Christophe and P6tion were political rivals, and a


murderous war of some years was carried on between
them. Buoyant at first with success, Christophe
became soured in after life through repeated dis-
appointments. Possessing great powers of mind, he
resolved on great enterprises, and having once under-
taken a project would suffer no controllable difficulty to
interrupt its progress. The citadel of La Ferriere had
been begun by the French: he determined to carry out
the design, and make it one of the strongest fortresses
of the world. I asked Captain Agendeau of Cape
Haytion, who worked two years and a half as a
prisoner within the walls, how many persons had lost
their lives by hard labour during its erection ? As
many persons," he replied, as there are stones in the
building : every stone cost the life of a human being."
This famous citadel was reared by bands of men and
women, who were compelled to labour on very insuffi-
cient rations of food: vast numbers died in consequence
of exhaustion, and many more of wounds and bruises
received in the cruel work of forcing stones and other
heavy materials up the steep sides of the mountain.
Prisoners were employed upon it. Captain Agendeau
was sent there, with thirty-two other coloured men, out
of revenge for the escape of two mulattos who had gone
to join PNtion's army at Port-au-Prince. Christophe
had a strong and invincible prejudice against the
coloured class, of whom P6tion was one. The coloured
people were aware of it, both men and women; and
endeavoured, it is believed, by secret counsels, to effect
his overthrow. On his return to Sans Souci, on one
particular occasion, lie was informed that during his
absence, the mulatto women of Cape Haytien had
offered up prayers in the great church that he might


never be permitted to return again to his palace:
revenge rankled in his soul-his purpose was imme-
diately taken-he ordered a company of his soldiers to
make domiciliary visits, and lead out the accused
women to summary execution. A dark retired spot,
about a mile from the city was chosen for the massacre;
and here in cold blood these unhappy victims of cruelty
were butchered. Bayonets were plunged into their
bosoms, and their dead bodies cast into a deep well;
this well is now called, The Well of Death, and nobody
will drink of its waters. We took a walk to the place
with one of the citizens, who assured us that there was
scarcely a coloured family at the Cape who had not to
mourn a near relation, lost to them in that horrid
catastrophe. Many other acts of Christophc's cruelty
and tyranny were related to us by eye and ear witnesses.
Not an individual in the north of Hayti affects to
doubt of his tyranny, or attempts to palliate his mis-
deeds. A respectable merchant, who when young
served in the citadel, assured us, that the King on rising
early one morning proceeded to the hospital, and finding
that the French physician whom he had engaged to
attend the troops had not yet made his appearance,
sent for him, and gave him a severe reprimand; high
words ensued-the King ordered him to be beaten-the
physician, indignant at this treatment, said, You
have dishonoured me; you may as well take off my
head at once." Do you desire that ?" said Christophe,
" your wish shall be gratified;" an immediate order
was given to his guards: the culprit was led into a
near apartment, and his body presently brought out
a headless trunk. One of Christophe's generals was a
black man, (we conceal his name, though it is well


known in Hayti) who having heard of the orders
given to destroy the mulatto women at the Cape,
inhumanly killed his own concubine, who was one of
the number, and his child. One day, when in company
with the King, hoping to obtain his favour from the
circumstance, he related what he had done. The
monarch, for once, seemed horror-struck; anger flashed
in his dark face, and whirling his baton at the General's
head, he knocked out one of his eyes. This very officer
-this executioner of his most intimate friend, this literal
" monstrum horrendum cui lumen ademptum," passed
over to the republican side, when President Boyer
made his triumphal entry at the Cape, and now com-
mands an arrondissement in the eastern part of the
island The fact here given was related to us, both in
the north and south by different individuals. One fact
more, and we shall close for the present our catalogue
of crime. Leaving Sans Souci one morning for the
Cape, in a carriage drawn by his beautiful greys, the
road being miry from a heavy shower of rain, the
wheels stuck fast in the mud; the angry chief descended
from his carriage, and with his own hand, as the story
was told us, hamstrung the horses with, his sword, and
laid a contribution on the citizens at Cape Haytien to
the value of the horses, for not having kept the road in
repair! These and similar freaks and crimes, were the
outbursts of a semi-barbarian mind, untutored, undis-
ciplined, but formed by nature for great purposes, and
endowed with extraordinary gifts. This great man,
for great he was as well as cruel, had the sagacity to
see that nothing but education could raise the mass of
his subjects from the heathen ignorance and degradation
into which slavery had plunged them. He resolved,


therefore, on establishing schools for boys and a college;
and his purposes for good, as well as for evil, being
always acted on with energy, he addressed letters to the
philanthropists of England, invited over competent
masters, built school rooms, imported books and lessons,
set up printing presses, and began the good work of
education for this class of his subjects, with a diligent
unsparing hand. The education of girls was wholly
neglected. Few schools were set up at first, or indeed
at any time, in the rural districts; but one at least was
established in every town. The common branches of
elementary education were taught, together with the
English language, which he vainly hoped might be
made to supersede the French, and the mathematics.
Young men were trained at the college to serve as
engineers, physicians, and classical instructors. Several
of the schools are now extinct, but the fruits of them
remain ; the encouragement thus given to learning has
had its influence on Haytien society to the present day.
Several civilians and officers of the army, who were
taught in these schools, are men of capability and
intelligence, and speak the English language fluently;
they venerate our country, and our tongue remains
an object of study and emulation to their children.
Christophe was not only the patron of education but
of industry; and it gave him pleasure to see his country
recovering the ground lost in the civil wars, and
advancing in name and wealth. He promoted industry
on the principles laid down by his predecessor,
Toussaint, but went far beyond him in urging the
severities of the rural code: this among other things
tended to render him unpopular; and when remon-
strated with by Sir Home Popham, the English Admiral


who came on a visit to him from Jamaica, he justified
himself on the ground that lie understood best the cha-
racter of his own people, and that decision, firmness, and
severity were indispensable. He desired also, and ear-
nestly promoted the extension of legitimate commerce,
which lie followed up very much after the manner of the
present Pacha of Egypt; and had many points in his
character which would have made him to rank high
among rulers, had not ambition and tyranny marred the
great and generous qualities which really existed in his
mind. Tyranny, during the last few years of his life
was his ruling infirmity, and led to his overthrow. A
beginning mutiny had broken out at St. Mark : he gave
orders to the garrison at the Cape to march out imme-
diately, seize the ringleaders, and put them to death.
"Let us rather go to Sans Souci," said the officers, "and
cut off his own head." I an: ready to join you," said
the Duke de Marmalade. A largess was given to the
soldiers, and they marched toward the palace. The
King learned too late the extent of the conspiracy, and
felt at once that his reign was ended : he was sick at
home unable to mount his horse; and ordering all
who were about his person to leave the room, lie took a
pistol, and deliberately shot himself dead. Such was
the end of this *gro chief; a man, who in the
beginning, and in some subsequent stages of its
career, seemed likely, under Divine providence, to
prove a blessing to Hayti. His aims were great, and
many of them good, but being mixed with turbulence
and passion, they brought misery to many of his
subjects, and proved of little advantage to the people
whom lie governed. In one respect, he excelled
Charlemagne; he could write his own name, but


this, as far as the art of writing went, is said to
have been the extent of his accomplishment. iHe
dictated letters and despatches, and was an admirable
judge of the fitness and relevancy of words. His
private secretary was the Baron de Vastey, a mulatto,
a man of respectable literary acquirements, as his
history of Hayti shows, but of a base dishonourable
On returning from Sans Souci to the Cape, we took
a new road by La grande riviere and Le quarter
Morin, passing through the midst of many fine sugar
plantations, either deserted, or cultivated only in part
by a few labourers, who work on the system recognized
by the Code rurale, and now in general use, of receiving
one-quarter of the net produce, with provisions to live
on, or half the produce without. Among the planta-
tions we noticed in the course of the day, were the
following, Prader6s, Camfort, Gerbier, Charrier, Le
Pont, Fontinelle, Ic6, Lacombe, Lalande, Carrd, Sans
Souci, and Duplas. The plantation Ice belongs to La
veuve Belliard, where we stopped and conversed with
some of the shipwrecked emigrants who had here ob-
tained employment, and were just sat down in one of the
large outbuildings to a substantial repast. Lacombe is
the property of Jacques Cmsar, the intelligent magistrate
and architect, who accompanied us through the ruined
apartments of the palace, and who persuaded us to pay
him a hasty visit at his own home. We could not fail
here to be struck with the entire equality that seems now
to subsist in Hayti between servant and master. Every
workman that made his appearance was addressed in
the courteous language, "Mon fils," and on inquiring
the cause, we found it to be that the profits of planting


were good, labourers were scarce, and that it was neces-
sary to conciliate all by kindness, or no work would be
done. Good land may be had of the government in
every part of the island at a low price; and any man
not satisfied with his condition as a private labourer,
may easily buy it, and become a freeholder in his own
right. The slave cabins of a former proprietor remained
on Lacombe, and were tenanted by the labourers, who
work in common, as joint sharers with the proprietor of
the produce. These cabins or houses, like many others
that we saw on other plantations are something better
than those of Jamaica; but the people in general are not
so well clothed, and some of the children are quite
naked. The peasantry of Hayti, through the prevalence
of heathenism and ignorance, have little emulation, and
few wants, and grow up contented with common fare,
coarse clothing, and enjoyments of a mere animal
nature: it is true, they work to live, as without some
labour they cannot subsist; but they do not, and they
will not work hard to please anybody, and hence
agriculture languishes, and commerce is stationary.
Duplas is one of the many plantations denominated
Chateaux Royaux, formerly cultivated by Christophe
for his own personal benefit, and is now in pos-
session of the President Boyer. There is on it a
handsome mansion, and some very respectable store-
houses, a distillery, and a large number of very good
cabins. The maxims of government adopted by
Boyer, are in many respects totally opposed to
those of Christophe : he neither compels labour by
military coercion, nor holds out higher inducements of
a pecuniary nature than his brother planters; hence his
estates, like theirs, are only half cultivated, and exhibit


signs of neglect. The guava bush covers what once
were cane-fields, and diminished herds of cattle roam
over the pastures. On reaching the handsome village
of Morin, we dismounted at the Vicar's house; he
was not at home, but his sister, a Spanish lady, brought
us out cassava, bread, and sweet cakes, and offered us
wine and lemonade. Having rested a while in their
spacious cool keeping-room, and taken a walk through
the cemetery, we hastened on our journey homewards,
fearful that the sun might set before we reached the
Cape, and leave us in total darkness. The town of
La Petite Anse stands on a bay that fronts the town of
Cape Haytien. In passing through it, several groups
of women and children respectably attired, some of them
handsomely, came to the doors of their houses to greet
us. We were much struck with their agreeable appear-
ance; and that of the place in general. Devastation has
done its work here in past days; many of the buildings
were set on fire, or destroyed by cannon, and are still
in ruins, but many remain in a good condition. The
road from Petite Anse to the Cape is on the shore,
washed by the waters of that awful bay, where in the
time of Le Clere and Rochambeau, the French army
made such a dreadful havoc of their prisoners of
war, sending them out heavily ironed in boats and
plunging them into the sea! Many a sumptuous
banquet of human flesh have the sharks enjoyed on this
coast, and the sight of its waters is constantly recalling
the horrors of those dreadful days. Can Europeans
reproach Dessalines, Christophe, and their black armies
with cruelty? Let them look at the conduct of
their own savage military commanders, and see on
which side cruelty the most predominates. How gladly


should we draw the curtain of night over transactions
that disgraced the world! Wearied with our long
day's excursion, gratified by what we had seen of the
country and the people, but far from gratified with
recitals which we heard, or which history, speaking to
us on the very spots where dark deeds were done,
recalled to our recollection; we passed over the ferry
which led to our lodgings, and retired to rest.
On excursions of this kind, though not so long, we
often set out accompanied by our friends from Boston,
and explored the immediate environs of the Cape. We
visited villages and solitary houses together on hill and
plain, conversed with the common people whom we met
on the road or at their own houses, looked at their pro-
vision grounds and gardens, and obtained an acquaint-
ance with their mode of life. A feeling of sympathy
for the past wrongs of Hayti, and for the negro still
held in unrighteous bondage in many parts of the
western world, bound us together in a common cause,
and a grateful companionship; often did we congra-
tulate each other on what we saw of the freedom and
physical happiness of those who were once slaves in
this land, but who are oppressed no longer. Nor did we
omit often to advert to that debasing servitude in which
millions of the negro race are still held in the United
States, by a people calling themselves Christians, and
boasting of their country' as the freest on the earth!
What a mockery of religion was once the conduct of
Great Britain towards the slaves in her colonies: what
a mockery of religion is the present conduct of America ;
and what a lie to the declaration of her federal consti-
tution, that all men by nature are free and equal! The
single circumstance that we were all sincere haters of


the abominable system of slavery in all its forms, and
under every modification, ensured us a cordial reception
in Hayti, and made our stay there, so far as it depended
on the authorities, and the good wishes of the people,
highly agreeable to us.
One object of our continued stay at the Cape was to
ascertain, as far as possible, the moral and religious
state of the people there; and with this view we visited
the public and private schools, and sought interviews
with the Romish priests and the few Protestant mis-
sionaries, who from different parts of the country- from
Port-au-Prince, Port-au-Platte, Samana, and from Turk's
Island, of the Bahamas-had come there to hold their
annual conference. The high school of Cape Haytien
was founded by Christophe in 1816, and is conducted
on the monitorial system : the lessons used are those of
the Borough Road School, and the Scriptures without
comment are used as a class-book. The master has a
salary from the government of seventy Ilaytien dollars
per month, equal in the present depreciated currency to
63 sterling per annum, and is allowed the liberty of
receiving a few private pupils on his own account, who
pay him about fifty shillings each per annum for
instruction. The average attendance of boys is 135
daily, who are engaged in study seven hours a-day,
during five days of the week. The pupils are well
instructed in the common branches of learning, and are
taught to think, to exercise the memory, and to behave
politely. Some of the forwardest of the boys are
taught the English language by a Creole professor who
speaks it well. Children of African descent excel in
the imitative arts, and hence they write a good hand;
the specimens of penmanship we saw in this school


were admirable. The management of it altogether-the
quietness-the docility of the boys-their reading, and
their compositions, would reflect credit on any institution
of the sort in any country. Besides this school, there are
in the city seven private schools for boys, averaging
forty pupils each; and nine for girls, averaging fifteen
each. There are also four professors, or tutors, who
give lessons to about fifty children at their own homes.
The total number of children of both sexes receiving
education at the Cape is about 550, or one-sixteenth of
the entire population: about half as many in proportion
to the population as receive education in the towns of
Jamaica. The difference between these two islands in
regard to education is very great. In Jamaica, schools
are fast spreading over the whole country, and begin
to act beneficially on the rural population; in Hayti,
they are confined exclusively to the towns, and in the
country, where at least seven-eighths of the population
is to be found, there is as much ignorance as in the
days of slavery.
The middle class among the citizens are exceedingly
attached to stage entertainments. There is a public
theatre at Cape Haytien, and so widely does the folly
spread, that those schools are most encouraged in which
the young people are taught to act plays. A sort of
rehearsal takes place occasionally, and the parents and
friends of the pupils attend to witness and applaud.
But little religious instruction is imparted at the private
schools, and that little is exclusively Roman Catholic.
A large number of the men who live in the towns of
Hayti, as is said to be the case in many other popish
countries, are unbelievers; the women attend mass
frequently, and confession at least once in the year; and


flock to the Cathedral on high days, attired in holiday
dresses, presenting a gay and attractive spectacle. The
usual dress of the upper class of women on these occa-
sions, is a handsome robe of chintz or white muslin, a
turban handkerchief folded gracefully on the head, gold
and pearl ornaments on the neck, silk stockings, and
satin shoes. Gay silk parasols or umbrellas are their
constant accompaniments. The dress of the men is very
similar to that of England and France; but persons in
office, whether civil or military, frequently bear a gold-
headed baton which they use as a walking-stick, or
handle, with an air of official dignity.
One Protestant missionary, and only one, is settled at
the Cape: he, like all the rest of the Wesleyan persuasion,
has a small congregation, and preaches alternately in
French and English. The state of Protestantism is de-
plorably low in every quarter of the island, the religious
services of the missionaries, who are Englishmen, being
chiefly attended by coloured people who emigrated from
America, and were nominally Protestants before they
came. The congregations at all the stations are small,
and very little disposition is evinced by any class of the
people to send their children to a Protestant school, even
for gratuitous instruction. Satan, the grand deceiver,
wears in this land of moral darkness a four-fold face-
infidelity, ignorance, heathen superstition, and a religion
(as taught by many of the priests) of folly and lies.
One or other of these qualities may be said to frown in
every quarter. The sight is appalling, but nothing will
terrify the devoted follower of Christ, or deter him
from endeavouring to convert his deluded fellow-men
from blindness and error. The pure and peaceable prin-
ciples of the gospel have won their way in regions


darker than this, and will yet prevail even here. The
influence and success of Protestant missions is not at
first to be judged of by the number only of those per-
sons who attend at a stated religious service. The
missionary mixes with the people out of doors, con-
verses familiarly with them, distributes tracts, bestows
useful books, settles differences, and gives encourage-
ment to the well-disposed : his wife helps him in his
labour of love to the people, joins him in setting a good
example, and shows many acts of kindness and assist-
ance towards her own sex. Not putting their light
under a bushel, but on a candlestick, they give light to
their neighbours around them, and win them gradually
to examine and see for themselves, what the root is from
which these Christian virtues spring. Faith bids us
to believe that true Christianity will yet make its way
by its own resistless energy, and the blessing of its
Divine Author, through every region of the globe.
The government of Hayti assumes the power of
appointing the priests to their respective cures, and of
shifting them at pleasure from place to place. Some of
the most respectable for character and learning are
placed in the larger towns. The Cur6 of Cape Haytien
is a Spaniard; his assistant, or vicar, is a Frenchman-
an AbbC by title, and a man of more than common
endowments of mind. The latter ecclesiastic, obligingly
made us a call soon after we landed; I gave him a
copy of most of the publications we intended to distri-
bute : he promised to look them over; had no objection,
he said, to the propagation of any works which tended
to promote our common Christianity, but must resist all
books of a controversial nature, aimed point-blank at
the Church of Rome. Our books were not generally of


this sort, though strictly evangelical in their scope and
tendency: some of them le recommended to his
parishioners, and during our stay interdicted none of
them. He frequently called on us, and we returned
his visits. Our conversation turned on subjects of a
moral and religious nature, connected with the welfare
of the people. On one occasion, speaking of a book
intended to illustrate the religious principles of the
Society of Friends, lie remarked, that they laid no stress
on good works as the ground of our justification and
acceptance with God, and that they admitted only one
baptism as essential-that of the Holy Ghost and of
fire; on both these points he thought they were in
error: on both the Catholic Church differed widely
from them, and the Catholic Church, lie presumed,
was right. With regard to the first question, that of
justification by works, I endeavoured to show him
that this was the very point on which the reformation
by Luther turned-that Protestants look to faith
in Christ, a faith that works by love to the purifying
of the heart, as the alone ground of a sinner's justifica-
tion before God; and that Roman Catholics, by adopting
the opposite principle of salvation by works alone, make
fallen man his own justifier and not Christ : so that by
this system Christ may be said to have died in vain.
With regard to water baptism, which the Church of
Rome regarded as a sacrament, I argued that as the
work of man's purification could be effected only by
the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, which was the
washing of regeneration, the baptism that now saves,"
according to the testimony of the Apostle Peter himself,
and as the Friends admitted this baptism in all its
fulness as essential, subscribing to it ex animo, he must
not place them out of the pale of Christianity, because


they differed from him in a ceremonial rite. He allowed,
with regard to justification, that he had not so entirely
made up his mind as to refuse to re-consider the ques-
tion, and promised to come again and renew our
discourse. Before we quitted this part of Hayti we
called to take leave of him, and found him reading
Barthe's Annales de L'eglise, a copy of which we had
given him. He said he saw no reason why the holy
Scriptures should be interdicted to the laity; and was
so far touched with a feeling of protestantism, that he
requested me to give him an introduction to the Paris
Bible Society, and consented at last to allow me to
order for him fifty copies of De Sacy's French Bible,
an approved Roman Catholic version, and two hundred
copies of his New Testament for a beginning distribu-
tion among his flock. The Abbe is a man of polished
exterior, speaks elegant French, and from having lived
much in Paris, and mixing evidently with good society,
is an interesting, agreeable companion. He gave us at
parting his hearty benediction in the few expressive
words, Dieu vous protege.
The books which we brought for distribution made a
great noise; we were, in fact, so besieged by applica-
tions for them, that we began to fear our hostess would
look upon our vocation, as a nuisance. There are no
booksellers' shops in the city; the few works that are
sold are disposed of at the general stores, and consist
chiefly of dictionaries and other school books, with a
few Romish prayer books, and fabulous church legends.
The time which we had proposed to stay at Cape
Haytien having drawn to a close, we made application
to General Bottex for a passport, and made preparations
for a jonrney by land to the town of Gonaives, on the
western coast of the island.




HAVING made a bargain with one of the citizens for
two good saddle horses, together with a sumpter horse
to carry our little baggage, and a servant to attend us :
we despatched our other effects by sea, and waited the
hour of departure. For the accommodation thus agreed
on, we paid eighty Haytien dollars, or 6 sterling; it
being stipulated that we should make the journey to
Gonaives in two days, and that the servant should feed
himself, and take care of the horses by the way. The
distance was seventy miles. But, alas! for bargains;
and, alas! for carefully made arrangements in a strange
land, and among a people of strange tongues. The
servant confided to us as an honest man and good guide,
spoke a barbarous Creole dialect, half French, half
African; and his only object being to save a few dollars
for himself, he would have half-starved the poor horses,
if we had not discovered his trickery, and bought grass
for them out of our own purse. Being well mounted
ourselves, on animals that we had tried before : we set
out in good spirits, and soon outstripped our lazy
attendant. Our journey for the first six leagues to
Limb6, was over the Plaine du Nord, by a grand
broad road, flanked for a great part of the way on


each side by plantations and well cultivated provision
grounds. The houses on the plantations, once inhabited
by the owners, were nearly all in ruins, and the estates
much neglected; the outbuildings also were much
dilapidated. We passed on the edge of the fine estate
where Toussaint L'Ouverture was born, and from
which le made his escape when a slave, to lend a hand
to the rebel troops. On ascending the hill which led
to Limb6, we had a beautiful view of the river, the
bay, the ocean; the country was wonderfully pictu-
resque and afforded us delight. The town of Limb5 is
situated on rather high ground, and consists principally
of two long streets and a public square. The inhabi-
tants are about five hundred, chiefly small freeholders,
subsisting on the produce of their own grounds. The
houses are better than the common huts of plantations,
plaster-built, wattled, and thatched, and stand apart
from each other, having many of them a small garden
attached, in which were bread-fruit trees, orange trees,
plantains, and bananas. One of these gardens, three
hundred feet by sixty-five, yields the owner a large
supply of provisions and small vegetables, and three
hundred pounds of coffee annually. We called on
Colonel Cincinatti, the Commandant, who received us
very politely. This military officer was once chamber-
lain to King Henry Christophe, and possessed the
manners of a courtier. Kindly offering my wife his
arm, he conducted us through the place, showed us all
that was worthy of observation; and invited us to make
free use of his dwelling-house as long as we should
think proper to stay. We thanked him for his
proffered hospitality; but were obliged to take leave at
an early hour. Our servant whom we had left behind


reached the town before we left it; but finding that
no dependence could be placed on his keeping up with
us, we engaged a new guide, and pressed on to Camp
Coq, a village situated in a defile of the mountains,
three leagues distant. We saw numerous habitations
by the road-side, and abundant indications of a rising
and thriving population. We met several groups of
people; women riding on horseback like men, and
many naked children. The men of Hayti pass much
of their time in sauntering, idling, talking, and playing
games of chance or skill: some we saw stretched out
at their ease under the shade of trees; others were
sitting on chairs and stools in the open air, as if they
had nothing to do, and were only desiring to kill time.
Most of the women were pretty well dressed; but many
of the men, like others we had seen at the Cape, were
clothed in a ragged military uniform, which had done
its service on parade, and was thought too good to be
thrown away. We had taken the precaution on leaving
the Cape to pack up a cold roasted fowl, on which, with
an omelet prepared by a cottager, and a cup of coffee,
we had breakfasted by the way; but the evening drew
near, and we wanted dinner. The village of Camp
Coq is the only convenient resting-place between Cape
HIaytien and Gonaives; and here, according to informa-
tion given us, we expected to find good entertainment
and handsome lodging. On reaching the place, our
guide stopped short at a poor hut, got off his horse and
told us to dismount. We are not going to stop here,"
said I, this cannot be the house." Oui Monsieur,
c'est ici que demeure Madame Babilliers." There was
no alternative; we had really arrived at the far-famed
tavern, and reluctantly entering, prepared to pitch our


tent for the night. Our saddles were removed, and
the horses turned out to grass : we paid off the guide,
and ordered our evening meal. Our hostess, poor as was
the house she lived in, really understood her business,
and made us welcome. In about two hours, we sat down
at a table covered with a nice clean table-cloth, nap-
kins and silver plate, to a good dinner, consisting of
soup, stewed fowl, rice, yams, and plantains, and graced
with a bottle of claret wine. The next point of con-
sideration was the lodging: this was less suited to our
taste and wishes. The hut was divided into three
apartments: the middle was the dining room, with a
clay floor worn into deep holes: the two sides were
portioned off as lodging-rooms by thin walls, that
reached to within a few feet of the naked thatched roof,
and afforded ample room for scorpions, lizards, and
snakes. The mattress for visitors was good and clean.
We had scarcely retired to seek such rest as the place
might afford, when there came up to the house a troop-
of travellers, to claim, like ourselves, the benefit of a
night's shelter-twenty men, women, and children, with
a number of loaded asses. Nothing dismayed, and
thinking only of the small gratuity she should receive
for each, the good lady, our hostess, took them all in.
The asses were tethered near the door, or let loose on
the common: some of the men laid themselves down
in the piazza with a slight covering over them: the
rest of the company, of both sexes, spreading mats on
the dining-room floor, sought repose there. Before
attempting to sleep, they lighted some candle wood,
smoked tobacco out of short pipes, talked, laughed, and
sung, and were very merry. The asses brayed, and till
about midnight we could get no rest; between that


time and early cock-crow we obtained some sleep, and
then rose to pursue our journey. It was three o'clock,
and our departure gave rise to a general commotion:
coffee was prepared for us at a side table; and to reach
it we had to pass over, or through, the medley crowd of
lodgers on the floor. Some of the women sprang up,
lighted candle wood, as on the evening before, and
began to smoke; others lifted themselves up with a
sort of laughing astonishment, to gaze on as we sipped
the coffee, and to hear us give directions for the journey.
Our new guide, whom we had hired the day before,
stood by, with a long sword girt close to his side. The
most comical part of the scene was to come. We had
looked at the drowsy visitors coiled up on the floor,
and observed the singular effect of a dull light on
dusky skins with some amusement; but presently, our
landlady, who had been very attentive to us, came up
to the coffee stand, to present her bill. I drew out my
purse, and gave her a small gold coin and some of the
debased silver coin of the country. She had probably
never looked on a piece of gold before, and evidently
wondered what it could mean: I explained its value,
and my statement was confirmed by a stander by: she
looked at it on both sides, turned it over, and over, and
over again: her very soul seemed fixed on the coin, as
though it was meant to deceive her; and at last, utterly
incredulous as to its worth, she refused to take it, and
returned it into my hands. What a subject was here
for the pencil of a Rembrandt! The light of two
candles concentrated on a yellowish bronze face worked
up by the spirit of covetousness, from a fear of losing
its due, and a group of people, old and young, white,
black, brown, and yellow, standing, sitting, or lying


around, in a dull, dusky cabin. Our baggage, which
contained a bundle of dollar notes, was already packed
up; we opened it again, took out some paper, and left
it with her to her heart's content.
We were now at liberty to take leave of Camp Coq,
and again mounted our horses. Our company was now
five persons: my wife and I, our servant from the Cape,
a friend of his whom he had picked up by the way, and
a guide, who knew the neighbourhood, and could conduct
us in the dark. Confidence in the common people of
Hayti is rarely or never misplaced; strangers may travel
in every part of the country, night and day, without
danger of being robbed or molested. Our journey led
us through mountain streams, over rocky and rugged
ground: the stars afforded us sufficient light where no
tall trees overshadowed the road; but we came to several
passes where bamboos had been planted on both sides,
which, bending down, formed a dense-arched canopy
over our heads, and made the road as dark as a railway
tunnel. Through avenues of this sort the river in
some places flowed : the bottom of the stream was
stony, and it seemed hardly safe for my wife to venture
through on horseback, lest a false step of the animal
should plunge her in the water : at these spots, there-
fore, one of the black guides took her in his arms, and
waded with her to the opposite bank, leaving another
to conduct the horse; and thus by dint of patience,
courage, and confidence, we got safely along, and met
with no disaster.
At sun-rise a morning mist veiled the sides of the
mountains, and filled the valleys like a mighty river:
the summits of the hills were clothed with luxuriant
vegetation; but the gorges between, and the villages


scattered on their slopes were hid from view; as
day advanced, and the sun increased in power, the
mists gradually disappeared: clouds of vapour rolled
up the mountains, dissolving above them into thin
air; the banana, the cabbage palm, the tree fern, and
the graceful bamboo disclosed their beautiful forms;
huts and provision grounds emerged to view; and
sheep, goats, and cattle, seemed suddenly to spring into
existence and to gladden the green fields. The air
was sufficiently cool to allow of active exercise; and
descrying, from the top of a hill, the town of Plaisance
at about a league distant; we set off at a brisk canter,
to reach it as soon as possible to obtain a wished-for
breakfast. On arriving, we inquired for a place of
entertainment, and found, to our dismay, that there was
none in the place : the only alternative, therefore, was
to throw ourselves on the charity of some good house-
holder, and to send the guides on a scamping expedition
to procure forage for the horses. One of the public
officers, a sort of deputy-major, kindly received us, and
desired his wife to prepare us eggs, coffee, bread and
milk. Entertainments of this sort, though highly
welcome to travellers, are more expensive than the
common and better repasts of an inn or boarding-house;
as the mistress looks for a consideration far exceeding
the value of the benefit conferred on her guests.
We here paid our respects to the black general, Dubat;
and after surveying the market, and calling at a few
houses to converse with the inhabitants, we proceeded on
our route with a new guide; leaving the servant, with
his friend and the baggage to follow. The mountains of
Plaisance, about 3000 feet in height, have many attrac-
tions of climate and scenery: they abound in small coffee


plantations; the palm and fern-trees grow luxuriantly
tall ; and fruit trees are abundant. The commune, (or
parish) of Plaisance gave a title in Christophe's days to
one of his dukes. The road which hitherto had been
good, soon after leaving the town, became narrow, steep
and stony; giving warning of our approach to the far-
famed and magnificent pass of Les Escaliers; the ladder
or staircase descent which leads to the plains below. On
arriving at the brow of the mountain, we looked down
on a long, steep, smooth road, paved with flat stones,
many of them broad like a London pavement, and from
constant wear become almost as slippery as glass itself.
A mule of the Andes would look at such a pass for a
few moments, place its fore feet in a right position,
adjust its body to its burden, give a loud snort, and
slide down with rapidity. Our horses were not suited
to this sort of enterprise, and we had no courage for
the feat. What should we do? There was another
road winding through the lower country, longer by four
leagues; this seemed too far: we therefore resolved to
go on, taking all chances, and dismounting, led the
horses as well as we could, and with a little sliding, but
without a fall or bruise, brought them safely down the
steep. Truly thankful were we at last to find our-
selves once more on secure ground. The sides of this
strange road are defended, in many places, by massive
granite rocks, and adorned in others by magnificent forest
trees and deep woods. The scenery is grand, but the
way perilous. To strangers circumstanced as we were,
with horses not absolutely to be depended upon as sure-
footed, the only alternative was to dismount and walk;
the thought that we escaped danger by doing so, served
to keep up our spirits, and enabled us to endure the toil.


We now look back on our descent of Les Escaliers
with vivid pleasure; but we had to pay for it at
the time by a sense of weariness that left us less able
to cope with the fatigues that followed. The day
was sultry : a vertical sun beamed full on our heads,
and there was no place of entertainment or shelter near.
At length, after several hours of toil, we came to a good
looking habitation, enclosed by wooden fences; and
we turned in to solicit food and rest. The first object
that met our view was a naked mulatto girl, hard at
work in the broiling sun, pounding cassava in a huge
mortar with a wooden pellett. On remonstrating with
the mistress, who ought to have known better than to
allow it, she excused herself by stating that the girl
was not her's, but the daughter of one of her servants,
who lived on the premises; and on speaking to the latter,
the subject was turned off with such stupid indifference,
as to allow us no room to hope for improvement.
Many of the Haytien mothers appear utterly dead to
all moral considerations, and leave their children to grow
up as they please, the victims of wayward passion, and
of conduct without restraint. The government has pro-
vided no schools for boys, except in the larger towns,
and for girls no where. What can be expected from
a people without religion, and without education ?
The owner of this property was a mulatto woman of
middle age, apparently uneducated, who entertained a
strong prejudice against the blacks; and lamented that
the President could not be induced to pass a law for
compelling them to work. There is an aristocracy of
the skin, even in Hayti, where all the institutions are
founded on the principle of putting it down. This
springs from the pride and tyranny of the old French


colonists ; and it is one of the cruel legacies bequeathed
by slavery.
Having eaten a scanty meal, and payed for it hand-
somely, we rode on to La coupe de pentarde"-the
guinea fowl defile-so named from the multitudes f
wild guinea fowls that inhabit this part of the isl e
and afford game to the Haytien sportsmen. At this
spot, the view is wide and extensive, and highly
interesting. A range of naked chalk hills extends
right and left in a curved direction to the sea; embracing
a well wooded plain, of about twelve miles in depth,
traversed by broad roads leading to Gonaives, St. Mark,
and their neighboring villages. The shipping of
Gonaives and the islands of the ocean beyond are visible;
and every thing bespeaks a numerous population and an
advancing civilization. It was market-day at Gonaives :
hundreds of people had passed us within the last two
hours; wending their way homeward to the high moun-
tains : the sight surprised us, and seeing other groups
in the distance, we began to count the people. Before
entering the town itself, we had passed in all four
hundred and sixty-five persons, with nearly as many
horses, mules, and asses, drawing light carriages, or
loaded with commodities, which the peasantry were
carrying back, in return for the small parcels of cotton
and coffee which they had carried to market. The
women, as usual, were decently dressed ; and the men
were more respectable in appearance than any we had
seen on our route: they were evidently small cultivators
who live on their own freeholds. All seemed cheerful and
happy. It was one of the most cheering sights we saw
in Hayti; and we could not but contrast it with those
dark and terrible days, when slave proprietors, under the


French dominion, oppressed the people with intolerable
hardships ; and inflicted cruelties too horrible to relate.
In this very region, within the memory of many living
witnesses, Deodune, a cotton planter, buried some of his
slaves in the earth as deep as their shoulders, and to
satisfy his revenge, or for devilish amusement, rolled
stones at their heads till they died! The rest of his
slaves then rose, and in indignation put the monster
himself to death.
So hot was the day, and so wearisome the toil of
riding, that we journeyed only at a foot pace: our guide,
who had walked with us from Plaisance, his sword
girded at his side, tripped nimbly along; performing his
part of the journey, about thirty miles, with ease and
alacrity, often outstripping us on the road. The last few
miles of the plain proved excessively toilsome to us; my
wife kept up her spirits tolerably well; but I scarcely
knew how to sit my horse; and, what added to our
trials, we entered the long town of Gonaives without
knowing where we should find a resting-place. No inn
or tavern, or public boarding-house to be heard of! We
had been told of an English merchant who resided there;
to his house, therefore, we made our way, and to our
great joy were cordially received as guests by himself,
his wife, and daughter. The servant had not yet arrived
with the baggage; but our new friends supplied all our
need out of their own wardrobe; and after plentiful
washings, and an excellent evening meal, we retired to
a sumptuous lodging-room to rest.
The next day was the first of the week-the Christian
Sabbath. There were only two Protestant families in
the place, one of which was that of our hospitable host,
James Ostler from Cornwall, who in the morning of that


day reads the service of the Church of England in his
own parlour. The Roman Catholics had lost their
priest, who was gone from home, and there was no one
to fill his place. Here, therefore, was a town of 5000
inhabitants, in which no public worship of any kind was
performed; except that some of the women, and perhaps
a few men, as is common in Catholic countries, entered
the parish church to cross themselves with holy water,
count their beads, and say their prayers. Several of
the respectable inhabitants paid us a visit during the
day; to whom, as well as to others before we left, we
gave religious books and tracts ; which, from the influ-
ence they exercise, and from their imposing no money-
tax on the people, a woman at the Cape was pleased to
designate as "Les petits predicateurs qui ni mangent ni
boivent." Among them were publications of the Paris
Religious Tract Society; Lives of pious individuals,
Barthe's Annals of the Christian Church and Bunyan's
Pilgrim's Progress, all in French; and a variety of little
works to illustrate and to explain the principles of the
Society of Friends on Christian doctrine, slavery, and
war. Bibles and Testaments were asked for, which I
promised to send from Port-au-Prince. Our servant not
arriving with the baggage, and notice having reached
us that his horse had broken down on the rough road
near Les Escaliers, twenty miles behind us; we engaged
a man and horse to go in quest of him, and direct him
to take back the saddle horses we had hired of his
master, and to send us the baggage which lie held in
charge. Late at night, as we were about retiring to
rest, the aforesaid servant, to our astonishment, made
his appearance; the wicked fellow had refused to de-
liver up the baggage to another, on the plea. that lie


was bound to deliver it with his own hands! He had,
therefore, urged on his broken-down steed, and brought
back our horses, making a journey to the latter of forty
long miles, and bringing them in at an hour of the
night when no grass or provender could be procured.
Our very hearts sunk within us at the thought of
three horses, jaded with toil, exhausted and hungry,
condemned to pass a wearisome night without food;
and we could not help bitterly reproaching him for his
grievous misconduct. HIe received the reprimand very
stupidly : his whole thoughts seemed to be wrapped up
in a promise I had made him, that if he brought us
safely to Gonaives, I would niake him a small present.
To gain this trifling douceur, he had ventured to
tornuent three poor dumb animals with a long and
painful journey-not feeding them by the way-and to
run the risk of starving them for at least ten hours
longer. The morning came, and by dint of solicitation,
we procured a few bundles of juicy reeds, (no grass
could be found) and when the horses had eaten these
and drank some water, lie turned their heads homeward,
and led them away. He deserved nothing but reproof,
or to have been led before a magistrate; but I gave him
two Haytien dollars and sent, by a private hand, a
letter to his master to expose his misconduct. Our
host believed that he and his companion had broken
down the poor baggage horse by alternately riding him.
The circumstance taught me this lesson, which every
traveller in Hayti would do well to observe; that is,
never to keep in advance of the guide, nor lose sight of
your baggage; but always to keep the train before you,
however slow you may be compelled to travel.
The town of Gonaives, where we were now located,


is situated at the head of a small bay on the western
shore: the houses are mostly of wood, and of one story;
the streets are long, with a large square in the centre,
on one side of which stands the parish church, now in
ruins. It has a good harbour for shipping, and a noble
convenient quay, where logs of mahogany lie piled up
in great quantities. The exports of the place are
cotton, coffee, mahogany, and salt. The annual exports
of coffee, coastwise and abroad, average about four
millions and a half of pounds' weight annually; those
of cotton, including the district of St. Mark, more than
a million of pounds; and those of mahogany, 800,000
feet. There is, of course, a custom-house, but its officers
are badly paid, and till lately were notorious smugglers.
The chief receives little more than 70 sterling, per
annum. The revenue of Hayti is mainly derived from
duties on articles imported and exported. It was
formerly the common practice of the officers, in concert
with such of the merchants as were willing to enter into
their schemes, to falsify the custom-house returns, and
to enrich themselves at the government expense. No
pains were taken to remedy the abuse, till the honest
merchants, who refused to encourage a contraband com-
merce, became loud in their complaints : the President
then interfered to put a stop to the evil. The salaries
of the officers, however, owing to the depreciated paper
currency in which they ,are paid, are still wretchedly
inadequate. The two great shipping ports for mahogany
timber, are Gonaives and Santo Domingo. The mahogany
shipped from this part of Hayti grows on the moun-
tains, about a hundred miles in the interior; in a part of
the island which once belonged to Spain. A merchant
residing at Gonaives, or at the great salt works, (Les


grandes salines,) at the mouth of the Artibonite, goes to
a tract of land where the trees are in maturity ; and
bargains with the proprietor for, perhaps, a whole forest,
at a given price per tree. He then has his oxen driven
to the spot, and engages a band of wood-cutters-men
who live in these districts, and devote themselves to
wood-cutting as their only employment. In the last
quarter of the moon the hatchet begins its work ; the
forest rings with the sound, and mighty trees fall pros-
trate. The merchant, attended by some workmen, skilful
to discover flaws, or to find out unsound timber, then
perambulates the woods; makes his selection of all the
good trees; has them cleared of the superfluous branches;
and directs their removal: they are then dragged by
thirty or forty oxen to the bed of the nearest mountain
stream, and left for the floods to roll down. This drag-
ging of trees through the forest, and over hill and dale,
is represented as being an extremely arduous, toilsome,
dangerous, and costly work; occasioning immense per-
sonal labour, and the loss of much cattle, who are either
bruised or die from exhaustion. The mountain streams
are nearly dry the greater part of the year; but when
swelled with the rains, they become deep and rapid, and
carry down the timber first to La petite riviere, and
thence to the Artibonite which flows into the ocean.
On these streams and rivers, dams are constructed at
different places to arrest the timber: there are dwellings
where men reside who form it into rafts, beginning
with a few logs only, and going on increasing their
bulk, till they reach the mouth of the Artibonite;
where they are made into floating rafts of great size,
and towed by sailing vessels to the port of embarkation.
Extraordinary pains are taken to arrest the mahogany


in its downward course; but much of the heaviest and
best timber sinks in the deep rivers; and, with all the
care bestowed at the different stages of its progress, a
large proportion is necessarily lost in its outlet to the sea.
Much of the drift, borne out to the ocean, is recovered
on the coast, or not far from land, and is restored to
the owner on the payment of salvage; but the mer-
chant lays his account with the definitive loss of one
tree in ten. The large sea-rafts are bound together by
strong iron chains ; and the vessels that tow them, being
often numerous and crowding all the sail they can carry,
give at the full season an animated appearance to the
bay and harbour.
Our host at Gonaives, who is an extensive maho-
gany merchant, told us, that when lie began his career
lie laughed at the mountain people for cutting down
their trees at a particular period of the moon. He
ordered some stout timber to be felled when the moon
was at the full, but soon found reason to repent his
folly; it had not lain long on the ground before it began
to split of its own accord, and at last burst asunder
with a noise that resembled the firing of cannon How-
ever inexplicable to philosophy the fact may be, the
moon has an undoubted and extraordinary influence
both on the animate and inanimate creation. Different
maladies are known to spring from sleeping in the
moonbeams in the tropical regions; and sometimes, to
persons of weakly temperament, from merely travelling
by moonlight. Many well authenticated cases of suf-
fering from this cause were related to us ; which served
to confirm the declaration of the Psalmist, that not
only does the sun smite by day, but the moon by night.
As soon as the mahogany rafts are stranded on -the


shore, the merchant again examines and marks his tim-
ber, rejecting the unsound logs ; the ends of the wood,
which are often inferior, and, which, owing to the high
duty in this country, are not suited to the English
market are cut off, and sent to the United States;
where such wood is admitted duty free, and where
it is worked up into cheap furniture. The best and
heaviest logs are measured, branded, valued, and shipped
chiefly to London and Liverpool. A whole forest of
mahogany in the high mountains has sometimes been
purchased at a dollar a tree; the present price of an
extensive cut is about three dollars a tree. Logs are
often selected which readily sell in London for 100
sterling. My friend, James Ostler, shipped one from
Gonaives, that measured 1600 feet, which was sold at
2s. 64d. per foot, and realized him more than 200.
Millions of lance wood spars, might be exported from
this country; but they are said to be too heavy to float
on the rivers, and land carriage would be too expensive.
The Haytien government forbids the cutting down of
any timber adapted to ship-building, except for the
ships of Hayti; and as Hayti has no ships of her own,
but a few brigs and sloops, her large forests of oak and
bayone, del maria, and cancagou woods, (the latter of
which is harder and heavier than mahogany,) are suffered
to go to decay. The palma christi plant grows every-
where in this region, and yields a large quantity of
common castor oil, which sells at two shillings the
gallon. Salt is made in large quantities on the sea-
shore at Les grandes salines; and furnishes a supply for
the whole island. The plains in this neighbourhood
are well adapted to the growth of cotton; the average
price of which in large quantities for shipment is


three-pence sterling per pound. Almost all the cotton
exported from Hayti is grown here; and so numerous
are the small parcels of it which are sent to market from
time to time by the cultivators, that as many as four
thousand horses and asses, laden chiefly with this article,
and with coffee, have been counted at Gonaives in a
single day. In the vicinity of this commercial town are
some banana and plantain groves, belonging to a mer-
chant's family, which we visited much to our gratification.
From the great height of the trees, and from the vast
spreading of their leaves, we could walk at noon-day,
delightfully sheltered from the beams of the sun. A
bunch of plantains or bananas, when the fruit is mature,
is a fine object as it hangs pendant from the upper
branchess : this fruit forms part of the staple food of the
country, and seems to be more relished than any other.
Among the few families to whom we were introduced
at this place, was that of the British Vice-Consul,
M'Guffie, a Scotchman by birth, who received us with
much kindness and hospitality. He told us that thirteen
years ago, in 1827 or 1828, twenty-six cases of New
Testaments, French and English in parallel columns,
which had been seized, on the fall of Christophe, by
President Boyer, were sold by auction, at Port-au-Prince,
and bought by a merchant at five cents or two-pence-
halfpenny a copy. These were shipped under the care
of the Vice-Consul himself, to St. Thomas', as part of a
commercial speculation, to be disposed of by De Castra
and Wys; who wondered and laughed at the trans-
action. Who among all their numerous customers in
the Carribean islands would ever think of asking for
New Testaments ? The Vice-Consul recommended them
to try the market at Martinique, or some other of the


French islands, but never heard afterwards what had
become of them. These books had been sent over, a
long time before, by some philanthropists of England, for
use in the schools of Hayti, and ought not to have been
impounded and sold by the new government. Repeated
applications are said to have been made for the value of
them, but no answer was returned to the applicants.
The public school at Gonaives, during our stay there, was
in abeyance for want of a suitable master; or from the
unwillingness at head-quarters to furnish the needful
salary for his support. Several of the inhabitants com-
plained of the neglect. We left them two sets of
reading lessons for its use when it may be re-opened;
and promised to solicit the authorities at Port-au-Prince
to send them a well-qualified master without delay.
Before taking a final leave of this interesting place, for
such, in some respects, it proved to us, let us for a
moment, revert once again to the memory of Christophe.
Our friend, the British merchant, knew him intimately;
and, as his immediate agent, carried on for him a trade
with Bourdeaux in sugar and coffee; bringing back
French wines, and other commodities and luxuries for
his private consumption. He thought him honourable
in his dealings ; but, as a ruler, excessively capricious
and tyrannical. He well remembered the five justices
of Cape Haytien who had given a decision that dis-
pleased the King; and saw them return from the citadel,
where they had been sentenced to hard labour, in
common working dresses, covered with lime dust. A
man, professing himself to be a prophet, was about the
same time thrown into a lime-kiln and burnt alive; the
King intimating that he must have been an impostor, or
lie would have seen his own fate and avoided it!


It was our wish on leaving Gonaives to have pro-
ceeded by land, to Port-au-Prince, the capital, a hundred
miles distant; but, independently of the difficulty
of procuring suitable horses and servants, we were
discouraged from taking this step, by learning that the
road, for much of the distance, lay along the naked sea-
shore; that we should pass only through the single town
of St. Mark ; and perhaps should be compelled to lodge
one night in the open air, or to put up with the meanest
accommodations in some poor hut, where we should
scarcely find sufficient or proper food. Looking at all
the circumstances, and being told in addition, that the
country was far inferior in picturesque beauty, to that
we had already travelled, we resolved to proceed by sea.
A coasting sloop, loaded with coffee, was ready to sail,
and we took our passage. Our very kind hostess and
her family furnished us with a mattress; and sent on
board for us a liberal supply of cold roasted fowl, eggs,
bread, and bananas. We stipulated for the exclusive
use of the narrow cabin to ourselves.
At ten o'clock, the moon shining bright, we left the
harbour with a good land breeze; and, soon after spread-
ing the mattress on the deck, we lay down to rest, taking
the precaution to cover our faces with the folds of our
cloaks. A fellow-passenger, afraid like ourselves of the
moon-beams, stretched himself in the ship's boat, and
covered his head as well as his body with a blanket.
Early the next morning, we passed the famous salt
works, at the mouth of the Artibonite; and at noon
were off St. Mark, which lay deep in the bay and was
scarcely visible. This town contains 2000 inhabitants,
besides a numerous garrison ; and is governed by a
mayor, the only white man, we believe, who holds a


place of authority in the island. We had the pleasure
of making acquaintance with this functionary at the
capital; and learned from himself that he owes this
mark of distinction to the friendship of the President;
who, when an exile in the United States, received
attentions from his father's family. The law of Hayti,
which forbids a white man to hold land, to exercise
authority, to marry a Haytien woman, or to trade
without a special licence, was relaxed in his favour : he
was permitted to marry the daughter of General
Bonnett, the commander of the district, and to exercise
all the rights of a Haytien citizen. No produce is
exported from St. Mark direct to foreign countries; all
its trade is coastwise. It is said to be a handsome
town, built after the fashion of France, and to be in-
habited by some respectable and rather wealthy families.
Dessalines had his palace in the vicinity, and made it
his chief military post. The wind, which was fair at
our setting out, and which we had hoped would have
borne us to Port-au-Prince in twenty-four hours,
changed its course, and blew strongly a-head; we
were, consequently, under the necessity of constantly
tacking, and had the trial and mortification of rolling
three nights on the deep, instead of one. To beat up
against a head wind is painful in any latitude, and in
any craft; but the miseries of a sea-life are, perhaps,
best appreciated by those who, in such circum-
stances, are confined to a small sloop under the fierce
beams of a vertical sun, without a cabin that can be
used as a shelter, and without canvass for an awning.
The steam from the coffee was so offensive, that we
could not go below deck, and we had only an umbrella
for defence. It was a great mercy to be preserved from


violent sickness; and we were not wholly without
amusement. The coast was interesting to us from its
novelty; and so was the large island of Gonave, and the
islets called the Archadyines; among which we kept
beating up and down for several hours. Necessity
reconciled us to our unpleasant imprisonment. The
wished for port at length came in sight, but our trials
were not yet ended. Our captain was an ignorant man
and had so imperfect a knowledge of his art, that he
twice suffered us to be run upon by a larger vessel en-
tering the harbour under full sail: the first shock was
fearful, and there was much reason to fear we should go
down ; the second was less alarming, but still so serious,
that we were no longer satisfied to remain on board :
the vessel had received injury, and we begged to be
sent on shore in an open boat. We at length arrived
safely at Port-au-Prince, with no other inconvenience
than that of a slight inflammation of the eyes, from the
reflection of a burning sun, and a small degree of sick-
ness, which left us soon after we landed.




THE stranger on first landing at Port-au-Prince, the
capital of Hayti, feels greatly disappointed. Instead of
a handsome city, such as it appears from the ship's
deck at sea, rising on a gradual elevation from the
shore, and adorned with good houses and gardens; you
enter into streets of wooden buildings, with the pave-
ment dislocated or broken up, the drains neglected, and
filth and stable dung interrupting your steps in every
direction. The quay is spacious, but the water is
shallow near the shore; and all sorts of uncleanness are
suffered to annoy the senses. A constant malaria is the
consequence, which at certain seasons of the year,
renders the lower quarter of the city very sickly, and
occasions much mortality among the sailors from foreign
ports. Port-au-Prince, with all its advantages of situa-
tion, with every inherent capability of being made and
kept delightfully clean, is perhaps the filthiest capital
in the world. The houses in general are of two
stories, built slightly of wood, to avoid the rend and
tear occasioned by earthquakes, which at different times
have nearly demolished the city. Some few of the
better habitations are of brick or stone, and may be
called handsome edifices. The senate-house is a plain


substantial building, with no pretension to splendour;
and the palace of the President, the largest edifice in the
city, was built by the English, for the General's head-
quarters, during their temporary occupation of the south
of the island; and is, therefore, as little like a royal
palace as any republican could desire. The Haytien flag,
of red and blue, floats on its turrets; and it has in front
a spacious court, in which are lodges for the military
guard of horse and foot, who are constantly on duty.
These are the only public buildings worthy of notice.
The Roman Catholic church is a capacious structure,
but very plain and homely. There are some pleasant
walks and rides in the immediate vicinity, especially in
the hills above the town, and on the roads leading to
P6tionville and Leogane; but none is more generally
agreeable than the extensive park-like fields at the back
of the President's house; where horsemen and pedes-
trians repair every morning and evening to enjoy the
cool breezes, and to watch the rising and setting of the
sun. The public cemetery is a spot of ground which
every stranger should visit; and a funeral procession at
the close of day, winding along the public paths that
lead to it, produces a very striking and solemn effect.
The black boys in their white surplices, bearing lighted
tapers-the massive silver crucifix-the mitred Abb6 and
his attendant priests and choristers-the coffin placed
on an open palanquin-and a long train of citizens-
the men habited in black, the women in white-passing
now through the public street, and now in side paths
under the shade of tropical trees, afford a picture which
has no counterpart in our own country. The length of
the city is about a mile; its breadth something less.
The population is estimated at twenty-three thousand.


Numerous ships lie at anchor in the harbour, bearing
the flags of different nations; and the bustle of commerce
is constantly going on. The custom-house stands on
the quay, and is a scene of great activity.
The first call we made in the city after landing was
on a French woman, who had formerly kept a boarding
house, and to whom we had been recommended for
lodgings. She had quitted her profession a few weeks
before, and was now living a retired life; but she re-
quested us to enter her house, and refresh ourselves ; she
readily prepared us breakfast, and directed us where to
look for apartments, sending her servant to conduct us,
but would take nothing in return. On pressing her to
accept some consideration for her pains, she replied with
a kind benevolent look, Ma religion me commander
l'exercice de l'hospitalitc. Je ne puis rien prendre:
rien de tout." We took care, however, to furnish her
with a supply of religious books, which she accepted
thankfully. We found much difficulty in procuring
good accommodations; but succeeded at last in obtaining
two large apartments on a ground floor, in one of the
principal streets, for the use of which, and board at the
public table, we agreed to pay fifty Haytien dollars, or
3. 17s. sterling, per week. We found no cause to
regret the arrangement; as by this means we combined
private retirement with the advantage of access to good
society; and found ourselves in the very focus of news
and general information. We had here the occasional
company of merchants of the city, planters from the
neighbourhood, travellers from distant parts of the
country, and Roman Catholic priests, who come to the
capital either to consult with the President, who is head
of the church, or to see something of the busy world.


The conversation at table was generally carried on in
French, but sometimes in English, out of compliment to
us; as we seldom passed a day without meeting with
some person who understood the language, and who
seemed pleased with the opportunity of speaking it.
Having been furnished with a letter of introduction
to the Abb6 D'Echeverria, the principal ecclesiastic of
Hayti, I waited on him early to present it; and was
received by him with much affability and politeness.
He spoke to me of matters connected with the church,
and of its temporalities, which he represented as
slender enough! I ventured to remind him that sixty
Haytien dollars were allowed by law for a funeral of
the first class, and a dollar for every baptism. "These
dollars," he said, are the sweat of our brow," (le
sueur de nos fronts) "but the government impounds
a large part of them, and applies it to other uses ; we
only obtain twenty dollars for a funeral, and half a
dollar for baptizing an infant. What is half a dollar for
a baptism?" In a day or two after, the Abb6 returned
my call, and requested us, as friends to the abolition of
slavery, to pay him a visit at the presbytery : if we
would come and dine with him, we should meet, he
said, some of the first people of the city. The banquet,
for such it was, greatly exceeded our expectations ; its
cost and magnificence were far beyond any idea we had
formed of the power of priestly wealth in this country.
It carried us back in imagination to the times of Cardinal
Wolsey. The company consisted of our generous host
-thle Abbe himself, the Chief Judge of the Court of
Cassation, three senators of Hayti, five merchants of the
city, three Roman Catholic priests, a physician, who
married the only daughter of General Inginac, with his


amiable and intelligent wife, and ourselves. It would be
useless to enumerate the various courses and dishes that
were served on the occasion. Soups, fish, flesh, fowl,
and game were brought on the table and removed in
quick succession, together with a great variety of ices,
creams, pastry, and comfitures: there was also a splendid
dessert and many kinds of wine. As soon as the repast
was ended, the Abb6 rose and pronounced a eulogium
on the virtues of the President; and then, in allusion
to his stranger guests, spoke of the efforts made by
England to destroy slavery and the slave-trade in all
parts of the wcrld. It was his wish, as an old friend
of Gregoire and La Fayette, to give these guests
a welcome to Hayti, and to introduce them to his
fellow-citizens, as deserving of their high respect and
kindest attentions. Nothing could be more cordial
than his manner, or exceed his polite attention to
us all. On retiring to the drawing-room, coffee was
immediately served, and some animated conversation
followed. We spent a pleasant and instructive even-
ing; and returned home agreeably impressed with the
good sense and politeness of the company, who were
all coloured persons, except the four priests and our-
The next post of honour and influence to that of the
President has long been occupied by General Inginac, a
man of colour, who spent some of his early days in
Jamaica, and who speaks the English language with
great fluency. To him also we had a letter of intro-
duction, as well as one to President Boyer, from th
venerable Clarkson. The General received us very
courteously, and promised me an early interview with


the President. In the meanwhile we pursued our
inquiries relative to the state and condition of the
people. One of the first objects to claim our attention
was the public schools. There are two institutions of
this sort in the capital; one on the principle of mutual
instruction, for the poor; and the other, a lyceum or
college for young men who have received preliminary
instruction elsewhere, and who go there to complete
their studies. Both schools are supported by the
government. In the first, or elementary school, the
number of those who attend is very small indeed;
out of eighty-two boys on the list, only forty-three
were present, and these were most of them mulattos:
they looked intelligent enough, but had evidently been
neglected, and knew very little; being placed under the
care of an incompetent master, who received the situa-
tion, and enjoys the slender emolument it affords,
because, as we were told, the government thought it
convenient to pension him off! We examined the
classes, and heard some of the boys recite; but found,
on the whole, very little to approve: yet our visit was
thought worthy of notice in the Government Gazette,
and our approbation of it paraded in a long article
written by the master, in order, as we supposed, to
commend himself. The lyceum is a really respectable
institution, and does honour to the republic. Tha
branches of education taught, are the French, English,!
Spanish, and Latin languages; the mathematics, com--
position, history, and fencing. The professors, or
teachers, are apparently well qualified men: we attended
all the classes, and were'iBaeh-g ied at the progress
of some of the scholars. One of the black boys


construed his Latin verses with much readiness. The
students are a hundred and fifty in number, mostly
mulattos : they are attired in a uniform of blue and
scarlet, A public examination takes place at stated
intervals, at which prizes of useful books are given to
those who have made the greatest proficiency. We
went on one of these occasions to witness the proceed-
ings, but came away greatly disappointed. The stage
was first occupied by the young fencers, who came in
armed with a vizor, a blunted sword, and large stuffed
gloves; when numerous encounters took place, to the
amusement and delight of some of the spectators, but to
our disgust, and we speedily retired from the scene.
This practice of training the Haytien youth to the art of
fencing has a most prejudicial effect on the community :
the practice of duelling, already dreadfully rife in the
island, is strengthened by it, and a warlike spirit engen-
dered and fostered, which it should be the particular
and earnest aim of the government to discourage and put
down. What has Hayti, or what is it likely to have, to
do with foreign war ? Peace is the safety of the Haytien
people; peace should be the end and object of all her
institutions. To teach fencing systematically in her
public schools, is to encourage an art that may one day
be turned against the republic itself, and plunge the
country into civil war. The sword which is now used
as a plaything, may soon be stained with the blood of
/Education is at a rather lower ebb at Port-au-Prince
/than at Cape Haytien : the total number supposed to
receive instruction in the city is about a thousand, as


Boys at the school for mutual instruction 80
At the Lyceum 150
At fifteen private pedagogue schools 450
Girls at eight seminaries and dame schools 200
Boys and girls taught at home 120

Total 1000

This number is small, but the proportion of black
children, unhappily, is still smaller. Out of 23,000
inhabitants, the coloured class may number, perhaps,
4000, or one-sixth part of the whole; yet this is the class
that may be said to monopolise education. Children
who claim their descent from European fathers have no
greater aptitude to learn than children of pure African
blood; but the ancestors of the latter having been slaves,
and not having been taught to read, were unable to
appreciate the value of education. Indifference to know
ledge, from this cause, has extended from one generation
to another, and has become a rooted habit of mind;
which requires the most firm, judicious, and persevering
care to eradicate. The subject of education in Hayti
is well worthy the attention of philanthropists. Schools
must he established, maintained and multiplied in the
island, or it will never recover itself from the dominion
of semi-heathenism, superstition, and priestcraft, by
which its people are still fettered, or be likely to put
forth that industry which will increase the fruits of the
soil, and enable it, as an agricultural and commercial
country, to take rank among civilized nations. If the
government of Hayti, stimulated by precept, and
assisted by the efforts of the friends of education in
England, be determined to exert itself to spread light
and knowledge, the fatal lethargy of the black people


will soon be shaken off. With ample means to educate
their children, they only want the disposition: the
priests, who, too generally love darkness rather than
light," may for a time oppose the movement, but every
difficulty may be overcome by perseverance.
In a population so circumstanced, where all the nobler
faculties of the mind are held in abeyance, we need not
wonder if crime abounded. Ignorance is proverbially
the parent of crime : yet such is the docility of the
negro, such his respect for, and general submission to,
the authority of human law, that robberies of the
person, and other high crimes and misdemeanours, are
but little known. Petty pilfering, such as the masters
of slaves once permitted, and such as the boasting
Spartans encouraged, is common enough; and it is
from offences of this sort and from acts of military
insubordination, that the gaols are kept constantly
filled. We were assured again and again by persons
of every rank in society, that travellers may pass
through the country from one end to the other, with
known treasure in their possession, and be perfectly
safe. The military institutions, as we shall presently
see, encourage and confirm the practice of petty thieving,
and have given rise to many, if not most, of the vices
that prevail. We requested leave to visit the city-
prison, of the Adjutant-commander of the district, who
deferred giving us an answer; but on the next morn-
ing one of the President's aides-de-camps came to our
lodging with a written permission. The gaoler, who
had been apprised of our coming, entered with alacrity,
and with much shew of consequence, on his duty. Two
officers with drawn swords attended him, and ourselves,
through the apartments. A young man, who acted as


secretary, followed with pen, ink, and paper, and noted
down the observations we made in passing along ; which
observations were all read over to us, to be verified and
attested, before we left. The prison has three courts, of
about an equal size, fifty-four feet by twenty seven.
The court, No. 1, contains four apartments, and had in
it, at the time of our visit, twenty-one prisoners. The
court, No. 2, has eight apartments, and consequently
less airing room, but contained eighty-one prisoners!
The court, No. 3, was devoted to the military, and had
in it thirty-one soldiers, who occupied four apartments,
and were confined for breaches of military discipline.
There is also one other court, No. 4, larger than the
foregoing, with one large room, and several small ones,
in which men and women are confined for petty offences
for a short period only : the yard and apartments being
open in the day time to both sexes without restraint,
and with little or no inspection! All the rooms of the
prisons were clean and well white-washed. There is a
fountain of water within the walls, which affords a
ready and inexhaustible supply. The faults of this
prison are too numerous to mention: the chief defects
are want of ventilation, want of space for exercise,
and want of classification. The prisoners are thus
enumerated:-Prevenus, sent by the Commandant and
other public officers, for petty offences; and prisoners not
yet tried; 95. Travaux forces, convicts sentenced to
hard labour and the chain gang; 29. Femmes accuses
et condamndes, women convicts; 14. Condamndes au.c
correctionels, sentenced to be whipped; 8. A la reclu-
sion, to occasional solitary confinement; 9. Lunatiques,
Insane; 6. Total, exclusive of the military; 161.
One-quarter of a Haytien dollar (five-pence sterling)


is allowed weekly to each prisoner to purchase food;
what he requires of food more than this, lie must work
for, or his friends, if lie has any, must supply. A
physician is appointed to visit the sick, and to prescribe
food and medicine for them, according to their wants.
No prisoner, we were told, really suffers from hunger;
but this statement was contradicted by so many persons
out of doors, that we doubt the fact. Many cases of
starvation are believed to have occurred; and it is
certain that the prisoners often quarrel and contend
with each other for the orange and banana peelings,
which those who have sufficient food are contented to
throw away. The common work of the prisoners is to
make mats and baskets. Some of the men are nearly
naked. Such is a brief view of this wretched place of
confinement; which, if it reform one convict through
terror, is calculated to harden twenty, and to turn them
loose on society, to begin a fresh career of vice. Let
not Englishmen, however, reproach the African race
as barbarous, for permitting such prisons to exist; the
gaols of England, half-a-century ago, were many of
them equally wretched.
If the prisons of Hayti be bad, the criminal juris-
prudence is no better; and stands in equal need of a
thorough reformation. The officers of the army act in
many cases as justices; and pass sentence for petty
offences, on summary conviction. What a wide field for
abuse is here! The sentences passed by the civil judges
in open court, though seemingly the result of delibera-
tion after a patient trial of the parties accused, are said,
in all cases thought worthy of government interference,
to be prescribed beforehand. That such is sometimes
the case is certain; for a grave in the unconsecrated


burial ground was pointed out to us, which was opened
for three criminals charged with sedition, before they
had been put on trial !
Accompanied by my friend, James Hartwell, the
Wesleyan missionary, who had been with us through
the prison, I entered the Court-house to witness the trial
of a prisoner accused of stealing cloth from a store.
The procureur-general, or state-attorney opened the
case. Rising with all the dignity of an important
public functionary, he put on his official hat, and
addressing himself to the judges on the bench, two
of whom sat covered, he vehemently urged his proofs
of the prisoner's guilt; he then called his witnesses,
but none appeared. The attorney for the prisoner
then rose, and contended that as there was no evidence
adduced, lie was entitled to an immediate acquittal.
The state-attorney again rose, bowed to the bench,
put on his hat as before, and urged in reply, that inas-
much as the crime had been distinctly proved before
a magistrate appointed to take the examination, in
limine, and this examination was on record before the
court, and nothing was now advanced by the prisoner
to establish his innocence, the absence of witnesses was
immaterial, and he must by law be pronounced guilty.
The court, consisting of two mulattos and an intelligent
looking black man, then retired, and were gone about
half-an-hour. During their absence, the two attorneys,
accuser and defender, came to my friend and myself,
and asked us what, in such a case, would be the
verdict of an English jury. We had no difficulty in
saying, that he would be acquitted without a moment's
hesitation. Whilst we sat waiting the return of the
judges with their verdict of acquittal, the side door


opened, and a herald came forward, and proclaimed
attention; then the chairman read deliberately the
prisoner's sentence, that he was condemned to three
years' labour in the chain-gang! Immediately, con-
ducted by two soldiers with fixed bayonets, and wearing
a look of consternation and dismay, he was led out of
court to his prison-house. Incidents such as these, and
others that we met with, were often the subjects of con-
versation at the dinner-table, and elicited comments
from the company that put us in possession of the state
of public feeling with regard to these matters. The
intelligent part of the Haytien people are evidently at
variance with their own government on many public
points,-and especially as regards the administration of
Our conversation at dinner sometimes turned on
slavery and freedom. On one occasion, several planters,
three of them brothers, from a sugar property in the ('tl
de Sac, were present. The eldest, who had been educated
in Paris, addressing the company, said, Nous avons
parmi nous un Negrophile; voulez vous que nous buvions
a sa sant6 ;" and turning to me, Voulez vous nous
permettre a boire a votre sant6?" The custom of
drinking health is not so common in Hayti as in
England; and it may be hoped is going out of fashion
everywhere. Without joining in the senseless cere-
mony, I left them to do as they pleased, but took care
from the circumstance, to turn the discourse into a
channel which elicited from the company some striking
remarks, condemnatory of those nations which permit
slavery to continue.
All classes of Haytien citizens, old and young, rich
and poor, are loud in their denunciations of slavery and
F 3


the slave-trade : they dislike the Americans, on account
of their permitting slavery to exist, but receive English-
men with complacency, because the latter have done so
much to put an end to the horrid system. The mayor
of St. Mark was often at our table; with whom
we held conversations on the state of education in
his own district, and whom we furnished with some
sets of school lessons, which he promised to see appro-
priated to their intended use. A Lancasterian school
for boys, founded by Christophe, still exists in his
Among the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince, who showed
us kindness and hospitality, we are bound to mention
one English merchant who has much influence in the
city, and who acts as Consul for the kingdom of Sweden.
From him and from his amiable wife we received the
kindest attentions; which, as being strangers in a
foreign land, were peculiarly grateful to us. At his
dinner-table we met on one occasion, together with
other visitors, the British Consul-General, who was
about to return home; the Vice-Consul of Port-au-
Prince; and the Consul from Cape Haytien. The
conversation turned chiefly on war, which most of
the company joined in approving, as one great means
of elevating the power of England, and making her
respected among the nations! Our war with China
seemed to meet with especial favour ; but for what moral
reason it was not easy to comprehend. Much was said
by the company, and no doubt with great truth, of the
covetousness, lying and gambling of many of the Romish
priests, who come from France and Corsica to this island
as money adventurers; not to help the needy and in-
struct the ignorant; but to make, from the superstitions


of the common people, as much money as possible in
the shortest possible time.
Having called a second time on General Inginac, he
obligingly gave me an introduction to General Boyer,
the President. An aid-de-camp in waiting led me to
the hall of audience; and in a few minutes after, the
President himself, attired in a plain suit of black, entered
by a private door, and taking me by the hand, requested
me to follow him to his own apartment. The manners
of the ruler of Hayti are simple and unaffected; to
republican plainness, he adds the polish of France, and
preserves a quiet independent dignity suited to his rank
and station. His age is sixty-eight; but his robust
health and evident activity, make him appear much
younger. He is a mulatto, with the physiognomy of
the French; is rather under than over the average
height; and is neither thin nor corpulent: he has a
keen expressive eye, and an intelligent countenance.
With strangers lie converses only in French; though
he has travelled in America, and understands the
English language. During the interview of half an
hour, with which he kindly favoured me, he made
particular inquiries after the venerable Clarkson; with
whose character, as a strenuous advocate of the
abolition of slavery and the slave-trade, he was well
acquainted; and of whom he had a more intimate
knowledge than of other men, from his correspondence
with Christophe, in which lie manifested such an
intense interest in the best welfare of Hayti. "All
the letters of Wilberforce and Clarkson, addressed to
Monsieur Christophe," such were his words, are in my
possession: they thought highly of the man, but they
did not understand his real character: they thought


him the genuine friend of his country, but lie deceived
them." I received a letter from Mr. Clarkson," he
continued, soon after the death of Christophe, in which
lie requested me to show kindness to his widow. I
thought it somewhat singular; for though Christophe
was a cruel man, and though he killed my own brother,
I would have forfeited my life a thousand times, rather
than have shown unkindness to his widow. I always
protected Madame Christophe." He entertained," he
said, a high regard for the religious Society of Friends :
lie had known some of that body in America, and was
acquainted with some of their customs. I might depend
on his protection whilst in Hayti; and he had given
an order to the authorities to furnish me with all the
papers I had asked for, to illustrate the resources and
condition of the republic." He wished me however, as
a stranger, not to overlook the single fact, that Hayti
was a young nation: that it was only yesterday,
that she was released from the menaces and fears of
France, by a new treaty of compensation for her ter-
ritory; and that till the present time there had been
no opportunity for the government to devote itself in
earnest on peace-principles, to improve the institutions
of the country. On rising to take leave, I begged per-
mission to present him with some religious publications,
handsomely bound: he received them very courteously;
and on observing a series of the tracts of the Peace
Society, which had been translated into the French
language, lie said with an air and tone of sincerity, If
the principles of that Society had been acted upon by
the nations, what an accumulation of misery would the
world have been spared !"
The papers alluded to by the President, were soon


after put into my hands by General Inginac, his
Secretary of State; and these enable me, in conjunction
with information obtained from other quarters, to lay
before the reader a brief statement of the commerce,
finances, and expenditure of the island, the number
and pay of the standing army, and the employment
and resources of the agricultural population. To these
I may add, some information on the constitution of
Hayti, in church and state; and some observations on
the estimated amount of its population.




THE constitution of Hayti, as now embodied in the
statutes of the island, was finally modified in 1816. The
government of the republic is confided to a President,
chosen for life, who has power to nominate his successor
at death, reserving to the senate the right, if they see fit,
to reject the nomination, and choose any other citizen
they may prefer. The legislative power is vested in three
branches, which must all concur in passing the laws:
1st, The President, with whom all the laws originate:
2nd, The Senate, chosen for nine years, who are selected
from lists presented by the President to the House
of Assembly for its choice: 3rd, The House of Repre-
sentatives, chosen for five years by free election of the
people assembled in their respective communes; who
are professedly and in theory, an independent body, at
liberty to call in question the management of public
affairs, and to address the President on any occasion, as
often as they will. The salary of the President is 40,000
Haytien dollars per annum, with an extra salary of
30,000 dollars when engaged in any one year in travel-
ling through the island on a tour of inspection for the
public good. Each Senator has a salary paid by the


State of 133 dollars per month; and each Representative
receives 200 dollars per month during the session of
Congress. The Haytien dollar at the present rate of
exchange is one shilling and eight pence. The salary
of the President, therefore, in sterling money is 3333;
and, when travelling, 2500 per annum in addition:
the salary of a Senator is 133 per annum; and that of
a Representative to the House of Assembly, during a
session of three months, about 50. The constitution,
however liberal it may appear in theory, and containing,
as it does, some of the essential elements of a republic,
is, in practice, often at variance with the liberties and
true happiness of the people. The President is chosen
for life : he takes care in presenting lists to the House
of Representatives, for the choice of Senators, so, to
arrange the names, as to ensure the election of the
persons that he wishes; and from the comparative
poverty and ignorance of many members of the House
of Assembly, who are always subservient, lie can
influence the decision of that body at his pleasure; even
so far as to induce them to expel any member who
manifests the least show of resistance to his will. The
President of Hayti, being governor for life, generalissimo
of the forces, head of the church, and fountain of honour
and rewards, is thus a sovereign in all but the name.
The maxims of his government are those of clemency,
and to rule for the people's good ; but a mistaken view
of what that good really requires, leads him occasionally
into acts of substantial injustice. The constitution pre-
scribes that a law should be passed to regulate the choice
of soldiers for the army: no project of such a law has yet
been presented, and the citizens are called out, impressed,
and compelled to serve in the ranks at the will of the


executive. Many and bitter are the complaints on this
head, especially from the merchants and traders, who see
their sons sometimes torn from them, to be placed side by
side with ragamuffins, who are satisfied with the parade
and idleness of a military life; and who, from long con-
tinuance in it, have become as demoralized and corrupt,
as the profession of arms can make them. Do the citizens
who feel this oppression look to their representatives for
help ? They know that all appeal of this sort would be
useless. Only four years ago, early in 1838, in conse-
quence of a bold address to the President, a strife was
stirred up between the two Houses of the Legislature;
and the House of Representatives was prevailed upon
by a majority, to expel six of its best and most honest
members! It is impossible to read the printed pro-
ceedings and votes of this little parliament, without at
once seeing on which side the wrong lies. The following
sensible and spirited remarks contained in the address,
occasioned the disturbance. But what shall we say of
the subserviency of a legislative body that adopted such
a resolution by acclamation one month, and pronounced a
vote of expulsion on its supporters the next ? Le choc
qui existe entire les principles fondamentaux et les disposi-
tions reglementaires de la constitution sont une antinomie
qui doit disparaitre du code des droits et des devoirs.
L'experience proclame cette verit6: les dispositions
reglementaires d'une constitution arretent le jeu libre des
resorts du gouvernement, don't les principles fondamen-
taux sont le mobile : elles amoindrissent la some de
bien qui doit devoiler de son action. La nation vous sup-
plie done d'assurer son avenir: vous en avez la puissance
et le genie : aujourd'hui que la paix est imperturbable,
il n'est plus teams d'ajourner. Exprimez un voeu; et


bientot des mains r6generatrices reconstruiront l'edifice
social: ravivez nos institutions qui sont deja menaces
de vetust6, parcequ' aux yeux du pays, elles sont
insuffisantes pour les besoins de la society." The
house then goes on to request from the President the
projects of new laws suited to the exigency of the
times, among which are enumerated, a law to insure
the responsibility of public functionaries-to alter the
custom-house duties-to fix the rate of interest and
repress usury-to restrict the power now given to
Justices of the Peace-to determine suits on summary
conviction without appeal; and a law to modify the
severities of the Code Rural, which it denounces as at
variance with public feeling, and therefore inoperative
to its end. Si nous examinons a present l'instabilit6
do certaines lois, nous nous etonnerions de les voir
s'arreter tout a coup, comme frapp6es d'inertie, apres
avoir pris un essor rapide; de ce nombre, on distingue
le code rural. II est tomb6, et sa chute a ecras6
l'agriculture; mais il faut le dire, il a subi le sort de
toutes les institutions qui ne sont pas dans l'esprit du
siecle de perfectionnement. Priv6 de la sanction de

The clashing of fundamental principles with the details of
the constitution, is a contradiction which must disappear from the
code of rights and duties. Experience proclaims this truth : the
details of a constitution interfere with the free exercise of the
powers of government which should always be regulated by
fundamental principles. They lessen the sum total of the good
which ought to result from its action. The nation entreats you
then to give it security for the future : you have the power and
the genius to do so. At present, peace is undisturbed and secure,
it is therefore no time for delay. Express but the wish, and
regenerating hands will re-construct the social edifice ; re-animate
our institutions which are already threatened with decay, because
in the eyes of the country they are insufficient for the wants of


l'opinion, l'interet meme nA pu lhi garantir ddne desue-
tude native, mais nous croyons pouvoir avancer, sans
craindre d'etre coutredit, que ce code modifi6 et appro-
pri6 aux besoins de 1'epoque prdsente, produira les
plus heureux effects" A few such legislators as these
of Hayti, who write and speak in this spirit, might
be useful in our own House of Commons; but their
reforming hand has been paralysed: the President
thought them too much in advance of the age, and as
requiring more than the public good, or the people at
large could bear! IHe therefore caused the Assembly
to be decimated, and made their own votes the execu-
tioner of his secret decree. The government of Hayti
is in fact a military despotism in the hands of a
single man; mild and merciful it must be confessed,
and desiring the welfare of his country ; but mistaken
in some of his views, and therefore acting on some
occasions in a manner utterly opposed to the public
Often did we hear from intelligent Haytiens, serious
complaints of this tendency in the executive; and often
was the wish expressed to us, that the public press
of England and France, might be induced to set forth
their national grievances to the world. If you publish

If we examine, at the present moment, the instability of
certain laws, we shall be astonished to see them stopped suddenly,
as if struck with inertia, after having taken a rapid stride. Of
this number is the rural code. It has fallen, and its fall has
crushed agriculture; although, it must be confessed it has only
experienced the fate of all institutions that are opposed to the
spirit of an improving age. Deprived of the support of public
opinion, interest itself cannot keep it from falling into desuetude ;
but we think we may assert without fear of contradiction, that
this very code, if so modified as to meet the wants of the present
age, would produce the happiest results.


observations on Hayti," said several of the merchants
and planters to me, "represent us as we are; do not
flatter us; exhibit our true condition; we seek ame-
lioration not by force of arms-we have had bloodshed
and strife enough,-but through the important and
powerful medium of the opinion of observing foreigners,
who see our condition, and can state what it really is."
My object in these pages is to exhibit Hayti and its
institutions as they really are.
Let me now speak of the standing army. The last
account in detail placed in my hands by the govern-
ment, gives the following enumeration :-Under the
head Military Appointments, as commanders of districts,
there are nine generals; fifteen brigadier-generals;
sixty-three colonels; forty-eight lieutenant-colonels;
nine captains; one lieutenant; and twenty medical
men; whose united pay amounted to 188,407 dollars,
or 15,700 sterling. This, in the present depreciated
currency of the island, yields less, on an average, than
100 sterling to each individual. The pay of a general,
is 225 per annum; that of a brigadier-general, 170;
that of a colonel, 125; that of a lieutenant-colonel,
66 ; that of a captain, 25; and that of a lieutenant,
The standing army, consists,in addition, of 33 colonels;
95 lieutenant-colonels ; 825 captains; 654 lieutenants;
577sub-lieutenants and ensigns; 6815non-commissioned
officers; 25 medical men; and 19,127 rank and file:-
total 28,151. The pay of a common soldier is three
dollars per month, or 3. sterling per annum, for one
week on duty out of every three ; being at the rate of
The above-mentioned officers are invested with civil as well
as military power.


three shillings and sixpence per week, for every week
that such soldier musters on parade. The total cost of
the army in 1838, including the Arsenals, Hospitals,
and Marines, was in Haytien dollars 1,418,557; or
118,213 in sterling money: a small sum for the
maintenance of such an immense standing army; but a
much larger sum than Hayti, with her very limited
resources, can afford to pay, or is likely long, to
sustain. The army is in a state of gradual reduction :
its numerical force in 1840, was twenty-five thousand.
By the present arrangements, the common soldier
attends one week on duty in the muster-field, and is
left at liberty to go to his own home, or to procure work
where he can the two succeeding weeks; and this reduces
the army in point of pay, to one-third of its present
numerical amount; or to 8500 men. An immense army
this, being at the rate of one in a hundred of the whole
population; whereas, Great Britain and Ireland, war-
loving countries, have but one soldier on pay to every
two hundred and twenty-five of its people; and many
of the European states, have a smaller proportion still.
Most of the common soldiers of Hayti are, or might be,
cultivators of the soil in their own right, or they might
work on the plantations as sharers of the produce with
the large proprietors. If set entirely free from a military
life, this would be their immediate and natural condition
in society: they would at once return to their native
cabins, and give their strength to the cultivation of
the soil. But the habits of the camp and the barracks
unsettle them ; they are bound to be present at parade,
except under special exemption, once in the week at
all times; and some of them live ten, twenty, and
even thirty miles distant from the muster-ground.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs