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The French Revolution in 
San Domingo 


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The French Revolution 
in San Domingo 


AM., PH.D. fHABV.) 



Itbi nibit^ttc fnt/ CamMhBi 





Published November tqt4 


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The world-wide struggle between the primaiy races 
of mankind — the ''conflict of color/' as it has been hap- 
pily termed — bids fair to be the fundamental problem 
of the twentieth centuiy» and great conununities like the 
United States of America, the South African Confedera- 
tion, and Australasia r^ard the ''color question" as 
perhaps the gravest problem of the future. To our age, 
therefore, the French Revolution in San Domingo — the 
first great shock between the ideals of white supremacy 
and race equality, which erased the finest of European 
colonies from the map of the white world and initiated 
that most noted attempt at negro self-government, the 
black republic of Haiti — cannot but be of peculiar 

Strangely enough, the real stoiy of this tremendous 
racial and social cataclysm has never been told, and it is 
to fiU this gap in the history of modem times that this 
book has been written. For, be it noted, in this field, the 
race question, important though it be, is not the sole 
noteworthy element. San Domingo in 1789 was the most 
striking example of French colonial genius, and the struggle 
of the colony's formative ideab with the new political, 
economic, and social conceptions of the French Revolution 
is of great importance to the histoiy of European coloni- 
zation. The attempt to apply the Revolutionary ideals to 
an environment so radically different from that of France 


yields a most valuable side-light to the study of the 
French Revolution itself, while the attempt made under 
the Consulate to restore French authority and economic 
prosperity to San Domingo is one of the most illuminating 
episodes in the career of the master-figure ol.the age — 
Napoleon Bonaparte. 

The keynote to the histoiy of the French Revolution 
in San Domingo is a great tragedy, — the tragedy of the 
annihilation of the white population.^ The period opens 
in 1789 with a resident white population of nearly 40,000 
souls, at the vety pinnacle of material prosperity and pos- 
sessed of a complex social organization, jealously guard- 
ing its supremacy and race identity in face of a large caste 
of half-breeds whose only bond of interest with their 
white superiors was a conunon exploitation of some 
half-million negro slaves. The period closes sixteen years 
later with the complete annihilation of the last remnants 
of the white population, the subordination of the mulatto 
caste to the negroesy and the destruction of the island's 
economic prosperity. 

In this grim tragedy the chief figure is that of the black 
leader Toussaint Louverture. Unfortunately it seems 
improbable that the mists enveloping his personality will 
ever be cleared away. Extremely little first-class material 
exists, and practically eveiything written about him is 
of such doubtful value that his figure seems destined to 
remain forever shrouded in the haze of legend and tra- 

Excluding my five opening chapters of an introductoiy 
nature, describing the condition of San Domingo in 1789, 
the body of the work falls under two main heads. The 


first of these is the downfall of white supremacy, brought 
about by internal dissensions, by the revolt of the mu- 
lattoes and negroes, and by the vigorous determina- 
tion of Revolutionary France to destroy the colonial 
ideals of slavery and the color line. This culminates in the 
general collapse of white authority in the year 1793. The 
second main heading of the book is the progress of black 
supremacy, personified ii^ the career of Toussaint Louver- 
ture. After seven years of constant struggle this suprem- 
acy becomes absolute; the English invaders are expelled, 
the mulattoes crushed, the Spani^ ()ortion of the island 
overrun, and French authority reduced to a vain shadow. 
By the year 1800, Toussaint Louverture is absolute master 
of San Domingo. But his power is short-lived. France is 
now under the First Consul Bonaparte, and the peace 
with England in 1801 frees his hands for the restoration 
of San Domingo to France. Under the shock of Leclerc's 
expedition Toussaint's power collapses, and though the 
complete conquest of San Domingo is delayed by yellow 
fever and Napoleon's restoration of slavery, the French 
triumph is averted only by the renewal of the struggle 
between France and England in 1803. The English war is, 
however, fatal to the French cause. Within a year the 
island is completely lost, and shortly afterward the last 
French colonists are exterminated by the negro leader 
Dessalines. White San Domingo has become only a 
memoiy, and the black State of Haiti makes its appear- 
ance in the world's history. 

Of the soiirce-materials for the present work, by far the 
richest collections are those preserved in the French ar- 
chives, a full description of which may be found in the 


appended bibliography. It 18 ahnost certain that no archi- 
val material remains in San Domingo itself. Toussaint's 
papers were captured by the French in 1802, and but 
few documents can have survived the century of civil 
strife which sums up Haiti's turbulent history. The printed 
material on San Domingo is extensive. From the earliest 
times the island attracted attention, the first writers on 
San Domingo being learned ecclesiastics. As early as 1783 
the Jesuit Charlevoix published a four-volume histoiy of 
the island, based upon still earlier unpublished writings. 
After the Seven Years' War (1768), San Domingo was by 
far the most important French colony, and the lively 
interest displayed by French thought on political and 
economic questions resulted in a considerable number of 
writings concerning the island. This growing literature 
was soon swelled by the humanitarian antislavery agi- 
tation which began to be noticeable after 1770. The out- 
break of the French Revolution saw a flood of books, 
pamphlets, and brochures of eveiy description and shade 
of opinion upon colonial questions in general and San 
Domingo in particular, and the intensity of output 
continues till the year 1798, when it sharply declines ow- 
ing to the repressive influence of the Terror. The revived 
interest in colonial affairs under Bonaparte and the 
prospects of a restoration of white authority in San Do- 
mingo called forth a large number of writings from exiled 
colonists, while Leclerc's expedition resulted in several 
accounts by oflScers and civilians. The years following 
the Bourbon restoration in 1814 saw a series of writings 
by exiled colonists similar to that following the establish- 
ment of the Consulate in 1799, noted above; for Prance 



had not renounced her claims on San Domingo and many 
persona hoped that the Bourbons would f oUow Napoleon's 
example after the Peace of Amiens, now that the general 
pacification of 1815 had again given the French fleets 
the freedom of the sea. When this hope was seen to be 
a vain one» however, interest in San Domingo died away. 
The few writings on the island during the years preceding 
the final abolition of slavery in the French colonies in 
1S48 are of little value. Of late years the subject has been 
touched upon by modem writers on the Old Regime and 
on Napoleon, while some twenty-five years ago an Ameri- 
can writer (Mills) wrote a scholarly treatise directly on the 
first two years of the French Revolution in San Domingo, 
though he did not utilize any of the unpublished archival 
material. Critical notices upon all the important books 
in this field may be found in the appended bibliography. 
In closing I desire to express my profoimd appreciation 
to all those who have so kindly assisted me in my work; 
especially, to Professor A. C. Coolidge, of Harvard Uni- 
versity, the inspirer of the present volume; to Professors 
R. M. Johnston and R. B. Merriman, of Harvard Univer- 
sity, for their suggestions on certain parts of the book; 
and to Messrs. Waldo G. Leland and Abel Doysi6, of the 
Carnegie Bureau for Historical Research, for their assist- 
ance in my French archival researches. I desire also to 
express my appreciation of the privileges extended me 
by the Library of Harvard University, which so greatly 
facilitated my examination of printed material. 

T. LoTHBOP Stoddard. 

Boston, June 20, 1014. 



Approach to San Domingo. Area. Spanish Conquest. The 
Buccaneers. Their Impress on San Domingo. 


Contrast of French and Spanish San Domingo. French San 
Domingo: — The North, — The West, — The South. Popula- 
tion. Climate. Government. Confusion of Powers. Charac- 
ter. The Judiciary. Economic Situation of San Domingo. 
Trade with France. The "Facte Coloniale." Its Results. 


Complex Structure of the White Population. Europeans and 
Creoles. Sterility. The Official Caste. The Nobility. The 
Clergy. Irreligion, The Middle Class. The "Petits Blancs." 
The Creoles. Wealth and Luxury. Consequences. Town Life. 
Country Life. The "Legend** of San Domingo. 


The "Free People of Color." Mulattoes and Free Negroes. 
Concubinage. Increase of Mulattoes. The Color Line. Its 
Necessity. The "Law of Reversion." Abhorrence of Misce- 
genation. Punishment of Renegades. Indelibility of Color. 
Status of the Mulattoes. The Mulatto Character. 


Slavery. The Slave Population. Its Sterility. Slave Im- 
ports. The Slave Trade. Preponderance of Foreign-Bom 
Negroes. Variety of TVpes. The African Negro. The Creole 
Negro. General Character. Religion. Condition. Work. 
Discipline. Legal Status. Actual Status. "Marronage." The 
Maroon Negroes. Negro Revolts. Macandal. 


States-Greneral. Discontent in San Domingo. The Idea 
of Colonial Representation. Beginning of the Movement. In 


France, — in San Domingo. Propaganda in France. The 
Authorities in San Domingo. Colonial Opposition to Repre- 
sentation. Fear of the States-General, — and of the *Anti- 
Slavery Movement in France. Election of Deputies to the 
States-GeneraL The Government FaUs into Impotence. 
Colonial Propaganda in the French Elections^ The "Club 
Massiac." The Struggle in the States-General. Fatal Results 
of Colonial Representation. Possibility that San Domingo 
might have Escaped the Revolution. 



Rapid Progress of the Revolution. Alarm of the Colonists. 
Flan of a Colonial Assembly. The Mulatto Agitation in 
France. The Colonial Conmiittee. Its Report, — and De- 
cree of March 8, 1790. The "Instructions" of March 28. 
"Article 4." 


Latent Unrest at San Domingo. Effect of the "14th of 
July." The Poor Whites enter Politics. Flight of Barb6- 
Marbois. The Provincial Assemblies, — they call a Colonial 
Assembly. Mulatto Unrest. Negro Unrest. White Reprisals. 
Results. The Mulatto Rising of March, 1790. EffecU. Pofr- 
sibility of a Govemment-Planter-Mulatto Alliance, — which 
is not Realized. 


Character of the Colonial Assembly. It draws up a Consti- 
tution. Its Nature. Tension between Government and Assem- 
bly. Peynier's Referendum. Beginning of Hostilities. The 
Chevalier Mauduit. The "Pompons Blancs." The Mutiny of 
the Ltopard. Mauduit*s coup diHai. Vincent's Expedition. 
The Fall of Samt-Marc. The Assembly leaves for France. The 
"Treaty of L^ogane." Unsettled State of the Colony, — the 
West, — the South, — the North. Lack of Union against the 
Revolution. Og6*s Rebellion. Its Meaning. Its Results. It 
fails to heal White Disunion. Overthrow of Royalism in the 
West. Realignment of Parties. 

,X. THE DECREE OF MAY 15,1791 115 

Relative Security of the Colonial System till 1790. Attitude 
of French Conservatives, — and of the Colonists. Its Effect 





on the National Assembly. The Tide Changes trith 1791. 
Report of the Grand Committee. The Great Debate on the 
Colonies. The Bewbell Amendment. It becomes the Decree of 
May 15, 1701. Its Results. Its Arrival in San Domingo, ks 
Reception. The new Colonial Assembly. 


Its Outbreak. Premonitory Symptoms since 1789. White 
Disregard. First Negro Successes. Causes of White Inactiv- 
ity: — Mental Shock, — Disaffection within Le Cap. Bravery 
of the Country Whites. Terrible Nature of the Struggle. Negro 
Leaders and Tactics. Primary Cause of the Insurrection. Con- 
tributory Responsibility of the French Radicals, — of the 
Royalists, — of the Colonists. 


The Mulattoes resolve to Strike. The Royalists of the West. 
The Alliance of Royalists and Mulattoes. The Confederation 
of La-Croix-de»-Bouquets. The Concordat of September. Its 
real Significance. Renewal of the Troubles. Arrival of the 
Decree of September 24, 1791. Its EffecU. The Burning of 
Port-au-Prince. Race War in the West, — and South. 


Character of the Commission, — and of the Conmiissioners. 
Their Arrival at San Domingo. Their Negotiations with the 
Negro Rebels. Their Failure. Its Results. Breach between 
Commissioners and Assembly. The Commissioners and the 
West. Saint>Xeger in the West. He returns to France. Crisis 
at Le Cap. The March Riots. Mirbeck sails for France. 
Roume remains, — to combat a Royalist Reaction. 

XIV. THE LAW OF APRIL 4, 1792 166 

Jacobin Hostility to the Decree of the 24th September. 
Jacobin Power in the " L6gi8latif ." Appeals from San Domingo. 
The Jacobins prevent the Sending of Aid. Effect on San Do- 
mingo. The Jacobin Assault on the Colonial System. The 
Report of January 10, 1792. The Approach of Jacobin Victory. 
The Law of April 4, 1792. Effect on San Domingo. The 
** Council of Peace and Union." Policy of Roume. His Jour- 
ney to the West. Blanchelande in the South. 



Coercnre Nature ol tlie Law of tlie 4th of AfiriL The 
Second Cnril Cwmniiiioii, and CommiminnfTg, Polverd* Ail- 
hand, Sonthooaz. OpbiioiiB oo their Character. Was there a 
Jacobin Plot? The CommiaBionen' Instmctkins. Their Ar- 
rival at San Domingo. Their First Measures. Effect of the 
"Tenth ol August'* on San Domingo. The Bi^yalist Coosihiw 
acy. The October 


Arrival of Rochambeau. Plans against the Color Line. The 
"Affaire Tb6ron."Polverel*s Voyage to the West. Sonthonaz's 
Rule at Le Cap. Remonstrances of Polverel. The December 
Riots. Results. Increasing Difficulties. Foreign War. First 
Moves toward Emancipation. 


Polverel at Saint-Marc, — and at Port-au-Prince. His Alli- 
ance with the Town Whites. The Desertion of Ailhaud. 
Polverel in the South. The Break-Up of Western Royalism on 
the Color Line. Hyadnthe's Maroon Rising. The Revolt 
of Port-au-Prince. Sonthonax in the West. Fall of Port-au- 
Prince. Rigaud's Defeat. 


Unrest at Le Cap. The Arrival of Galbaud. Alarm of the 
Commissioners. They Return to Le Cap. The Revolt of the 
Fleet. The Destruction of Le Cap. Attitude of the Conunis- 


Exodus of the White Population, — and of the White Troops. 
Advance of the Spaniards. State of Le Cap. Sonthonaz*s New 
Policy. His Emancipation Proclamation. Its Extension to the 
West and South. Its Effects. Sonthonax*s Perilous Situation. 
His Flight to the West. 


White Denre for English Aid. The Grande Anse calls in the 
English, — and receives a British Garrison. Surrender of the 
M6l©-Saint-Nicolas. Defection of the West. Hopeless Condi- 
tion of the North. Attitude of the Commissioners. Defection 


oltheMBhtfnfi Ik CooTcnlioo Decrees the CooimiaBioiMn 
i in a Slate ci Accoitioo It is Disregarded. Anti-Cokmial 

, Feefiag in France. Tlie ConTentk» abolislies Slaveiy. Effect 

I oo San Domingo. Tlie CommissioiierB leave for France. 


His Eailj Life. His FIrrt AeU. Tonasaint in Spanish Senr- 
ice. He changes Sdes. Campaign against the English (1794). 
The Campaign d 1796. Riyaliy d the Colored Castes. 
Rigaod's Role in the Sooth. Toassaint*8 Policy in the West. 
Rigaod's Policy in the North. The Muktto Troohles at 
Le Cap. The Rising of the 80th Ventre. Its Resohs. 


Hie Tldrd Civfl Commis8ion« — and CommisBioners. Their 
FirrtActk Sonthonaz*s Policy. Its Results in the North. ~ 
and Sooth. Policy of Sonthonaz and Toossaint. Toossaint 
expeb SonthntiaT, His Fears of its Effect on France. His 


Reasons for his Biission. Toussaint's En^^iah Policy. H6- 
douviIle*s Policy. His Clash with Toussaint over the English 
Evacuatkm. The Expulsion of HMouTille. 


Toussaint's Difficulties. He gains over Roume. The Con- 
ference between Toussaint and Rigaud. The War between the 
Castes. The Siege of Jacmel. The Conquest of the South. The 
"Bloody Assise" of Dessalines. The Ruin of the West. 


^ Toussaint*s Projects against Santo Domingo. Opposition of 

Roume. It is Bn^en. Bonaparte's Commission. The Resist- 
ance of Santo Domingo. Its Conquest by Toussaint. Condi- 
tion of French San Domingo. Toussaint's Reconstruction of 
San Domingo. His Favor to the Whites. Moyse's Rebellion. 
Toussaint's Constitution. 


The Colonies at the 18th Brumaire. Napoleon's Constitu- 
tional Changes. Conflicting Views on the Future Colonial 


Policy of France. First Abortive Expedition fdr San Domingo. 
Further Tentative Measures. The English Peace frees Napo- 
leon's Hands. Leclerc*s Instructions. 


Lederc's Arrival at San Domingo. Toussaint's Attitude. 
His Position. Lederc's PUn. Fall of Le Cap, — and Portrau- 
Prince. Surrender of the South, — and of Santo Domingo. 
Dessalines*s Failure at L6ogane. Lederc's Negotiations with 
Toussaint. Capture of Port-de-Paix. Lederc's Campaign. 
Toussaint's Defeat at Couleuvres. Dessalines's Defence of the 
West. His Failure at Port-au-Prince. Humbert's Defeat at 
Port-de-Paiz. Capitulation of Maurepas. Siege of the Cr6te-I^ 
Pierrot. Effect of its Capture. Submission of the Black Gen- 
erab. Necessity for Lederc's Policy of Conciliation. 


Yellow Fever. Toussaint's Arrest. Its Effects. Toussaint's 
End. The Disarmament. Napoleon's Reactionary Policy. 
Lederc's Alarm. The Reaction at Guadeloupe. Its Effect 
on San Domingo. Loyalty of the Black Generals. Lederc's 
Despair. Ravages of the Fever. The Death of Lederc. 


Defection of the Mulattoes. Their Attack on Le Cap. De- 
fection of the Black Generals. Improvement under Rocham- 
beau. Terrible Nature of the Struggle. TheEng^War. The 
Loss of San Domingo. The Extermination of the Whites. The 
End of "San Domingo." 

NOTES 351 


The French Revolution in 
San Domingo 


The French Revolution in ': \ 
San Domingo 


The European voyager who, on a morning of early 
1789, raised the eastern cape of the island of San Do- 
mingo and sailed along its northern shore, had before 
his eyes substantially the panorama of to-day: a wall 
of high green hills, clothed with forests and backed by 
glimpses of mountain-peaks far in the hazy distance. 
No sign of man broke upon the lonely coast, for this was 
the decayed and neglected colony of Spanish Santo 

But when he had crossed the wide bay-mouth of Man- 
cenille and again neared the land, the scene was changed 
as by an enchanter's wand. There lay before him a noble 
plain, teeming and throbbing with human life to its 
very background of lofty mountains; a vast checkerboard 
of bright green sugar-cane, upon which rose white colunms 
of tall chinmeys and tree-embowered plantation mansions. 
Where a mountain spur neared the sea, its slopes were 
belted with coffee-plantations almost to its wooded crest. 
When the sudden tropic night fell, the long coast sparkled 
with lights, while ever and anon a sudden flame from some 

• • • 
•• • 



• • • 

boiling-hDuiBe'irtack lit up the countiyside with its glare.^ 
For 4his**wds the French portiQii of the island, — "La 
Pa<tie'Fran^;aise de Saint-Domingue." 
..X^dilW neit morning past the gims of Fort P^ 
• • ' f^y ^ C&P Frangais came into view nestling mider the 
•\ '••'craggy "Mome du Cap." * Thia» the Metropolis of San 
;. : * Domingo, was a fine, stone-built town of twenty thousand 
souls. Over a hundred ships lay at anchor or beside 
its broad quays, while three thousand sailors swarmed 
upon its water-front or made merry in its many taverns.' 
Into its warehouses poured ceaselessly the tribute of the 
great North Plain, — the produce of nearly three thou- 
sand plantations and the labor of two hundred thousand 
slaves.^ Here glowed most brightly the strange, hectic 
life of those eighteenth-century West Indies; — those 
island-factories, producing sugar and consuming slaves. 
This magnificent colony, which supplied not only 
France but the half of Europe, was not very large. As a 
glance at the map wiU show, it was little more than two 
long peninsulas to north and south, connected by a strip 
of territory in places not more than twenty miles wide. 
By far the greater portion of the island remained in the 
possession of its original masters, the Spaniards. 

Cplumbus, its discoverer, had named it Hispaniola, and 
it had been the earliest centre of Spanish colonization. 
But a brief period of brutal exploitation had exhausted 
its mineral wealth and annihilated its numerous Indian 
population. The discoveries of Mexico and Peru rapidly 
drained away the restless conquistadoreSf and the island 
sank almost into oblivion. The few colonists who remained 
turned loose their cattle on the lonely land, and in time 


troops of swine rooted in its virgin forests and herds 
of wild cattle grazed upon its silent plains.^ 

It was early in the seventeenth century that bands of 
interlopers began to settle upon those northern and west- 
em coasts which were to form the French portion of San 
Domingo. * These people were by no means predominantly 
French. The English were nearly as numerous, and there 
were other minor dements.'^ They foimd the western end 
of the island entirely deserted, for the Spaniards had al- 
ways confined their settlements to the east, the regions of 
mineral wealth. Many of these men ranged the woods 
after the herds of wild cattle, whence their name "buc- 
cancers"; • others settled upon the little island of Tor- 
tuga, off the north coast, from which they sallied forth to 
prey upon Spanish commerce.* 

For nearly forty years these nests of himters and pirates 
pursued»a bloody and tumultuous history. Three times 
the Spaniards descended upon Tortuga and laid it waste, 
while throughout this period the French and English 
elements strove for supremacy. The struggle was long and 
doubtful. As late as 1657 an Englishman ruled Tortuga, 
and not until 1663 were the French firmly established. ^° 

Henceforth these regions might be considered French; 
but their early history had set upon them an indelible 
stamp which was to differentiate San Domingo from all 
the other colonies of France. Not French adventurers 
alone, but men of other nations as well, had settled the 
land and wrested it from the Spaniard; neither crown 
nor chartered company had brought them thither, but 
their own adventurous wills. Hence, th^basic spirit of 
this young society was Liberty: Liberty in all its phases. 


— political, l^aly social, religions, moral, — the vei 
antithesis to that ordered despotism of the Grand M 
narque which ruled contemporary France." 

Royal Governors now sat at Tortuga, men of abilii 
and natural force, — but they could do little to increa 
the power of the Crown. The wild buccaneer spirit flanu 
up at the least sign of encroachment; indeed, this ve: 
temper was needed to protect the infant colony from i 
foreign enemies. For the Spaniard continued to threats 
till the Peace of Ryswick," while the English made co: 
tinual descents up to the general peace of 1714.^' Thu 
after nearly a centuiy of existence, San Domingo st 
essentially retained its lawless independence.^* 

At thenleath of Louis XIV, San Domingo was, it is tru 
no longer the pirate nest of an earlier time. The Govemo 
had done their best to attach their unruly subjects to tl 
land, had brought in \^ives, and had encouraged agricij 
tural immigrants. There were distinct beginnings • 
farming and trade. ^^ The long peace which prevails 
until almost the middle of the eighteenth century saw tl 
rapid growth of San Domingo in wealth and population. 

But the old spirit lived on. All the West Indies receive 
imruly elements, but San Domingo seems to have bee 
particularly marked in this respect. A Governor of Ma 
tinique complains of the number of persons leaving thi 
island for San Domingo, "where they may give then 
selves up to hunting and disorder, and where licentioi 
liberty is complete." ^^ The Governors needed all the 
tact and coolness to prevent continual outbreaks. "1 
a word, insolence and mutiny were everywhere." ^® 

Attempts to infringe upon commercial liberty we] 


answered by serious rebellions in 1670 and 1723, and the 
proposed chartered company regime had to be dropped. 
And it was very evident that these risings were but symp- 
toms of the basic spirit of the colony. "These people 
have risen not only against the Company but against the 
King's authority," writes the Governor in 1728. "They 
demand tax exemption, free trade with all nations, and 
a republican liberty." ^» It is no mere academic mter- 
est which thus emphasizes the origin and early spirit of 
San Domingo. For, despite the marvellous economic 
and social transformation of the later eighteenth century, 
the old ideas lived on. In 1789, the colonists had not for- 
gotten their early history. They claimed that San Do- 
mingo had "given itself to the King of France" upon 
certain conditions; ^° they considered the island no mere 
subject colony, but a " Franco- American Province," bound 
to France through the Crown: ^^ a species of personal 
union somewhat like that of France and Navarre. On the 
day when the French people should destroy the Crown and 
claim for itself the right to break conditions which the 
Crown had always respected and which the colonists con- 
sidered vital to their existence (the color line and slavery), 
it is easy to realize the moral sanction given to projects 
for resistance and rebellion. 




In 1789 French San Domingo was the gem of the Yi 
Indies, and the spectacle of its marvellous prosperity^ 
perhaps enhanced by contrast with its Spanish neigU 
A short journey away from the fierce energy of the ^ 
coast across the border moimtain waU brought one t 
land where it was always afternoon: the same soil i 
a better climate had here produced only a deepen 
lethargy. Santo Domingo, the capital, was a handsoi 
picturesque old town, with many stately landmarks 
its early prosperity, but elsewhere all was decay i 
solitude.^ The total population was barely 125,000. Th 
were mostly ranchers and herdsmen, for there was aim 
no agriculture and only some fourteen thousand slai 
Of the free population about half were rated white, thoi 
the color line seems to have been pretty loosely drawi 

French San Domingo was divided into three proving 
— the North, the West, and the South; this order coi 
sponding to date of settlement and relative importai 
The North Province was the oldest, richest, and m 
densely populated. Its glory was the incomparable " Pla 
du Nord " : its chief city. Cap Francis (colloquially kno 
as "Le Cap")> was the metropolis of the colony.' 1 
North Province was shut oflF from the rest of the isla 
by a difficult moimtain-chain running east and w< 


which continued out into the sea as a high penins ula 
tipped by the str o ng fortr ess of the M61e-Saint-Ni(x>las, 
the *' Gibraltar of the Antilles/* Although the North was 
SO large^mountainous, the valleys were of great fer- 
tility and the lower hill-slopes eminently suited to coffee- 
planting. Only about the M61e was there a dry and sterile 
region unfit for agriculture.^ 

The West Province embraced the central portion of the 
colony, and much of the southern part as well. A glance 
at the map will show its extraordinary irregularity of 
outline, pressed close to the sea as it was by the sinuous 
mountain wall of the Spanish border. It must be noted 
that much of the long southern peninsula, which was the 
colony^s most striking geographical feature, fell within 
its jurisdiction. 

Although nearly twice the size of the North, the West 
Province was not so well favored by nature. The moim- 
tain ranges to north and east cut off the rainfall, and 
made its climate hot and imhealthful; precipitation came 
mostly from violent thimderstorms which were often more 
a damage than a benefit. Its prosperity in 1789 was largely 
due to elaborate irrigation, which made possible the regu- 
lar cultivation of its plains. These were three in number: 
the wide, inland valley of the Artibonite in the upper por- 
tion of the Province, the small but rich plain of L6ogane at 
the base of the southern peninsula, and the great plain 
of Cul-de-Sac, in rear of the city of Port-au-Prince.^ 

Port-au-Prince, although dating only from the middle 
of the eighteenth century, was a thriving town of some 
eight thousand inhabitants. The produce of the Cul-de- 
Sac made it a busy port, while its selection as the colonial 


capital gave it added importance. Its appearance, how- 
ever, was far inferior to that of Le Cap, for the preva- 
lence of earthquakes made it a town of low wooden 
houses, which European visitors slightingly compared 
to a Tartar camp/ 

TKe bouth ftovince was in aU respects the least im- 
portant. Its smaU area was entirely confined to the long 
southern peninsula, in reality little more than a moimtain 
ridge sloping precipitately to the sea. Still largely unde- 
veloped, the South's rather primitive economic and social 
conditions recalled the earlier times. It was, however, not 
devoid of possibilities, for there were many fertile valleys, 
and a real plain behind its busy little capital, Les Cayes.^ 
One thing should be especially noted; — a narrow strip 
of sea alone separated the South Province from the Eng- 
lish island of Jamaica, and a close intercourse had always 
existed in defiance of the laws against contraband trade. ^ 
In the storms of the Revolution this was to have impor- 
tant consequences. 

The population of San Domingo was divided into three 
castes: the whites, the "free colored" (including both 
mulattoes and negroes), and the slaves. It is impossible 
to discover their mmibers for the year 1789 with any 
great accuracy. The last official census was taken in 1788, 
and it seems to have been far from accurate. No official 
retiuns for the slave population can be trusted, since the 
planters made false reports to avoid the head-tax on their 
human chattels. 

The official returns for 1788 give slightly under 28,C00 
whites, 22,000 free colored, and some 405,000 slaves.' 
For the year 1789 we have no official returns, but w e do 


possess two estimates from experts worthy of every con- 
sideration. The Intendant Barb£-Marbois, an exceedingly 
careful man whose official position ensured him accurate 
information, estimates the whites at S595OO9 the free 
colored at 26,600, and the slaves at 400,000. ^^^ The deeply 
learned Moreau de Saint-M£iy gives as his figures, 89,000 
whites, 27,500 free colored, and 452,000 slaves. ^^ 

The climate of San Domingo was very bad, — possibly 
the worst of the West Indies. Official correspondence 
almost always mentions the writers' failing health, while 
the history of militaiy operations in the island is one long 
tragedy of disease, from the decimation of the Anglo^ 
Spanish expeditions in the wars of Louis XIV down to the 
final catastrophic annihilation of Napoleon's great army 
in 1808. 

The writers on San Domingo unite in a general con- 
demnation. ** In this climate," writes an intelligent trav- 
eller about the year 1785, "the Etiropean must be al- 
ways on his guard. The sun is a danger, the evening-cool 
a menace, the rain not less fatal." ^' Good health could be 
preserved only by'abst^loious living and the most careful 
precautions." Hilliard d'Auberteuil's is the only voice 
raised in its favor, ^^ but he is obviously making a polemi- 
cal point," — and his words called forth protests of amaze- 
ment and indignation. "To-day," writes a colonist, "is 
the SOth of January; it is four o'clock in the afternoon; 
— and I am obliged to prop up Monsieur d'Auberteuil's 
book because I am sweating such great drops. What has 
caused this? — the climate or Monsieur d'Auberteuil's 
assertions? We will let him settle the question." " 

The hot months from April to September were the most 


unhealthful; they were the time of malaria and yellow 
fever. But the cooler rainy season was also scourged by 
intestinal troubles.^^ The only healthful spots were the 
barren island of Tortuga, and the dry and sterile district 
of the M61e-Saint-Nicolas. 

Although the storms of the Revolution were to prove 
that the population of San Domingo had neither forgotten 
its early history nor lost its turbident character, the pro- 
found transformations of the preceding half-centuiy had 
greatly altered the spirit of government. Increase in 
wealth and closer connections with France had enabled 
the Bourbon Monarchy to tighten its grip upon the island. 

"The government of the colony vested idtimately in 
the Minister of Marine, representing the King." ^^ His 
edicts were laws, and he appointed the high officials.^* 
But Paris was distant a six-weeks voyage, and the local 
heads of government were in practice the supreme au- 
thority. ** Heads," be it remarked; for the local power was 
twofold, — the Governor and the Intendant. No parallel 
should be drawn with their fellows of contemporary 
France, for the Governor of San Domingo was the 
stronger factor.*® 

Theoretically each was assigned a special sphere, ^ith 
a middle ground of joint activity. The Governor was the 
titular representative of the Crown, the military chief, 
and the medium of external relations. The Intendant, 
whose office dated only from the beginning of the eigh- 
teenth centuiy,'^ headed the civil administration and the 

But this division of powers remained largely a theory. 
To begin ^dth, the respective spheres had never been per- 


manently delimited. "Thepowersof the Governors were 
not fixed definitely by law, but were described in the com- 
mission given to each appointee and varied from time to 
time. To a Governor possessing a greater degree of the 
King's confidence, especial power would be given." *' 
That large range of duties in which joint action was pre- 
scribed was another fruitful source of ambiguity. And, to 
these inherent difficulties, there was added the personal 
element. The Grovemor jwas always an old soldier or 
sailor ; the Intendant always a bureaucrat. To place 
members of the "Noblesse d'£p6e" and the "Noblesse 
de Robe*' upon a remote island with interlaced author- 
ity was to court the usual result, — chronic rivalries 
and usurpations, which extended down through every 
grade of the administrations.^^ For each stood at the head 
of a numerous official hierarchy which naturally espoused 
the cause of its superior.^* All eighteenth-century writers 
are loud in their censure of the endless confusion and 
scandal. "This hybrid civil and military administration 
called a government," exclaims Hilliard d'Aubertcuil in 
1776, " has degenerated into a frightful mixture of tyranny 
and anarchy." *• 

In these struggles the Governor generally came off 
victorious. He was not only master of the regular military 
forces, but also head of the elaborate militia and gen- 
darmerie system demanded by the island's strategic posi- 
tion and immense slave population.^^ His local comman- 
dants sometimes usurped both civil and judicial authority, 
and governed their districts under virtual martial law.'^ 
But the Intendant always opposed an annoying obstruc- 
tionism, continuously invoked the intervention of the 


Minister of Marine, and courted the favor of certain 
elements of the colonial population.'* 

As might have been expected, such a regime had a 
harsh and arbitrary character.*^ Its incumbents, however, 
boldly defended its necessity. "Yes," writes a Governor 
in 1761, '* authority is in the hands of the militaiy power: 
but this is the natural consequence of the colony's origin 
and present condition. Eight thousand whites capable of 
bearing arms are dispersed along three himdred leagues of 
coast. Nearly two hundred thousand blacks, their slaves 
and potential enemies, are about them day and night. 
Furthermore, these are men not bound to the land by ties 
of birth, loyalty, and blood, but drawn by self-interest 
frcm many regions." '^ 

Nevertheless, though arbitrary and severe, the Govern- 
ment of San Domingo was by no means so black as 
painted by the democratic theorists of the time. Such a 
population, with arms in its hands and the backing of past 
tradition, would not have submitted to a very grinding 
tyranny. A native planter like Venault de Charmilly 
describes the force of public opinion, favored as it was by 
the internecine struggles of authority itself.'* 

But though there might be a dispute as to this Govern- 
ment's tyranny, there could be none whatever as to its 
costliness.'^ Bad finance was the besetting sin of the Old 
Regime, but nowhere was its disorder, wastefulness, and 
graft seen to better advantage than at San Domingo. In 
the year 1785 the Abb£ Raynal had protested strongly 
against an expenditure of three million livres.'^ The official 
report of December, 1789, itemizes an expenditure of nearly 
five millions. '* Taking Barb6-Marbois's census figures, this 


would mean a yearly burden on the colonists of nearly 
one hundred and forty livres per head. The wealth of 
San Domingo, it is true, enabled it to carry the burden; 
but taxation was keenly felt, especially the hated poll-tax 
on slaves." 

The mere presence of antiquated methods, red tape, 
and the lack of a well-audited budget produced much leak- 
age.'^ But there was a great deal of downright graft be- 
sides. A conservative observer like the Baron de WimpfiFen 
speaks scornfully of the venality of the Governors,'^ and 
official peculation seems to have been as brazen as it was 

Nevertheless, with aU its faults, the Government was 
not without its good side. *' Especially since the middle 
of the eighteenth century it had done much to better the 
economic situation of the island, had organized a good 
police, clarified justice, and improved taxation." *® 

But all this had been done in the spirit of the contempo- 
rary maxim, "Everything for the people, and nothing by 
the people." The official world was a caste of Europeans, 
in which the colonists had no part.*^ There was not even 
the humblest form of municipal self-government,^' and 
the reforming era of Choiseul had given San Domingo 
only a couple of chambers of commerce.^' It was this 
complete lack of political education which was to weigh 
so heavily in the Revolution.** 

Until well past the middle of the eighteenth century, 
San Domingo had possessed a native judiciary. If we 
are to believe the colonists, it was endowed with every 
virtue,** but the testimony of officiab and travellers leaves 
a different impression. In ITll, a royal officer is greatly 


scandalized at the procedure of a magistrate who pro- 
nounced judgment between pipe-puffs, the while a dis- 
trict attorney allowed litigants to curse one another at 
pleasured* And, although time seems to have lent more 
dignity, the conduct of the legal class remained unedify- 
ing. In 1750, a registrar, formerly the proprietor of a 
gambling-house, installed a faro layout amid his official 
records to while away his idle moments.*^ 

Nevertheless, though crude and unlearned in the law, 
this colonial judiciary seems to have given cheap and 
speedy justice in accordance with local conditions'^ Not 
so the trained European lawyers who replaced them. 
Their procedure was as tedious at San Domingo as in the 
Parliament de Paris, and their pedantic application of 
French precedents to radically diverse cases was a con- 
stant source of injustice and irritation.*' "The erudition 
of these gentlemen," exclaims Raynal, "has well taught 
us that the Coutume de Paris and the Institutes of Jus- 
tinian were drawn up under a latitude very remote from 
that of San Domingo." *° This impatience at the slowness 
and pedantry of the courts caused executive encroach- 
ment, and royal officers often usurped judicial functions, 
especially as they were thus striking at henchmen of the 
hated Intendant.*^ The cost of this latter-day justice 
seems to have been very great. De Wimpffen states that 
the Provincial Court at Jacmel had a budget of over four 
hundred thousand livres a year.** 

In 1789, San Domingo '"had attained a height of pros- 
perity not surpassed in the history of European colonies. 
The greatest part of its soil was covered by plantatioDB 
on a gigantic scale which supplied half Europe with 


sugar, coffee, aad cotton." ^' And the d^ree of this pros- 
perity was increasing by leaps and bounds. Since 1786, 
*'the planters had doubled their products, and a large 
amount of French capital had poured into the island for 
investment — a hundred millions from Bordeaux alone. 
The returns were already splendid and still greater were 
expected." " 

San Domingo had undergone the economic transforma- 
tion of the other islands. In the seventeenth century its 
products had been tobacco, cocoa, and indigo. These 
had been grown by many small proprietors of modest 
fortune, with the aid of white indentured servants and a 
few slaves.** 

But the coming of sugar changed all this. The produc- 
tion of sugar b as much an industrial as it is an agricul- 
tural operation; it requires broad acres, a costly plant, and 
large working capital. The small holders quickly vanished 
before huge plantations worked by great gangs of slaves.** 
In 1789, the number of sugar-plantations was close upon 
eight hundred.*' 

However, sugar was by no means San Domingo's only 
product. Its cultivation was necessarily restricted to the 
plains and broader valleys, but French thrift had utilized 
everything except the mountain crests.*® It is true that 
tobacco and cocoa had practically gone and that indigo 
was fast going, but other staples had come to take their 
place. First among these stood coffee, whose three thou- 
sand plantations covered every mountainside; while the 
cotton acreage was advancing year by year. The less 
favored districts were given up to pasture which fed 
some two hundred and fifty thousand cattle and swine.** 


Such a colony was patently the most predous over-seas 
possession of France. The imports from her American col- 
onies for the year 1789 totalled two hundred and eighteen 
million livres,*^ fully three fourths of which came from 
San Domingo.*^ Furthermore, of these imports France 
reexported nearly two thirds, mostly after economic 
transformations which supported many branches of her 
industrial system/' In supplying the wants of the island, 
both the industry and the agriculture of France were 
interested. The fifty million livres of exports to San Do- 
mingo included everything from foodstuffs to tobacco- 
pipes; — "in a word, every object indispensable to civ- 
ilized life." •* Lastly, to all these profits there must be 
added the rich returns from the slave trade,*^ and San 
Domingo's predominant share in maintaining the fleet 
of a thousand ships and fifteen thousand sailors trading 
with the colonies.** 

The splendid position of San Domingo might seem to 
have meant contented colonists; — in reality, they were 
hot with discontent: though prosperoxis, they well knew 
that they might have been more prosperous still. For they 
saw themselves the victims of that tyrannous economic 
system known as the "Facte Coloniale." •• 

Normand has well summarized the principles of thb 
system under five rules: (1) the colony must send its prod- 
ucts only to the mother country; (2) the colony must buy 
only from the mother country; (8) the colony must es- 
tablish no manufactures; (4) the mother country agreed 
to buy its tropical products only from the colony; (5) the 
carrying-trade with the colony must be the monopoly of 
the mother country's merchant marine. '^ 


It is clear that only the fourth rule favored the colony; 
— the others sacrificed it to the mother country in the 
most ruthless fashion. Yet at the time, no principle was 
more generally established than the "" Facte Coloniale" : 
all nations held it to be the keystone of colonial policy* 
and Colbert's dictum, 'Xolonies are founded by and for 
the mother country," *^ was considered an axiom. Even 
the intellect of a Chatham could contend that the colonies 
should not be allowed to make a nail or a horse-shoe. '" The 
mother country saw in her colonists only a special kind 
of subjects, predestined to receive her products at an ex- 
cessively high price and to yield theirs at a value abnor- 
mally lowered by the absolute lack of foreign markets and 
consequent competition." •• They were "in every. je- 
spect victims of monopoly." ^^ 

But, although the system of France was no stricter than 
her neighbors', it bore with especial hardship on her colo- 
nies. The reason for this was that the French merchant 
marine, although granted the monopoly of the canying- 
trade, was quite inadequate to the supplying of the colo- 
nies.^^ Indeed, it showed no real desire to do so, and strove 
to keep up famine prices by this artificial scarcity.^* The 
bitter gibes of De Wimpffen show the deep indignation 
felt at this conduct.^* 

And if the French colonies were kept short in normal 
times, how was it during the long wars of the eighteenth 
century, when the superior English fleets swept the French 
flag from the sea? For, be it understood, this was no mere 
question of annoyance or of loss, but a matter of down- 
right life and death. Not one of these over-specialized 
islands produced enough tropical foods to feed its negroes, 


while the whites lived almost entirely upon imported pro- 
visions.^^ Were no grain-ships to enter their harbors, the 
colonists would die likeMidas in histreasure-chamber. As 
a matter of fact, great numbers of slaves at San Domingo 
died of hunger during the Seven Years' War.^* 

Of course this preposterous state of things wrought its 
own cure. Smuggling had always existed at San Domingo; 
smuggling of the most flagrant character and with a back- 
ing of public approval which made its suppression impos- 
sible. A regular traffic existed with \hp English and Span- 
ish islands, and with the North American continent.'* 
Indeed, the Governors themselves openly permitted 
trading in times of especial scarcity.^' 

The growing enlightenment of the eighteenth century 
had led the French Government to attempt to remedy the 
situation, though in hesitating fashion. In 1767, Choiseul 
established a port of entry for foreign trade at the Mdle- 
Saint-Nicolas, although legalizing only a small list of 
the most necessary foodstuflFs.'* In 1784, further conces- 
sions were made by the opening of the chief ports (Le Cap, 
Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes), and by an extension of 
the legal list.'* Finally, the Anglo-French commercial 
treaty of 1786 and the Franco-American convention of 
1787 broke a wide breach in the "Facte Coloniale." ^ 

But, after all, the old system still existed in principle, 
and in 1789 the measures taken were either too partial or 
too recent to have produced much effect. In 1788, the 
foreign imports were only 7,000,000 livres, the exports 
only 3,700,000; ■* — not very much by comparison with 
the French trade. At the outbreak of the Revolution 
colonial discontent was bitter and unassuaged.** 



Though small in number, the white population of San 
Domingo ^ was in structure extraordinarily complex. Its 
lines of cleavage were both many and transverse. This 
handful of Europeans formed in one sense the Microcosm 
of contemporary France, since all French classes were 
there represented;* yet in spirit the two societies were by 
no means the same, for in San Domingo, class relations 
bad been much modified by a tropical environment. 

To form a correct idea of this colonial society is by no 
means easy. Its observers often differ in their impressions 
and in their judgments. Still, the main lines seem to be 
fairly clear. Differences of opinion arise usually on details; 
on fundamentals, the bulk of both private and official tes- 
timony is in agreement. 

The most obvious line of demarcation was one of birth. 
The antagonism between native- and foreign-bom — 
or, in the language of the time, between " Creoles " and 
"Europeans"' — seems to have greatly impressed ob- 
servers. "The first thing that strikes every traveller,** 
says De Wimpffen, "is that in spite of the conformity of 
Qrigin, color, and interests, the whites from Europe and 
the white Creoles form two classes, which, by their mutual 
pretensions, are so widely sundered that necessity alone 
can bring them together. The former, with more breed- 
ing, more politeness, and more knowledge of the world. 


affect over the latter a superiority which is far from con- 
tributing to unite them." ^ The number of shady charac- 
ters among the Europeans did not promote good feeling.* 
Hilliard d' Auberteuil is particularly severe in his criticism 
of the European population and advocates radical re- 
striction of inmiigration to protect the Creoles, whom he 
regards as by far the sounder element.* Of late years, how- 
ever, the quality of the new arrivals would seem to have 
been improving.^ 

Yet even within its own ranks, the European class suf- 
fered from disunion: ^^This element, although generally 
energetic, hardy, and enterprising, at bottom lacked cohe- 
sion." * Environment and interest had succeeded in pro- 
ducing only the most superficial "" consciousness of kind." 
The Abb6 Raynal brings this out very well. "There is 
here," he says, "no national consciousness; because each 
one brings his own with him, — his native prejudices, 
education and vices. At the same time, while all these 
people retain their peculiar manners and customs, th^ 
yet take on what I may call the 'habits of the colonies.' 
This distinction is important, and should not be over- 
looked. Ordinarily, we seek for the character of a people 
in its national point of view; but, in San Domingo, there 
is no real 'people,' — only a mass of individuals, with 
common interests but isolated viewpoints. Even the 
Creole is not always an American; he is a Gascon or 
Provengal, if he has chanced to learn his father's dialect 
or imbibe his principles." • 

Another point to be noted is that the white population 
of San Domingo was predominantly foreign-bom; cer- 
tainly over one half,**^ possibly even three fourths," were 


of European birth. For this state of things there were 
several reasons. In the first place> the presence of an im- 
mense slave population had made a class of native white 
laborers impossible; " the "poor whites" of 1789 were in 
great part a vicious rabble of adventurers.^' 

And even among those townsmen and planters who 
composed the middle and upper strata of society, there 
were few marriages and fewer children. The causes of 
this sterility ^re not far to seek. To begin with, San Do- 
mingo had always lacked white women. In the bucca- 
neer days their number had been extremely small, and the 
quality of those then sent from France had made these a 
doubtful blessing. ^^ Although the large white inmiigra- 
tion of the later eighteenth century had brought about 
more normal conditions, the numerical disparity of the 
sexes was still very great. In 1789, there were 24,700 
white males to 10,800 females.^* Then, again, the climate 
was very hard on the children of Europeans; "it took at 
least two generations before the race could strike root in 
this new land." ^* As among Anglo-Indians to-day, chil- 
dren were sent to Europe to escape the climate as well as 
to get an education. ^^ Lastly, this was a population of 
fortune-hunters,., not settlers, and the return to France 
was ever in men's minds. Absorbed in their affairs, with 
few ties of sympathy or social life, and possessed of luxu- 
rious or dissipated habits, ^ ' these men could have but little 
inclination to married life and the rearing of families.^* 

There was one element in this strange society which 
occupied a decidedly anomalous position. This was the 
official class. Although composed almost exclusively of 
Europeans, it stood as much aloof from its compatriots 


as from the Creole population, — a veritable caste apart. '^ 
The ofBciak ''had all that cool assumption of superiority 
and that disdain for those around them which so com- 
monly mark the man of the metropolis when in the prov- 
inces." " NaturaUy, th^ were disliked, — a fact of 
importance for the Revolution. 

The nobility had played a vital pioneer rdle in the other 
French islands,^' but this had not been true of buccaneer 
San Domingo. However, from the first the Royal Gover- 
nors had been men of birth, and the aristocratic element 
had steadily grown in importance.'' In 1789, the colony 
possessed some of the oldest blood of France.'^ The no- 
bility was one of the best elements of the island's popula- 
tion. Very many were settled as resident planters, and 
had become a genuine squirearchy. They officered the 
militia and the marSchaussSey^^ and were the stanchest 
supporters of law and order.'* The relations of this island 
aristocracy with the French nobility were very close, and 
were becoming closer through frequent intermarriage.*^ 
"Sire,'' said a San Domingo deputation to Louis XVI, 
"your court has become Creole by alliances." *' Fronf 
these marriages there had grown up an intermediate class 
of absentee nobles. These men owned great plantations 
in San Domingo, but rarely visited their estates and were 
in no way a blessing to the colony. They were, however, 
to play an important part in the early days of the Revo- 

The clergy of San Domingo were inferior to those of the 
other French islands: '® their character seems to have been 
consistently bad from the first. " Most of the priests here 
are as debauched as the rest of the inhabitants," says 


an official memoir of 1681.'^ A century later, things were 
no better. ''A succession of bad and ignorant priests/' 
says the Abb6 Raynai in 1785, *'has destroyed both re- 
spect for the cloth and the practice of religion in almost 
every parish of the colony. An atrocious greed has become 
the habitual vice of most of the parish priests." '^ The 
sacraments were turned into so many instruments of 
extortion, while the churches were "" falling into ruin." *• 
The Baron de Wimpflfen is even more severe. " The clergy 
of San Domingo," he writes in 1790, "seem to have vol- 
untarily renounced the advantages which a system of con- 
duct procures them elsewhere. Tranquil in their parson- 
age-houses, they spend in peace an income sufficiently 
large to enable them to live comfortably. Mass is cele- 
brated one way or another in churches where none go 
to hear it — so that to avoid reproach of preaching in 
the desert, they do not preach at all. . . . Meanwhile, 
the conjectures, which public scandal delights to indulge 
on the children with which the female mulatto of Mon- 
sieur the Rector may have peopled the parsonage-house, 
keep their course; and, as this increase of family is, for 
His Reverence, as well as for the rest of the colonists, 
a sensible increase of fortune, you may easily comprehend 
that few will have the candor to suppose he is indebted 
for them solely to the good-will of his parishioners."** 
His opinion of the monks is equally unfavorable. ""I am 
persuaded, sir," he writes, "that there are to be found 
amongst them 'men of real merit: at the same time, truth 
obliges me to avow they are not numerous; because the 
superior clergy, who nominate to the vacant benefices, 
have contracted the pernicious habit of sending none 


thither but such intrigumg and suspicious characters as 
they wish to be rid of. To speak my mind fully on the 
subject, nothing, generally speaking, can be more irreg- 
ular than the regular clergy of San Domingo." '^ 

With such pastors, it is not surprising that the flocks 
lacked religious zeal. ^'It is incredible," writes the Gov- 
ernor in 1743, "what indifiPerence these people have for 
spiritual things." '* The saciaMnents were ignored, and 
parents left their children udehristened or mockingly 
baptized them in a punch-bowl.'^ The pious Father 
Labat is greatly scandalized both at the appearance of the 
churches and the temper of the people. He found the 
main church of Le Cap in a state of positive dilapidation, 
while the congregation ** acted as if at a play-house. They 
talked, laughed, and joked; especially those in the bal- 
cony, who drowned out my voice, and mingled the name 
of God with their discourse in a perfectly intolerable 

The middle class at San Domingo was made up entirely 
of merchants and small shopkeepers. It was thus a 
strictly town population — a true bourgeoisie. No rural 
middle class could exist upon a countryside cut up into 
large, self-sufficing economic units like the plantations. 
The greater merchants, as the trusted factors of French 
commercial houses, were men of standing, but the small- 
fry contained many persons with a shady business past.** 
The middle class was almost exclusively European; the 
Creoles disliked town life, and lived in the country.*® 

The lower ranks of the white population of San Domingo 
were known as the "petits blancs." *^ This term may be 
best translated "poor whites," although it must be borne 


in mind that these people were in many ways dissimilar 
to the ''white trash" of the Southern States, since the 
town-dwelling element was a heterogeneous rabble of 
foreign birth. 

This absence of a normal white working-class was the 
inevitable consequence of a slave population outnumbering 
the whites tenfold. It might have been otherwise. In the 
early days San Domingo Ipul possessed a class of small 
landholders and farm-laborers,^' while the French Grovem- 
ment had made real efforts to build up a white popula- 
tion by the system of indenture-men, or engagSs.^* In 
spite of their poor quality and bad treatment, these en- 
gag6s had done fairly well, and it seems practically cer- 
tain that if slavery had been excluded, San Domingo 
would have become the home of an acclimated white 
people.** But it was not to be. Slavery became the very 
basis of society — and wrought its logical consequences. 

Among the poor whites of 1789 there ran a strong Une 
of demarcation between those of the country and those 
of the town. All that was sound in the poor white popu- 
lation was to be found in the rural element. In the first 
place, these men earned an honest living. On every large 
plantation there was a small corps of whites, — overseers, 
technical experts, and mechanics.** In all, these must have 
numbered several thousands.** Then, the scattering 
small truck-farmers and ranchmen were usually classed 
as "poor whites" rather than "planters," while in the 
less tropical region of the M61e were certain agricultural 
colonies of Acadians and Germans.*' 

The poor whites of the towns, however, were nothing 
but a vicious rabble of adventurers, drawn to San Do- 


mingo by the luxury and dissipation of urban life. They 
were the scum of France, and of Europe as well, for very 
many were foreigners. Italians and Maltese predominated 
among the foreign element,^^ though there were repre- 
sentatives of many nations.^* Even in ordinary times this 
mass of crooks and criminals needed careful police watch- 
ing,*® but with the revolution it became' a downright peril. 
For it promptly caught up the patter of Jacobinism, and 
seized every chance of riot and plunder.*^ Furthermore, 
the brutality of these men to the negroes and mulattoes 
did much to envenom the race question.*' 

The garrison troops and the sailors in the ports were 
also not imimportant elements of white San Domingo. 
The island was permanently assigned two royal infantry 
regiments*' and a strong detachment of artillery, in 
all about three thousand men.*^ The number of sailors 
of the royal navy and merchant marine in the ports of 
San Domingo must have always averaged several thou- 
sand. The presence of these men did much to determine 
the character of the port towns.** 

But the native-bom element of the population must 
not be disregarded. The Creole whites differed in many 
respects from those of EUropean birth. In the first place, 
they were a rural, landowning population: a large propor- 
tion of the planters, with their dependents, were Creoles, 
and most of the small farmers and ranchmen as well. 
Both in mind and body the Creoles showed the influence 
of their tropical environment. Physically they were tall 
and slender, well-featured though pale, and with a proud 
nonchalance of bearing.** In character they were gen- 
erous, warm-hearted, and brave, with a lively intelligence 


and an ardent imagination; at the same time they were 
reckless, frivolous, passionate, and often cruel, while 
their indolence usually hindered the development of their 

The two main causes of the Creole's special nature were 
climate and slavery. It was the burning climate of San 
Domingo which gave him his mercurial temperament, — 
his intense crises of reckless passion or feverish energy, 
followed by reactions into languorous apathy.^^ But even 
more important was the influence of African slavery. He 
certainly owed most of his bad quaUties to this evil in- 
stitution, which seems to have degraded the master even 
more than the slave. Vaissi&re comments upon this very 
well. "Lost as they were among their immense herds of 
slaves, the colonists suffered two fatal consequences: 
by contact with these primitive beings, they necessarily 
absorbed much of these people's nature, defects, and vices ; 
from a life spent almost wholly among inferiors, their own 
characters naturally degenerated." *• 

This fatal influence weighed upon the Creole from the 
very moment of his birth. A royal officer laments those 
Creole children "corrupted in the cradle by the negresses' 
milk and vices." •" And everything contributed to stimu- 
late the Creole child's wilfulness and vanity. That slave 
nurse, who dared give him no direct command; ^^ those 
slave playmates, "condemned to flatter his Ughtest 
whim";'* those parents, proverbial for over-fond indul- 
gence; *' — all these combined to make of him a pam- 
pered Uttle tyrant, unable to endure the slightest oppo- 
sition.'^ Most writers on San Domingo quote the classic 
story of the Creole child who, told there was no egg, de- 



manded two.** Add a precocious knowledge, gained by 
constant observation of the indecencies and cruelties of 
plantation life,** and the conduct of the future man when 
exposed to the temptations of unrestrained authority is 
easy to foresee.*^ 

Much of the evil mi^t have been remedied by a sound 
education. But to the Creole even this was denied. 
"What, then," exclaims De Wimpflfen, "is the inhabi- 
tant of San Domingo? That which every man must be 
who is bom under a burning atmosphere, with a vicious 
education and a feeble government. He is bom neither 
conupt nor virtuous, ndther citizen nor slave, but his 
character will form itself the in3tant education and 
government, in concert with nature, shall occupy them- 
selves with the care of giving him morals. At present, 
we ought to set the higher value upon his good qualities, 
as his education has hitherto been calculated to give him 
none but bad ones.** ... To tell you what should be done 
to ensure the children of San Domingo a good education, 
would be to tell you precisely everything that is not done 
at present." *• 

Many children, it is true, were sent to France for their 
education. But they there learned little to fit them for 
a colonial existence, and generally returned fine ladies 
and gentlemen to whom the monotony and loneliness 
of plantation life were unendurable.^® 

In the Creole women, the t3rpe characteristics came 
out most strongly. Piquantly beautiful, their languorous 
grace charmed all observers. Their love was passionate 
in the extreme, their jealous hate often terrible in its con- 
sequences.'^ An American woman, who saw them in the 


days of their adversity, is favorably impressed. **The 
Creole ladies," writes Miss Hassal in 1802, ''have an air 
of voluptuous languor, which renders them extremely 
interesting. Their eyes, their teeth, and their hair are 
remarkably beautiful, and they have acquired from the 
habit of commanding their slaves an air of dignity which 
adds to their charms. Almost too indolent to pronounce 
their words, they speak with a drawling accent which is 
very agreeable. But since they have been roused by the 
pressure of misfortune, many have displayed talents and 
found resources in the energy of their own minds, which 
it would have been supposed impossible for them to 
possess." ^* 

Even more than her brothers, the Creole girl suffered 
from the blight of slavery and the lack of education. Too 
often, she lived in the most complete indolence; passing 
hei^ days, like an Eastern odalisque, amid the chatter and 
singing of her slave girls. "^^ She had few friends, for social 
life was confined to infrequent bcdls, to which she gave 
herself with the greatest abandon.''* 

In 1789, San Domingo rightfully enjoyed a widespread 
reputation for wealth and luxury. Its prosperity really 
dates from the long peace after 1714, but from then on 
progress was rapid. ^^ Increase in wealth, however, quickly 
destroyed the simplicity of buccaneer days. ^ • "At first," 
says an official memoir of 1718 on the state of the North 
Province, "the inhabitants of this quarter were adven- 
turers, used to all kinds of labor; they walked barefoot 
in the sun without a thought of danger, so hardened were 
they by continual exposure. But since the late peace '''' 
has made as many fortunes as there are inhabitants, their 


manner of life is entirely changed. Instead of a bit of wild 
boar and bananas, on which they used to make merry 
after having had to hunt the beast in the woods, their 
tables are now laden with well-served delicacies. The 
best burgundy and champagne are not too dear for them, 
— they must have them at any price. They no longer 
dare go out before sundown for fear of the heat, and even 
then only in a carriage with comfortable springs." ^* 

With such rapid progress in wealth, it is no surprise to 
find that at the outbreak of the Revolution there were 
many persons possessed of large fortunes. From three 
plantations in San Domingo, Alexandre de Beauhamais 
drew a revenue of forty thousand livres,'* and many a 
great planter had an income of over one hundred thousand 
a year.*® These figures, however, by no means represent 
net cash values. The hardships of the "Facte Coloni- 
ale," *^ the scarcity of ready money,** and the universal 
extravagance combined to devour these princely reve- 
nues; and some of the greatest proprietors were deeply 
in debt.*' 

A prodigal luxury was, indeed, the most striking fea- 
ture of life. "Everything at San Domingo," writes Moreau 
de Saint-M6ry, "takes on a character of opulence which 
astonishes the European." ** Feople dined "'i la cr6ole* 
— that is to say, with profusion," ** and their tables 
were served by such numbers of waiting-men as cut off the 
very air.*^ A numerous troop of domestics was the surest 
way to show one's wealth and self-importance.*^ "That 
crowd of slaves which hangs upon the master's lightest 
word or sign," says Moreau de Saint-M6ry, "lends him 
an air of grandeur. It is beneath the dignity of a rich man 


to have less than four times as many servants as he needs. 
The women have an especial gift for surrounding them- 
selves with a useless retinue." ^^ 

However, about all this magnificence one peculiarity 
must soon have struck the attentive observer, — its 
"personal" character. These costly feasts were very 
likely served between bare walls, while the guest, who 
bore upon his person ten thousand livres in lace and 
jewels, probably dwelt in a house unfurnished and un- 
adorned.^* But the trend of conversation would soon 
give the key to the riddle, — the table-talk must have 
inevitably turned upon the delights of Paris and the pros- 
pect of approaching trips to France.*^ 

Except among the Creoles, few persons cared to pro- 
long their stay beyond a lucky tiun of fortune. "The 
pleasures of San Domingo," exclaims a colonist, "are 
easily counted. A blue sky, and no cold weather: I can 
name no others." '^ 

The consequences of all this were obvious. "A man," 
says Moreau de Saint-M6ry, "regards himself as camp- 
ing upon a property worth several millions. His air is 
that of a life-tenant already old, his extravagance is in 
servants and good-cheer, — and you would think him 
to be living in an *h6tel garni.' " *' "In a San Domingan 
town," says Baynal, "you never see a man seated by the 
domestic hearth and talking with interest about his 
borough, his parish, or the home of his fathers; you see 
only inns and travellers. Everything wiU confirm my 
statement. Enter these people's houses, — they are 
neither comfortable nor adorned. *We have no time' — 
•it's too much trouble' — that is what they tell you." •• 


In fine: '^ AD wish to be gone, eveiy one is in a hony; — 
these peoifie have the air of merdiants at a fair/* ^ 

Yfifh such a general passion for money-making in the 
shortest possible time* a hi^ code of business ethics 
coold not prevail, and it is no surprise to learn that many 
of the fortunes made at San Domingo were amassed by 
very shady practices.** 

Of course, in sudi a society, there was mudi hi^ living. 
Drunkenness had always been a common failing at San 
Domingo. '"There are many heads here, used up by 
drink,*' writes a Grovemor in 1710,'* and his words would 
have equally well applied to 1789. Rum was dieap, — 
and full advantage was taken of the fact. "'The people 
here,*' writes an Intendant, "'drink this sort of liquor 
(which is of uncommon strength) as naturaUy and as 
copiously as we do wine." *^ The number of taverns was 
veiy great.** Gambling was also common to all ranks 
of society;** while the fame of the mulatto girls of Le 
Cap had spread far and wide through the West Indies.^** 

Such were the port towns of San Domingo, — crude, 
but full of life. Those rich merchants and ladies, decked 
in gay clothes and jewels; those gangs of sailors on shore- 
leave; those chattering crowds of negresses with their 
vivid turbans; those mulatto coiulesans, gorgeous in 
towering headdresses and flaming scarves, — all these 
must have made a brilliant picture of peculiar interest. ^*^ 

The life of the countryside, though it differed in many 
respects from that of the towns, was in essence the same: 
the same material crudity was there, the same intellec* 
tual poverty and mental isolation. The planter's house, 
though large and spacious, was generally bare and com- 


fortless; it was always devoid of taste."** "Taste, sir," 
exclaims De 'V^mpffen, "is stilt Creolian at San Domingo. 
And unfortunately, the Creolian is not the right taste. 
It smells too much of the Boucan." '°* Even the richest 
plantations had about them aji air of shiftless neglect. 
In a joum^ through the West Province, De Wimpffen 
is greatly surprised at its aspect. "What you will have 
some difficulty, sir, to believe of a country so rich as 
this," he writes, " is, that of the two kinds of plantations 
which we passed, one showed us only the picture of in- 
dolence in the last stage of wretchedness; and the other, 
that of the negligence and disorder of poverty, contrasted 
with the pretensions of opulence directed by the most 
execrable taste. Thus, you would sometimes meet an 
elegant canine drawn by horses or mules of different 
colors or sizes, with ropes for traces, covered with the 
most filthy of housings, and driven by a postilion be- 
daubed with gold — and barefoot." '"' 

The chief drawbacks to plantation life were monotony 
and loneliness. The strict regimen imposed by the cli- 
mate '"* and the unvarying c^cle of tropic agriculture '°* 
made the planter's existence one of deadening routine. 
Furthermore, he was practically cut off from the world. 
His nearest neighbor was sometimes miles away, and he 
lived as on an island, — alone with his family or mulatto 
housekeeper, surrounded by a horde of negro slaves. 
"The loneliness of the plantations" is a recurrent phrase 
in letters from San Domingo."" 

And that distant neighbor? With him our planter was 
probably upon the worst of terms. Isolation had ended 
t^ ^ving both of them the hermit's abnormal craving to 


be akme, and "i mp ciee pti bbr th^ had at last become 
by nature what th^ had been at fi^st mody throoi^ 


AD ob se r vers note these unsocial and quandsome 
tendencies among the planters.^^ "In the spot lAat 
I reside,** writes De Wimpffen, "the nei^ibors haidty 
know one another. Pretensions, either ill-foanded <v 
ridicukms; jealousies of each other's fortune, more ridic- 
ulous stiU; disputes about boundaries . . . and finally 
trespasses committed by the negroes or the cattle — 
occasion sudi a misunderstanding, or sudi a coolness, 
that all redprocal communication is out of the questicm. 
Consequently, as nothing is so savage as the reduse who 
is not so by choice, you must not be surprised that each 
owl rests in his hole, and that so little sociability rdgns 
among men who have few or no sociable qualities/* ^^* 
Indeed, the famous "Creole hospitality*' of former days 
was become little more than a memory. ^^^ 

Such was San Domingo: assuredly the place to find 
fortune, but scarcely the dioice for a home. And yet, 
curiously enough, there has grown up the "legend** of 
San Domingo. All the popular writers have painted this 
lost colony of France as a cross between Paradise and 

This legend seems to have been first built up by the 
"memories** of those rdugees who, scattered through 
France, North America, and the West Indies, filled two 
continents with their lamentations. It was but natural 
that these impoverished exiles should have looked back 
with longing to their better days, and should have 
promptly idealized their lost homes. It is interesting to 


find the legend already well formed by the opening of the 
nineteenth century."' 

And of course, human sentiment also favored. The 
dramatic shock of this immense catastrophe, by which a 
land at the very pinnacle of wealth and prosperity was 
suddenly blotted out and as much lost to white civiliza- 
tion as though sunk like Atlantis beneath the waves, lent 
an aureole of mystery and poetic charm. 

But the foundations of the legend had been laid long 
before. The returning colonist had always loved to 
dazzle the French public, and many a man had ruined 
himself by a scale of living suited only to the purses of the 
wealthiest planters. De Wimpffen overwhelms this fail- 
ing with his scorn. "Do not," he writes, "suffer yourself 
to be imposed on by the puerile and ridiculous pomp 
which certain planters display in their transient residence 
at Paris or in the maritime towns. I am in the secret 
of these quacks. This coach in which His West Indian 
Worship so awkwardly parades, that wardrobe of the 
Marquis de Mascarille, these jewels which sparkle on his 
tawny fingers, are the profit of many crops and the price 
of no small number of his slaves. Yet a little while, and 
hard necessity will send the clownish niggard back, 
half-civilized and wholly stripped (like the daw in the 
fable) of his borrowed plumes, to begin again with an 
aching heart those labors which scarce produced in ten 
years as much as he spent in ten months, with no other 
advantage than having raised a laugh at his expense from 
the chevaliers dHndustrie who stripped him of his wealth, 
and the prostitutes who shared with them in the spoils. 
I never met a West Indian in France who did not enumer- 


ate to me» with more emphasis than accuracy, the charms 
of a residence in San Domingo: since I have been here, I 
have not found a single one who has not cursed both San 
Domingo and the obstacles etemaUy reviving, whidi, 
from one year to another, prolong his stay in this abode 
of the damned." "* 

De IT^^pffen is, at times, a little hard on San Domingo. 
The returned colonist was probably moved not merely by 
vain-glorious pride, but also by the joyous intoxication 
of the man just back from the wilds with plenty of mon^ 
in his pocket. Still, the result was the same; and the 
"Creole" became to France what the "Nabob" was to 
England, — the archetype of the wealthy man. 



Midway between the white and sUve populations of 

San Domingo stood a caste known as the "free people of 

color." ' Numbering some twenfy-seven thousand,* and 

possessing a considerable share of the island's wealth, it 

' was a factor of the utmost importance. 

Although certain of these people were full-blooded 
negroes, by far the greater number were mnlattoes * of 
various shades.* The mulattoes looked upon the free 
negroes with unconcealed dislike, but this never caused 
an open breach within the caste; the free black fully 
shared the mulatto's contempt for the slave, and re- 
fused to make common cause with his blood-brother. 
For this reason the free negroes never played an inde- 
pendent rdle, and the "free people of color" may be 
treated as the caste of the mulattoes.' 

The scarcity of white women had made illicit relations 
between the colonists and their negresses inevitable from 
the first. The Government disapproved, but its efforts 
availed little to check this concubinage,' and "scions of 
the great names of France — a Vaudreuil, a Chateauneuf , 
the last of the Boucicaults — might be seen passing their 
lives between & negress and a bowt of rum." ' The negro 
women made no resistance. They lacked the European 
ideal of chastity,* and they had strong reasons for wel- 
coming thwi masters' favor. "The negresses," says an 


oflBcial memoir of 1722, ''are proud of having childreii 
by white men. AUk>» th^ cherish the hope that the 
fathers will free them or buy their liberty.'* * 
/ Later on, when mulatto women had become sufficiently 
^ numerous, the wealthier whites took them as their con- 
cubines. So general became this custom that the census 
of 1774 showed five thousand out of seven thousand free 
colored women living as white men's mistresses,^® while 
mulattresses also formed the courtesan class of the port 
towns.^^ Other influences besides that of sex contributed 
to bring about this state of things: the planter or mer- 
chant regarded his mulattress as a necessity, both to 
manage his complex household and to warn him of plots 
among his slaves.^' 

Given such conditions, however, it can be no surprise 
that mulattoes appeared early and increased rapidly in 
numbers. The exact rate of this increase cannot, it is 
true, be known, for the census counted only the free 
mulattoes, not those who remained in slavery. But even 
these partial figures are significant enough. The census 
of 1681 shows 210 mulattoes in San Domingo.^' By the 
year 1700, the numbers of the free colored had risen to 
some 500 individuals; and this figure progressively rose 
to 1500 in 1715; 3000 in 1745; 6000 in 1770; 12,000 in 
1780; and 27,000 in 1789." Of course, in this series, al- 
lowance must be made for free negroes. Also, of the 
mulatto element many were the children of mulatto 
parents. Still, from the habits of the mulattresses, it is 
clear that a large proportion of their children must have 
had white fathers. 

Although marriage between the races was never pro- 


hibited by law,^^ the number of such unions was always 
extremely small. Now and then a wealthy mulattress 
did succeed in obtaining a white husband, but this was 
an exceptional event. ^* Hilliard d'Auberteuil, writing in 
1776, states that there were only three hundred such 
cases in the colony. ^^ For few white men there were bold 
enough, or reckless enough, to cross the color line. 

White San Domingo was obviously much divided 
against itself, but there was something upon which it was 
at one. Creole or European, poor white or planter, 
smuggler or governor, — all remembered that they were 
white; all were determined that the white race should 
keep white and should rule San Domingo. 

Yet, in numbers, the white stock was but a handful 
scattered amid the masses of the black; and beside it 
there stood a growing mixed caste, part of which was 
white to the casual eye. 

To safeguard the ideal which they held most at heart, 
the colonists felt there was but one way, and they ran 
a racial dead line, so straight and clear that there could 
be no crossing. To this the Home Government made no 
demur, for the Old Regime shared the colonial ideal to the 
full and backed it with all the force of authority. 

The color line is the key to the Revolution in San 
Domingo. When the Men of 1789 questioned it, the 
colonists warned them that no change would be tolerated. 
When the conquerors of the Old Regime laid hands upon 
this social fabric, white San Domingo rose in furious re- 
bellion; and this small handful, though threatened with 
annihilation by its race enemies at home, defied the whole 
power of regenerated France. When they had been 


bcstai in the horriUe stmgi^ that ensued, theK men 
fefofed to sancDder, abjued Fnnoe, and ga ve themadves 
to the foragner. In their grim devotion to an ideal, the 
cdonial idnteg pawed the boimdf of prfitks: the irHgioos 
fanatiritm of the Vendue was no Baca than the racial 
fanaticism of San Domingo. 

From the veiy earliest days the ocJonists had been 
brou^^t to realize one apparent fact, — the fact of that 
greater assimilative power of the black blood later for- 
mulated as the ''Law of Reversion.** Once let the black 
principle enter a stock, and it seemed impossible ever to 
breed it out again: the moment fresh infusions of pure 
white blood ceased, the mulatto apparently b^an to 
revert to the negro. The learned Jesuit Father Labat 
notes this early in the eighteenth century,^^ and Moreaii 
de Saint-M^ writes to the same effect.^' 

Elaborate scientific experiments were made by slave* 
, owners with an enquiring turn of mind» — and the law 
apparently held good in the most extreme cases.^ On 
a plantation of one of the smaller French West Indies 
there were married two mulattoes, neither of whose an- 
cestry had suffered an infusion of black blood for six 
generations. "These young people were of remarkable 
beauty. Their hair was extremely blond, their features 
retained no negroid trace, and their skin was so white 
that they might have been taken for albinos, had it not 
been for the supple vigor of their limbs and the unusual 
br]f<htncss of their minds. Well — their children were 
unrniHtakably colored, and their grandchildren of an 
extremely dark shade.*^ 

"After an experiment such as this, a man might well 


ask how many auccessive marriages with whites were 
neceasary to really destroy in a family all trace of n^ro 
blood, and it is easy to understand why pure white fami- 
lies always refused to marry with persons having the 
smallest drop of the black. For, once permit this first 
marriage, and it needed only a second to turn a white 
family into mulattoes. And — from mulatto to negro, 
the way was short; it needed only one or two steps of the 
same kind.'* 

"The instinctive horror of the European for mixed 
marriages is thus easy to understand, and the reason be- 
comes plain why, in San Domingo, law and custom 
united to devise every possible means of preventing this 
confounding of the bloods." ** 

The feeling against miscegenation was present froM 
the earliest times, and it was shared by both the Govern- 
ment and the Church. "I do not think," writes an In- 
tendant in 1681, "that marriages of whites to mulat- 
tresses, or of mulattoes to white women, would be good 
for the colony. Indeed, by what I have already seen, I 
am only too well convinced of the bad results of such mar- 
riages, which have caused much scandal and disorder. 
It is true that the debauchery of the Spaniards and Port- 
uguese has brought them to alliances with such an im- 
pure stock; but I can also say that their colonies are 
abodes of abomination, vice, and filth, and that from 
these unions there has sprung a people so wretched and 
so weak that an hundred of our buccaneers can put to 
rout a thousand of that canaiUe."" 
* In iu3 offici al report of 1722, the S uperigi ; of Miaw'nna 
is perhaps even more emphatic. According to this high 


ecclesiastic the increasiiig numbers of mulattoes, illegit^ 
imate or not, is exposing the colonies ''to the terrible 
punishment of those famous cities of abominatioBr^which 
were destroyed by the fire of Heaven." 0Po h ipa, the 
mingling of the races is ''a criminal coupling of men and 
women of different species, whence comes a fruit which 
is one of Nature's monsters." ^ 

And the Home Grovemment shared this attitude. In 
certain of the French agonies '^ mixed marriages were 
forbidden, and although they were never formally pro- 
hibited in San Domingo, the disapproval of the royal 
authority was made perfectly clear. A ministerial letter 
of 1741 commends an Intendant who had prevented sudi 
a union. ''His Majesty's pleasure," it runs, "is not to 
permit the mixing of the bloods; your prevention of the 
marriage in question is therefore approved." ^^ 

On the white renegade who married a woman with the 
least trace of negro blood, law and opinion joined in 
imposing a legal and social ostracism which made of him 
a veritable outcast. He could hold no public office, no 
position of trust or confidence.'* His wife's wealth could 
do but little to relieve his miserable condition. "Every- 
thing around these men," says Hilliard d'Auberteuil, 
"calls forth regret. Everything which consoles others 
plunges them in sadness. Their life is one long agony." *• 
The status of the white renegade is well defined by the 
legal commentator Desalles. "The white who marries 
a colored woman," he writes in 1786, "descends from his 
rank of white, and becomes the equal of the freedman. 
In equity, he ought to be pu^ lower; for he who, through 
weakness, is untrue to himself, is still more likely to be 


untrue to the laws of human society/* '^ Like the polit- 
ical traitor, the white renegade suffered *' corruption of 
blood." His children followed the mother, and became 
merely free mulattoes.'^ 

Nevertheless, these measures were largely of a pre- 
ventive character. But, if mulattoes possessed of wealth 
and almost imperceptible in color were not to slip across 
the line, positive measures appeared to be called for. It was 
therefore thought necessaiy to mark down the members 
of this caste through all its generations.'' This was possi- 
ble through a careful system of birth and marriage rec- 
ords, and every disputed case involved lengthy genealog- 
ical researches. The elaborate care exercised to prevent a 
mulatto from changing his legal identity is best shown by 
the minute classification of his color. M oreau de Saint- 
M6ry enumerates over sixty recognized combinations.'* 

On the necessity for this indelibility of color, the 
Home Government was as strict as colonial opinion. 
The negroes," writes the Minister of Marine in 1766, 
were brought to the colonies as slaves, and slavery has 
imprinted an indelible mark upon all their posterity 
whether of mixed blood or otherwise. Consequently, 
their descendants can never enter the white class. For, 
once reputed whites, they could, like whites, lay claim to 
every honor and office; — a state of things absolutely 
contrary to the constitution of the colonies." •* And a 
ministerial letter of 1771 states that nothing can destroy 
that difference "'which Nature herself has created be- 
tween white and black, and which policy has ever been 
careful to uphold as a barrier which the mulattoes and 
posterity may never overcome." ** 


The color line was valued not only as the sole means of 
preserving the purity of the white blood, but also as the 
best moral restraint upon the slaves. "'Thislawishard/' 
says an official paper, ""but it is both wise and neces- 
sary in a land of fifteen slaves to one white. Between the 
races we cannot dig too deep a gulf. Upon the negro we 
cannot impress too much respect for those he serves. This 
distinction, rigorously upheld even after enfranchisement, 
is the surest way to maintain subordination; for the slave 
must thus see that his color is ordained to servitude, and 
that nothing can make him his master's equal. The 
colonial authorities should be ever zealous in severely 
enforcing both this distinction and this respect." '^ 

A planter expresses colonial opinion very well. ''It 
was by means of this unalt^able superiority of the white 
race,'* says Carteau, ''that, until the Revolution, nearly 
600,000 blacks, continually armed,'^ obeyed without a 
murmur a handful of masters. Especially, as this superi- 
ority was not purely ideal. The negroes themselves recog- 
nized it by daily comparing the activity, energy, knowl- 
edge, and initiative of the whites with the degree of those 
same qualities in themselves and in the mulattoes." '* 

On the eve of the Revolution, the growing pressure of 
that section of French public opinion which favored the 
mulattoes led the Home Government to waver slightly 
in its attitude. In 1788, the Minister of Marine asked 
the Governor whether it might not be feasible to forbid 
research into the origin of persons whose appearance was 
entirely white. But the Colonial Government answered 
that this would be positively dangerous. "The colo- 
nial prejudice toward mulatto families," came the reply. 



** cannot be overcome. Any attempt to coerce public 
opinion on this point would Endanger the King's au- 
thority.'* '* Li the light of what whs so soon to follow, 
this reads like a prophecy. 

From the theory of the color line* the actual status of 
the free mulattoes in 1789 can be easily imagined. The 
discriminations against them were both many and severe. 
They were forbidden to hold any public office or to en- 
gage in the learned professions; they were declared in- 
capable of acquiring a patent of nobility or of receiving 
the higher decorations, such as the Cross of Saint-Louis; 
they were hindered by sumptuary laws from adopting 
European dress and habits; they were assigned special 
places in theatres, inns, churches, and public convey- 

Many of these measures were of quite recent date, 
for, as time passed, the mulatto status had become more 
and more rigidly defined. This has been sometimes held 
as the result of growing race feeling; but such a theory 
mistakes the effect for the cause. Li the early days, the 
mulattoes had been too few to even dream of effecting 
any change in their situation. But, with the course of 
time, things had become different. The mulattoes had 
grown very numerous; they were often wealthy and pos- 
sessed of a European education; many of them appeared 
white. Such persons devised every possible means to 
escape from their present condition, and strove desper- 
ately to evade the laws which bound them to their 
caste.*^ It was this increasing pressure upon the color 
line which called forth the sharper legislation of the 
later eighteenth century. Of course feeling steadily rose 



on both sides, and race hatred was very intense in 

There was one field, however, in which the mulattoes 
had never been restrained, — the acquirement and hold- 
ing of property.^' How large a share in the wealth of the 
colony was held by them is difficult to say. In 1789, the 
mulatto leader Raymond claimed that his caste was pos- 
sessed of one third the landed property and one fourth of 
the slaves.** On the other hand, Gouy d'Arcy, one of San 
Domingo's deputies to the Statei^-General, writes that the 
mulattoes owned one tenth of the laqd and fifty thousand 
slaves.** Gouy d'Arpy's statement is probably nearer 
the truth, for he was then attempting to prove the gen- 
erosity of the white planters in endowing their natural 
children, whereas Raymond is trying to show the general 
importance of his caste. 

The bitter feeling between the races exposed the mulat^ 
toes to much iU-treatment. For this, the poor whites 
were mainly responsible. The wealth which many of the 
mulattoes possessed filled the needy adventurers of the 
towns with envious fury, and spurred them on to insult 
and injury.** In the latter part of the eighteenth century, 
the authorities seem to have protected the mulattoes 
against the grosser forms of outrage,** but there was a 
wide field which existing law could not reach. 

This persecution, however, had very serious conse- 
quences. To the mulatto's general feeling of social op- 
pression there was added a sharp sense of personal in- 
jury, a burning thirst for vengeance, of ominous import 
for the days to come.*^ This danger had not passed un- 
noticed by attentive observers. At the very beginning of 


the eighteenth century, a high ecclesiastic had predicted 
that the mulattoes would become a future menace to the 
colony.** "Be on your guard," says an official memoir of 
somewhat later date; "these people are but waiting their 
chance to take a terrible revenge." *• The council of 
Port-au-Prince is positively prophetic. "These are dan- 
gerous people," says its memoir to the Home Govern- 
ment. " In a time of trial or of revolutite, they will be the 
first to throw off a yoke which galls them the more that 
they have become rich, have whites in their pay, anc^iave 
lost much of their respect for our kind." *° With the first 
signs of the coming storm, the thousands of mulattoes, 
trained to arms in the militia and the marichausaie^ were 
to become a menace to be greatly feared.^^ 

The mulatto's character was not of a high order. How 
much his failings were due to his nature, how much to his 
environment, it is difficult to say. Undoubtedly, his posi- 
tion under the CUd Regime was both hard and degrading. 
Nevertheless, many mulattoes were men of considerable 
wealth, who had received a European education, and 
who had lived for years in France, where they not only 
suffered little social discrimination, but were greeted with 
sympathy and consideration by an increasingly large 
section of society. And yet, when the Revolution had 
given them complete equality and when circumstances 
had made them masters of much of the island, they 
failed to rise to their opportunities. The mulatto caste 
produced no man of striking talents or eminent ability. 
There is no mulatto Toussaint Louverture. 

The most detailed analysis of the mulatto character is 
in Moreau de Saint-M£ry. "The mulattoes," he says. 



**are well made and of a quick inteDigenoe, but ihey 
share to the full the negro's uidolenoe and love of repose. 
Experience has shown that these men would be capable 
of succeeding in all the mechanical and liberal arts» were 
it not that their great desbe is to do nothing. The mu- 
latto journeyman works when pressed by want, then 
idles tiU the same thing happens again. Undoubtedly, 
there are ezceptiens; We all know mulattoes who are 
really industrious. But the ease with which these may 
be cojmted proves the general rule. The mulatto loves 
pleasure. It is his only mast^, but a despotic one. To 
dance, ride, and sacrifice to voluptuous pleasure, — be- 
hold his three passions. He equals the white Creole in 
the first, he far surpasses him in the last.'* *' 

The mulattoes always had the reputation of being gen- 
erous and hospitable people, and the women were espe- 
cially noted for kind-heartedness, and for extreme com- 
passion towards poverty and suffering. But their moral 
natures were weak. The mulatto women were very 
vain, frightfully extravagant, and extremely licentious.^' 
Their moral standing in the later eighteenth century has 
been already noted,^^ and it seems to have been the same 
from the earliest days. '"Most of the mulattresses," says 
a Governor in 1681, ''are not only prostitutes themselves, 
but the procuresses of others' prostitution." ** 

From the controversial writings of the Revolution, it 
might almost be thought that the mulattoes were, ipso 
fadOt freedmen. The reason for this is that both sides 
were interested in diverting attention from the slaves of 
mixed blood. The mulattoes wished to make out that 
they had little in common with the slave class, while the 



colonists desired to prove a generous dislike of leaving 
their own blood in servitude.** 

But a study of earlier writers and of official correspond- 
ence proves that mulatto enfranchisement was by no 
means a matter of course* and that the number of such 
slaves was very large.*' As careful a modem writer as 
Roloff estimates them to have made up ten per cent of 
the entire slave population,*^ — that is, a figure of from 
forty to forty-five thousand. 

This is a matter of some practical importance. Sur- 
prise has sometimes been expressed that, in the struggle 
between the mulattoes and the negroes which took place 
after the collapse of white authority, the mulattoes 
should have held out so long. This is far easier to ex- 
plain if we consider that, as far as the mulattoes were con- 
cerned, it was a war of colors, not of castes, and that all, 
regardless of origin, had united against black domination. 

The lack of union between the free negroes and their 
slave brethren has been already noted.*' This was not 
the case with the mulattoes. The mulatto slave felt him- 
self the superior of the free black. ''There is not a negro 
who dares buy a half-breed or quadroon," says Moreau 
de Saint-M6ry. "Should he do so, the slave would prefer 
death to such a dishonor:" •* — a striking testimony to 
the prestige of white blood in colonial San Domingo. 


cr^ <1 African slavery was the curse of San Domingo. From 
^ ] -"^ the very beginning, this dark shadow lay athwart its 
path» and perverted both its social and economic history. 
Present even in buccaneer days, with the opening years 
of the eighteenth century the evil institution became a 
basic principle and wrought its most fatal consequences. 
''Negroes, and food for the negroes; that is the one rule for 
the Colonies.*' ^ This maxim sums up the eighteenth- 
century ideal. 

Under the regime of slavery, San Domingo prospered, 
it is true; but only for the moment, and at the cost of its 
whole social and economic future. Socially, it was a land 
based upon brute force and a racial dead line. Economi- 
cally, it became a field of feverish exploitation, whose end 
must be complete exhaustion. Negro slavery touched 
this young society, just quickening with lusty life, and 
made it an abortion.' 

In 1789, the slave population of San Domingo was 
enormous; — certainly 450,(K)0,' very possibly half a 
million.^ And it had been increasing with ever-growing 
rapidity. The census of 1681 gives the slave population 
as but 2(K)0,<^ and that of 1687 as only about 8400.^ Later 
census figures are unreliable, owing to fraudulent returns,' 
but we possess certain official memoirs drawn up for the 
information of Ministers of Marine, which are probably 


near the truth. In one of these, the number of slaves by 
the year 1701 is estimated at 20,(K)0,* and another memoir 
reckons 230,(K)0 slaves by the year 1754.^ 

But rapid as was this increase, it was due to immigra- 
tion, not to births; the slave population of San Domingo 
never reproduced itself, and always showed a tendency 
to die out. The annual excess of deaths was fully two and 
one half per cent, — over 11,(K)0 persons, reckoning on 
the conservative basis of 450,000.^® When we consider 
that by the year 1789, nearly a million negroes had been 
introduced into San Domingo during the course of its 
history,^^ this matter appears still more important. 

The continual dying-out of the slave population in a 
favorable climate excited much comment at the time, 
and many reasons for it were given. In 1764, a Governor 
attributes it to improper food, undue labor imposed upon 
pregnant women, and a very high infant mortality." The 
general opinion seems to have been that the negroes were 
worked too hard," and Billiard d'Auberteuil asserts that 
this was often deliberately done, as many masters consid- 
ered it cheaper to buy slaves than to breed them." A 
colonial writer lays much of the trouble to immorality 
among the negroes, and to the ensuing ravages of vene- 
real disease." 

Modem writers have advanced further reasons. Pey- 
traud, perhaps the ablest student on the subject, thinks 
that much stress should be laid on the great nervous 
strain imposed by the sudden change from the careless 
indolence of savage existence to a life of continuous 
labor. ^^ His contention seems to be sound. It was 
apparently this more than anything else which killed off 


the enslaved Indian population; if the negro, less ner- 
vous and more robust, survived, it was only after a costly 
process of natural selection. 

Lerqy-Beaulieu holds that, by some fundamental law 
of nature, slavery hinders man's reproduction, as activ- 
ity does that of wild animals.^' Certainly the sterility 
of the slave population was not confined to San Domingo; 
it was common to the other West India islands without 
distinction of nationality.^* Wallon pithily sums up the 
matter. "'Slavery,'* he says, '"like Saturn, devours its 
own children/' " 

It is obvious that to cover an annual deficit of two and 
one-half per cent,^ and to provide a steady increase as 
well, the yearly importation of negroes must have been 
progressively large. The statistics, however, are both 
insufficient and faulty, while no record was kept of the 
smuggled negro^, whose number is put at fully three 
thousand a year.'^ The official figure for 1764 is ten 
thousand and that of 1766 is tlurteen thousand.'' An 
official memoir on the state of French commerce in 1785 
gives the number of negroes exported to San Domingo 
from the West Coast of Africa as thirty-four thousand, 
not including three or four thousand from Mozambique.'' 
Another memoir estimates the importation of negroes for 
the year 1787 at over forty thousand.'^ This is probably 
the approximate figure for 1789. 

These great importations were effected by means of 
the slave trade.'* At the outbreak of the Revolution, 
this was a great and highly organized industry.'^ In 1787, 
there were ninety-two ships exclusively employed in sup- 
plying the French colonies with negroes,'^ and in 1788 the 


number had risen to one hundred and five.*^ The traffic 
was enormoudy lucrative, and was considered as the 
great source ot prosperity by the French maritime 

The slaves were obtained from a chain of ''factories/* 
stretching from the Senegal clear around the Cape of 
Good Hope to Mozambique. The Senegal region had 
been the earliest slaving centre, but as time went on, this 
moved steadily down the coast. In 1789, the trade 
centred on the Congo and Angola coasts, while the 
Mozambique branch was a late development.'^ At eveiy 
stage of the traffic the slaves were exposed to great hard- 
ships, and the crowded slave-ships often became veritable 
death-traps. The horrors of the ''middle passage" have 
left an evil memory. The average death-rate during the 
voyage was from seven to eight per cent.'* 

One of the most important considerations for the his- 
tory of the Revolution in San Domingo is the fact that 
a majority of the negro population was African-bom. 
Hilliard d'Auberteuil writes that in 1775 the Africans 
outnumbered the Creole negroes by ten thousand,'* while 
Moreau de Saint-M£ry states that in 1789 this proportion 
had increased to almost two thirds." It is therefore es- 
sential to know something of this majority, bom, not 
under the influence of white supremacy, but in African 

As might have been expected from the extent of the 
slave coast, the negroes of San Domingo were of veiy 
mixed origin.'^ The first slaves had naturally come from 
the Senegal region. They were all of a relatively high 
type. The pure negro races of this region (Bambara, 


Mandingo, etc.) rank well up in the scale of negro eth- 
nology, while much of this section of Africa is inhabited 
by races which are not straight negroes at all. Such are 
the Fulah, a copper-colored people of doubtful origin, and 
the "" Black Moors'' and Joloffs, who have much Fulah, 
Berber, and Arab blood. 

As time went on, however, the new arrivals became 
of a steadily lower type. The slaving centre gradually 
shifted to the Guinea Coast, and the Guinea negro was a 
being far inferior to the black of the Senegal. In 1789, the 
slavers were bringing mostly Congo and Angola negroes, 
many of these being among the lowest of the black race. 
Such were the cannibal Mondongo, who sawed their teeth 
into sharp points, while the Angola negroes smelled so 
horribly that the air was *' tainted for a quarter of an 
hour after they had passed." *• The negroes of Mozam- 
bique seem to have been physically weak and to have stood 
the climate badly. They began to come only on the eve 
of the Revolution. 

But despite diversity of origin, certain general traits 
appear to have been conunon to all the various types. 
Peytraud has ably summed up the opinions of writers 
who have observed the negro in his African home. ''The 
negro," he writes, "is a grown-up child, living quite in 
the present and the absolute slave of his passions. Thus 
his conduct displays the most surprising contradictions. 
He is trifling, inconsistent, gay; a great lover of pleasure, 
and passionately fond of dancing, noi^y jollification, and 
striking attire. His natural indolence is unparalleled, — 
force and cruelty alone can get out of him the hard labor 
of which he is capable. This, together with an inordinate 


sensuality, an ineradicable tendency to thieving, and 
absolute lack of foresight, a boundless superstition fav- 
ored by a mediocre intelligence, and timidity in face 
of imaginary terrors combined with great courage before 
real danger, appear to be the causes of the negro's lack of 
progress and of his easy reduction to slavery," •• 

Turning now to those who observed the African in San 
Domingo, we find the most careful analysis in Moreau 
de Saint-M6ry. "The Africans," he says, "usually re- 
main indolent and lazy. They are quarrellers, boasters, 
liars, and given to thievery. Always addicted to the most 
absurd superstition, there is nothing more terrifying to 

The negroes bom in the colony appear to have been 
somewhat superior to those fresh from Africa. As to the 
degree of this superiority there seems to have been a slight 
difference of opinion. According to Moreau de Saint- 
M6ry, "The Creole negroes are both physically and 
mentally above those just brought from Africa. Accus- 
tomed from their birth to a civilized environment, their 
minds are less dull than the Africans'. . . . Generally 
speaking, their value exceeds that of the Africans by 
about one fourth." ^^ And he adds that house-servants 
and artisans were nearly always Creole negroes, on ac- 
count of their higher intelligence. Another colonial 
writer is not so optimistic. "As regards the Creole 
negroes," writes Ducoeurjoly, "their up -bringing im- 
proves them a little; but they always closely resemble 
the original type." *• 

One thing seems clears the differences between native- 
and foreign-bom were so comparatively slight that ob- 


■ervatioDs on the negro popalatioii as a whole wfll Bpffy 
to both daases. A conect eatunate is, however, a matter 
of difficulty. OpiimofDB are veiy Dnmeroufl, aometiiiiea 
irreooDcOable, and frequent^ prejudiced* Even the moat 
contdentioua observer could study oDly a limited num- 
ber of individuals, whose environment must have varied 
extremely between a good and a bad master, and whose 
inconsistencies of conduct must have caused great per- 
plexity* Add to these inherent difficulties the fact that 
many years before the Revolution the question of slavery 
had begun to inflame opinions and change observers into 
partisans, and the obstacles to correct judgment can be 
easily seen. 

Partisan writings vary in the most extraordinary fash- 
ion. Antislavery circles pictured the negro as a good type 
of that ''man in a state of nature,** that ''noble savage,** 
which was one of the favorite ideas of radical thought in 
the later eighteenth century. ^^ The most extreme ex- 
ample of this is probably a certain three-volume romance 
published in 1789, entitled "Le N^gre conmie il y a peu 
de Blancs,*' which endowed the negro with all the virtues 
of the legendary Golden Age. On the other hand, the 
hotter defenders of slavery portrayed him as a depraved 
species scarcely to be classed among mankind,^^ while one 
writer roundly asserts that the negro is not a human being 
at all, but a superior species of orang-outang.^* 

The bulk of moderate opinion, however, follows fairly 
closely the estimates previously quoted regarding the 
African negro.*' De Wimpffen probably best avoids ex- 
tremes. "The negro,** he says, "just like ourselves, is 
good or bad, with all the different shades that modify the 


two extremes. His passions are those of uninformed na- 
tvae: he is libidinous without leve» and gluttonous with- 
out delicacy. • • • He is indolent because he has few of the 
wants that labor is calculated to satisfy. He loves re- 
pose, not for the sake of enjoying it as we do» nor for the 
opportunity of finding in tranquillity the moral fruition 
which a state of physical activity had deprived him of; 
but for the sake of doing nothing. • • • Generally speak- 
ing, the negroes are neither false nor perfidious; sometimes 
you will find a knave among them, who was probably in 
Africa a physician, sorcerer, or priest. Such a man is 
extremely dangerous. . . . Whether it be that they have 
false or confused ideas on the nature of *meum' and 
Huum* I know not, — but so it is, that the greatest part 
of the negroes Are thieves. like all men whose religion is 
confined to a few superstitious practices, they have no 
idea of a conventional morality. Whatever good qualities 
the negro has, he derives from nature." ** 

Those of the negroes who came from the Senegal coun- 
try had a dim idea of Mohanunedanism.^* The great 
majority, however, were adherents of that fetishism 
which appears to be the native African religion, and 
though they quickly acquired a veneer of Christianity, 
the hold of this old religion never seems to have been 
broken.** The cult of "Vaudoux" fiourished in spite of 
every effort to stamp ittmV^Mid is powerful in Haiti 
_lo=day.*' The fact that the negroes possessed a religion 
and a priesthood of their own was to be of the greatest 
importance in the coming uprising against white rule. 

The negro's happiness or misery depended entirely 
upon the character of his master. This is proved by the 


amount of contradictoiy tesjtimony from careful ob- 
servers. We are given pictures of reaUy happy life — and 
glimpses of a perfectly intolerable existence. In general, 
the good seems to have outweighed the bad.^* The negro's 
surroundings were» it is true, of the simplest character. 
His "quarters" were primitive in the extreme, his crea- 
ture comforts few. But then he had known nothing bet- 
ter in his African home, and the climate required little in 
the way of shelter or of clothing.^® On Sundays and feast 
days he was free from labor, and he was allowed to keep 
the profits of his garden-patch and hen-yard. That these 
earnings were not negligible is shown by the quality of 
his holiday attire, which seems to have greatly struck 

Yet, after all, the great central fact in the negro's life 
was work. The house-servants and artisans seem to have 
had a fairly easy time,** but the mass of the slave popu- 
lation led a life of hard and unremitting toil. From dawn 
to dark the field-gangs pursued their monotonous round 
of labor, exposed to the burning tropic sun, spurred on 
by the whips of the black "conmianders" under the 
overseer's eagle eye.** 

The fundamental principle of San Domingo's economic 
life was forced labor. "The refractory slave could not 
be discharged like the free workman — he must be co- 
erced." ** And it was evident that this coercion must be 
severe: to extract continuous labor from such essentially 
indolent beings as the negroes, an iron discipline was 
necessary. "To manage those immense herds of men and 
to keep them in order," says Vaissiire, "there was needed 
a master with a hand of iron. This becomes doubly clear 


when we consider the enormous disproportion which 
everywhere prevailed between blacks and whites. Here 
were isolated plantations where two or three whites were 
surrounded by two or three hundred slaves. The slightest 
weakness might engender a revolt which could never be 
put down. Thus, this system of perpetual coercion W€is 
not only the one way to extract from the negro continu- 
ous labor, — it was also the sole means of repressing his 
bent towards crime and of guarding against his plots." ^^ 

All persons well acquainted with colonial conditions 
affirmed this necessity. ''I arrived at Martinique," 
writes a Governor of that island to the Minister of 
Marine, "filled with all the European prejudices against 
harsh treatment of the negroes. But I have quickly be- 
come convinced that there must be a discipline not only 
severe, but severe in the extreme." •• 

The great enforcer of this discipline was the lash. "The 
whip," exclaims a French antislavery writer, "is the 
symbol of labor ii^the Antilles." •^ And this was perfectly 
true. Whipping was the chief recognized punishment, 
though its variations extended all the way from a slight 
correction to a virtual sentence of death. ^^ At the same 
time many other forms of punishment were .inflicted in 
practice, and cruel or depraved masters were guilty of 
most horrible excesses.^* 

In the very early days, the negro had no legal protec- 
tion whatever. As regards the purchaser, the negro was 
his "thing," and the master might "do as he would with 
his own." The slave of the seventeenth-century Antilles 
was thus the instrumenium vocale of the old Roman Law. ^® 

But this state of things ceased legaUy after 1685. In 


that year, Colbert promulgated the ''Black Code/' «^ 
whichy though inspired more by economic than humani- 
tarian motives, set distinct bounds to the master's 
power. ** The principles of the Black Code were reaffirmed 
and slightly strengthened by the Edict of 1724, while the 
Ordinance of 1786 reflects the progress of ideas by its 
veiy sharp provisions against neglect and cruelty/* 

Such was the law; — in theoiy really humane on the 
eve of the Revolution; the trouble was that it had never 
become a fact. There is no doubt that the softening of 
manners and the increasing enlightenment of self-in- 
terest had combined steadily to better the lot of the 
slave. ^ At the same time he enjoyed little real protection 
against a cruel or ignorant master. ^<^ For, however much 
authority and public opinion might reprobate these ex- 
cesses, they simply did not dare to punish the guilty for 
fear of the effect upon the slaves. 

The Royal Government recognized this clearly. "If it 
be necessary to repress abuses of unlyimane masters,*' 
writes the Minister of Marine to Governor Lamage in 
1741, "see that you take great care to do nothing which 
may impair their authority over the slaves, for this might 
cause a breaking-down of the necessary bounds of de- 
pendence and submission." •• " It is only by leaving to 
the masters an almost absolute power," read the instruc- 
tions given a new Intendant in 1771, "that we can suc- 
ceed in holding such vast numbers of men in that state 
of submission necessitated by their preponderance over 
the whites. If persons abuse their authority, repress them 
covertly; — but never let the slaves think that their 
masters can do them wrong." ^ 


Edwards touches the fundamental difficulty. '"In 
countries where slaveiy is established,*' he writes, ''the 
leading principle on which govenunent is supported is 
fear; or a sense of that absolute, coercive necessity which, 
leaving no choice of action, supersedes all question of 
right. It is in vain to deny that such actually is, and 
necessarily must be, the case in all countries where slavery 
is allowed. Eveiy endeavor, therefore, to extend posi- 
tive rights to men in this state, as between one class of 
people and another, is an attempt to reconcile inherent 
contradictions, and to blend principles together which 
admit not of combination. The great, and I am afraid 
the only certain and permanent, security of the en- 
slaved negroes, is the strong circumstance that the in- 
terest of the master is blended with, and in truth alto- 
gether dependent upon, the preservation, health, strength, 
and activity 6f the slave." •* 

In 1788, on the very eve of the Revolution, the illusory 
character of slave protective legislation was strikingly 
illustrated by the "Aflfaire Lejeune." Lejeune, a coflFee- 
planter, had suspected a poisoning conspiracy among his 
slaves. To discover the guilty parties, he inflicted upon 
several of his negroes a series of fiendish tortures. Some 
of the terror-stricken blacks complained to the authori- 
ties, an investigation followed, and Lejeune's guilt W€is 
proved to the hilt. But this was only the beginning. 
The case had become the talk of the colony, already 
stirred as it was by news of the antislavery agitation in 
France. Governor and Intendant were soon bombarded 
with letters, petitions, and addresses, begging them to 
suppress this dangerous scandal. "In a word," writes the 



Intendant Barb^-Marbois to the Minister of Marine, *'it 
would appear that the safety of the colony depends upon 
the acquittal of the Sieur Lejeime." ^* This was, indeed, 
what actually occurred. The case was appealed to the 
highest court of the island, which handed down a decree 
of acquittal, — *'thus affirming once agidn the solidarity 
of all whites as against their slaves." ^® 

Biyan Edwards, as we have seen, states that the base 
of slave societies is fear.'^^ This is true, — and true in its 
broadest sense. For, if the slave feared the master, the 
master also feared the slave. In the background of San 
Domingan life, there lowered a dark shadow, of which 
men thought much even when they spoke little. 

And this was no veiled or distant peril; no year passed 

in which it failed to give bloody proof of its imminent 

presence. The mass of the slave population, indeed, 

might bend or break beneath the yoke, but there W€is 

always a minority of untamable spirits who burst their 

^ bonds and sought an outlaw's freedom. In a mountain- 

V^ ous country like San Domingo this was easy, and soon 

) every tract of forest and jungle came to have its wild 

' denizens. 

This state of outlawry was termed "marronage," and 
the runaways themselves were known as "marrons," — 
or, in English, *' maroons." For like conditions were 
common to all the West India islands; as Peytraud justly 
remarks, ""Marronage was the endemic social plague of 
the Antilles." The greatest efforts were made to stamp 
out this evil, but in spite of a well-organized rural gen* 
darmerie, the maroon bands could never be exterminated. 
The many wide tracts of tangled mountain, covered with 


impenetrable tropical forest, offered the fugitive negroes 
an almost inaccessible retreat. This was especially true 
of the high ranges along the Spanish border. Safe in 
these wild solitudes and secured against hunger by a 
spontaneous food-supply, the maroon bands would often 
descend by night upon the plains and valleys to steal 
cattle, sack plantations, and murder travellers.^^ A colo- 
nist, writing in 1772, states that at that very moment the 
mountain districts back of Port-au-Prinoe were 'deso- 
lated by their frequent incursions." ^* 

And, as time went on, the numbers of the maroons 
steadily increased. During the year 1720 alone, over 
one thousand negroes took to the woods, while in 1751 
a high official estimated the refugees in the mountains 
of the Spanish border at over three thousand.^^ Of course 
great numbers were recaptured or killed by the mari- 
chaussSe^ while many soon died from the accidents of a 
wild life; but the stream of recruits never ceased, and, 
as there were many women among the bands, a native 
maroon population gradually came into existence. These 
men, bom out of slavery and inured to a savage life, 
acquired a tribal consciousness which marked them off 
as a peculiar people. On the eve of the Revolution, the 
Colonial Government followed the example of the Eng- 
lish in Jamaica and the Dutch in Surinam,^^ and recog- 
nized the tribal existence of the maroons on the Spanish 
border by a convention of the year 1784.^ • 

The maroon negroes are a not unimportant factor in 
the struggles of the Revolution. They jealously main- 
tained their identity, rendered important service to the 
English and Spanish invaders, and fiercely resisted Tons- 



saint Louverture's efforts to subject them to his authority. 
They welcomed Napoleon's army» and, together with the 
free negroes of the Old Regime, they became the most 
loyal allies of the French. 

Even in the best of times, the maroons were a soiuxse 
of trouble. The reason why colonial writers do not devote 
more attention to the problem is because it was one of 
those constant factors which had come to be taken as a 
matter of course. Now and then, however, a significant 
side-light is thrown upon the question. For instance, 
when the first rumors reached France of the great negro 
insurrection of August, 1791, a retired officer of the mart* 
ehaussie wrote an open letter to one of the daily papers, 
warning against exaggeration. He thinks that the re- 
ports then current may be based upon some acute access 
of the chronic marronage, and he gives a sketch of his 
own experiences which portrays a state of genuine gue- 
rilla warfare.^^ Of course, as it turned out, rumor had 
not belied the truth; yet this letter is none the less valu- 
able evidence for conditions under the Old Regime. 

And now and then these wild bands found a leader. 
Then the annoyance became a peril; — it acquired the 
consistency of a revolt. For the maroons kept in touch 
with the enslaved negroes, and could always stir many to 

Slave revolts had taken place throughout the colony's 
history. In 1679, a Spanish negro formed a conspiracy 
''to massacre all the French." ^^ Foiled in this purpose 
he formed an entrenched camp among the mountains, 
and was only put down after a regular campaign.^* And 
this, at a time when the slave population was only two 


thousand as against five thousand whites. In 1691, two 
other black leaders were hunted down and executed for 
having planned "to massacre all the whites in the dis- 
trict of Port-de-Paix,*® down to women and children at 
the breast." •* In 1704, the negroes about Le Cap con- 
spired "to kill by night all the whites of that quarter." " 
It is true that the hand of Spain was thought to have 
been in these troubles, but subsequent afiFairs of a per- 
fectly spontaneous nature prove that foreign instigation 
was at most only a contributing cause. In 1703, an able' 
leader arose who for seven years spread terror by the sack 
of plantations and the rape of white women, while 
scarcely was he killed than a successor appeared who 
baffled the marfchaussSe for twelve years. ^ These men, 
it is true, do not seem to have entertained the idea of a 
regular insurrection, and the steady increase of settle- 
ment after 1714 must have discouraged the prospects of 
a successful rising; nevertheless, the early decades of the 
eighteenth century show quite a list of notorious out- 

But about 1750 there appeared a man of real ideas and 
powerful personality who was to become a veritable 
menace to the colony. This man was the famous Macan- 
dal. Macandal was an Af riccm, whether from the Senegal 
or Guinea is uncertain. For more than six years he ab- 
stained from active warfare against the whites while 
strengthening his influence over the negroes. His power 
was of a religious nature, for he announced that he was 
the Black Messiah, sent to drive the whites from the 
island. His magic powers gave him the authority of a 
veritable Old Man of the Mountain, and the supersti- 


tious negroes considered him a god. He had a clear idea 
of race, and concerning it, gave utterance to the following 
remarkable prophecy: One day, before a numerous as- 
sembly, he exhibited a vase containing three handker- 
chiefs colored yellow, white, and black, which he drew 
out in turn. "'Behold,*' said he, ''the first people of San 
Domingo — they were yellow. Behold the present inhabi- 
tants — they are white. Behold those who shall one day 
remain its masters " — and he drew forth the black 

At last, about 1758, he thought the moment come 
for his great stroke. His plan rested on the wholesale 
use of poison. Poison had always been the chief slave 
method of obtaining revenge. It assumed the most di- 
verse forms: poisoning of the master, of his children, his 
cattle, his slaves, — even self-inflicted poisoning, if the 
party thought himself a chattel of value. ^* But Macandal 
united poisoning to marronage for a definite end. Ac- 
cording to an official memoir, the plot was woven with 
consummate skill. On a certain day all the water of Le 
Cap was to be poisoned, and, when the whites were in 
.convulsions, Macandal and his maroon bands were to 
raise the waiting negroes of the "plaine" and extermi- 
nate the colonists. Only by the merest chance was the 
conspiracy discovered. The terror among the whites was 
great, and Macandal was relentlessly hunted down and 
executed. Yet even in death he left behind a legacy of 
unrest, for he prophesied that he would one day return, 
more terrible than before. This was believed by many 
negroes, and the colony was never free from poisonings 
and disturbances.®^ 


The great negro insurrection of 1791 was thus only the 
coming to pass of what had been awaiting the favor of 
circumstance since the colony's beginning. Its possi- 
bility had long been foreseen. "We have in the negroes 
most dangerous enemies," writes a Governor in 1685. 
A century later, ^^ a royal officer exclaims, "A slave col- 
ony is a town menaced by assault; we are walking on 
barrels of powder." *• His words were true; — and sparks 
from the edicts of Revolutionary France were soon to 
fall upon those powder-barrels. 

Su^ was San Domingo: matericAy {nrosperous, but 
sedaU^jdiseased. In closing this sketch of the colony at 
the outbreak of the Revolution, let us quote the farewell 
of De Wimpffen: "Will you have, sir, my parting word 
on this country? It is: the more I know the inhabitants, 
the more I congratulate myself on quitting it. I came 
hither with the 'noble' ambition of occupying myself 
solely in acquiring a fortune; but destined to become a 
'master,' and consequently to possess 'slaves,' I saw, 
in the necessity of living with them, that of studying them 
with attention, to know them, — and I depart with much 
less esteem for the one and pity for the other. When a 
person is what the greater part of the planters are, he is 
made to have slaves; when he is what the greater part 
of the slaves are, he is made to have a master! Tout le 
monde est ici k sa place!" ^ 



On the 19th of November, 1787, Louis XVI promised 
a calling of the States-General. The phrasing, it is true, 
was vague, and the date set 1792, but now that the Not- 
ables had failed to give relief ^ it was plain that the bank- 
rupt Grovemmenti of France could never stagger through 
another four years. For the first time since the far-off 
year 1614, the French people was about to assemble 
legally before the throne; there to lay bare its grievances 
and demand redress. 

But redress of grievances was not the hope of France 
alone; — it was shared by Frenchmen over-seas, and 
nowhere more ardently than in the chief colony of the 
empire. San Domingo, as we have seen, was filled with 
discontent: discontent at the caste of arbitrary soldiers, 
supercilious bureaucrats, and pedantic lawyers who came 
from Europe to rule her with such arrogance and waste; ^ 
discontent at that colonial system which pinched and 
mulcted her at every turn.* That a movement for eco- 
nomic reform and some measure of colonial self-govern- 
ment should speedily arise was inevitable. 

The most obvious means of furthering these ends was 
the sending of representatives to the coming States-Gen- 
eral. True, no precedent existed for such a step. But 
precedent could clearly play little part in the convocation 


of a body which had not met for nearly two hundred 
years, and San Domingo might claim that her rights were 
as good as those of great European provinces such as 
Franche-Comt£ and Lorraine which had also come under 
the French Crown since the last States-General in 1614» 
yet whose admission was certain not to be refused. Of 
course, San Domingo was not a contiguous province but 
a remote colony, and no nation had ever admitted colo- 
nial representatives to its council board. But then the 
States-General was no modem legislature like the Eng- 
lish Parliament, but a mediaeval assembly for the stating 
of grievances and with no direct power of enforcing re- 
dress. Theoretically, there seemed no good reason for 
denying the Frenchmen of San Domingo this opportunity 
of laying their complaints before the King. 

In the early months of 1788 such a movement began» 
both in San Domingo itself and amoi:^ that tiumerous 
group of absentee nobles, planters, and merchants then 
living in France.^ On July 15^ 1788, the French section 
organized as a regular party styling itself the "'Colonial 
Committee." It was dominated by a group of great ab- 
sentee nobles, and at Court it had powerful connections 
and the patronage of the Duke of Orleans. Its adherents 
numbered about a thousand persons, centring in Paris, 
but also scattered through the provinces and the com- 
mercial towns. Furthermore, the party had the good 
luck to discover among its members a man of real ability 
in the person of the Marquis de Gouy d'Arcy, whose 
stirring pamphlets and clever political tactics were at 
length to bring it success.^ 

In San Domingo, the party showed equal activity. 


Here also the movement was headed by a number of 
wealthy planters of noble birth, seconded by some of 
the rich merchants and lawyers, while the semi-official 
Chamber of Commerce at Le Cap set itself up as the 
steering-committee of the movement/ The fear of gov- 
ernment interference restrained the Chamber from too 
open a propagapda, but in the month of May it drew up 
a manifesto claiming the rights of San Domingo to rep- 
resentation in the States-General, and circulated among 
its adherents a petition to the King.^ Backed by three 
thousand signatures, this i)etition was forwarded to the 
Colonial Committee in Paris.' In rather flamboyant 
language it set forth the signers' griefs and hopes. ** Sire,'* 
it reads, "V^u are about to call all France around you. 
The clarion call is already sounding, and its note carries 
across the sea. Our hearts are at your feet. We are 
Frenchmen; we lament that the ocean hinders us from 
being the first to reach the footsteps of your throne." • 

This address did much to stimulate the French Com- 
mittee's propaganda. Within the next few weeks a num- 
ber of pamphlets appeared, mostly from the clever pen 
of Gouy d'Arcy; wires were industriously pulled at Ver- 
sailles; and on September 4 a deputation styling them- 
selves the '"Conmiissioners of San Domingo" appeared 
before the Minister of Marine, La Luzerne, and presented 
their petition now swelled to four thousand signatures 
by the adherents of the party in France. La Luzerne 
avoided committing himself, but laid the petition before 
the Eang, and Louis referred it to the Conseil d'£tat, 
which advised against colonial representation on grounds 
of inexpediency.^® 


However, this check was far from discouraging the 
Colonial Committee. Fresh pamphlets appeared to win 
over French public opinion,^^ and the growing weakness 
displayed by the King's Government emboldened the 
party to more radical action. By this time whole prov- 
inces, like Dauphin6 and Brittany, were acting at«their 
own will and pleasure in open defiance of the King's au- 
thority,^' and the lesson was not lost upon the partisans 
of colonial representation. "The Grovemment," says 
Boissonnade, ''was denying them access to the coming 
States-General; they resolved to force it. The Govern- 
ment was denying them the right of assembly; they in- 
voked the right of nature." " They passed the word to 
their comrades in San Domingo to elect deputies to the 

In San Domingo what was the strength of that royal 
authority now to be put to this decisive test? The well- 
meaning but irresolute Minister of Marine, La Luzerne, 
had been the island's last Govemor,^^ and his successor, 
the Marquis du Chilleau, had not yet left France. Never- 
theless, San Domingo was in good hands. For the last 
four years the intendantship had been held by the Mar- 
quis de Barb^-Marbois. A man of strong character and 
great ability, he had effected striking financial and ad- 
ministrative reforms, and was the acknowledged head of 
the Government." 

Under better conditions this man might have been a 
tower of strength against the forces of disorder and revo- 
lution. But here, as elsewhere, the wretched Govern- 
ment of Louis XVI deserted its most faithful servants. 
Faced by the rising storm, he demanded again and again 


of the Home Government wliat attitude he was to assume. 
'*We administrators/* he writes, '"can only wait upon 
your orders.*' ^^ But the Government had no orders to 
give. In December, 1788, arrived the new Grovemor, Du 
Chilleau; yet his instructions contained not a line of posi- 
tive direction; they simply ventured a pious confidence 
''in the prudence of tiie administrators/* ^^ 

To Barb6-Marbois this was all the more perplexing 
nnce it was becoming evident tiiat in spite of their noisy 
propaganda the partisans of colonial representation were 
only a minority: fully two thirds of the white population 
were showing themselves either indifferent or positively 
hostile. The poor whites had notiiing to gain from the 
aristocratic r6^me proposed by the Chamber's mani- 
festo, the official caste was in violent opposition to claims 
for self-government which would have deprived its mem- 
bers of their bertiis; finally, a majority even of the 
planters expressed lively apprehensions as to the results 
of this agitation.^' 

The dissent among the planters is most significcmt. 
The reasons for official opposition are patent, but these 
planters were fully alive to colonial abuses, and were 
by nature just as susceptible as the adherents of rep- 
resentation to prospects of power and reform. The 
reason for their opposition was their fear of the coming 
States-General's attitude toward slavery and the color 

The first note against slavery had been sounded a full 
half -century before by Montesquieu in his "Esprit des 
Lois," but ever since then the chorus had been swelling 
in volume. All the leaders of later French thought had 


written against tliis institution,^* and in the preceding 
year the movement (become international in scope) had 
assumed a practical form truly alarming to the colonies. 
In 1787, the English reformer Clarkson had founded in 
London a society advocating the abolition of slavery. 
It had spread like wildfire, and a propaganda had begun 
which within a year reached Parliament and alarmed the 
British colonies.^ 

And almost immediately the movement jumped the 
Channel, for in Pebruary, 1788, the brilliant young pam- 
phleteer Brissot foimded the famous society of the ** Amis 
des Noirs." ^^ If the English propaganda had spread 
fast, the French one spread infinitely faster. The mother 
society in Paris quickly counted among its members 
many of the great names of the Revolution: men air 
ready famous like Lafayette, Mirabeau, and Condorcet; 
coming figures like Robespierre. Purthermore, it quickly 
became much more radical than the English society. It 
affiliated with the network of secret revolutionary or- 
ganizations then springing up over Prance, embraced 
abstract principles, and already formulated the '* Rights 
of Man." It appealed to the people and soon g^ed 
many thousand adherents. By its organized network 
of daughter societies, it anticipated the system of the 

If even the English propaganda had disquieted San 
Domingo,'* it is easy to imagine the alarm caused by the 
progress of the Prench society and by the accompanying 
flood of antislavery Uterature. "I well remember," says 
Moreau de Saint-M6iy, 'Hhe tremendous sensation at 
Le Cap, when, in April and May, 1788, numbers of the 


'Mercure de France' arrived giving details and com- 
ment on this question." ^ 

Now all this had given the colonists food for much 
reflection. Judging by. the paralysis of the French Gov- 
ernment, radical thought was veiy likely to dominate 
the coming States-Greneral. And it was equally clear 
that this radical thought was pronoimcing against colo- 
nial ideals in no imcertain fashion. Was it, then, wise to 
affiliate with this assembly or raise colonial questions for 
its consideration? To many men the correct line of con- 
duct had already been marked out by the recent action 
of their English colonial neighbors. The island of Jamaica 
had been as much wrought up over the efforts of Clarkson 
and his friends as San Domingo by the doings of the 
"Amis des Noirs"; — indeed, even in San Domingan 
opinion, the English island* was at that moment consid- 
ered the more menaced of the two.^^ Yet the Jamaicans 
expressed no desire to send a handful of representatives 
to be lost in the mass of the British Parliament; instead, 
they had been more than contented to send agents for 
the protection of their interests.*^ This struck the mass 
of the San Domingo planters as the proper solution of 
their own difficulty. To keep colonial questions as much 
as possible out of the French public eye, and to ob- 
tain reforms directly from the Crown through the quiet 
efforts of their agents, appeared to these men the only 
safe course to pursue.*^ 

This opposition to colonial representation was not long 
in assiuning concrete form. Not only was there wide- 
spread refusal to sign the petition circulated in May, 
1788,2^ but a public protest was got up and presented to 


Barb^Marbois.'" In his correspondence with the Min- 
ister of Marine, the Intendant explains the feelings of 
this opposition. *' Admission to the States-General," he 
writes, ''would, in itself, be dear to all the colonists. . . • 
But they feel how little likeness there is between colonial 
conditions and those to be treated by the States-General, 
and they think that the voices of a few colonial deputies 
would be lost in those of six or seven hundred persons few 
of whom could have any knowledge of colonial conditions 
or interests." *® 

Such was the conviction of both Government and ma* 
jority; yet, as has often happened, they were unable to 
defeat the plans of an aggressive minority which knew 
what it wanted and strove to a definite end. By the close 
of the year 1788 this minority had acquired a well-knit 
organization, with provincial and even parochial com- 
mittees working under the guidance of the Chamber at 
Le Cap.'^ Accordingly, after various aggressive moves,'* 
the Chamber in late December boldly defied the Govern- 
ment, and convoked throughout the colony electoral 
assemblies for the choice of deputies to the States-Gen- 
eral.*' The conservative majority protested,'* but did 
nothing, and its natural leader, the Intendant, dared not 
move for lack of orders. These elections appear to have 
been highly irregular, packe(][, and sometimes secret. 
The planter opposition refused to vote, and of the poor 
whites only party henchmen were admitted. The result 
was the ''election" of a solid delegation of thirty-seven 
deputies, several of whom were residents of France.'* At 
the same time cahiers of grievances were drawn up stat^ 
ing the electors' wishes. These show clearly the party's 


aims, which were nothing less than the erection of the 
planter caste into a privileged aristocracy which should 
monopolize the public offices and rule San Domingo.** 

As the result of these elections the Government was 
quite discredited,*' and it soon fell into absolute impo- 
tence through a quarrel of Governor and Intendant. The 
important results of the hard winter of 1788-89 upon the 
course of the French Revolution have been often noted, 
and it is interesting to discover a direct effect upon the 
history of San Domingo as well. The failure of the 
French crops had caused a prohibition against the ex- 
port of grain from France, and this threatened San Do- 
mingo with famine. To avert this famine, Governor Du 
Chilleau in March, 1789, threw open the ports to foreign 
foodstuffs. The terms of his proclamation, however, ex- 
ceeded the law, and Barb^Marbois protested. For some 
time the relations between the two had been growing less 
cordial, and this action of the Intendant completed the 
rupture. Du Chilleau, a weak man with a hot temper, 
now fell imder the influence of the radical planters, who, 
in May, 1789, induced him to issue an entirely illegal 
ordinance giving the island virtual freedom of trade. The 
Intendant at once reported to the Home Government 
this nullification of the '^ Facte Coloniale," and the 
Minister of Marine prqpdptly annulled Du Chilleau's 
acts and recalled him in disgrace. But the political con- 
sequences of the quarrel were none the less serious. The 
ministerial orders did not arrive until autumn, and be- 
fore that time the news of the first great triumphs of the 
French Revolution had reached San Domingo — to find 
the island virtually without a government.** 


The year 1789 discovered France in the tumult of the 
approaching elections to the States-General, and therein 
the voice of the Colonial Conunittee was heard loudly 
raised among the rest. That it aroused a certain amount 
of interest is proved by the election of several of its sup- 
porters and by some favorable cahiers.^^ Yet its rather 
noisy propaganda also had a reflex effect which went far 
to justify the fears of its colonial opponents. The ** Amis 
des Noirs'* took up its efforts as a chaUenge, seeing in the 
champions of the Colonial Committee the most bitter 
opponents of those changes so deeply laid to heart. They 
therefore declaimed loudly against the oppression of the 
slaves and the iniquities of slaveiy, and they succeeded 
in getting a better hearing than the Colonial Committee 
itself.^® The great mass of public opinion, however, re- 
fused to declare for either party.** 

The efforts of the Colonial Committee had evoked yet 
another current of opposition. Among the colonists liv- 
ing in France there existed the same differences of opinion 
as among the residents of San Domingo. From the first 
there had been much lively dissent at the doings of the 
Colonial Committee, and these dissenters were rapidly 
drawing together into that definite organization later 
known as the 'Xlub Massiac." Several of their sympa- 
thizers were elected to the States-General where they 
were certain to oppose colonial representation,** and 
in this attitude they were sure to be supported by the 
deputies of the commercial towns, already alarmed as 
these were at the Colonial Committee's strictures on 
the "Facte Coloniale." " 

Faced by such powerful opponents it is not surprising 


that the first efforts of the Committee to seat its dep- 
uties were failures. The States-General opened on the 
5th of May, and in mid-Jime the cause of the San Do- 
mingo deputies looked more than doubtful. In this 
impasse they were fortuitously saved by the Day of the 
Tennis Court:** in that crisis Gouy d'Arcy saw his op- 
portunity and led his fellows to the aid of the imperilled 
Third Estate. The spectacle of this group of noblemen 
appearing in the hour of peril to share their fortimes 
roused a wave of grateful enthusiasm among the Com- 
mons» who admitted the principle of colonial representa- 
tion on the spot.** 

The Colonial Committee had thus won in principle, 
but the extent of its victory still remained to be deter- 
mined. In the first debates on the size of the San 
Domingo delegation, it seemed as though its demand 
for twenty seats would go through. But the pressure of 
other business caused frequent adjournments, and this 
delay was skilfully used by its opponents. Pamphlets 
from influential members of the ""Amis des Noirs" Uke 
Brissot and Condorcet appeared to chill opinion; a pro- 
test from the "Club Massiac" stabbed the Committee 
from behind; worst of all, the able pen of Mirabeau 
fought savagely against the San Domingans, and in the 
debates his great voice thimdered forth words which 
must have caused a shudder among the colonial depu- 
ties.** "Have not the best minds denied the very utility 
of colonies?" he cried. "And, even admitting their util- 
ity, is that any reason for a right to representation? 
These people wish a representation in proportion to the 
number of inhabitants. But have the negroes or the free 


people of color taken part in the elections? The free 
colpred are landowners and taxpayers; — nevertheless, 
they have had no vote. And as to the slaves — either they 
are, or they are not, men. If they be men, let the colo- 
nists free them, make them voters and eligible as depu- 
ties; if they be not men, — have we counted into the 
population of France the number of our horses and 
mules?" « 

On July 7, it is true, the Assembly voted the admis- 
sion of six deputies from San Domingo. But the gulf had 
already opened beneath the colonists' feet. Before those 
ominous words of Mirabeau, even the sanguine Gouy 
d'Arcy must have remembered the despised warnings of 
the "Club Massiac." In the words of D6schamps, "This 
logic was far from pleasing to the colonists. It chilled the 
enthusiasm of the 20th of June, and made them already 
regret their action in having placed themselves under 
the protection of the Assembly. The political rights of 
the mulattoes and the aboUtion of slavery were, in this 
very first hour, already looming over the horizon, evoked 
by the mighty orator who had thus far guided the Revo- 
lution. It was nothing less than a declaration of war, and 
one all the more serious in that the very utiUty of colonies 
had been questioned. From that moment the colonial 
deputies felt that they must separate their cause from 
the mother country's, must extricate their interests from 
its principles, and must give blow for blow to those 
'Amis des Noirs' of whom Mirabeau was but the spokes- 
man." " 

In other words, the Colonial Committee was about to 
try, too late, what wiser heads had attempted from the 


j fi^g» ~^^ ^*^P ^?ft^ Paminga nut nf thrr Hi I'lTliitinn At 

^"onetime, this had not been an impossibility. If the great 

planter aristocracy had held together and consistently 

V backed the 6ovemment» it coidd certainly have kept the 
island peaceful. And with no news from San Domingo 
to rouse public interest or excite discussion, it is more than 
likely that in the coming tumult of great events, colonial 
Questions would have been either overlooked or hushed 
up by a Uttle clever manipulation.^* As a matter of fact, 
a policy very like this was actually carried out by the 
colonists of lle-de-France and Bourbon,*® with the re- 
sult that these islands escaped the woes of the French 
West Indian colonies. Even persons close to the event 
realized the Colonial Committee's fatal error. "To-day," 
writes the essayist Beaulieu in 1802, '"this thoughtless 
step of the inhabitants of San Domingo is generally held 
to have been the source of those iUs which wrought their 
ruin. If the inhabitants of San Domingo had never sent 
deputies to the States-General, there would have been 
no point of contact between them and that National 
Assembly which was the heart of the Revolution, or, at 
most, communication would have been both slow and 
difficult." " 

"BuLlitJ woo not t OLbe. For more than a year the par- 
tisans of colonial representation had trumpeted their 
cause all over France, stirred San Domingo to discord 
and confusion, and engaged in a furious duel with French 
radical thought which had filled the land with a flood 
of oratory and pamphlets. The French public was now 
deeply interested both in San Domingo and in colo- 
nial questions, and the presence of her deputies in the 



National Assembly had "bound the fate of the colony 
to that of the mother country, which was soon to impose 
upon that colony laws against which she would strive in 







In France, the Revolution moved forward with stun-, 
ning rapidity. The storming of the BastiDe on the 14th 
of Jidy felled the Government of the King, the night of 
the 4th of August destroyed the power of the French 
nobility, and on August 20, the "Declaration of the 
Rights of Man" conunitted the National Assembly to 
principles which condemned the veiy bases of colonial 

The colonists in France were wild with terror. "The 
colony," write the San Domingo deputies to their constit- 
uents on August 12, "is in most imminent peril. People 
here are trying to raise a revolt among our negroes, and 
the danger is such as to cause us the most horrible alarm. 
We see the danger, — and yet are forced to keep silence. 
Gentlemen, these people are drunk with liberty. A so- 
ciety of enthusiasts who style themselves the 'Friends of 
the Blacks' is writing openly against us; it is watching 
eagerly for the favorable moment to explode the mine 
against slavery; and should we have the tactlessness to 
but utter that word, its members might make it the oc- 
casion to demand the enfranchisement of our negroes." ^ 

Under the pressure of this growing peril, both Colonial 
Committee and Club Massiac drew together. WKat was 
done, was done, and no time must be wasted in useless 


recrimination: positive action was necessary. It was evi- 
dent that the old Government was in its death-agony and 
that the National Assembly would soon be supreme. 
Before this should happen, the best plan seemed to be to 
establish in San Domingo some new power which might 
offer resistance to anti-colonial legislation, and, by means 
of the still-existing royal prerogative, to "remove colo- 
nial affairs from the control of the National Assembly to 
that of some local body in which the slave interests would 
be safe." « 

Accordingly, the two factions approached the Minister 
of Marm^-with a reqttest for royal authorization to con- 
voke <! ^^^ wi ft V AjaimtKiy . This request La Luzerne was 
only too happy to grant, and on September 27, he de- 
spatched to San Domingo orders quite to the liking of 
his petitioners. These orders provided for an Assembly 
having competence over internal affairs and elected 
through a franchise so limited by property qualifications 
as assured planter control.' Best of all, from the colo- 
nists' standpoint, there was no recognition whatever of 
the National Assembly: the future colonial body was to 
be accountable only to the King.^ 

The course of events quickly showed the colonists that 
they had acted none too soon. It also convinced them 
that fresh efforts on their part were necessary. For, on 
October 5, the Paris mob marched on Versailles and 
brought both King and National Assembly back with 
them next day. From that moment it was plain that 
neither King nor Assembly was a free agent, and that the 
radical minority might at any time enforce its will 
through pressure from the Paris mob. 



Indeed* this firesh victory of the Revolution soon pio- 
duoed important devdopments in the colonial question. 
In Paris there had long existed a communily of wealthy 
mulattoes, come thither to obtain a European education 
or to escape the rigors of the color line. These men had 
naturally excited the sympathetic interest of French 
radical thought, and from the first» the ''Amis des 
Noirs** had eagerly planned how the mulattoes might, 
best derive advantage from the course of the Revolution.* 
Under the leadership of one of these white friends (an 
advocate named De Joly), the Paris mulattoes had re- 
cently organized themselves into the society of ''Colons 
Am^ricains.'* The progress of the Revolution greatly 
encouraged their prospects, and on October 22, the in- 
fluence of the "Amis des Noirs" succeeded in getting the 
mulattoes a hearing before the National Assembly. On 
that day a delegation of the "Colons Amiricains" ap- 
peared at the Assembly's bar, and there demanded that 
the mulattoes be aUowed to enjoy all the privileges of 
citizenship, not as a favor but as a natural right, and that 
the Assembly admit into its body certain delegates rep- 
resenting the interests of the mulatto caste. The President 
replied amicably that "no part of the nation should ask 
its rights from the Assembly in vain," and took the 
"Colons Am6ricains"* petition into consideration.* 

The next few weeks saw a vigorous controversy, both 
within and without the Assembly. The " Amis des Noirs " 
did their best to insure their prot6g^' admission, and the 
influential pen of the Abb6 Gr^goire did yeoman service. 
But their opponents were also active, and all the powerful 
influence of the commercial towns backed the colonists in 


their efforts to shelve a proposal so certain to destroy the 
peace of the colonies. On December S, the question came 
before the House, and a great debate ended in the defeat 
of the "Amis des Noirs." ^ 

The danger was over for the moment, but the colonists 
saw what must speedily be done. No more such oratori- 
cal battles must be fought in the hall of the National 
Assembly, for in these contests, the "Amis des Noirs," 
with their ringing appeals to Revolutionary principles 
and their backing of sympathetic galleries, were certain 
sooner or later to sweep the Assembly off its feet and to 
gain some decisive victory. If such questions must come 
up at all, the colonists felt it absolutely necessaiy to get 
them off the floor of the House into the quiet of the com- 
mittee room.^ Accordingly, a colonial deputy * promptly 
proposed the formation of a Committee on Colonies, to be 
composed of colonial and commercial deputies in equal 
proportions.*® The "Amis des Noirs," however, were 
fully alive to the importance of this move. It was quite 
clear that, once a body so constituted was established, 
every proposal affecting the colonies would be either 
killed in committee or reported to the House in biased 
form. They accordingly fought the proposal, and showed 
their strength by compassing its defeat.** 

Then, for three months, colonial questions slumbered 
as interest centred in constitution-making and the foreign 
crisis over Nootka Soimd. However, toward the end of 
February, 1790, the Assembly was brought to reconsidera- 
tion by the increasingly serious news from the colonies. 
Violent scenes were taking place in San Domingo,*^ and 
still more serious tidings came from Guadeloupe and 


Martinique, where the negroes were abeady stirring at 
the call of the Revolution." 

It was clear that the House needed full information on 
this complicated question, and to sift the accumulating 
mass of evidence, the Assembly on March 2, 1790, ap- 
pointed a Committee on Colonies. On this committee 
only two colonial deputies found seats, but as the ''Amis 
des Noirs" were excluded while the other members were 
moderate in tone, the colonists might feel that they 
would be given a friendly hearing.^* 

This committee reported on the 8th of March, when 
its chairman^ Bamave, laid before the House a draft 
decree for the settlement of the troubles over-seas. His 
recommendations were very pleasing to the colonists. In 
his report, Bamave maintained that the late troubles 
were caused by the arbitraiy nature of the Royal Gov- 
ernment, the extreme rigor of the "Facte Coloniale," 
and the machinations of ''those enemies of the happiness 
of France*' who had made the colonists believe that the 
carrying out of the national decrees involved the ruin of 
their fortunes and the peril of their lives. This last was, 
of course, a direct thrust at the "Amis des Noirs." To 
remedy these evils, Bamave advised that the colonies 
should be left to work out their own internal constitu- 
tions, that the "Facte" should be toned down, and that 
the National Assembly should quiet the colonies' fears 
regarding the safety of their social organization.^^ 

In the draft decree these ideas were embodied in no 
uncertain fashion. Its preamble stated that "While the 
National Assembly considers the colonies as part of the 
French Empire, and while it desires to see them enjoy the 


fruits of the happy regeneration which has just taken 
place, it has, notwithstanding, never intended to include 
them as subject to the constitution decreed for the king- 
dom or laws incompatible with their local circum- 
stances." ^* The body of the decr^ authorized the vari- 
ous colonies to make known their wishes through local 
assemblies, and declared ''criminal against the nation 
whosoever should seek to foment risings against them/' ^' 

This was a sweeping colonial victory, but the As- 
sembly had become so thoroughly alarmed at the condi- 
tion of the colonies that it received Bamave's proposals 
with acclamation. Even Mirabeau's great voice was 
drowned by the cries of "Aux voix! Aux voix!" and the 
decree was voted almost unanimously.^* 

The Decree of March 8, 1790, was a crushing blow for 
the "Amis des Noirs." Nevertheless, they did not de- 
spair, for they saw a chance of undoing the colonists' vic- 
tory. The decree was general in form and needed a set of 
instructions to explain its execution. These instructions 
did not come before the House until the ^d of March, and 
this gave time for the exertion of adverse pressure and for 
the framing of "jokers" to nullify its purpose. The eflPect 
of this two weeks' effort was very apparent when the 
instructions came before the Assembly, which now showed 
clearly that strain of moral cowardice and vacillation 
which was to be so largely responsible for the ruin of 
San Domingo. 

The great struggle came over Article 4, which con- 
cerned voting qualifications. After much preliminary 
bickering, the article as proposed stated that "all per- 
sons" twenty-five years of age, owners of real estate or 


taxpayers, should be held qualified voters. Now this 
phrasing contained an ambiguity which might well be 
interpreted into a complete nullification of the decree it 
was supposed to explain. For, taken literally. Article 4 
admitted to the franchise a very large number of mulat- 
toes; — something which was clearly just such a revo- 
lutionary change in colonial conditions as had been 
expressly disclaimed by the decree. 

And, in the debate which followed, this ambiguity was 
brought sharply to the notice of the Assembly. The 
Abb6 Gr^goire loudly hailed Article 4 as consecrating the 
political equality of the mulattoes, and this assertion was 
at once hotly denied by a colonial deputy. Now, if the 
decree of March 8 meant anything at all, it meant the 
retention of the existing colonial status quo : yet the As- 
sembly simply could not bring itself to a specific contra- 
diction of its vaunted principles, and finally shirked the 
point by simply voting Article 4 as it stood — ambiguity 
and all.** "Thus," says Mills, "the Assembly refused to 
consider the question above aU others needing settlement. 
The decree literally interpreted would admit the free peo- 
ple of color to the exercise of the suffrage; but the tradi- 
tions and customary law of the island were against any 
such concession. It is evident that the colonial deputies 
did not intend that the colored people should be admitted 
to full citizenship. The explanation of this evasive action 
of the Assembly is probably to be found in its unwilling- 
ness to do anything which might seem to be inconsistent 
with its Declaration of Rights and other enunciations of 
fundamental principles, while at the same time it was 
felt that no hasty action should be taken in the settle- 


ment of a question affecting the commercial interests 
of France." «<> 

Fraught with its ominous equivocation, this truly 
Delphic utterance of the National Assembly went forth 
to San Domingo. 




The close of the year 1789 found San Domingo al- 
ready the theatre of gcpwing tumult and confusion. The 
prestige of the Boyal Government had suffered a heavy 
blow from the January elections, and the breach between 
Governor and Intendant had destroyed its power of 
action.^ Still, the public peace was not really disturbed 
before the autumn. Impotent as was the Royal Govern- 
ment for repression, its hold on the machinery of govern- 
ment was still unbroken, and the opposition dared at- 
tempt no open attack until the result of the struggle in 
France should be known in the island. The Party of 
Representation, therefore, contented itself with perpetu- 
ating its political organization by the establishment of 
Provincial Committees, against which the Government 
took no action.' 

Early in September, however, this truce was broken 
by the tidings of the 14th of July. At San Domingo, as in 
France, the fall of the Bastille was the signal for an ex- 
plosion: in the towns, at least, the tricolor <x)ckade was 
worn by all, and several persons who ventured to express 
their disapproval were lynched by excited crowds.* 

But the popular nature of these disorders showed that 
the movement was assuming a new phase. Hitherto, the 
struggle had been confined to the upper classes of society, 
and the January elections had shown how completely the 


lower orders of the white population had been disre- 
garded.^ But the ensuing months had given ample time 
for the Revolutionary leaven to work among the needy 
proletariat of the towns/ whose latent jealousy of the 
wealthy whites had been rapidly transformed into an 
active desire to share in the Revolution.* That the poor 
whites would have to be reckoned with in future politics 
was soon conclusively shown. The cahier of grievances 
drawn up in the January elections was published at this 
moment, and its demands for the erection of the planter 
caste into a ruling aristocracy aroused such a storm of 
popular indignation at Le Cap that the Provincial Com- 
mittee hastened to convoke all classes of the white popu- 
lation to the election of a Provincial Assembly.^ 

The committee was emboldened to this step by the 
victory which it had just won over the Government. The 
news of the 14th of July had been hailed by the opposi- 
tion as the signal for its attack upon the royal authority. 
Wherever its power extended it had disbanded the royal- 
ist-officered militia and enrolled its supporters into com- 
panies of National Guards,^ and as soon as it had thus 
acquired a miUtary backing it had dealt a decisive blow. 
Everybody agreed that the pillar of royal authority in 
San Domingo was the Intendant, Barb6-Marbois, — 
and him the opposition promptly decided to eliminate. 
Accordingly, a corps of Le Cap volunteers marched over- 
land on Port-au-Prince to arrest the Intendant. Barbd- 
Marbois, knowing his probable fate if captured and de- 
spairing of any effective resistance to this sudden coup^ 
took ship and left the island, accompanied by those other 
officials known for the most zealous upholders of the 


royal prerogative.* At San Domingo, as in France, the 
^'emigration" had begun. 

This flight of the Intendant had the desired effect. It 
left imsupported the new Governor, Count de Peynier, 
who had arrived less than a month before. Although 
personally a brave soldier, Peynier was advanced in 
years, somewhat lacking in resolution, and too unac- 
quainted with local affairs to venture a determined resist- 
ance to the attacks of the opposition.^® Accordingly, on 
November 1, the new Provincial Assembly of the North 
met at Le Cap without interference from the royal author- 
ities. It was, of course, dominated by the opposition, 
which had by this time adopted the party nickname of 
" Patriots." The " Patriots " had now develops! a direct- 
ing group of reckless spirits, foremost among them being 
a showy nobleman named Bacon de la Chevalerie, and 
one Larchevesque Thibaud, an oratorical lawyer of the 
Le Cap Bar.^^ These two men were to be the leading 
spirits of the ''Patriot*' party down to its destruction 
in 1793. 

The new Assembly at once declared that the powers 
of government for the Province of the North vested en- 
tirely in the body of its deputies, and assimied control 
over every branch of local administration in complete 
disregard of the Governor's authority." 

With such a party stronghold as the North Province, 
the progress of the "Patriots" in the rest of the colony 
was rapid. Early in January, 1790, an Assembly of the 
West Province met at Port-au-Prince, under the very 
eyes of Governor Peynier, and in mid-February an As- 
sembly of the South met at Les Cayes. However, the 


Governor's presence and the growing conservatism of the 
West and South forced these two bodies to adopt a much 
more modest attitude than had been the case with the 
Assembly of the remote and self-sufficient North.^' 
Some time in January, 1790, arrived that plan for a 

Colonial Assembly which had been drawn up by the 
Home Government at the request of the colonists in 
France. Its details were not wholly pleasing to the '^Pa- 
triots " and were promptly modified, but its substance was 
quite in accord with their wishes. Therefore, in the latter 
part of February, the three provincial bodies convoked 
a Colonial Assembly, to meet at the town of Saint-Marc 
inthe West Province on the 25th of March. ^^ The tardy 
arrival of its members delayed the opening of this Colo- 
nial Assembly: ^^ before that date, the colony had been 
thrown into great alarm by a rising among the mulat- 

The ferment of the Revolution had not failed to stir 
the mulattoes of San Domingo. As early as January, 
1789, some mulattoes of the West Province had as- 
serted their claims to political rights in a memorial to the 
royal authorities, and although at that moment they did 
not dare publicly to avow their hopes, they were steadily 
encouraged by the reports received from the mulatto 
community in Paris. ^* However, as tidings concerning 
the anti-colonial tendencies displayed by the Revolution- 
ary party in France continued to reach the island, the 
hopes of the mulattoes became tinged with fears for their 
personal safety. The alarm of the white population over 
the ''Amis des Noirs" in 1788 has been already noted. ^' 
Later, this feeling had been submerged by the political 


crisis, although we have seen how profoundly fear for the 
existing social order had influenced conservative colonial 
opinion.^* But when the ''Declaration of the Rights of 
Man " arrived in late September, a fresh quiver of alarm 
ran through San Domingo. ''To promulgate such les- 
sons in the colonies as the declared sense of the Supreme 
Government," observes Edwards, "was to subvert the 
whole fifystem of their establishments. Accordingly, a 
general ferment prevailed among the French inhabitants 
of San Domingo, from one end to the other.*' ^* 

And the fears of the colonists were not confined to pos- 
sible action of the mulattoes: already alarm was felt at 
the attitude of the slaves. "In this country," writes a 
colonist at this moment, "we are in the greatest fear con- 
cerning the negroes." *® That this attitude was justified 
is shown by the report of a royal officer in the district of 
Port Dauphin, dated so early as the 14th of October, 
1789, and considered by the Governor to be of sufficient 
importance for transmission to the Minister of Marine. 
"Sir," it reads, "this word 'Liberty,' which is echoing so 
loudly all the way from distant Europe to these parts, 
and which is being everywhere repeated with such en- 
thusiasm, is sowing a fatal seed, whose sprouting will be 
terrible. In France, where its appUcation endangers 
despotism alone, we may hope for the best results. But 
here, where everything opposes the entire liberty of all 
classes, we should see only blood, carnage, and the cer^ 
tain destruction of one or other of those incompatible 
races of men which inhabit this colony. So long as there 
exists the opposition of white and black, so long it will 
be impossible to establish, upon a basis of liberty, any 


mutual support of existing society." '^ He reports much 
umrest among the negroes of his district, and urges greater 
activity of the marSchattssSe in searching negro *' quar- 
ters " for concealed weapons and in breaking up nocturnal 
gatherings among the slaves. That the servile mass was 
thus early responsive to the Revolution was also shown 
by the negro risings in Guadeloupe and Martinique dur- 
ing these same autumn months of 1789.'^ 

The news of the mulatto propaganda in France and the 
great debate of December 3 awakened fresh alarm. '*The 
speech of M. de Joly and its favorable reception by the 
National Assembly," writes Governor Peynier, "have 
aroused an agitation and terror of acute intensity." ** 
But if the news from France alarmed the whites, it so en- 
couraged the mulattoes that they began to desert their 
passive attitude, and in November, 1789, a number of 
public addresses demanding political rights were drawn 
up by them in various parts of the colony. At this bold 
step, however, the growing alarm of the whites changed 
to a wave of fury. The framers of the addresses were 
lynched, and a widespread persecution of the mulattoes 
followed these first excesses.** 

Yet there was more than fear behind the numerous 
outrages to which the mulattoes were now subjected: it 
was also the explosion of long-suppressed class hatred 
which here stood revealed. If the poor whites envied the 
richer members of their own color, they both envied and 
hated the wealthy mulattoes. Even in the past, they had 
never neglected an opportunity to vent their feelings, 
although hitherto the royal authority had protected the 
mulattoes against the more serious forms of outrage.^ 



But now the Royal Government was shorn of its power, 
and those upper-class colonial whites who controlled the 
^'Patriot" party, alarmed as they were at the Revolu- 
tionary peril and anxious for poor white support, were 
not likely to embroil themselves to protect their race op- 
ponents. By this time the local offices were becoming 
filled with poor whites, and to the will and pleasure of 
these new functionaries, the mulattoes were now de- 
livered almost without reserve.** 

The result of all this was very serious. The mulattoes, 
excited as they were at the news from France and intoxi- 
cated by the principles of the Revolution, were thus at 
the same time subjected to an oppression not only far 
more severe than they had ever known, but also peculiarly 
intolerable to their sense of justice. To the legal discrimi- 
nations of the color line, backed by a unanimous official 
and public conviction, they had hitherto bent as to the 
inevitable. But this arbitrary tyranny of ignorant and 
despised adventurers was insupportable.*' The wild rage 
which rankled in mulatto hearts was soon to wreak its 
vengeance upon the entire white population. 

However, the first results, though significant enough 
in character, were quite inconsiderable in fact. During 
the month of March a rising took place in the West Prov- 
ince among the mulattoes of the Artibonite, an inland 
tract of fertile plain where the numbers of the caste were 
very considerable. But the insurgents displayed no ac- 
tivity, aroused no support save a few mutterings in the 
South, and were promptly dispersed by the vigorous 
action of the local militia and marichaussSe.^^ 

Insignificant as had been the rising, however, the les- 


son was for the moment taken to heart. This is proved 
by the great lenience shown the insurgents. Some of the 
disturbances had taken place in territoiy controlled by 
the ''Patriots/' others in the sphere still dominated by 
the Government, but in both cases the rebels were 
granted a general pardon.^ This was the result of 
new political developments of great potential impor- 

Under the Old Regime, we have already seen that the 
royal Government ha^ been the chief protection of the 
mulatto caste.*^ That the mulattoes fully realized this 
had been shown by their recent conduct. From the first, 
they had maintained a respectful attitude toward the 
royal authorities and had refrained from any anti-Gov- 
ernment demonstration. Naturally, this was highly 
pleasing to the harassed King's officers, who soon came 
to regard the mulattoes as potential allies in the struggle 
against the Revolutionary party.'^ 

Still more significant was the waning hostility to the 
Government now shown by the better element of the 
''Patriot" party. These wealthy planters and merchants 
were becoming more and more alarmed at the attitude of 
the white lower classes. For the pretensions of the poor 
whites were daily becoming more extreme. Composed 
mostly of ignorant men of narrow intelligence, this class 
was either too short-sighted to realize the results of 
white disunion or too reckless to care about consequences. 
Therefore the poor whites were now openly striving for 
political supremacy, and furthermore they were making 
no secret of their hostility to wealth and privilege.'* In 
the recent elections to the new Colonial Assembly they 


had in many cases taken possession of the polls and ez' 
eluded upper-class voters by violence and intimidation.'' 
All the events of the last few months were thus steadily 
leading conservative ^'Patriots*' to forget their feud with 
the Government. Alarmed at the ambitions of the poor 
whites, warned by their own representatives in France 
to heal dissension before the Revolutionaiy peril, and 
taught by the mulatto rising that a continuance of per- 
secution would drive that class to utter desperation, these 
men began to approach the Government and to re^orce 
that strong body of Royalist opinion which was already 
preparing for armed defence. 

Out of all this there might have sprung a triple alliance 
between the Government, the united planters, and the 
mulattoes which would very possibly have saved San 
Domingo. Even the "Patriot" Assembly of the North 
was at this moment showing a spirit of conciliation to the 
mulattoes, and it is probable that the majority of this 
caste would have been too much alive to the poor white 
menace and the Revolutionary ferment among the 
negroes not to have accepted concessions short of the 
abolition of the color line, and to have joined its fellow 
property-holders and slaveowners in the maintenance of 
existing society. This was what actually took place in 
tsle-de-France and Bourbon, with the result that these 
islands were spared the horrors of race war and social 

Unfortunately, this alliance never took place. The new 
Colonial Assembly at once assumed a constitutional posi- 
tion which re-formed party lines among the whites; while 
the ambiguous March decrees of the National Assembly 


and the incitements of their French friends so roused the 
mulattoes that they resolved to strike for the full attain- 
ment of their hopes.'^ The gods had indeed decreed the 
destruction of San Domingo. 



On April 15, 1790, the new Colonial Assembly met at 
Saint-Marc, a port town of the West Province, some fifty 
miles north of Port-au-Prince. As might have been ex- 
pected from the unscrupulous activity displayed in the 
elections, the *' Patriots '* were in a great majority; in- 
deed, all the more violent leaders of this party were to be 
found on the roll of assemblymen. The first act of the 
new Assembly was to elect as its President Bacon de la 
Chevalerie, the arch-radical of Le Cap, and its next steps 
were equally significant. Rejecting the term ''Colonial'' 
as beneath its dignity, the new body assumed the title of 
''General Assembly," and inscribed upon its walls the 
motto, "Saint-Domingue, la Loi et le Roi." ^ 

From the first, it was clear that the General Assembly 
considered itself the supreme authority in the island: as 
D6schamps well puts the matter, "It sincerely believed 
itself a miniature Constituent Assembly." * And un- 
fortunately it at oDce imitated one of the most serious 
errors of its French model. The National Decree of 
March 8, 1790, had authorized each colony to formulate 
its wishes regarding its future internal status. Accord- 
ingly, the General Assembly, instead of busying itself 
with practical measures of conciliation and reform, 
plunged at once into the attractive but perilous task 
of framing a constitution. History shows that there is 


nothing which so destroys in a parliamentary body its 
sense of what is real and practicable sA ij&s prolonged 
absorption in the formulation of abstract constitutional 
principles. This was especially true in the case pf the 
General Assembly, for it rapidly evolved a ihcory \ef 
government which rendered a struggle with the itiytt). 
authority inevitable and which sharpened political divi^ 
sions among the colonial whites past all likelihood of 

The fruit of these labors was a decree, passed on the 
28th of May, entitled ^^Constitutional Bases of the Gen- 
eral Assembly/' By this self-made charter, the Assembly 
arrogated to itself supreme authority in the island and 
transformed the royal officers into its servants: all ef- 
fective control by the National Assembly was excluded, 
and the connection of San Domingo to the mother coun- 
try was entirely through the Crown.' 

In France, this colonial constitution was almost uni- 
versally condemned as an attempt at independence, and 
even in San Domingo itself many persons were convinced 
of its secessionist character/ Nevertheless, these judg- 
ments seem to have boen unfounded. When we consider 
the island's past histoiy * and the nature of its govern- 
ment,* there is certainly nothing novel in the insistence 
upon the royal connection. The great charge aimed 
against the Assembly of Saint-Marc is its refusal to recog- 
nize the paramount authority of the National Assembly. 
But this is just where its case b strongest. The power of 
the French people, as distinct from that of the French 
Crown, was something quite as revolutionary as any of 
the clauses of the colonial constitution: indeed, it was to 

• • • 

• • • 

• • • 

• • • 


guard agaii]9t*just such assumptions of popular control 
over the oiolJcjhl^ that the Eang's Ministers, in the pre- 
ceding September, had drawn up that plan of convoca- 

• • • 

tion ^fhich was the legal basis of the General Assembly's 

QKistence.^ We must here be more than usually on our 

•*^Uatd not to read the future into our judgments. At that 
« • * 

Very moment, thousands of persons * were leaving France 
because they refused to recognize that supreme power 
lay with a popular assembly and not with the King, while 
still larger numbers of Frenchmen were soon to dispute 
the doctrine of popular sovereignty by passive resistance 
or armed rebellion.* To stigmatize as treason the colo' 
nists' refusal to accept this debated theory may have been 
good Revolutionary politics, but b an historical absurdity. 
Garran-Coulon, the compiler of the great official report 
so often quoted in these pages, well expresses the convic- 
tion of the men of the Revolution. According to him, 
there were but two courses open to the General Assembly : 
either entire acquiescence in the decrees of the National 
Assembly with the admission that San Domingo was a 
subject colony, or complete independence.^^ But this ar- 
gument is falladous. As Mills ^ell observes, ** Between 
these two extremes was another course. The planters 
recognized the sovereignty of the French King, but not 
the supremacy of the French people. They claimed that 
as a matter of expediency this view was the one best 
suited to the interest of France and of San Domingo, and 
that as a matter of history this had been the real relation 
of the two." " Unfortunately, Revolutionary France was 
already displaying that uncompromising refusal to tol- 
erate the slightest objection to its imperious will which 


was to cause the Vendue at home and the ruin of San 
Domingo over-seas. 

The real innovation made by the May Constitution 
lay in its subjection of the local royal authorities. To 
proclaim submission to the King, and then in the same 
breath turn the King's officers into the Assembly's serv- 
ants was a political hocus-pocus as contradictory in theory 
as it was dangerous in practice. For thus, at the very 
moment of its defiance to Revolutionary France, the 
General Assembly declared war upon its one natural ally, 
and embarked on a desperate strife of faction when the 
greater struggle was already looming over the horizon. 

The tension between Government and Assembly now 
rapidly grew more acute. Up to this time Governor 
Peynier, an irresolute man averse to conflict, had done 
his best Vo keep on good terms with the Assembly, and 
had overlooked many of its early provocations. ^^ But now 
the issue of resistance or submission was fairly joinedt 
and tjie Governor was the more encouraged to oppose the 
Assembly's pretensions in that he felt himself supported 
by a growing body of pubUc opinion. Even before the 
Assembly had met, we have seen that the conservative 
wing of the ** Patriots" had begun to break up,^' and 
since then the party's conduct had caused many fresh 
desertions. This was especially the case in the former 
*' Patriot" stronghold of the North. The mere departure 
of the '^Patriot" leaders for the General Assembly had 
weakened that party's hold upon the provincial body,^^ 
while the hostility shown by the General Assembly to the 
existing commercial system had soon alarmed the great 
merchant body of Le Cap.^^ The May Constitution now 


capped the dimax, for» by its provisions, the Provincial 
Assemblies were as much threatened as the Royal Gov- 
ernment. This roused all the strong local feeling of the 
North, which hereupon recalled its deputies from the 
General Assembly and issued a manifesto which was a 
virtual declaration of war.^* Furthermore, the pressure 
of common interests soon resulted in an understanding 
with the Governor, and a species of alliance was formed 
between the two against the General Assembly.^' 

Nevertheless, Peynier, averse as ever to violent meas- 
ures, attempted to turn the di£Sculty. The National 
Decree of March 8 provided that in cases of G>lonial 
Assemblies chosen before its passage, elections might 


be held to determine whether these assemblies should 
continue or be replaced by new bodies. In mid-June, 
therefore, Peynier took advantage of this to order a refer- 
endum on the question,^* although his oflScial correspond- 
ence shows him to have been doubtful of the result. 
'^The colony/' he writes to La Luzerne, ^^is at this mo- 
ment in the greatest agitation. Two parties divide it. The 
one, entirely devoted to the General Assembly, demands 
its continuation: the other seeks its dissolution. This 
latter party is the more numerous, and contains the 
most intelligent and responsible citizens; nevertheless, I 
very much doubt whether it will be successful. For the 
other party is made up of the discontented, the declaimers 
against pretended despotism, and the mass of workingmen 
and artisans, who are persuaded that their opponents are 
composed solely of those persons wishing to maintain 
abuses." ^' Peynier's fears were justified by the event. 
In the elections the North came out strongly against 


renewal, but elsewhere, save in a few Government strong- 
holds, the poor whites voted solidly for the General As- 
sembly. The "Patriots" won a clear victory, and on 
July 13, Peynier reluctantly proclaimed the Assembly 

Flushed by this triumph, the Greneral Assembly now 
forgot all moderation and determined to coerce the Gov- 
ernor by force. Accordingly, it at once seized the royal 
arsenals within its jurisdiction, and on July 27, it de- 
creed the disbanding of the regular troops, who were 
invited to re-form as "paid National Guards of San 
Domingo." *^ This was, of course, an open declaration 
of war. 

But the struggle had no sooner begun than it became 
apparent that vigor and determination had passed from 
the "Patriots" to the Grovemment. This state of things 
was largely due to the fact that the Grovemment party 
once more possessed a head. Since the flight of Barb6- 
Marbois, almost a year before,** the conservative forces, 
though growing in strength, had been quite destitute of 
leadership. But early in June the Chevalier Mauduit had 
arrived to take up his duties as colonel of the Royal 
Infantry Regiment "Port-au-Prince," and in the short 
space of two months he had become the acknowledged 
leader of the conservatives. Mauduit had none of the 
bureaucratic caution of the late Intendant. A man of 
great courage, his love of action was spurred by his 
hatred of the Revolution; for the Chevalier Mauduit was 
an ardent Royalist. Only a short time before this he had 
written, "I love my country passionately; — and I love 
the blood of my kings as men knew how to love two hun- 


dred years ago." *• Just previous to his departure for 
San Domingo he had gone to Turin for a conference with 
the Comte d'Artois, the leader of the 6migr6s.** Such was 
the Chevalier Mauduit, to whom the irresolute Peynier 
surrendered himself , now that decisive action had become 
a necessity.** 

That Mauduit had aheady gained the affection of his 
soldiers was proved- by the failure of the General Assem- 
bly to sap their loyalty. But the regiment "Port-au- 
Prince" did not number over twelve hundred men," 
— scarcely a sufficient force to meet the large bodies 
of National Guards at the General Assembly's disposal. 
Fortunately, however, Mauduit had found another in- 
strument ready to his hand. Ever since the proscription 
of Barb6-Marbois, the more determined Royalists of the 
West Province had enrolled themselves into volunteer 
/ y companies known as the "Pojmpons Blancs," from a 
y white decoration worn in their chapeaux.^'' These or- 
ganizations Mauduit now heavily recruited, and the 
Government soon possessed a considerable force of 
thoroughly reliable troops.*^ 

Events soon showed that Mauduit had acted none too 
soon. In the campaign which he had planned against 
Saint-Marc, he had intended to use the naval forces then 
in San Domingan waters to blockade the town by sea. 
But it now appeared that the sailors had been tampered 
with, for the crew of the flagship L6opard mutinied and 
sailed to Saint-Marc, where the vessel was greeted with 
hysterical delight and rechristened Sauveur des Fran- 

The Government leaders now realized that the under- 



taking was even more serious than they had imagined, 
and that before striking at the Assembly they must make 
sure of their own ground. For a dangerous centre of dis- 
affection existed in Port-au-Prince itself. The Committee 
of the West Province had always remained in "Patriot" 
hands, and the mutiny of the Leopard had so encour- 
aged this body that it had now begun to assemble its 
partisans for a rising in the very capital of the colony. 
But Colonel Mauduit was just the man for the situation. 
At two o'clock on the morning of July 80, he led a strong 
force of regulars and Royalist volunteers '® against the 
headquarters of the Western Conmiittee, stormed it after 
a bloody skirmish, and stamped out all signs of disaf- 
fection within the limits of the town.'* 

The road was now clear for a direct stroke at Saint- 
Marc, albeit the Government leaders realized that the 
bloodshed already attendant upon the coup d^Hat was 
likely to produce a dangerous effect upon French public 
opinion, becoming daily more hostile to the suppression 
of disorder. In his report to La Luzerne, Peynier foresees 
that people in France will be demanding his head ''for 
having shed the blood of citizens.*' "Yet, sir," he con- 
tinues, "I should have held myself a traitor had I not 
put down those in rebellion. • • • You, sir, know by yoiur 
own experience how dangerous are such movements in a 
country like this. . . . Had I not acted thus, the mutual 
hostility was such that I feel sure one part of the town 
would soon have been massacred by the other." '^ 

But this danger from France made it the more neces- 
sary to finish the business quickly. Fortunately, the Gov- 
ernment was assured of active aid from the north. 

cent, had already left Le Cap by sea to coc 
main body of the Government trbops.^^ 
'he campaign was short, bloodless, and decL 
t moved rapidly on Saint-Marc from For 
le Vincent's army landed north of the towi 
it between two fires. The General Assc 
led a proclamation calling on the citizens tc 
snoe, and this appeal roused widespread 
ecially in the South. But the South was 
at-Marc itself was full of disafiFection, an> 
ibly soon recognized that resistance was im 
n its perplexity the General Assembly tool 
>lution. Thanks to the L6opard the sea 
n, and the Assembly now resolved to go i 
re to seek aid and protection from its quon< 
National Assembly. Accordingly, on the ; 
the 8th of August, the General Assembl 
med by desertions to a mere rump of eighty-! 
3 — met in its old hall for the last time, an 
id long lines of troops, marched to t^e shore 
ked on the L6opard. Next day the '"Eigl 
Dmpanied by their mna^ «r««i^..- *-'* 


South to its aid, gathering numerous recruits on its 
march through the inland parishes of the West. But the 
departure of the General Assembly for France had obvi- 
ously carried the matter before a higher tribimal, and 
until the decision of the national body should be known, 
neither party desired to prejudice its case by further 
acts of aggression. Accordingly, negotiations were begun, 
which on August £3 ended in the so-called ^* Treaty of 
L6ogane"; really a truce in which both parties promised 
to abstain from hostilities until the arrival of the Na- 
tional Assembly's decision.'* 

It was obvious that the "Treaty of L£ogane" settled 
nothing : indeed, the course of the next few months merely 
deepened the gulf between the parties. San Domingo was 
now divided between three factions, the bounds of whose 
authority coincided roughly with the provincial frontiers. 
The West was pretty generally subject to Government 
control, and Mauduit's vigorous measures, backed by 
his regulars and Royalist '' Pompons Blancs," effected 
a species of counter-revolution. The old King's officers 
were restored and all disaffection sternly repressed. But 
there was nothing healing or constructive in these meas- 
ures, and this blind reaction merely compressed the latent 
discontent till some future moment of explosion.'^ 

In the South, the ''Patriots" were absolute masters. 
The General Assembly's appeal for aid had here been the 
signal for a general rising, and the last royal officers had 
been deposed or murdered. Now that the ''Treaty of 
L^ogane" had given them undisturbed authority, the 
"Patriot" leaders proceeded to organize the Southern 
parishes into a regular confederation, with an executive 


councQ, a treasiuy, and an army.'* This was of great 
significance for the future. We have already noted the 
peculiar nature of the South; its isolation, its backward 
economic and social conditions, and the strong influence 
exerted by the neighboring English island of Jamaica.'* 
This traditional s^aratism was great]y enhanced by the 
practical independence now enjoyed, which did much to 
bring about the Confederation of the Grande Anse and 
the appeal to the English, in l7dS. 

The North, we have seen, had zealously aided Governor 
Peynier against the Assembly of Sdnt-Marc, but it was 
perfectly obvious that this action had been dictated by 
hatred of the common enemy and in no sense by submis- 
sion to the royal authority. Therefore, as soon as the rea- 
son for joint action had vanished, its alliance gave place 
to watchful neutrality. Peynier, however, was too cau- 
tious to make any attempt against the North, and the 
relations of the two remained outwardly correct. The 
Northern Assembly assumed full control over its province, 
although here as elsewhere the other factions were repre- 
sented by minorities ready to make trouble at the first 

One thing was dear — the white colonists were en- 
tirely forgetting the necessity of union in face of the 
French Revolution. Indeed, the recent action of the de- 
feated "Patriots" in appealing to the judgment of the 
National Assembly had shown a complete disregard of all 
the warnings from cooler heads on both sides of the At- 
lantic. At the time of Mauduit's coup against the West- 
em Committee, De Wimpffen had ably voiced this body 
of opinion. "I see," he writes, "but one way of saving 


the colony: it is to bring about the Revolution by the 
hands of those who are ineffectually employed to retard 
its progress. They can no longer check; they may still 
direct it. The bulk of the colonists, the merchants, the 
different departments of the administration, have all an 
equal interest to maintain order: let them speedily join 
themselves to the Government, to baffle and counteract 
the dark intrigues carried on by the disaffected to excite 
an insurrection of the people of color and the negroes."^^ 
The truth of these words was soon made evident. 
Failure to obtain political rights had infuriated the Paris 
mulattoes; the excited declamations of their numerous 
sympathizers convinced them that they were victims of 
an intolerable injustice; and the very air of Revolutionary 
Paris taught them the gospel of violent measures. Under 
these circumstances it is not strange that one of their 
number, a young man of ardent temperament named Og6, 
presently became convinced that he was destined to lead 
a successful rising of his caste. Accordingly he left for 
England, whence, with the aid of Clarkson, he succeeded 
in reaching San Domingo in the early part of October. 
His presence in the island was kept a profound secret 
until, on October 28, he raised the standard of revolt in 
the mountainous district of the North Province near the 
Spanish border. With a force of about three hundred men 
he kept the field for several days, but was finally beaten 
after a sharp engagement by the strong column of r^ulars 
and miUtia sent against him from Le Cap. Og6 and his 
principal followers fled into Spanish territoiy, but were 
soon surrendered to the French authorities under the 
terms of the extradition treaty then in force. Nearly all 


the insurgents were apprehended and punished in pro- 
portion to their share in the movement. Og6 and his lieu- 
tenant Chavannes suffered the usual penalty inflicted 
upon insurgent leaders, — that of being broken on the 
wheel; a score of others were hanged, and a large num- 
ber were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.^' 

This second rising of the mulattoes was a veiy much 
more serious affair than the abortive attempt of the pre- 
ceding Maich.^ Not only had the insurgents stood their 
ground; their call to arms had awakened widespread 
response throughout the colony. In the West large num- 
bers of mulattoes had taken arms, and only the vigorous 
action of Mauduit and the prompt collapse of the North- 
em rising had avoided serious consequences.^^ Still more 
ominous was the fact that this rising had been the direct 
result of incitement from France. 

Its results were more serious still. The numerous exe- 
cutions which followed the suppression of the revolt 
roused a furious desire for vengeance among the mulat- 
toes, and made any common action of the two castes 
against future Revolutionary slave legislation impossi- 
ble.'*^ Lastly, the news of Og^'s tragic death excited in 
France such a wave of sympathy for the mulattoes and 
hostility to the colonists as greatly furthered the passage 
of the momentous National Decree of May 15, 1791.^* 

But all this was lost upon the minds of excited partisans. 
The one fact which appeared on the surface was that this 
second mulatto effort had been repressed almost as 
quickly and easily as the first, and a feeling of confidence 
ensued which blinded the colonists to future dangers and 
persuaded them that they might safely continue their 


internal quarrels. In November, 1790, the decision of the 
National Assembly on the troubles of Saint-Marc had 
reached the island. The specious pleading of the fugi- 
tive colonial legislature had been unable to gloze over the 
manifest tendencies of its actions, and on October 12 the 
National Assembly had issued a decree which completely 
vindicated the Government, nullified all the acts of the 
colonial legislature, and declared its dissolution.'*^ But 
the ** Patriots ** refused to submit to this decision, and the 
island remained in its condition of unstable equilibrium ^^ 
until a sudden shock from without destroyed the existing 
balance of parties in the spring of 1791. 

The disturbed conditions revealed by the reports on the 
troubles of Saint-Marc had convinced the National As- 
sembly that an increase of the military forces in San 
Domingo had become a necessity, and in consequence of 
this decision, on the 2d of March, 1791, a squadron ap- 
peared in the harbor of Port-au-Prince with two regi- 
ments of the line on board. But by this time the Revo- 
lutionary spirit had thoroughly infected the French army. 
Even on the voyage the troops had got quite out of hand, 
and the appeab at once made to them by the oppressed 
''Patriots" of the town roused the soldiers to furious 
mutiny. In the preceding winter the breakdown of Grov- 
emor Peynier's health had caused his replacement by the 
Vicomte de Blanchelande, but the new Governor was no 
stronger than his predecessor and displayed in this crisis 
a total lack of resolution. The result was inevitable. Left 
without orders, the soldiers of the regiment ''Port-au- 
Prince" succumbed to their comrades' appeals to join in 
overthrowing this counter-revolution, and on March 4, 


Blanchdande fled, wbSle Mauduit, who refused to desert 
his post, was murdered by the mutineers.^ A "Patriot*' 
revolution followed throu^out the province. The Gov- 
ernment officials were everywhere deposed, the '^Pom- 
pons Blancs" disarmed, and the Royalist regime com- 
pletely overthrown throu^out the West.*® 

The "Patriots" were now supreme in both West and 
South; but this naturally revived the alliance of their 
opponents. Blanchelande and the leading members of the 
Government party fled to Le Cap, where they were re- 
ceived in most friendly fashion, and as the "Patriots'* 
did not feel strong enou^ to attempt the reduction of the 
North, this new balance of parties continued ^^ until, 
early in July, all quarrels were forgotten in presence of 
the National Decree of May 15, 1791. 



The National Decrees of March, 1790, had really 
begged the question of the colonies.^ But the attitude of 
the Assembly of Saint-Marc, the alarm caused by Article 
4, and the pressure of conservative opinion in France, all 
showed the National Assembly that any blow aimed at 
the existing social order in the colonies would entail the 
most serious consequences. Until the spring of 1791 the 
National Assembly consistently refused to touch either 
slavery or the color line. 

The attitude of conservative Frenchmen on the colonial 
question is well expressed by De Wimpffen in a letter 
written at the veiy beginning of the Revolution. "My 
sentiments, sir, with regard to the slavery of the blacks 
are no secret to you," he writes a French correspondent 
in March, 1789. "You are apprised, then, that I have 
always agreed, and still agree with those writers who re- 
probate so strongly the infamous traffic we maintain on 
the coasts of Africa. But, while I do justice to the purity 
of their motives, • • . our age is unfortunately too full of 
political reformers; who are in a violent haste to pull 
down an irregular edifice, without having either the 
talents or the materials necessary to construct it again 
upon a better plan. One simple argument shall suffice for 
aU. Yoiur colonies, such as they are, cannot exist without 


slaveiy. This is a fri^tful truth, I confess; — but the 
not recognizing it is more frightful still, and may produce 
the most terrible consequences. You must, then, sanction 
slavery or renounce your colonies: and as 30,000 whites 
can control 460,000 negroes only by the force of opinion 
(the sole guaranty of their existence), everything which 
tends to weaken or destroy that opinion is a crime 
against society." ' 

And the attitude of the colonists themselves was now 
explained to the National Legislature by no less a body 
than the Provincial Assembly of the North. This body 
had accepted the supremacy of the National Assembly 
and had declared war upon the autonomists of Saint- 
Marc: and yet, at the height of the crisis, in the very 
moment when it was equipping Vincent*s army for an 
invasion of the West, it had drawn up an address to the 
French Assembly which frankly stated how easily its 
action might have been reversed. This address, dated 
July 13, 1790, begins by a vigorous condenmation of the 
Assembly of Saint-Marc. *^But," it adds, *'what has led 
the General Assembly into such a rash and disloyal 
course? Let us, who have proved our loyalty, tell you 
with the frankness permitted a friend speaking truth. 
Gentlemen, the reason is an unfortunate suspicion of the 
National Assembly itself: you have the proof of this as- 
sertion in the Decree of the £8th of May,' . . . and in the 
precautions taken against the National Assembly." This 
suspicion, declares the address, has been caused by the 
agitation of the "Amis des Noirs" within and with- 
out the National Assembly, by the favorable reception 
granted by that body to the mulattoes,^ by Article 4, and 

THE DECREE OF MAY 15, 1791 1^ 

by the strong negrophil sentiment displayed by so lai^ 
a section of French public opinion. 

^'Pardon oiur frankness, gentlemen/' continues the 
address. ''Never was frankness more necessary. The 
misfortune of the General Assembly is that it does not 
believe that your Decree of March 28 safeguards the 
colony, and that it distrusts yoiur attitude. We think the 
contrary, and we believe that you could never lay a snare 
for your brothers. But, had we believed as the General 
Assembly, our conduct might well have been different. 

*'This is no time for mincing matters. Gentlemen, San 
Domingo will never sacrifice her indispensable prejudice 
regarding the mulattoes. She will protect them; she will 
ameliorate their lot: of this intention she is daily giving 
proof, and time will doubtless afford more extensive op- 
portunities. But of both time and means, she must be the 
absolute mistress, the only judge. ... As to the negroes, 
our self-interest is allied to their well-being; but the 
colony will never suffer this sort of property, which it 
holds by the law and which guarantees all other species, 
to be called in question, now or at any future time. 

*'The greater part of the colonists have misinterpreted 
yoiur intentions. It is therefore of supreme importance" 
that you remove these doubts, because long delay in so 
doing might engender the idea of secession from France. 
Forestall, then, these dangers, by a new act of wisdom, 
confidence, and justice. Gentlemen, we have every con- 
fidence in you; — but who is to assure us of the future? 
Place subsequent legislatures in the happy impossibility 
of listening to the enemies of our well-being; grant the 
colony, in advance, an unchangeable article of the French 


Constitution, to the effect that no law concerning its 
internal condition (notably as r^^ards the status of the 
different classes which compose it) can be decreed except 
on the specific demand of the colony itself. Then the 
colony is quiet forever. Then the doubters can no longer 
doubt. Then the ill-intentioned will have ho more ex- 
cuse. Then, but then only, our ties will be unbreak- 

All this greatly influenced the National Assembly, and 
its Decree of October 12, 1790, althou^ concerned pri- 
marily with the troubles of Saint-Marc,* also contained 
a very important declaration of its general intentions 
toward the colonies. ^^No laws upon the status of persons 
shall be decreed for the colonies," reads a clause of this 
act, ''except upon the specifiCt formal demand of their 
AssembUes." ' Thus, at least in general terms, the Na- 
tional Legislature promised to respect the social system 
of the colonies. 

But with the opening months of 1791 there came a turn 
of the tide. The wave of Revolution was rising fast and 
the King was now but waiting the moment for flight: that 
the radical flood should once more threaten the conserva- 
tive edifice of colonial society was inevitable. The ''Amis 
des Noirs" had never relaxed their efforts. Besides their 
general appeals for loyalty to the fundamental principles 
of the Revolution, they maintained that, by passing 
Article 4 of the March Instructions, the Assembly had 
actually decreed the political equality of the mulattoes, 
and they insistently demanded that the Assembly, by 
some unequivocal act, should confound those persons now 
barring the mulattoes from political rights in defiance 

THE DECREE OF MAY 15, 1791 119 

of the national will. To all this the colonists made reply, 
and a great controversy raged during the opening months 
of 1791. In March, the learned Moreau de Saint-M£iy 
published his 'Considerations*'; the ablest exposition of 
the colonial thesis in all the voluminous literature of the 
time. He is especially emphatic in combatting the as- 
sertions of the ''Amis des Noirs" to the efiFect that the 
National Assembly must legislate on the status of the 
mulattoes, and he predicts that if the Assembly should 
reverse its decision as expressed in the Decrees of March 8 
and October 12, negro emancipation and the destruction 
of the colonies must soon foUow of themselves. "U the 
National Assembly," he writes, " has the misfortune to leg- 
islate on the mulatto status, all is over. The colonists will 
believe themselves betrayed; the mulattoes, instigated 
by their friends, will go to the last extremity. And then 
the slaves, who possess the same friends and the same 
means of action, will seek to attain the same results. The 
colonies will soon be only a vast shambles: and France — ? 
Yes! The mulattoes themselves are but pawns in a larger 
game. For, if our slaves once suspect that there is a 
power other than their masters which holds the final dis- 
position of their fate; if they once see that the mulattoes 
have successfully invoked this power and by its aid have 
become our equals; — then France must renounce all 
hope of preserving her colonies." ^ 

However, as time passed, public opinion declared itself 
more and more in favor of the "Amis des Noirs,** and 
early in April the news of Og6's execution caused a veri- 
table storm of anti-colonial feeling. The terrible death 
of the young enthusiast was just the sort of thing to rouse 


popular passion in that feverish time. Paris hailed Ogjk as 
a martyr to liberty, enacted his death upon the stage, 
and grew so hostile to the colonial whites that a planter 
scarcely ventured to appear upon the streets.* 

All this quickly reacted upon the National Assembly, 
and presently a Grand Committee was appointed, con- 
sisting of the five Conmiittees on the Constitution, 
Marine, Colonies, Commerce, and Agriculture, for a thor- 
ough consideration of the social ^stem in the colonies. 
On the 7th of May this Grand Committee reported to the 
Assembly,^® — but its recommendations were favorable 
to colonial desires. It urged the Assembly, as an act of 
both justice and necessity, **to fulfil toward the colonies 
an engagement which you have already solemnly taken; 
an engagement from which your loyalty forbids you to 
escape; — that is to say, to decree and transform into a 
constitutional provision your promise of last October. ^^ 
One thing cannot be gainsaid: the convulsions which 
now rend the colonies have been caused first and foremost 
by the fears there roused at the moment of the Revolu- 
tion as to your political intentions; fears which have been 
ever since inflamed by the most culpable methods. ' ' The 
report then went on to explain why these fears had not 
been allayed by the Assembly's pronouncements in the 
Decree of March 8, 1790: because, aside from Article 4 
of the instructions, its enemies had at once asserted that 
it was only temporary in its nature and that it might be 
revoked any day at the Assembly's pleasure. Then came 
the Decree of October 12, stating expUcitly "the As- 
sembly's firm resolution to establish as an article of the 
French Constitution the principle that no laws concern- 

THE DECREE OF MAY i5. 1791 121 

ing the status of persons should be decreed for the colo- 
nies except upon the precise and formal demand of their 

And that promise, asserted the report, it was high time 
to fulfil. ** Gentlemen, it is in vain that you are told that 
what you have abeady decreed is sufficient. Without 
doubt it ought to suffice, but as a matter of fact it does 
not suffice at all.*' For, the report continued, the op- 
ponents of the present colonial ^stem were now asserting 
that the promise of October 12, like the pronouncement 
of March 8, was merely provisional and liable to instant 
revocation. The colonists, therefore, should have their 
fears finally allayed by a positive constitutional decree 
which would settle the matter beyond possibility of 
doubt. "If this be not done," the report ended, "you 
wiU put all in jeopardy; — rich possessions, a fleet, an 
army, and the good order and prosperity of islands which, 
by a word, you can return to peace and happiness. Lastly, 
you will drive the colonial deputies to despair of the safety 
of their country. . . . We repeat, gentlemen: the circum- 
stances are grave; they are imperious. The measure 
which we propose has become a necessity; — and above 
all, a prompt necessity. Gentlemen, discuss if you will, 
but do not adjourn: the fate of your colonies, of your com- 
merce, consequently of your political future, are bound 
up with your decision." 

Nevertheless, the Assembly did adjourn after a lively 
preliminary skirmish; but on May 11 the decisive battle 
began. Never before had such a battle been fought on the 
colonies. Day after day its greatest orators strove upon 
the floor of the House, and yet neither side could cany 


the victory. But at last, suddenly and unexpectedly, the 
end came. 

It was the evening of the 15th of May. For five days 
the National Assembly had winced beneath the threats 
and warnings of the conmiercial and colonial deputies; 
for five days it had writhed under the appeals of the 
**Amis des Noirs" and the taunts of the roaring galleries. 
Of a sudden, in a momentary lull, the radical deputy 
Rewbell sprang to his feet and offered the foUowing 
** amendment": *'The National Assembly decrees that it 
will never deliberate upon the political status of the peo- 
ple of color who are not bom cf free father and mother with- 
out the previous free and spontaneous desire of the colo- 
nies; that the Colonial Assemblies actually existing shall 
continue; but that the people of color bom of free father 
and mother shall be admitted to all the future parish and 
Colonial Assemblies, if in other respects possessed of the 
required qualifications.** 

The Rewbell "amendment** was really a substitute for 
the Grand Conmiittee's bill; but its clever phrasing and 
the small number of persons covered by its provisions 
made it just the sort of compromise which appealed to a 
body smarting in its conscience and worn down by ex- 
haustion into a sullen agony to have done. Therefore, in 
spite of the desperate efforts of Bamave, Malouet, and 
the colonial deputies, the Rewbell amendment, amid a 
thunder of applause, passed the House and became the 
famous National Decree of May 15, 1791.^' 

The rout of the colonists was complete. The number 
of mulattoes thus decreed political equality was, it is 
true, very small: not over four hundred voters, according 


to Governor Blanchelande.^' And yet, given a conflict 
of irreconcilable principles in a time of revolution, this 
decree was just that symbolic act which, if accepted by 
the beaten side, ensured the other*s complete victory. But 
it was soon dear that no thought of submission lay in 
colonial hearts. On the very next day ^^ the colonial 
deputies solemnly withdrew from the House,^'^ and pres- 
ently the tidings from over-sea told the National As- 
sembly that it was face to face with rebellion. 

It was on the SOth of June that the news of this decree 
arrived at Le Cap, together with reports of the official 
explanation drawn up by the victorious party in the 
National Assembly.^* This latter document was an 
uncompromising statement of Revolutionary principles 
which but added fuel to the flames. Almost at the start 
its language excited misgivings as to the permanence of 
even the decreets concessions on slavery; for, while it 
pointed out the Assembly's decision not to legislate on the 
status of the *' non-free," it condemned slavery in prin- 
ciple, and stated that the Assembly condoned the un- 
doubted evils of this institution only in consideration of 
the fact that the persons involved were ignorant aliens 
whose immediate emancipation would provoke great 
evils, and whom the Assembly would therefore leave to 
the ameliorating efiFect of time. How much any promise 
of the National Assembly was worth in a matter which 
violated its principles the colonists might decide from the 
appended explanation of its recent action regarding the 
mulattoes. For this document not only assumed that by 
Article 4 of the March instructions the Assembly had 
decreed the political equality of free-bom persons; it also 



went on to say that the Assembly would have been 
powerless to deprive any such persons of political equal- 
ity: for, '*the rights of citizens are anterior to society, of 
which they form the necessary base. The Assembly has, 
therefore, been able merely to discover and define them; 
it finds itself in happy impotence to infringe them.'* 
After a severe condemnation of the colonial deputies for 
their bolting of the Assembly, the document closed as fol- 
lows: **The National Assembly has granted all to the 
colonies: all, except the sacrifice of the imprescriptible 
rights of a class of citizens which nature and law render 
an integral part of poUtical society ; all, except the reversal 
of the life-giving principles of the French Constitution.** 

At the news of this revolutionary decree, the excitable 
population of San Domingo rose in a delirium of furious 
resistance. Governor Blanchelande seems to have been 
almost as much shocked as the rest, for his letter of July 8 
to the Minister of Marine not only unsparingly condemns 
the decree, but asserts his absolute refusal to enforce it. 

"I would, sir," he writes, "that I were not obliged to 
report to you the sensation made by this news and the 
rapidity with which it is flying to all parts of the colony. 
. . . Three powerful motives combine to excite the pres- 
ent feeling: offended pride, fear for the colony's safety, 
and indignation at a broken promise. Sir, do not force 
me to repeat the threats which are upon every tongue; 
threats each more violent than the one before. The most 
loyal hearts are estranged, and a frightful civil war or the 
loss of the colony to France may well result from the pres- 
ent state of opinion. . . . 

"The first part of the decree, concerning the slaves and 

THE DECREE OF MAY 15, 1791 125 

freedmen, does not reassure people even as to their prop- 
erty; tor it is regarded as a mere temporary disposition 
which a subsequent decree will abrogate, just as this one 
has annulled the promise of the 12th October. Wherefore, 
there has occurred that greatest of all misfortunes: the 
colonists' trust in the National Assembly is absolutely 

*'The same letters also announce that England is de- 
spatching to West Indian waters a fleet of forty-five sail; 
and my pen refuses to report the speeches, perhaps the 
prayers, to which this circumstance gives birth. To-mor- 
row the Provincial Assembly meets. I have had proof of 
its patriotism; — but the National Assembly has already 
seen its principles regarding the mulattoes from its ad- 
dress of last July; ^^ and these principles have not 
changed. On the other hand, the mulattoes may take 
action, and if they move, all is lost. Judge, then, sir, of 
my position. It is not my province to criticize decrees; 
my duty is to enforce them. And yet, sir, I am resolved 
to spill my own blood rather than that of my feUow 
citizens and brothers. I pray to Heaven that the retire- 
ment of the colonial deputies from the National Assembly 
and the remonstrances of commerce may bring about the 
withdrawal of this fatal decree. . . . But, sir, if it be not 
at least materially modified, I have every reason to fear 
that it will prove the death-warrant of many thousands 
of men, including those very persons who are the objects 
of its solicitude.'' " 

These were Blanchelande*s reflections after observing 
public opinion at Le Cap; as news arrived from other 
parts of the colony, his reports bespoke still deeper alarm. 


**Tbi8 decree is regarded as murderous to the colony/* he 
writes the Minister of Marine on the 81st of July; **and 
men's minds are growing more inflamed instead of cabl- 
ing down* Popular resentment shows itself in the most 
violent speeches, the most extraordinaiy proposals, and 
people here speak only of resistance to the injustice and 
ingratitude of the representatives of the nation. Men 
ceaselessly invoke those promises contained in the De- 
crees of March 8 and October 12 never to legislate on the 
status of persons; promises, be it said, not yet explicitly 
revoked, and here regarded as sacred. But these promises 
being broken by the utterance of the 15th of May, men 
say they are thereby quite absolved from their allegiance. 
In fine, sir, despair is growing from day to day, and coun- 
sels only armed resistance to the execution of this law, 
however large the forces which may be sent hither.** ^* 

That the Governor had not exaggerated is abundantly 
proved both by other official writings ^ and by the large 
number of private letters still preserved in the Archives 
Nationales. One of these letters, dated Le Cap, July 5, 
notes such intense indignation that the writer fears a 
universal explosion. **The colony is resolved on secession 
if the mother country attempts to enforce this decree.** *^ 
Still more alarming is a letter from Port-au-Prince. This 
also predicts a war between the castes, for the whites will 
never yield. ** Do you think,*' exclaims the writer, " that 
we will take the law from the grandson of one of our 
slaves? *No! Rather die than assent to this infamy!* — 
that is the cry of all. If France sends troops for the exe- 
cution of this decree, it is likely that we will decide to 
abandon France." ^^ "Desolation is stamped upon every 

THE DECREE OF MAY 15, 1791 1«T 

face/' reads a letter from L£ogane. *'A11 business has 
ceased, and people bu^ themselves only with this af- 
fair.*^ ** Correspondence from the South Province is but 
the echo of that from the North and West. "This decree 
has electrified the whole colony/* reads a letter from Les 
Cayes, which closes with the gloomy prophecy that "the 
colony is doomed.*' ** 

The best rallying-point for future resistance was obvi- 
ously a Colonial Assembly. Accordingly, the Provincial 
Assembly of the North promptly issued election writs 
throughout the colony, and on August 9 the new body 
met at L6ogane, a town of the West. Its members dis- 
played great unanimity, but soon adjourned after a few 
proceedings of a formal nature, fixing the regular session 
for the 25th of August at Le Cap. It was felt that the 
crisis demanded the presence of the Colonial Legislature 
in the chief centre of population, especially since Blanche- 
lande's friendly attitude left nothing to be feared from 
the royal authority.** 

But before the .appointed day the mulattoes of the 
West were in general revolt, while the negroes of *the 
North had lighted a conflagration never to be put out. 



It was just before dawn on the 23d of August^ 1791| 
that a stream of disheveUed fugitives waked^Le Cap to^ 
terror and affright, while over the great North Plain a 
lurid glow bore ominous witness to their tidings. These 
refugees reported that the negroes were burning ^le cane> 
fields and plantations, and that th^ themselves were but 
the survivors of a frightful massacre..^ ^ 

So absorbed had the Colonists been txf late in their prepa- 
rations for resistance to the May Decree that this rising 
seems to have taken them quite unawares. And yet for full 
two years the colony had been vouchsafed a whole series 
of premonitory symptoms which a more observant peo- 
ple would have seriously laid to heart. 

We have already had a glimpse of the alarm caused by 
the conduct of the negroes as far back as the autumn of 
1789,' and what was there quoted is by no means all the 
evidence which even now remains. **The troubles in 
France have reached here,** writes Julien Raymond from 
the South Province to his brother, the mulatto leader in 
Paris; "the whites have taken the tricolor cockade. As 
you may weU imagine, this has not occurred without con- 
siderable disturbance and bloodshed. The most terrible 
thing about this business, however, b the attitude of the 
negroes, who, hearing that the cockade means liberty and 
equality, have wanted to rise themselves. In several 


districts a considerable number of them have been exe- 
cuted.*'' Several other letters from this period speak 
of similar disturbances, and throughout the year 1790 
sporadic mutinies occurred on plantations in various parts 
of the colony.* 

B:ut early in July, 1791, that sullen wave of unrest 
passed over the negro population which heralded the 
great rising: it is plain that at this moment the negroes 
throughout the colony knew that something was in the 
wind. The disaffection seems to have been spread by the 
X great Vaudouz cult,'^ which accounts for the secrecy and 
obscurity of the whole affair, whose details will probably 
never be known. In the West the disturbances were 
widespread and called for vigorous measures. ** The ne- 
groes are stirring in astonishing fashion,'' writes a colo- 
nist from Port-au-Prince to the Club Massiac on the 18th 
of July. ** Regular armed rebellions have occurred at sev- 
eral points hereabouts, . . . and at one place some twenty 
miles from here they had to call out the whole neighbor- 
hood and summon the marSchatusSe. At this place they 
had to fire a volley and charge the rebels, who stood their 
ground and did not surrender until their leaders had fallen. 
A dozen of them have since been hanged."* 

Still more alarming signs appeared in the North. On 
the 11th of August a rising occurred at Limb6, a parish 
of the Plain. The local mar6chatu86e stamped out the 
trouble, but the testimony gathered from prisoners taken 
during the next few days was of a very disquieting nature. 
It appeared that three days after the Limb6 rising a meet- 
ing had taken place, at which negroes from most of the 
parishes in the Plain had assembled, '*to fix the day for 



the outbreak of the insurrection decided upon long be- 
fore/' » 

But all these warnings were disregarded. The risings 
were repressed with great severity, it is true, but these 
very successes appear to have inspired a feeling of over- 
confidence.* And yet this is not so singular as it appears 
to us, who judge in the light of future events: sporadic 
plantation mutinies could not have been supremely 
alarming to men accustomed to maroon incursions* and 
absorbed in the alarming prospect of rebellion against 
France. Furthermore, any alliance between negroes and 
mulattoes was thought unlikely in the eictreme, for it was 
held impossible that the slaves could so far forget the 
hatred which they bore toward their hardest task- 
masters.^® In the words of Mirabeau, the colonists ''slept 
on the edge of Vesuvius." " 

Whatever may have been its antecedents, the rising 
which took place over the North Plain on the night of 
the 22d of August was well planned and qrstematically 
executed. The insurgent leader in the vicinity of Le Cap 
was one Boukman, said to have been hij^ in the Vau- 
doux cult; and repeats, apparently legendary, tell of pre- 
liminary ceremonies of a savage and bloody nature.^* 
The scattered white population of the plantations could 
offer no resistance. The men were at once killed, often 
with every species of atrocity, while the unfortunate 
white women were violated — frequently upon the very 
bodies of their husbands, fathers, and brothers.^' The 
full horror of the situation was soon brought home to the 
people of Le Cap itself. A reconnoitring party of Na- 
tional Guards which ventured a Uttle way out into the 


Plain was suddenly overwhelmed in the half-light of dawn 
by a horde of negroes whose ghastly standard was the 
impaled body of a white child: only two or three of the 
soldiers escaped to carry the dreadful tidings.^^ Within 
a few days the whole of the great North Plain was to be 
only a waste of blood and ashes. ^* 

On that veiy morning of the 23d a strong colunm of 
regulars and militia entered the Plain» but it was soon 
compelled to retreat before the swarming negro masses, 
and thereafter for some time the whites of Le Cap at- 
tempted no aggressive measures. This lack of initiative 
was due to several causes. In the first place, the colo- 
nists seem to have been literally paralyzed by the mag- 
nitude of the catastrophe and by the peculiar horror of 
the aHendant drcumstanoes. Carteau, an eye-witness 
of these events, has left us a vivid description. ** Picture 
to yourself," he writes, "the whole horizon a wall of fire, 
from which continually rose thick vortices of smoke, 
whose huge black volumes could be likened only to those 
frightful storm-clouds which roll onwards charged with 
thunder and with lightnings. The rifts in these clouds 
disclosed flames as great in volume which rose darting 
and flashing to the veiy sky. Such was their voracity that 
for nearly three weeks we could barely distinguish be- 
tween day and night, for so long as the rebels found any- 
thing to feed the flames, they never ceased to bum, re- 
solved as they were to leave not a cane nor house behind. 
The most striking feature of this terrible spectacle was a 
rain of fire composed of burning cane-straw which whirled 
thickly before the blast like flakes of snow, and which the 
wind carried, now toward the harbor and shipping, now 


over the houses of the city, plungmg us in the greatest 
fear of its efiFects and wringing our hearts with an agony 
of grief as it disclosed the full extent of our misfortunes/' ^ * 

Edwards, who arrived at Le Cap about a month after 
the outbreak of the insurrection, corroborates Carteau's 
testimony. "We arrived in the harbor of Le Cap," he 
writes, "at evening of September 26, and the first sight 
which arrested our attention as we approached was a 
dreadful scene of devastation by fire. The noble plain 
adjoining Le Cap was covered with ashes, and the sur- 
rounding hills, as far as the eye could reach, everywhere 
presented to us ruins still smoking, and houses and plan- 
tations at that moment in fiames. It was a sight more 
terrible than the mind of any man unaccustomed to such 
a scene can easily conceive." ^^ Any one who has seen 
a burned district in the tropics can appreciate the force 
of this description.^® 

But there were also very practical reasons for renounc- 
ing all immediate thought of reducing the rebels of the 
Plain. The resident white population of Le Cap was not 
over four thousand, the regular troops did not exceed 
twelve hundred, and of the three thousand sailors in the 
port nearly a third were foreigners.^* Even counting the 
refugees, the total number of whites in Le Cap during 
the first days of the insurrection could not have been 
over ten thousand, and their confidence was not in- 
creased by the fact that the city also contained not less 
than fourteen hundred mulattoes and from ten to twelve 
thousand negro slaves.^ The loyalty of the mulattoes 
was doubtful, while the negro population was certainly 
ripe for revolt and massacre. 


It would seem that for some days previous to the fateful 
2dd of August, the Government had scented trouble. On 
the very evening before the rising, several suspected per- 
sons had been arrested and brought before the Governor. 
**From their admissions," writes Blanchelande to the 
Minister of Marine, **I became convinced that some con- 
spiracy was on foot against the town." *^ As the result 
of his fears he quietly took strong precautions, which 
probably averted a terrible disaster. ; 

But the most alarming fact remains to be told. Among 
the prisoners there had been several whites, and Blanche- 
lande says that at the moment he ''could not quite make 
out whether the suspected plot was among the whites, 
mulattoes, free negroes, or slaves." One thing, however, 
seem^ clear: a certain section of that low rabble of crimi- 
nals and aliens which had always given so much trouble ** 
was of so desperate and depraved a character that it was 
willing to see Le Cap go down in blood and fire, provided 
it had a share in the plunder. Indeed, by the following 
morning, Blanchelande considered the situation so criti- 
cal that he placed an embargo on all vessels, ''to serve as 
a refuge in case of disaster," and ordered sorties into the 
Plain to cease. "If the means at my disposal had al- 
lowed," he continues, "I should not have contented my- 
self with this mere defensive attitude; I should have im- 
mediately marched against the n^proes and reduced them. 
But Le Cap contained within itself a number of dangerous 
elements, of all colors. I disco vered then — I am still daily 
discovering — numerous plots which prove that the town 
negroes are in league with those in arms on the Plain: 
hence, we must be continually on our guard lest some 


spark within the town ttsdf flame rapidly into a general 

However, imminent danger to the city itself lessened 
witheveiyday. LeCap» of course, had been an open town 
with no fortifications on its landward side, but the heights 
which lay between it and the Plain offered natural ad- 
vantages for defence quickly strengthened into r^^ular 
fortified lines.^ On Sq[>tember 13, Blanchdande was 
able to write that he considered the city f airiy safe from 
attack, ''althou^ the whites almost without exception 
are the prey dt a discouragement whose intensity you can 
hardly conceive; in addition to which it is undeniable that 
this town contains a veiy large number of poor and dis- 
affected whites, who would welcome disorder in the hope 
of bettering their lot by plunder. This class has clearly 
shown its evil intentions by its formal refusal to fight the 
rebels.^' «* 

Very different was the spirit displayed by the whites of 
the countiy. In the Plain, it b true, the sudden rising 
of its dense negro population had swept the unsuspecting 
colonists off their feet; but elsewhere the whites fiew to 
arms with astonishing rapidity, and succeeded in stem- 
ming the black torrent for the time. Before long every exit 
from*the Plain was barred by military posts, while along 
the mountain-crests the labor of numerous slave conies 
rapidly erected lines of strong forts and block-houses, 
called "cordons,*' which were successfuUy to bar all in- 
surgent intercourse with the West down to the collapse 
of white authority in 1793. The white women and chil- 
dren were rapidly gathered into fortified "camps," where 
they might be safe from chance raiding parties'*. 


TheiLJbegaiL a struggle obscure in detail but horrible '^ 
in character. **To detail, " writes Eklwards, '"the vari- 

ous conflicts, skirmishes, massacres, and other scenes of 
slaughter which this exterminating war produced, were 
to offer a disgusting and frightful picture; a combination 
of horrora~wherein we should behold cruelties unexam- 
pled in the annals of mankind; human blood poured 
forth in torrents, the earth blackened with ashes, the 
air tainted with pestilence. It is computed that, within 
two months after the revolt first began, upwards of^ two 
thousand whites had hefinmassacred; ^at o^ne hundred 

and eighty sugar-plantations and about nine hundred 
coffee, cottoif , and indigo settlements had been destroyed 
(the buildings thereon being consumed by fire); and 
twelve hundred families reduced from opulence to abject 
destitution. Of the insurgents, it was reckoned that up- 
wards of ten thousand had perished by the sword or fam- 
ine, and some hundreds by the hand of the executioner 
— many of these on the wheel." '* And he thereupon 
gives a vivid picture of such an execution held beneath 
the veiy windows of his lodging.*' 

A British army officer who visited Le Cap in the early 
autumn of 1701 has left a striking account of its condi- 
tion. *'The city," hewrites,**presents a terrible spectacle; 
surrounded by ditches and palisades, the streets blocked 
by barricades, and the squares occupied by scaffolds on 
which captured negroes are tortured, — the whole form- 
ing a depressing picture of d cvastaiion and o af nagc," - *' 

The aspect of the country was more dreadful still. The 
Great Plain was asilent waste of blackened ruin infested 
by bands of prowling savages,** while farther inland the 


-^- » 


debatable bill comitiy mw studded vitb mhSte and 
D^gio "canqpSy botn ot wUcb DBBt bare been Tentable 
dens of borror. Tbe n^gro il i rtaiVs we gumshed^ in 
tbe African iadnon, vitb tbe iknDi of piisanen Uled 
after imiyfakahlr tofftnres* vUle tbe tree-fined roads 
leading to tbe irinte ''camps" we festooned witb tbe 
bodies of bailed rdxls.'* 

However, as tbe months passed it became evident 
tbat tbe i usuig e nis weie slowly gaining groond. Qytbe 
montb of October, it is tme, eiqieditions issued bom Le 
Cap; but in these sallies tbe rabble took no part, and the 
bourgeois NaticMial Goards, thon^ brave and willing, 
died like flies before tbe climaie and oooU Aot knig keep 
thefiekL Thebnmt of the fighting fdl npaa tberegolars, 
whose numbers were, however, soon terriUy reduced.*^ 
Even tbe country whites suff^ered greatly bom tropical 
campaigning, and this continual drain upon thdr small 
number was of course irreparable. How the country 
^diites wasted away is wdl shown l^ a letter from the 
inland parish of Le Borgne. The district was quiet for the 
moment, as the n^roes had drawn off to resist a sortie 
from Le Cap; ''but sickness continues its war, and our 
privations make of us an easy prey. Of the ten members 
of our local committee, only three are able to be about, 
and this is but typical of the rest. One of our most vital 
posts kills every week some five or six of our men.*' '' 

The way in which the hill country was gradually lost 
is well described by the official diary of the Parish of Le 
Trou. It begins with that general arming of the whites 
and establishment of camps to guard exposed points 
which occurred during the last days of August. Till mid- 



September the parish was outwardly peaceful, though 
a lengthemng list of negro emissaries caught and shot 
among the slave a^i^« is daily recorded. On September 
16, however, a stream of fugitives announced the capture 
of the neighboring parish of Saint-Suzanne by the terri- 
ble mulatto leader Candy. Now that Le Trou had be- 
come a frontier parish things rapidly grew worse, and 
a week later the mulatto companies of militia murdered 
their white officers and went over to Candy. Then fol- 
lows a gallant two months' struggle against the inevitable. 
Every n ight plan t ations are sacked and the slaves carried 
over to the enemy: sometimeTa whole canton is thus 
dftvii-Qtn,tfiH. Finally, on November 16, the whites evac- 
uate their posts and retire towards the sea. Only the 
priest remains behind, and Candy promptly occupies the 

The first leaders of the negro rising were Boukman •* ^ 
and one Jeannot. But Boukman was killed by the whites <:^ 
at the very start, and Jeannot was not only a monster of 
cruelty, but such an insufferable tyrant that he was soon 
done away with by his own followers. These first leaders 
were replaced by two others named Jean-Frangois and 
Biassou, of whom the former was ultimately to become 
the acknowledged insurgent head. Of course the rebel 
organization was at this time very crude, and these men 
were only the two most prominent members of a whole 
group of guerilla chiefs.'^ Rather alongside this negro 
organization were the mulatto bands of Candy; for, 
throughout the Plain, the mulattoes had risen at the 
same moment as the slaves. 

The negroes naturally adopted guerilla tactics, and 


never faced the whites in the open except when possessed 
of overwhelming numbers. Such a negro attack is de- 
scribed by the anonymous but weQ-informed author 
of the **D6sastres de Saint-Domingue/' ''Their enter- 
prises,*' he writes, ''have about them something truly 
terrifying by the veiy manner of execution. The negroes 
never mass in the open: a thousand blacks will never 
await in line of battle the charge of a hundred whites. 
They first advance with a fri^tful clamor, preceded by 
a great number of women and children singing and yell- 
ing in chorus. When they have arrived just out of gun- 
shot from the whites, the most profound silence suddenly 
falls, and the negroes now dispose themselves in such a 
manner that they appear six times as numerous as they 
are in reality. The man of faint heart, already daunted 
by the apparent multitude of his enemies, is still further 
shaken by their noiseless posturings and grimaces. All 
this time the ominous silence continues; the only sounds 
coming from the magicians, who now begin to dance and 
sing with the contortions of demoniacs. These men are 
working their incantations [' Wanga'] to assure the suc- 
cess of the coming attack, and they often advance within 
musket-shot, confident that the bullets cannot touch 
them and desirous of proving to the other negroes the 
power of their magic charms. The attack now takes 
place with cries and bowlings which, notwithstanding, 
should not shake the courageous man.*' '* 

Both existing evidence and the trend of events com- 
bine to show that the great negro uprising of August, 
1791, was but the natural action of the Revolution upon 
highly inflammable material.' ' This is the opinion of 


Garran-Coulon '^ and of the Colonial Committee in the 
National Assembly; '* both of them contemporary ver- 
dicts rendered after the careful examination of an enor- 
mous mass of evidence. Yet naturally there were a num- 
ber of contributing factors to the great disaster which the 
prevalent suspicion of the Revolutionary period raised 
to the rank of primary causes. 

Many conservative writers charged the outbreak to 
the deliberate plottings of the '* Amis des Noirs." ^ Now 
there seems to be no doubt that the writings and speeches 
of the French radicals did have a considerable effect upon 
the negroes. In spite of all the colonists' efforts, a good 
deal of incendiary literature found its way into the island: 
a very violent open letter of the Abb£ Gr^goire to the 
negroes was certainly known to them, and Carteau states 
that on several occasions he saw Revolutionary pam- 
phlets in the hands of slaves.^^ The conduct of persons 
newly arrived from France must also have had a very 
exciting effect. Blanchelande writes that when the mu- 
tinous soldiers landed at Port-au-Prince in March, 1791/^ 
**they gave the fraternal embrace to all the negroes and 
mulattoes whom they met, telling them that the National 
Assembly had declared them free and the equals of the 
whites**; ** while a colonist writes that some of the 
Western disturbances of July, 1791, were due *'to the 
dvism of the sailors who were constantly about.'* ^ 
Nevertheless, it is quite certain that no accredited emis- 
sary of the French radicals was ev^r captured among the 
rebels, and the Colonial Committee states that its in- 
vestigation had discovered no incriminating evidence of 
actual complicity on the part of the French society/^ 


Perhaps the most telling indirect evidence in the radi- 
cal's favor, however, is the fact that the insurgents rose 
to the cry of *'6od and the King/' assumed Royalist 
insignia, spared the clergy, and were shown benevolent 
neutrality by the Spaniards. The later events of the 
Vendte formed too striking a superficial analogy not to 
be seized upon by many Revolutionary writers, who make 
the charge that the Royalists incited the negroes to re- 
volt in the hope of frightening the colonists back to the 
Old R^gime.^* But as bitter a hater of Royalism as 
Garran-Coulon absolves them of the charge and holds 
that the negroes' adoption of the outward signs of the 
Old Regime was merely the imitation of the only in- 
signia of authority then known to them.^^ The clergy, 
whom the negroes regarded with superstitious reverence, 
did generally remain uimiolested among the rebels, and 
it is certain that some of them actively aided the ne- 
groes; ^ but these were probably zealots whom the reli- 
gious schism then existing in France had roused to ex- 
treme fanaticism. As to the Spaniards, it is certain that 
they refused to give the aid called for by treaty obliga- 
tions, and that the frontier officials winked at an exten- 
sive contraband traffic with the negro rebels.^* But the 
Spanish attitude is sufficiently explained by horror at 
the French Revolution, rage at the French attitude over 
Nootka Sound, and the corrupt character of Spanish 

The colonists themselves were indirectly much to 
blame. It was their factional quarrels which did so much 
to make the negroes' opportunity, while the flood of 
rash political discussion carried on among the whites in 


season and out of season must have given their slaves 
much food for reflection. As far back as July» 1790, De 
Wimpffen is greatly alarmed at the imprudence of the 
colonists. "I see with pain, sir," he writes, "that the 
Revolutionary vertigo has already made such progress 
amongst the inhabitants that even at table, surrounded 
by mulattoes and negroes, they indulge themselves in 
the most imprudent discussions on liberty, etc. Veiy 
soon the slaves of the neighboring plantations, connected 
with those of the town, will carry home the discourses 
they have heard, and comment upon them in their own 
way. *If these whites are free only to-day,* they will say, 
* What were they then yesterday? — Slaves like ourselves*; 
and God preserve me from being a witness of the con« 
sequences of this mode of reasoning! To discuss the 
'Rights of Man' before such people; — what is it but to 
teach them that power dweUs with strength, and strength 
with numbers!'* *® 

To resume the thread of events: the North Plain 
was the prey of a slave revolt which was blockading Le 
Cap and eating into the mountain parishes; the West and 
South were aflame with a mulatto insurrection which had 
just laid Port-au-Prince in ashes; *^ when, on the 26th of 
November, three Civil Commissioners landed at Le Cap» 
charged by the National Assembly to quiet the troubles 
of San Domingo. 



If the news of the May Decree had roused the whites 
of San Domingo to furious resistance, it had as inevitably 
inspired the mulattoes to revolt. Although technically 
the Decree of May 15 had granted equality to only a 
small number of the caste, the mulattoes realized as well 
as did the whites that once this decree went into effect 
their cause was morally won. As soon, therefore, as the 
whites proclaimed their determination to resist the de- 
cree, the mulattoes resolved to strike, assured as they 
were of French approval at this blow against professed 
rebels. By early August they had begun to assemble in 
various parts of the West, especially in their stronghold 
of the Artibonite, though so quietly that the preoccupied 
whites seem to have given the matter little attention.* 

Both the state of mind and future plans of the mulat- 
toes are well shown by a letter from L6ogane, dated the 
£7th of August, addressed to the mulatto leader Ray- 
mond at Paris. It is especially significant because the 
writer is evidently still ignorant of the negro insurrection 
which had broken out four days previously in the North. 
"On all sides," writes this mulatto, "the whites are say- 
ing that the Decree of May 15 will never be executed, and 
that they would sooner lose the island than see it go into 
effect. Nevertheless, they are so weakened by their own 
dissensions that I for my part am convinced that our 


class, which is almost as numerous as the whites, could 
if properly led execute all the National Decrees on our 
own account. So many of our young men are coming 
forward . . . that I am quite sure we can put three thou- 
sand men in line; and I flatter myself that these three 
thousand, led by a man like the late Monsieur Mauduit, 
would prove a torrent that Lucifer himself could not 
resist." * 

The closing lines of this letter foreshadowed the next 
step of the mulattoes. Ever since the overthrow of the 
Government at Port - au - Prince in March, 1791,' the 
Western Royalists had been a minority suffering from 
increasing oppression. The mutinous soldiery which had 
expelled Blanchelande and murdered Mauduit had re- 
mained in the capital, had fraternized with the mob, and 
had set up a turbulent democracy whose leading spirit 
was one Praloto, a Maltese by birth and a thorough 
scoundrel by character.^ The town merchants dared 
make no resistance to this government, but the coun- 
try gentlemen had soon banded together and had estab- 
lished a centre of opposition at the neighboring town 
of La-Croix-des-Bouquets, the chief inland centre of 
the Plain of Cul-de-Sac.* 

These men the mulattoes now approached with offers 
of an alliance against their common enemies. And to 
these Royalist gentlemen the offer must have greatly 
appealed. Many of them had commanded the mulattoes 
for years in the militia or the marichatiaaie^ understood 
the mulatto character, and felt that they would be able 
to guide a movement which would undoubtedly be full 
of peril to themselves if left to ignorant colored leaders. 


It was, of course, evident that the mulattoes would msist 
upon the May Decree, but the doings of the National 
Assembly did not greatly trouble men who regarded it as 
a nest of traitors soon to be snuffed out by the Counter- 
Revolution. *' Before three months,*' a member of the 
Club Massiac had written to his fellows in San Domingo, 
— "before three months, I say, your slaves will rise, 
your plantations will be sacked, and your houses will 
be burned. There is but one way of safety. Pin on the 
white cockade, and rest assured that France will soon 
come to your aid; for by that time fifty thousand Ger- 
mans will have thrown out of the windows this legisla- 
tive canaille.** • 

The leader of the Western Royalists was one Hanus 
de Jumecourt, a wealthy planter and a man of great 
energy. His efforts soon brought his associates to accept 
the offer of the mulattoes of the Artibonite, and in the 
last days of August the two parties signed a formal alii* 
ance known as the "Confederation of La-Croix-des-Bou- 
quets.'^ This compact was eagerly signed by the mulat- 
toes throughout the province, while the signatures of the 
country whites of all classes were obtained either will- 
ingly or by violence. The news of the negro insurrection 
in the North seems to have been veiy e£Bcacious to this 

The news of this confederation greatly alarmed the 
democrats of Port-au-Prince, who determined that sharp 
action must at once be taken. Accordingly, on Sep- 
tember 2, a disorderly column of regulars, National 
Guards, and ruffians, loosely organized under the name 
of "Flibustiers," marched on La-Croix-des-Bouquets. 




The expedition, however, quickly ended in disaster. The 
Confederates laid an ambush into which the column un- ^ 
suspectingly marched, the rabble fled at the first volley, 
and the regulars, after a good fight, were cut to pieces.^ 
The temporary disorganization which ensued among the 
democrats of Port-au-Prince was cleverly taken advan- 
tage of by the merchant classes, who were so exasperated 
at their own position and so terrified for the future by the 
news from the North that they were willing to make al- 
most any agreement with a party headed by such reliable 
persons as De Jumecourt and his associates. Accordingly 
a conservative deputation was sent to negotiate with the 
Confederates, and on the 11th of the month the confer- 
ence resulted in the so-called ** Concordat of September." 
By this document the whites of Port-au-Prince agreed 
not to oppose the National Decree of the 15th May, and 
promised to admit mulattoes to the franchise under the 
terms of the famous Article 4.* 

The Concordat of September was couched in fair 
words, but it seems unlikely that either party took it 
veiy seriously. De Jumecoiurt and his aristocratic asso- 
ciates appear to have been really willing to see its exe- 
cution, for they realized that with the restoration of abso- 
lute government all the clauses anent mulatto political 
equality would become so much waste paper, since there 
could be neither franchise nor assemblies under the Old 
Regime. Their hopes and plans are revealed in a letter 
written by the Royalist commandant at Saint-Marc on 
the £lst of September: **You have three classes of brig- 
ands to fight. First, the white brigands, who are the most 
to be feared. Leave them to be destroyed by the mulat- 


toes, if you do not care to destroy them yourself. Next, 
with the aid of the mulattoes, you will reduce the rebel 
negroes. After that, you will gradually restore the old 
laws, and by that time you will be able to suppress the 
refractory element among the mulattoes themselves." ^® 
The other white signatories of the Concordat, whose 
adhesion had been obtained ** under persuasion of torch 
and poniard," as the Colonial Assembly put it,^^ were 
well aware that this same Assembly would never assent 
to the Concordat's provisions. 

Neither did the more intelligent mulattoes believe that 
the gulf of race hatred could be bridged by a sheet of 
parchment. Upon the arrival of that decisive National 
Decree of April 4, 1792, which was finally to ordain full 
mulatto equality, a leader of the caste wrote to Ray- 
mond: *'You cannot imagine the sensation which this 
beneficent decree has made among the whites; for, al- 
though those of them allied with us had carried out the 
Concordat, it is certain that they had never taken it seri- 
ously. They rightly counted upon the fact that the Gren- 
eral Assembly would never pronounce in our favor." ^* 
In spite of all this, however, the mulattoes had good 
practical reasons for desiring an outward reconciliation. 
Besides the fact that the Concordat was a moral victoiy, 
there were so many wealthy slaveowners among the West- 
em mulattoes that the negro uprising in the North and 
the agitation then going on among the n^roes of the 
West had excited almost as much alarm among them 
as among the whites themselves. These mulattoes were 
only too anxious to preserve order in the West until 
the arrival of the forces then expected to be sent 


from France to overawe colonial defiance of the mother 

The West, however, was not to be long preserved from 
new disorders. The Concordat and the Royalist reaction 
effected by the Confederates in the country parishes of 
the West ^' had alarmed both racial and political feeling 
at Le Cap. The Colonial Assembly denounced the Con- 
cordat and its authors in no uncertain terms ; and Blanche- 
lande, who had drawn away from the extreme Royalists 
during his residence in the North, wrote a severe letter 
to the Confederates, pointing out the impossibility of his 
executing the May Decree until after its official arrival 
in the colony,^^ and ordering them forthwith to disperse.^* 

The above action of Governor and Assembly was prob- 
ably only what the Confederates had expected; but what 
now occurred at Port-au-Prince was quite a different 
matter. By the mass of the tovm population the Con- 
cordat had been received with fury, while among the 
democratic leaders the news of the Counter-Revolution 
effected throughout the West had aroused lively fears 
for their personal safety. **The popular leaders here,'* 
reads a letter of mid-October, ""have so much to fear from 
a return of the Old Regime that they prefer to expose the 
colony to possible ruin rather than yield.'* ^* Accordingly 
the democratic leaders denounced the merchant negotia- 
tors of the Concordat as traitors, regained their old as- 
cendancy, and broke off relations with the Confederates. 
De Jumecourt, however, acted with great energy. He at 
once blockaded Port-au-Prince with an army of several 
thousand mulattoes, and as the town was not provisioned 
for a siege it was soon forced to submit and sign the **Con- 


cordat of October" on the 2Sd of that month. In this 
second treaty not only were all the provisions of the Sep- 
tember Concordat reaffirmed; the city also agreed to 
admit fifteen hundred mulatto troops as part of its gar- 

Such was the condition of the West when» only a few 
days later, the news of the National Decree of Sq[>tember 
S4 upset the calculations of both parties, and rendered a 
new crisis inevitable. 

We have already seen under what peculiar conditions 
the Bewbell amendment had passed the National As- 
sembly and become the Decree of May 15» 1701.^^ But, 
as usual, no sooner had a definite stand been taken on 
the thorny question of the colonies than an increasingly 
large number of moderate deputies began to repent of 
their action. The defiant secession of the colonial depu- 
ties was a veiy ominous portent, while the Assembly was 
immediately deluged with addresses and appeals which 
soon produced a marked effect. Also, the colonists and 
their commercial allies still had one chance of repairing 
their defeat. Until the decree had been officially sent to 
Blanchelande for execution the matter was not irrepa- 
rable; and this delay the changed temper of the House 
enabled them to accomplish.^* 

The feelings of the wavering majority may be imagined 
when in mid-August there arrived the news that San 
Domingo and its Governor were in open rebellion. The 
worst predictions of the colonial deputies were thus ful- 
filled, and an intense revulsion of sentiment took place 
which emboldened the colonists to strike for the reversal 
of the hated decree. To detail the parliamentaiy struggle 


which followed would be but the tedious repetition of 
what had gone before: suffice it to say that after a final 
grand debate the National Assembly, then on the very 
verge of dissolution, passed the Decree of September 24, 
1791, which granted all the demands of the colonists. 
By its terms the status of both the mulattoes and the 
slaves was left to the discretion of the colonial assemblies 
whose decisions were to be ratified solely by the King, 
the National Assembly having no voice in the matter. 
Lastly, in order to take this question out of politics, the 
decree was declared an unalterable article of the French 

It was in the first days of November that the news of 
this final voUe-face of the Constituent Assembly reached 
San Domingo. The effect was tremendous. The con- 
fidence of the mulattoes in the French nation was as 
much shattered by the Decree of the 24th September as 
the faith of the whites had been by that of the 15th May. 
The mulattoes now felt that their only chance lay in vio- 
lent measures, especially as the whites had been so en- 
couraged that they were now breathing vengeance rather 
than conciliation. With the full tide of race hatred thus 
unloosed on both sides, a general explosion in the West 
was inevitable.** 

The natural theatre for the new crisis was Port-au- 
Prince. As soon as the news of the September Decree had 
arrived, the mulattoes demanded that the inhabitants 
should signify their continued adhesion to the Concordat 
— which had of course been nullified by this reversal of 
the Decree of the 15th May. In the city itself feeling was 
at the boiling point, for the mass of the inhabitants (who 


of course loathed the Concordat) had been greatly exr 
cited by the new decree, and had been roused to fury by 
the msolent conduct of the mulatto soldieiy quartered 
in the town. It is not strange, therefore, that, when on 
November 21 the question of rea£Srmation was put to 
the vote, the polling ended in a riot followed by a pitched 
battle. After several hours' fierce fighting the mulatto 
troops were driven from the town: before sunrise the 
greater part of Port-au-Prince lay in ashes. The cause 
of the terrible confiagration has always remained obscure* 
From several confiicting versions, it would seem that the 
retreating Confederates set fire to the outskirts of the 
town while at about the same moment the white rab- 
ble, bent on plunder and vengeance, fired the business 
quarter. At any rate, the shops and houses of the mer- 
chant classes were thoroughly sacked by the mob, several 
wealthy whites were murdered, and a large number of 
unarmed mulattoes were massacred.** 

The consequences of all this were terrible. Hitherto, 
as we have seen, the policy of De Jumecourt had kept 
the Western troubles within the bounds of politics. But 
the struggle which now began was predominantly one of 
race. It is true that De Jumecourt and his aristocratic 
associates nominally continued to head the Confeder- 
ates, but they could do little to restrain the passions 
of their mulatto allies. The country whites were every- 
where subjected to plunder and outrage, and the slightest 
resistance was followed by torture and massacre. The 
spirit of the mulattoes is well shown by the following 
frantic letter of Augustin Rigaud, brother of the mulatto 
leader soon to become so prominent: ''The Parish of 


Acqiiin has just accepted our terms, but no reliance can 
be placed upon such perverse men. Watch them! Leave 
town! Take to the bush! At the least sign, kill, sack, 
bum! No terms except the Articles of La-Croix-des- 
Bouquets. I ride to vengeance. If I do not die on this 
expedition, I shall soon return. Rise, I say; and we will 
conquer these brigands who wish to massacre and enslave 
our party. Vengeance! Vengeance! I embrace you all. 
My last word is to wreak vengeance on these barbarians. 
Fly to the succor of our murdered brothers. Vive la ^ 
liberty! Vive FfigaUt*! Vive Tamour!" " (^ 

Thf* horror of thejgtce war in,^e West no w almost sur- >r\ 
passed that of the Npxtli. The mulatto Confederates, ^ht 
in hideous token of their Royalist sentiments, fashioned 
white cockades from the ears of their dead enemies.*^ 
The atrocities perpetrated upon the white women and 
children are past belief. ''The mulattoes,'* writes the 
Colonial Assembly to its Paris commissioners, ''rip open 
pregnant women, and then before death force the hus- 
bands to eat of this horrible fruit. Other infants are 
thrown to the hogs." '• 

The condition of Port-au-Prince was also terrible. The 
demagogue Praloto and a bodyguard of desperadoes, 
mostly foreigners like himself, had established a verita- 
ble reign of terror. A merchant captain who sailed for 
France on the 29th of December pictures vividly the 
state of the town; strictly blockaded by the Confeder- 
ates, "the inhabitants living on salt meat and putrid 
water, yet resolved to be buried beneath the ashes of 
their town rather than yield to the mulattoes.'' The mob 
was daily forcing the jails and lynching mulatto prisoners 


Q^ there confined.** Edwards records a horrible atrocity 
committed upon a mulatto leader captured in a skirmish. 
He was paraded through the town nailed to a cart, then 
broken on the wheel, and cast still living into the fire.*^ 
And by this time the South was also aflame. This 
remote province seems to have been little affected until 
the great explosion in the West at the end of Novem- 
ber; but from then on its troubles rapidly grew acute. 
The mulattoes rose en, masse and drove the bulk of the 
white population into Les Cayes; but at the mountain- 
ous extremity of the peninsula, the region known as the 
''Grande Anse»" the whites killed or expelled the mulat- 
toes. The negroes of this remote quarter seem to have 
been entirely imaffected by the Revolutionary ideas, and 
to have entertained only their natural hatred toward the 
mulattoes. Taking advantage of this, the whites armed 
their slaves, and at the head of their atdiers began the 
reconquest of the South.*" 

Such was the state of San Domingo at the beginning 
of the year 1792. 



As early as November, 1700, the National Assembly 
had entertained the thought of sending a commission to 
San Domingo to investigate and to appease the troubles 
which there prevailed. But no such commission was actu- 
ally formed until the summer of 1791, and even then its 
departure for the island was delayed till October by the 
struggle for the repeal of the Decree of the 15th May.^ 
This delay, however, had an important bearing upon the 
commission's subsequent action. Chosen at the time of 
the May Decree, its members were what might be termed 
moderate radicals; that is to say, they were opposed to 
the immediate destruction of slavery, but favored mu- 
latto equality. Now had come the Decree of the 24th 
September. It should have been plain that a change in 
personnel had thereby become a necessity: as a matter of 
fact, nothing of the sort took place, and there followed the 
anomalous spectacle of a commission sent to support 
principles which it had been created to overthrow. Thus 
handicapped from the start, its success might be deemed 
most problematical.* 

And neither its instructions nor its membership bright- 
ened its prospects. The directions of the National As- 
sembly were vague; the powers conferred so general that 
conflict with the existing island authorities was almost 
a certainty.' As to the three "Civil Commissioners,'* 


Mirbeck, Roume, and Saint-Leger, they were all devoid 
of past distinction or future capacity. Mirbeck was a 
person of rather unedifying habits who proved a non- 
entity; Saint-Leger soon gained a venal reputation; 
Roume alone showed forth an honest and upright nature, 
albeit one marred by dogmatism and weakness. 

On the 29th of November, 1791, the Conunissioners 
landed at Le Cap, stunned with horror at the awful con- 
ditions which there prevailed, no tidings of the negro in- 
surrection having reached France at the moment of their 
departure for San Domingo.^ They were well received by 
both Governor and Assembly,* made a fairly good im- 
pression,* and wrote home their thorough approval of the 
various measures taken for the stenmiing of the insur- 

But this era of good feeling was not of long duration. 
The Commissioners were so depressed by the condition 
of the colony that they yearned for an occasion to exer- 
cise their r61e of peacemakers, — and it was not long 
before an apparently golden opportunity presented itself. 
Immediately upon their arrival the Conunissioners had 
issued a proclamation announcing the speedy arrival of 
large military forces for the restoration of order.* This, 
together with the imposing ceremonies of their installa- 
tion, had been duly reported to the rebel negroes, and 
produced a considerable effect. In their devastated terri- 
tories the insurgents were by this time suffering great 
privations, and many of them despaired of the future. 
In consequence of all this, on the 10th of December 
a rebel flag of truce appeared before Le Cap, bear- 
ing from the negro chiefs Jean-Frangois and Biassou a 


letter to the new Commissioners expressing a desire for 

A gracious answer from the Commissioners brought 
forth a most astonishing reply: in return for liberty 
granted to themselves and their principal followers, the 
insurgent leaders promised nothing less than to force the 
main body of the negroes back into obedience. '^By 
simply commanding each one of us to return to his own 
place, as stated in your proclamation,'' reads this letter, 
**you are ordering that which is impossible and perilous 
at the same time. One hundred thousand men are in 
arms. We are dependent upon the general will; — and 
what a general will! That of a multitude of negroes from 
the coast,^^ who for the most part do not know two words 
of French yet who have been warriors in their own coim- 
try." If peace is to be restored, the letter goes on, the 
Commissioners must grant liberty to the several hun- 
dred chiefs whom the writer shall name. Thereupon, with 
all the natural leaders of the negroes working to this end, 
the thing can probably be done; although the writers do 
not deny that it will be dangerous. '^For false principles 
will make the slaves very obstinate; they will say that 
they have been betrayed, and the result may be fatal, 
no matter what precautions are taken.'' Still, con- 
cludes the letter, if the King's troops will occupy the 
open country, the writers think they can hunt down 
those obstinate negroes ''who, refusing obedience, will 
infect the woods." " 

The Commissioners were naturally overjoyed at this 
offer, and on December 21 they had a personal interview 
with Jean-Frangois a short distance out in the Plain. 


Herein the negro leader expressed the greatest desire for 
peace and agreed to send envoys to negotiate the terms 
of a general pacification.^* 

But at this point the Commissoners were surprised to 
encounter the vigorous disapprobation of the colonists. 
This attitude is well set forth in a letter written by a 
prominent planter to Moieau de Saint-M£ry: ''Did you 
ever hear anything more audacious than Jean-Frangois' 
demands? These wretches not only ask to escape the 
punishment they so richly deserve; they want to be re- 
warded as well. But, would not the granting of such 
terms be a premium put upon the subsequent rebellion of 
those excluded from the first, yet desirous of obtaining the 
reward of murder and brigandage? Then, again, how can 
we allow at large persons known to have incited their 
fellows to insurrection; men ever destined to be a terror 
from their present authority strengthened by future 
impunily? How can we thus suffer among us those who 
have murdered and ruined their masters? Can such 
crimes be pardoned?" " 

This feeling was plainly shared by the Colonial As- 
sembly, for when the insurgent envoys appeared at its 
bar, they were received with haughty severity and were 
offered little beyond vague promises. Furthermore, the 
Assembly took pains to emphasize the fact that by the 
National Decree of the 24th September the status of 
persons had been left entirely in its hands, and spoke of 
the Civil Conmiissioners as mere ''intercessors.*' The 
result of this was soon apparent. The Civil Commis- 
sioners' prestige with the negroes was destroyed, and the 
rebels broke off negotiations." 



Whether the offers of the negro leaders were either 
sincere or even practicable, it is impossible to say. 
Blanchelande seems to have been somewhat sceptical,^' 
and it must not be forgotten that Jean-Francis and 
Biassou were at this time merely the leaders of the two 
largest bands of the Plain. Nevertheless, the colonists' 
attitude certainly appears unwise: Jean-Francis' letter 
of March 12 has the ring of sincerity, and a few hundred 
liberties would seem a small price to pay for even a slight 
chance of quelling the insurrection, whatever the ulti- 
mate risks of such a course. The intramigeance of the 
colonists undoubtedly arose from the long months during 
which they had seen their homes destroyed and their 
families devoted to every species of outrage and torture. 
Their wild thirst for vengeance may be imagined when, 
as late as Februaiy, 1792, the very Civil Commissioners 
wrote the following lines to the Minister of Marine after 
detailing some peculiarly horrible atrocities of the negro 
and mulatto insurgents: '* Their crimes are so atrocious 
that it is impossible to pardon them; and even if we did 
so they would not believe it. . . . It will be necessary to 
exterminate very many of these wretches, both free and 
slave, before San Domingo can be pacified.'' ^^ As the 
Colonial Assembly itself expressed it, ''We could not 
bring ourselves to treat with men armed against every 
law; with incendiaries still covered with the blood of our 
constituents/' *^ 

However, the consequences of this rupture were seri- 
ous. The rebels answered by a fresh burst of activity, 
not only before Le Cap, but against the military lines 
along the inland moimtains as welL The Eastern Cordon 


was broken thiou^ and the Plain of Fort Dauphin 
sacked and fired: in the peninsula of the M61e occurred 
a revolt of both negroes and mulattoes, which took in 
rear the vital Cordon de I'Ouest and culminated in the 
storming of a large ** camp" and the massacre of its hun- 
dreds of helpless refugees. On the 25th of Januaiy, 
Blanchelande wrote in the most pessimistic vein: ''The 
state of the colony grows worse eveiy day. If powerful 
succors do not speedily arrive, I shall regard it as abso- 
lutely doomed." ^* 

The failure of these negotiations also marked the begin- 
ning of the breach between the Civil Commissioners and 
the Colonial Assembly. The Commissioners, at least, 
had been certain of success; ^* and they were furious at 
the Assembly both for causing their failure and for mini- 
mizing their powers.^ They inunediately informed the 
Colonial Legislature that their authority was practically 
unlimited, and began a quarrel which by late February 
culminated in a virtual ultimatum. After stigmatizing 
as ''I^ nation" the appointment of a committee to in- 
vestigate their powers, the Commissioners went on as 
follows: ''Understand, then, and never forget, that the 
nation and the Ejng have commissioned us to bring peace 
and order to San Domingo; and that to this end our 
powers have no limits exc^t the terrible responsibility 
which they entaiL Our authority is a veritable dicta- 
torship." " 

This quarrel with the Colonial Assembly had the 
further effect of altering the Commissioners' attitude 
toward the mulatto insurgents of the West. We have 
already seen the dreadful condition to which that prov- 



isce had been reduced by the opening days of 1792; — 
the capital terrorized by an irresponsible mob and closely 
invested by several thousand equally irresponsible in- 
surgents.'^ The spirit which animated these besiegers is 
well shown by the appeal from the mulatto leaders be- 
fore Port-au-Prince to their brethren of the Artibonite. 
*' Hasten, dear friends,** reads this letter, ''to the siege 
of Port-au-Prince; and there plunge your bloody arms, 
avengers of treason and perfidy, in the breasts of these 
European monsters. Too long have we been the sport of 
their wiles and passions; too long have we groaned be- 
neath their yoke of iron. Come, then, and destroy our 
tyrants; bury them beneath our former shame; and pluck 
up by the roots this upas tree of Prejudice." ** 

Shortly after their arrival at Le Ci^ the Commissioners 
had received deputations from both parties to this des- 
perate struggle, though at the moment they were so ab- 
sorbed in their negotiations with the negro rebek that 
they had done little beyond sending stem addresses to 
both sides. '^ But the horrible reports which continued 
to arrive from both West and South so worked on the 
Conmiissioners that, despite their quarrel with the As- 
sembly* they determined that one of their number must 
go to Port-au-Prince to see what could be done. Accord- 
ingly, on the 29th of January, 1792, Saint-Leger landed 
at the besieged capital. 

Saint-Leger*s first impressions were apparently horror 
at conditions in the town and terror at the state of the 
province. For in addition to the awful struggle going on 
between the whites and the mulattoes, symptoms were 
now appearing among the negro population which be- 


tokened downright social dissolution. In the high moun- 
tains south of Port-au-Prince a Spanish half-breed had 
founded a genuine religious sect. CaUing himself, ¥ath 
eztraordinaiy inconsistency, **Romaine the Prophetess^** 
inspired by the Virgin, his fanatic bands were spreading 
terror and desolation throughout the hill countiy.** 

All this convinced Saint-Leger that the warring factions 
must compose their differences at any price; but his tact- 
less efforts to accomplish this reconciliation merely drew 
upon him the suspicions of the white population. These 
suspicions the violent demagogues of Port-au-Prince took 
no pains to conceal: on the other hand, the Confederate 
emissaries cleverly profited from these misunderstand- 
ings by showing him the greatest deference. The upshot 
of the matter was that the vain and irascible Saint-Leger 
left Port-au-Prince in a rage, and established himself 
among the mulattoes at La-Croix-des-Bouquets. His 
favor was further assured the Confederates by the alac- 
rity with which they obeyed his orders to disperse the 
bands of ^'Romaine the Prophetess." The breach be- 
tween Saint-Leger and the whites of Port-au-Prince was 
soon complete.** 

Saint-Leger still hoped to accomplish great things, but 
he was soon reduced to utter despair by the general ex- 
plosion which now took place in the Artibonite. The 
incendiary appeals from La-Croix-des-Bouquets *^ had 
done their work only too well, for in mid-February the 
mulattoes of the Artibonite suddenly rose and massacred 
many of the white inhabitants. The refugees, however, 
soon found an able leader in an adventurer named Borel, 
and a war of extermination then began which virtually 


dissolved the Confederation of La-Croix-des-Bouquets; 
the mass of the countiy whites preferring the most des- 
perate struggle in the open field to further association with 
the treacherous mulattoes. Lastly, this break-up of the 
Confederation encouraged the whites of Port-au-Prince 
to a bold stroke. A strong column swept triumphantly 
out over the Cul-de-Sac and occupied La-Croix-des-Bou- 
quets itself. But at this the mulattoes summoned the 
slave population to revolt, attacked the whites, and on 
March 31, after a terrible battle in which two thou- 
sand of the half-armed negroes are said to have fallen, 
forced their enemies to retire once more to Port-au- 
Prince. However, this general rising of the negroes had 
completed the disorganization of the province, which 
sank for the moment into utter anarchy. Overwhelmed 
with terror and despair, Saint-Leger took refuge on a 
warship off the coast and sailed on the 9th of April 
for France.*' 

When the despairing Saint-Leger dro^^ped the Western 
mountains below the horizon he did not know that his 
colleague Mirbeck was already far on the homeward voy- 
age in an almost similar frame of mind. The Commis- 
sioners* claim to a dictatorship ^ had infuriated the 
Colonial Assembly to such a degree that its radical wing 
had determined to rid the island of their presence. But 
forcible deportation of the nation's representatives was 
no ea^ task: the Gk>vemor and his troops would certainly 
protect the Conunissioners from any such attempt. It 
was therefore necessary to find allies outside the As- 
sembly. Allies, however, were to be had — for a price. 
Up to this moment Blanchelande's orders and Cambe- 


fort's regulars had kept fair ord^ at Le Ci^. But this 
had been increasingly annoying to the mob of the town. 
The sack of Port-au-Prince and ^the plundering democ- 
racy there established had whetted the appetites fd the 
proletarians of Le Cap, ¥dio hated the Govemor as much 
as the Assembly did the Onnmissioners. It is therefore 
not strange to find that an alliance between mob and 
radical Assemblymen was soon established. 

How great was the alarm among conservative citiiens 
is shown by a letter €d this period. "Our ills,** it reads, 
''grow steadily worse, with no signs of betterment for 
the future. All those whose means permit are leaving 
this unhappy colony, — ' with the result that the coHaUle 
continues to gain in power. Hcmest men will soon no 
longer dare show themselves. Things have ccmie to such 
a pass that at any moment we fear they will cut our 
thit»ts." •• 

The conspirators were, however, greatly aided 1^ 
the growing uiqM^ularity ci the Commissioims with all 
dasses of the white population, Saint-Leger's favur to 
the mulattoes of the West was rousing race-feding to a 
Li^ pitdi, while the attempts ci Blirbedc and Roume 
to induce the Assembty to grant pcditical ri^ts to the 
mulattoes completed the gmeral exaqieiation. ''Bdiold 
us>** writes an Asseml^yman to a friend in the West» 
**irrevocabty embroiled with the Civil CommiasionMs. 
Their negrc^^ fninciiJes, thdr partiality for the mulat- 
toes, their pretensions to be the sovereign reposi to ri es of 
all authority, are absolutely unmasked. Their influence 
can be but fatal to this unhappy country.** '^ 

The crisis came on the 26th <rf March. All night long 


the conspirators had plied the rabble with drink in the 
low taverns of the water-front, and about sunrise a curs- 
ing, shrieking mob poured toward the Governor's man- 
sion, yelling ''To arms, citizens! Rid yourselves of your 
enemies! Were this Port-au-Prince it would already have 
been done!" •* 

Faced by this sudden peril Blanchelande showed the 
same weakness as in the Western crisis of the year before,'* 
and was made prisoner after a half-hearted resistance. 
Carrying the unhappy Governor in its midst, the mob 
next invaded the Colonial Assembly and for many hours 
held the trembling legislators in its grasp. After a really 
brave stand, the conservative members were forced to 
vote Blanchelande's embarkation: as to the Civil Com- 
missioners, voices from the galleries yelled that the easiest 
way would be to drown them. 

All this time, however, the respectable elements had 
been gathering under the vigorous appeals of Cambe- 
fort, who finally ventured to call out his regulars. The 
mob, too, was steadily thinning, as the drunken ruffians 
tired of the business and went home to sleep off their 
debauch. Accordingly, about two o'clock on the morn- 
ing of the 27th of March, Blanchelande was rescued, and 
the Assembly promptly reversed its embarkation de- 
cree. Within a few hours order was restored.** 

The coup had failed, it is true, but there was eveiy 
prospect that another might be tried in the near future. 
The Civil Commissioners had come veiy near assassina- 
tion and felt their position to be a hopeless one. Aocord- 
nigly, on March 30, Mirbeck embarked for France, 
Roume agreeing to follow three days later.** 


As a matter of fact, Roume did not sail* but lemuned 
for many months in San Domingo. The very day after 
his colleague's departure he had a conference with some 
conservative members of the Assembly, from which he 
came away convinced that Le Cap was menaced by 
a Rc^alist counter-revolution. And from the evidence 
which remains it would seem that he was right. There 
had always been a Royalist minority among the popu- 
lation of the North, while Colonel Cambefort and his 
officers had shown themselves partisans of the Old Re- 
gime on many occasions — notably by their zealous 
co5peration with Mauduit in the Western troubles of 
the year before.'* These Northern Royalists had been 
encouraged by the triumphant reaction at Martinique 
and were infuriated by the violence of the new National 
Assembly which had met at Paris in the preceding Octo- 
ber.'^ Furthermore, they had succeeded in converting 
to their views an ever larger portion of conservative 
opinion. All moderate men were disgusted at the ex- 
cesses of the town mobs, and in addition were so alarmed 
at the hostility of the new National Assembly that they 
were becoming more and more willing to forget their 
liberal ideas in a longing for the strong arm of military 
authority. At this moment, then, it seems clear that all 
classes except the rabble were ready to join the Royalists 
in their plans for an alliance with the Western Confeder- 
ates and the reestablishment of the Old Regime through- 
out San Domingo. 

This, however, Roume resolved at all costs to prevent, 
and he felt that his presence might keep the wavering 
Blanchelande from going over to the movement. In this, 


by rather clever temporizing, he actually succeeded; and 
Le Cap remained in uneasy disquietude until in mid- 
May it was stricken by the tidings of the National Law 
of April 4, 1792." 



On the veiy day after the passage of the Decree ot 
September 24» ITQl, occurred an event which boded ill 
for its future: Bamave and others prominent in its pas- 
sage were formal^ expelled frcnn the Jacobin Club. 
^The Sodety/' it was said* ^could preserve upon its 
membership-roll on^ true friends of the Constituticm 
and of Humanity/' This action was invested with still 
greater future significance from the fact that the ex- 
pulsions had been moved by Polverel, one of the men who 
within a year were to be sent as dictators to San Domingo. 
Furthermore, this was but the last of a series of steps 
already taken by the Club in avowed hostility to the 
colonial system. On June 10, Danton had obtained the 
expulsion of Gouy d'Arcy for **forfaiture nationale,'* and 
the Club had striven as desperately as the **Amis des 
Noirs*' to compass the September Decree's defeat.^ 

And yet it was this Society which had already set out 
to capture the coming Legislative Assembly, and which 
within the year was to be the real Sovereign of France. 
That its unscrupulous election methods had been a suc- 
cess was shown when the new ''L£gislatif " met on Octo- 
ber 1, 1791. Instead of the Jacobin handful in the late 
Constituent Assembly, 136 *'L6gislatif" deputies were 
on the books of the Club, while the whole Assembly was 
distinctly more radical in tone. The pronounced conserva- 

THE LAW OP APRIL 4, 1798 167 

lives had taken little part in the recent elections. Many 
had by this time emigrated; still larger numbers had been 
kept from voting by conscientious scruples or Jacobin 
violence. Lastly, the Constituante's self-denying ordi- 
nance made the L£gislatif a body of entirely new men, and 
the inexperienced mass of moderate deputies had small 
chance of acquiring the capacity for organized resist- 
ance .to the disciplined driving-power of the great Club 
backed by the Paris mob. 

The L6gislatif had not been long in session when tid- 
ings of the -great negro rising in San Domingo began to 
arrive in France; tidings coupled with frantic appeals for 
aid which grew in intensity and volume. Blanchelande's 
initial report on the situation estimated six thousand 
regular troops, fifteen thousand stand of arms, and an 
inmiense maHrid of war as the absolute minimum re- 
quired to save San Domingo from destruction.' And these 
colonial appeals were vigorously endorsed by the Civil 
Commissioners recently sent from France. Their very 
first letter emphasized the need of large and speedy suc- 
cors,' and their recommendations grew more insistent 
with every despatch sent home. When on February 20, 
1792, the Colonial Assembly drew up an appeal for 
twenty thousand troops,^ the Commissioners appended 
their earnest endorsement. "Twenty thousand men," 
it reads, — "this figure, we certify, is but the absolute 
necessity." * 

But against these appeals the Jacobins and the "Amis 
des Noirs" ' set themselves like flint, and in fact suc- 
ceeded in preventing the despatch of any real aid to San 
Domingo. They first denied the existence of the insur- 


lection, dedaring it a ruse to assure a Royalist asylum 
over -seas; then, when forced to admit the fact, they 
branded it as the work of tmigrls. "'The massacres,^ 
cried Brissot triumphantly, ** began on the 21st of Au- 
gust; — just at the moment when the news had arrived 
of the King's flight to Varennes. Evidently they were 
organized by the Counter - Revolutionists/' ' Month 
after month frantic letters and petitions poured by hun- 
dreds into the Hall of Assembly, and these not only from 
over -seas, but also from thousands of Frenchmen re- 
duced to ruin and trembling for the lives o( kindred in 
San Domingo.^ These appeals, coupled with the horrors 
contained in every report from the island, might well 
have moved hearts of stone; — but not the hearts of the 
Jacobin opposition. Time after time a grim tragi-comedy 
was enacted on the floor of the Assembly. Some fresh 
batch of reports and petitions on San Domingo would 
move moderate members to propose the sending of aid. 
Instantly the Jacobins would be upon their feet with a 
wealth of fine phrases, patriotic suspicions, and a whole 
armory of nullifying amendments and motions to ad- 
journ; — the whole backed by galleiy threats to the 
moderate proponents. And in the end, nothing would 
be done.* 

The effect of all this upon the wretched inhabitants of 
San Domingo may be conceived. On the 25th of Janliary, 
Blanchelande writes that the news of this continual 
obstruction in the National Assembly ^*is reducing the 
people to absolute despair.** *® The Minister of Marine, 
Bertrand de Molleville, did what he could, but this was 
little enough. So late as the 20th of February, the Civil 

THE LAW OF APRIL 4, 17W 160 

Commissioners wrote that up to that moment only 
eleven himdred soldiers had arrived; while Commissioners, 
Governor, and Colonial Assembly all joined in asserting 
that such poor driblets were useless, since the men had 
to be at once scattered among the most exposed points 
where, unacclimated and crushed by excessive service, 
they quickly melted away." 

Of this opposition to the relief of San Domingo it 
is difficult to speak with moderation. For not even on 
groimds of fanaticism can the Jacobin policy be palliated; 
their attitude was largely due to a mere factious desire 
to discredit the existing Government. The Jacobins had 
vowed the destruction of the moderate ''Feuillant*' Min- 
istry of the day, and they realized the excellent political 
capital to be made out of the troubles in San Domingo. 
Besides their ability to ''point with alarm" to the Feuil- 
lants' inability to restore order, the Jacobins had been 
quick to realize the fact that these colonial disasters 
were producing much discontent at home. The price of 
sugar and co£Fee was going up every day, and complaints 
were rising from every French breakfast table. The one 
thing that can be said for the Jacobin opposition is that 
it possessed the virtue of consistency : it fought the rescue 
of suffering Avignon as stoutly as the salvation of mar- 
tyred San Domingo, and richly earned the bitter gibe 
of Pitt that these Frenchmen preferred their coffee ''au 

But the programme of the Club was by no means a 
wholly negative one: the hateful September Decree was 
also the logical object of consistent Jacobin attack. The 
stoiy of the long six months* struggle which preceded 


complete Jacobin success is vividly narrated in the cor- 
respondence of those commissioners sent to France by the 
Colonial Assembly in the early autmnn of 1791.^' 

The Jacobin attack was both direct and indirect in 
character. We have seen that the September Decree had 
been made an article of the French Constitution of 1791, 
and that it had been declared irrepealable except upon 
the express desire of the colonies themselves. But his- 
tory teaches nothing more certain than the impossibility 
of forbidding any action of the sovereign power for all 
future time. This anomaly was promptly insisted on by 
the Jacobin orators, and besides declaring the September 
Decree illegal, as contravening fundamental principles 
and the imprescriptible rights of citizens, they urged the 
L6gislatif to vindicate its honor by repudiating this at- 
tempt to trammel its sovereignty. 

The news of the Concordat made in September be- 
tween the whites and mulattoes of the West Province 
gave the Jacobins an opportunity for indirect attack. 
Ignoring the fact that the September Decree had speci- 
fied only requests from Colonial Legislatures, the Jaco- 
bins now asserted that by making the Concordat the 
colony had expressed its desire for a change, and they 
urged the National Assembly to ratify this instrument 
and make it the law for all San Domingo.^' Of course it 
was quite evident that any such action would completely 
nullify the September Decree. 

The upshot of all this was that the whole question was 
referred to the Committee on Colonies. This body was 
by no means as friendly to the colonial whites as its pre- 
decessor of the Constituante; " nevertheless, on January 

THE LAW OP APRIL 4, 179« 171 

11, 1792, it rendered a report which affirmed'the consti- 
tutionality of the September Decree and advised against 
either ratifying the Concordat or extending its provisions 
to the whole of San Domingo. ^^ 

This blow checked the Jacobins — but only for a time. 
For as the winter waned so did the Feuillant Ministry, 
and every day revealed more clearly the coming Jacobin 
ascendancy over France. By mid - February the grand 
assault on the colonial system began. The letters of the 
San Domingo conmiissioners tell of desperate efiForts to 
stem the tide, but their tone is one of ever deepening 
despair. '* There is no use denying the fact,'* they write 
on the 14th of February, "'the L£gislatif will never grant 
us aid until it has annulled the constitutional law of the 
24th September. . . . The most influential members of 
this Assembly are indeed of the opinion that the law is 
not even constitutional, and any day may see our safe- 
guard destroyed." *• 

In their final campaign the Jacobins were greatly aided 
by the growing irritation among even conservative 
French circles at the steady refusal of the colonial whites 
to accept the mulattoes as their political equals. The very 
commercial classes were now estranged from their former 
allies, since the French merchants had no desire to be 
ruined for the upholding of the color line. What ap- 
peared to colonists a vital principle seemed to Frenchmen 
a foolish prejudice, and the whites of San Domingo were 
more and more regarded as a stiff-necked generation in 
great part responsible for the woes which overwhelmed 
them. It was perfectly clear that the mulattoes were as 
much opposed as the whites themselves to negro em&n- 


cipatioD; consequently, if the whites would frankly and 
fully accept the mulattoes as their equals, it was certain 
that the freedmen would join whole-heartedly in the 
suppression of the rebel slaves. 

Another idea widely held among Frenchmen at this 
moment contributed to favor the Jacobin campaign. 
The opponents of the colonial system had long asserted 
that when the Constituante passed the September De^ 
cree it was with the tacit understanding that the Colo- 
nial Assembly would itself grant the mulattoes political 
rights. This claim appears to have been entirely without 
foimdation; nevertheless, the feeling grew in France that 
the Colonial Assembly was bound to adopt some such 
line of action, at least on grounds of policy and humanity. 
The Civil Commissioners had made no secret of such con- 
victions, and their efforts to this effect had done much 
to rouse the island whites against them. In their '* ulti- 
matum" of February 19,*^ they had said, "" Representa- 
tives of the colony of San Domingo and its unfortunate 
inhabitants, remember that the mother coimtry is watch- 
ing you, and that she will demand a reckoning for the 
precious time which you are losing in vain debates. 
Hasten, then, to repair your errors by busying yourselves 
with that internal status which cries so loudly for a 
remedy." ^® 

The colonists were well aware of the increasing peril; 
nevertheless, they grimly refused to abandon their posi- 
tion. Their attitude is well set forth in a memorial written 
at this moment by the Assemblyman De Pons.^' He 
contends that the mulattoes' claim for political rights is 
onl^ the first step in their deeper determination to obtain 

THE LAW OP APRIL 4, 1798 178 

social equality and the mixing of the bloods by inter- 
marriage. And, asserts De Pons, once grant political 
equality and all the rest will follow in time: the mulat- 
toes will soon outvote the whites, establish mulatto politi- 
cal supremacy, and then by coercive legislation force the 
whites either to admit social equality or leave the island.'^ 

De Pons*s claim that the mulattoes were certain to 
obtain political supremacy if given the vote is strikingly 
echoed by the mulatto leader Raymond. Writing to his 
brethren at San Domingo, in censure of their support of 
the Old Regime and dislike of popular assemblies, he 
urges that such bodies are the surest instruments of vic- 
tory, since the mulattoes would soon outvote the whites 
and thereafter dominate the island.'^ 

Given such irreconcilable ambitions inflamed by so 
much bloodshed and race hatred, it is not strange that 
the colonial whites grimly resolved to keep San Domingo 
a "white man's country" or to be buried in its ruins. 

However, deserted as the colonists now were by even 
conservative French opinion, the Jacobin triumph was 
only a question of time : when the Feuillant Ministry went 
down on March 10, 1792, the prompt overthrow of the 
colonial system became a certainty. In fact, on the 24th 
of March, the House passed that drastic project of the 
Jacobin Gensonn£ which the terrorized King's signature 
transformed into the National Law of April 4, 1792.^^ 

This law absolutely nullified the Constitutional Decree 
of September, 1791, and pressed the Act of May 15 to 
its logical conclusion.^' 

"The National Assembly," reads its preamble, "ac^ J 
knowledges and declares that the people of- color and4ree ^ — " 


negroes in the colonies ought to enjoy equality of politi- 
cal rights with the whites; in consequence whereof it 
decrees as follows: — 

'"1. Immediately after the publication of the present 
decree, the inhabitants of each of the French colonies of 
the Windward and Leeward Islands shall proceed to the 
reelection of Colonial and Parochial Assemblies, after 
the mode prescribed by the Decree of March 8, 1790, 
and the Instructions of March 28. 

**%. The people of color and free negroes shall be ad- 
mitted to vote in all the primary and electoral assemblies, 
and shall be eligible to the legislature and to all places of 
trust, provided they possess the qualifications prescribed 
in Article 4 of the aforesaid instructions. 

"S. Three Civil Commissioners shall be named for the 
colony of San Domingo . . • to see this decree enforced.'* 

That the Jacobins were determined to have no half- 
measures was plain from the articles which followed: the 
Commissioners thus decreed for the new law's enforce- 
ment were given the powers of dictators and the backing 
of an army to compel entire obedience to the Lfegislatif 's 
will.** The white colonists were given the curt warning 
to bend or be broken. 
# ^ By the whites of San Domingo, indeed, the Law of 
•5^'April 4, 1792, was regarded as a virtual sentence of death. 
"With the most profound sadness," write its commis- 
sioners to the Colonial Assembly, "we must inform you 
that on the 24th of this month M. Gensonn6's draft de- 
cree was adopted almost imanimously. Both deputies 
and public galleries were at such a pitch of frenzy that it 
would have been highly dangerous for any one to have 

THE LAW OF APRIL 4, 1792 175 

manifested a contrary opinion, so that the minority o£Fered 
no opposition. The Minister of Marine is deeply afflicted 
by this decision, and sees therein the certain ruin not 
only of San Domingo, but of the Windward Islands ^^ 
as well." '• However, Bertrand de Molleville*s opinion 
was a matter of small importance, for within a few days 
he was replaced by the Jacobin Lacoste. 

"You may annoimce unreservedly that it is all over 
with San Domingo,'* writes a returned colonist from 
Bordeaux. "One of three things will follow: the whites 
will exterminate the whole mulatto caste; the mulattoes 
will destroy the whites; or the negroes will profit by these 
dissensions to annihilate both the whites and the mu- 
lattoes. But in any case, San Domingo should be erased 
from the maps of France." *^ 

When the tidings reached the island, the white popu- 
lation of San Domingo was crushed as by a thunderbolt. 
"On May 11,^* writes the Colonial Assembly to its com- 
missioners, "the news arrived, — the news of the final 
ruin of this unhappy country. Desolation is upon every 
face; rage and despair may occasion something terri- 
ble." ** Its letter upon the law's official arrival is a veri- 
table cry of agonized despair. "What!" it reads, "after 
having been slaughtered, burned, ruined by these mon- 
sters, we must now take them to our hearts like beloved 
brothers? We are, then, to be forced by bayonets to 
sign our death-warrant? This is the climax of horror» 
tyranny, and despair!" *• 

Very significant was the attitude of Governor Blanche- 
lande. He flatly refused to give the new Minister of 
Marine his opinion on the Law of the 4th of April, saying 


that he knew himself suspect to many members of the 
National Assembly and that, in consequence, unpalata- 
ble remarks might be used against him.*^ Henceforth 
his letters are quite unreliable on the race question. They 
are obviously written for effect. 

The joy of the mulattoes was, of coiurse, as great as 
the colonists' despair. Raymond's letter to his friends in 
San Domingo is a paean of victory,'^ and their letters to 
him are equally jubilant. *' Behold, then,'' writes his 
brother Frangois, ''the decree which finally settles our 
political status, so long disputed by abominable prejudice. 
Good God! how this country is convulsed. Just imagine: 
there are still some parts where people hope to see this 
decree treated like that of the 15th May! But this time 
they will have to obey the law." •* 

The Civil Commissioner Roume was as delighted as the 
mulattoes themselves and took no pains to conceal the 
dislike he had always felt for the Decree of the Mih Sep- 
tember. " I cannot bring myself to speak of petty details," 
he writes the new Minister of Marine, "when discuss- 
ing an event which restores to its pristine dignity one of 
the three great families of the human race and enriches 
France with an intermediate species in which are crossed 
and blended two of these ancient families. Oh, that the 
September Decree had never been!" •• 

It is plain that the Law of the 4th of April was as ab- 
horrent to the white colonists as the Decree of the 15th 
May, yet its arrival was followed by nothing except low 
cries of despair. For there was a world of difference be- 
tween their situation in the two periods. A year before 
the whites had been masters of the whole island ; now they 

■ - ' 

THE LAW OF APRIL 4, 1792 177 

were crowded into a few port towns or prostrate beneath 
the knives of the mulattoes of the West. Lastly, they 
could hope for no foreign aid, since at the moment there 
was no sign of an English war. To o£Fer armed resistance 
to the coming army of Jacobin France was clearly to 
court immediate destruction. Therefore the white leaders 
resolved to bow for the moment in the faint hope of a 
better time to come, and the Colonial Assembly formally 
counselled submission to the national will.'^ *'We are so 
dispersed," writes this body to its commissioners, ""that 
there is nothing left but submission." "^ Hopeless as 
was the situation, however, it seems that this surrender 
of the Assembly alone prevented a supreme outburst of 
despair, for Roume writes that the absence of resistance 
was wholly due to the conduct of the Assembly. *'It is 
certain," he adds, "'that if the Colonial Assembly had 
shown the least insubordination to this law, we should 
have seen flowing torrents of blood." •• 

By mid-Jime, Commissioner Roume was assured that 
the whites of Le Cap were too crushed in spirit to make 
any immediate trouble. He therefore felt free to turn his 
undivided attention to the West. That province had not 
long remained in the anarchy consequent upon the mu- 
latto appeal to the slave population and the battle of 
La-Croix-des-Bouquets.'^ For to all parties it had been 
perfectly clear that the explosion of the West had left the 
vital military cordon along the Western mountains quite 
in the air; and it was absolutely certain that once the 
black tide of the Northern rebellion burst through that 
mountain wall and flowed over the seething negro popu- 
lation of the West, all was over.'^ And no one was more 


conscious of this fact than the commandant of the West- 
em Cordon, De Fontanges. This officer, by his high 
character and unimpeachable Royalism, succeeded in 
bringing together the white and mulatto planters of the 
Artibonite, and on April 19 he mediated the so-called 
"Treaty of Saint-Marc," »• — really a revival of the Con- 
federation of La-Croix-des-Bouquets. This was quickly 
joined by the other country parishes of the West, and 
early in May an executive body called the ** Council of 
Peace and Union" met at Saint-Marc for the settlement 
of the province. Its e£Forts were successful. The Cordon 
de rOuest was once more made secure, and the slave 
disturbances suppressed.^ 

Nevertheless, these events had been viewed by Roume 
with very mixed emotions. For the "Council of Peace 
and Union " was as Royalist a body as the old Confedera- 
tion had been, and the Bourbon Lilies were flying over 
many a camp of the West.** Roume, therefore, set him- 
self to win the mulattoes for the Revolution. To this end 
he now came out squarely in favor of political equality.*' 
On May 9 he wrote warmly to the new League, praising 
their "holy union," which if generally adopted would 
"save San Domingo." He offered the League his "most 
fraternal greetings," and assured its members that France 
would soon grant their wishes, "reducing to nothing the 
work of the Colonial Assembly." *' 

The Law of the 4th of April made Roume certain of 
success. He now determined to go in person to the West 
to break the alliance between the mulattoes and the Old 
Regime; and on this journey he was accompanied by 
Blanchelande, who desired to profit by mulatto satis- 

THE LAW OF APRIL 4, 1792 179 

faction to raise troops among them for use against the 
negro rebels of the North. Accordingly the two landed 
at Saint-Marc on the 20th of June, where Roume was 
greatly edified at observing whites and mulattoes ''sit- 
ting together like good brothers." ** It is true that the 
Confederates soon gave them to understand that no aid 
would be granted against the Northern rebels until they 
had helped capture Port-au-Prince; but as neither Roume 
nor Blanchelande had any love for that turbulent de- 
mocracy, they immediately accepted the terms of the 
League. Roume» therefore, journeyed overland to the 
besieging mulatto army, while Blanchelande with the 
warships which had brought them from Le Cap sailed 
to blockade Port-au-Prince by sea. The position of the 
town was now hopeless, and on July 10, Port-au-Prince 
sullenly surrendered. It was sharply dealt with. The 
mutinous soldiery which for more than a year had ter- 
rorized the town was embarked for France, the most 
prominent mob leaders were expelled the country, and 
the arch-demagogue Praloto was murdered. Held down 
by a strong mulatto garrison, Port-au-Prince seemed 
unlikely to give further trouble.** 

However, notwithstanding this triumph, the Western 
mulattoes still seemed quite indisposed to follow Blanche- 
lande against the negroes of the North. They now 
demanded that before receiving the promised aid the 
Grovemor should help their brethren in the South. The 
mulattoes of that province were, indeed, in need of as- 
sistance, for the hard-fighting planters of the Southern 
mountains and their black followers had by this time 
pretty well mastered the whole country. These Southern 


idutes had already formed that ^'Confedentkm of the 
Grande Anae** soon to pligr nch an important rMe, and 
had abaohtdtjr lefuaed to obey the Law of the 4th of 

Bhinchelande visited the South, it is tme, but in a 
vadDating mood that foreboded faihue. He had no 
heart to enforoe the new law; he piobablty realized that 
he had been duped by the League; and yet his platonic 
counsek of submission and his release of mulatto pris- 
onera infuriated the Southern whites against him. Be- 
solved to do something to justify his presence, he at- 
tempted to dear the hi^ mountains of their bands of 
half-maroon n^roes, but the local whites gave little aid 
and the expeditkm ended in a bad disaster. Discouraged 
and discredited he sailed back to Le Cap, not only with- 
out mulatto recruits, but deprived of the few soldiers 
who had followed him to the West.^ Roume, meanwhile, 
remained at Port-au-Prince tiying to convert the mulat- 
toes from Royalism to the Revolution, although subse- 
quent events proved that his efiForts were crowned with 
very mediocre success. 

Such was the state of San Domingo when, on Sep- 
tember 18, the Jacobin Commissioners and six thousand 
troops sailed into the harbor of Le Cap, to enforce 
throughout the island compliance with the Law of April 
4, 1702. 



That the new Jacobin rulers of France were determined 
that their enactments should be no idle statements of 
principle is shown by a glance at the Law of April 4, 1792; 
if the preamble and first two articles laid down the doc- 
trine of mulatto equality, the next eight were concerned 
with measures for its strict enforcement. The closing 
paragraph alone contained concessions to the colonists, 
for by this final clause slavery was still maintained and 
slave legislation left to the Colonial Assemblies.^ 

The cardinal idea in these coercive measures was the 
sending of new Civil Commissioners to direct the law's 
enforcement, and the powers granted these Commis- 
sioners, especially as amplified by the supplementary 
decree passed on the 15th of June,* created nothing short 
of a dictatorship. With such plenary powers, the new 
Commission's future action depended entirely upon the 
character of its members. And nothing shows more 
clearly Jacobin intransigeance toward the feelings of the 
colonists than the selection of persons which now took 
place. Indeed, the first idea of the Jacobin party was 
actually to appoint, as one of the trio, Raymond, the 
leader of the Paris mulattoes; and although moderate 
opposition finally defeated this project, the terrified 
letters of the colonial delegates ' and the regretful com- 
ments of Garran-Coulon ^ show how near it came to sue- 


cess. The defeat of this proposal undoubtedly spared 
much bloodshed in San Domingo, for the state of mind 
there prevailing was such ' that if the whites had learned 
that the chief mulatto leader was to have been one of 
their future dictators, it is almost certain that they would 
have risen in some supreme convulsion of despair. 

But even though no mulatto was appointed, the choice 
of persons finally selected did little to quiet the alarm of 
white San Domingo.* Polverel, Sonthonax, and Ailhaud, 
the new Civil Commissioners, were all Jacobins, and the 
first two had already shown their sentiments toward the 
colonists in no uncertain fashion. It was Polverel who in 
the Jacobin Club had moved the expulsion of Bamave 
and the other supporters of the distasteful decree of 
September 24, 1791. Yet Polverel was by far the best 
of the three. His Jacobinism, though fanatical, was sin- 
cere, his personal honesty was never questioned, and 
ripening years had brought some insight and reflection 
in their train. To Polverel is due the fact that the suc- 
ceeding pages of San Domingan histoiy were not even 
more lurid than the terrible reality. Ailhaud was a mere 
cipher who played no part in coming events. 

In the sinister figure of Sonthonax, however, all the 
worst traits of the Jacobin type stood revealed. An ob- 
scure country lawyer from the Savoyard border,' the 
Revolution had been his opportunity, and from the first 
he had identified himself with that extreme wing of the 
Jacobin party then known as the "Enrages," and later 
still more famous as the nucleus of the "'Moimtain." 
A mere mouther of phrases, corrupt in both public and 
private life, his one real talent lay in a certain sly ability 


to trim with the times which was to bring him safe through 
the stonns of the Revolution. In that dreadful company 
of Jacobin Proconsuls, history should rank Sonthonaz 
beside Carrier of Nantes and Joseph Lebon of Arras. 

If such a man can be said to have real convictions, his 
ideas on colonial questions may be gathered from a 
signed article published in one of the ultra-radical sheets 
about a year before. ''The ownership of land both at 
San Domingo and the other colonies," reads this article, 
''belongs in reality to the negroes. It is they who have 
earned it with the sweat of their brows, and only by 
usurpation do others now enjoy the fruits." ^ The new 
Minister of Marine, member of the Jacobin Ministiy 
though he was, remonstrated strongly against Son- 
thonax's appointment as Commissioner to San Domingo; 
but his objections were overruled.* 

The personnel of the new Commission was naturally 
very pleasing to the mulatto colony at Paris. In his 
jubilant letter of the 18th of June to his friends in San 
Domingo, Raymond remarks, "As to the new Commis- 
sioners, you may rely on the purity of their principles 
and on their resolution to enforce the law." ^® 

The feelings of the white colonists in France are shown 
by the following remarkable letter to the Colonial As- 
sembly from one of its conmiissioners. 

"I send you, gentlemen," he writes, "a decree of the 
National Assembly which will give you the key to the 
operations by which its Commissioners are to bring about 
the general enfranchisement of the negroes. Do not 
doubt these words, gentlemen; I know whereof I speak; 
and I swear upon my honor that my words are true. The 


plot is already hatched within the National Assembly, 
and will be carried out the moment the Commissioners 
have attained complete authority. The plan is to en- 
firanchise all the negroes in all the French colonies; then, 
with these first freedmen» to bring about enfranchisement 
in all the foreign colonies; and thus to cany revolt and 
independence throughout the New World, — a thing 
which, according to its authors, will give them supremacy 
over all the Powers of Europe. And this atrocious plan 
producing such torrents of blood will certainly be exe- 
cuted if you do not join haste to resolution, concord to 
preparation, and to your resistance the courage of de- 
spair. Gentlemen, beat off these tigers athirst for blood; 
crush in these wretches' hearts their barbarous projects; 
and thereby earn the love of your countiymen and the 
blessings of an entire world saved by your courage from 
the atrocious convulsions which these madmen have in 

''If you are sufficiently united to follow my counsel, I 
guarantee the salvation of San Domingo. But, in any 
case, let no one cherish the hope of mercy from these men, 
let no one be deluded by their sly tricks of policy; the 
negroes alone find room in their affections, and all the 
whites without distinction, all the mulattoes as well, are 
doomed; I all alike are dangerous to their projects, all 
alike will be sacrificed as soon as these men shall have 
disposed of the officers, gotten rid of the troops of the 
line, and become at last the undisputed masters." ^^ 

The closing lines of this letter are a remarkable proph- 
ecy, for they accurately foreshadow those progressive 
steps which culminated in Sonthonax's emancipation 


proclamation of August, 1793. It is, indeed, far from im- 
possible that some such scheme was actually entertained 
by the extreme Jacobin leaders, for it is quite in line with 
their avowed programme for the universal triumph of 
the French Revolution and the regeneration of the world. 
And, if such a plan did in fact exist, Sonthonax must have 
been privy to it, since he was the friend and candidate 
of the "Enrages." Such schemes were certainly widely 
believed in at the time, and this letter is only one of a 
number of similar predictions uttered diuing the summer 
and autumn of 1792.^' But of such a plan no actual trace 
apparently remains, and Polverel at least must certainly 
be exonerated from any intention of so far exceeding his 

These instructions were the logical sequence of the law 
of April 4 and the Decree of the 15th June. After sketch- 
ing the terrible condition of San Domingo, the instruc- 
tions point out the difference between the situation of the 
first and second Civil Commissioners. The first Com- 
missioners, read the instructions, had to execute the Law 
of the 24th September, '* which placed the fate of the 
colored citizens at the will of the Colonial Assembly''; the 
second Commissioners are *' being sent to execute the 
Law of the 4th of April which pronounces equality of 
X)olitical rights." The first Commissioners ''had to con- 
ciliate the rigor of the Law with the counsels and plead- 
ings of Equity"; the second Commissioners are ''going 
forth strong in a new Law which permits neither the one 
party to demand nor the other to temporize or refuse." 
The first Commissioners were without soldiers; the sec- 
ond Commissioners will come to San Domingo with six 



thousand troops, which should suffice **to stifle the very 
murmurs of dissent." The new Conmiissioners are to use 
every persuasion, yet armed resistance is more than 
likely. In that case .they are to use most vigorous meas- 
ures, and *' disobedience shall be regarded as high trea- 
son." In the elections which will follow the dissolution 
of the existing Assemblies, the Conunissioners are to 
take the greatest care that the Law is strictly enforced, 
and shall see to it that mulattoes and free negroes are 
everywhere not only voters but candidates as well. 
Lastly, the Commissioners are directed to prosecute a 
most rigorous investigation to discover the authors of the 
late troubles, who are to be sent prisoners to France.^' 

Armed with these instructions the second Civil Com- 
missioners sailed in late July for San Domingo accom- 
panied by six thousand men; two thousand of them 
troops of the line to give consistency and discipline, the 
other four thousand National Guards carefully chosen 
for the soundness of their principles. The temper of these 
new Commissioners was well shown even on the voyage. 
Their first report is characterized by the Revolutionary 
attitude of suspicion, — suspicion that officials in the 
French x)orts have given them slow ships to delay their 
arrival at San Domingo; suspicion that many officers are 
seeking to debauch the soldiers' principles; lastly, grave 
suspicion of General Desparb^s, the commander of the 
troops.^* Desparbds's instructions had enjoined sub- 
ordination to the Commissioners in matters of i)olicy, but 
had specifically given him full control over the technical 
handling of the troops. But the Conunissioners promptly 
began to trespass upon this province, and the very day 


of their arrival at Le Cap saw an open breach. The Com- 
missioners sent Desparbds directions on how to land his 
troops* at which Desparb^ with the proverbial short 
temper of an old soldier, swore roundly, sent the Com- 
mission word to mind their business, and expressed his 
opinion of meddlesome civilians before his assembled 
staff. The Commissioners' report to the Minister of 
Marine expresses grave doubts as to the *'civism" of the 

Uncertainty as to their reception had led the Com- 
missioners to send on a fast ship which brought back 
letters from the various high officials at Le Cap while 
the fleet was still at sea. And the contents of these de- 
spatches should have given theConmiissioners much food 
for reflection. There was first of all a report from Blanche- 
lande giving a detailed statement of conditions in the 
island. He reported less than fifteen himdred regular 
troops fit for duty, and placed the numbers of the North- 
em rebels at sixty thousand, albeit scattered in many 
bands. The Ordonnateur,^* in his report, urged that, as 
there was no formal opposition to the new law, the Com- 
missioners should postpone their reconstructive measures 
imtil the suppression of the negro revolt; adding that he 
thought it might really be put down if the colonists were 
not further alienated and if the new troops were used 
at once before the climate had enfeebled their strength. 
Both the Governor and the commander of the naval 
station wrote special memoirs on the dangers of the 
political situation, stating that the soldiers and sailors 
shared the colonists' repugnance to the Law of the 4th 
of April, and that unless the Commissioners acted tact- 

fiiiif -^-^rmaBB^m 


fully and avoided allying themselves to any of the exist- 
ing parties, a terrible explosion was almost inevitable.^' 
How the Commissioners acted upon thejse advices was 
soon to be seen. 

It was on the 18th of September, 1792, that the fleet 
dropped anchor in the harbor of Le Ci^. The Com- 
missioners were impressively received by both Governor 
and Assembly, though the speech of President Daugy 
showed the deep alarm felt as to their intentions. ''Gren- 
tlemen," he cried, **we are in your hands as a jar of clay, 
which you may break at will. This is, then, perhaps the 
last moment vouchsafed us to warn you of a vital truth 
ill understood by your predecessors. This truth, already 
recognized by the Constituent Assembly in its closing 
moments, is that there can be no agriculture at San Do- 
mingo without slavery; that five himdred thousand sav- 
ages cannot be brought as slaves from the coast of Africa 
to enter this country as French citizens; lastly, that their 
existence here as free citizens would be physically incom- 
patible with the coexistence of our European brethren." ^^ 

To this address both Polverel and Sonthonax repHed 
in terms designed to quiet all fears regarding the aboli- 
tion of slavery. Polverel's speech was undoubtedly sin- 
cere,^' but the words of Sonthonax, when contrasted with 
the arguments so soon to be addressed to the National 
Convention, are a revelation of his consummate hypoc- 
risy. "We declare," he cried dramatically, "in the pres- 
ence of the Supreme Being, in the name of the mother 
coimtry, before the people and amid its present repre- 
sentatives, that from this time forth we recognize but 
two classes of men at San Domingo — the free, without 


distinction of color, and the slaves. We declare that to 
the Colonial Assemblies alone belong the right to pro- 
nounce upon the fate of the slaves. We declare that 
slaveiy is necessary to the cultivation and prosperity of 
the colonies; that it is neither in the principles nor the 
will of the National Assembly of France to touch these 
prerogatives of the colonists; and that if the Assembly 
should ever be so far misled as to provoke their abolition, 
we swear to oppose such action with all our power. Such 
are our principles. Such are those given us by the Na- 
tional Assembly and the King. We will die, if need be, 
that they may triumph!" *® 

That the Commissioners were generally satisfied with 
their reception is clear from their first despatch to the 
Minister of Marine. "'Every one," it reads, "'seems dis- 
posed to obey the Law of the 4th of April. Neverthe- 
less, prejudice is not yet destroyed. Time will do the 
business, — but we will not neglect measiues for its 
acceleration." *^ 

The Commissioners' first act was highly significant. 
Ever since the March riots ** the white rabble of Le Cap 
had been kept down by the strong hand of Colonel 
Cambefort, and their feelings toward the royal authori- 
ties after six months of this military rule may be imagined. 
To the Commissioners, however, this was highly pleasing, 
for they thus perceived an unlooked-for chance to divide 
the white inhabitants. Accordingly they at once showed 
marked favor to the poor whites, who were soon enrolled 
in a popular club ^* quite on the Jacobin model. The 
fraternal greetings of Polverel and the mob oratory of 
Sonthonax were delightful to men smarting imder the 


aristocratic aloofness and military severity of the old 
Government; and as the Commissioners momentarily 
refrained from pressing "Citizens of the 4th of April" ^* 
upon its membership, the relations of club and Com- 
missioners were of the best.** 

Having broken the ranks of the colonial whites, the 
Commissioners now began aggressive measures against 
the existing authorities. Governor Blanchelande, whose 
weakness and half-measures had had the usual result of 
arousing the dislike of aU parties, was quickly shipped 
oflF, "suspect," to France, where the unfortunate man 
perished on the guillotine in April, 1793.*" Romne had 
hastened up from the West and had offered the new Com- 
missioners the benefit of his experience, but they soon 
showed him he was not wanted, and he hastily embarked 
for France.*^ On October 12, the Conmiissioners took the 
still bolder step of dissolving the Colonial Assembly; but 
instead of ordering elections for a new body, as pre- 
scribed in their instructions, they set up a "Commission 
Intenn6diaire," a species of advisoiy council composed 
of six whites, five mulattoes, and one free negro. 

However, the effect of this act upon public opinion was 
obscured by the political crisis now caused by the latest 
news from France. For at this moment came tidings of 
the momentous "Tenth of August": the storming of the 
Tuileries, the practical deposition of the King, and the 
call for the Convention. The news roused the Royalists 
to fury and spread terror among all moderate men. For 
it was only too dear that the "Tenth of August" was 
a matter of vital concern to San Domingo, — what the 
Jacobins and the mob of Paris had done yesterday, that 


the Jacobins and the mob of Le Cap would surely do 
to-morrow. That the recent measures of the Commis- 
sioners had roused political passions is shown by the 
letter of one of their partisans from the distant Cordon 
de rOuest. **The principal inhabitants of this parish,'* 
it reads, ^'areextremely envious of the lot of Martinique,^^ 
and are doing their best to foment a civil war from which 
they expect the happiest results after the destruction of 
the brigands.^* What I have expected is coming to pass: 
the more energetically your love for the common weal 
is manifest at Le Cap, the more your watchfulness im- 
masks the perfidy of bad Frenchmen, — the more these 
strive to form a party in the parishes. You can have no 
idea of the tricks they play to seduce the troops of the 
cordon. 'Monsieur Cambefort is a god. Monsieur Des- 
parbds is a booby, and the Civil Commissioners are 
rascals'; — such are their opinions." •^ 

If this was the state of a country parish, it is easy to 
imagine the condition of Le Cap. The Royalists, realiz- 
ing that it was their last chance to imitate Martinique, 
began to concert measures for getting rid of the Com- 
missioners. And for such a stroke they were assured the 
backing of most of the regular troops. Cambefort's 
abiUty had kept the old regiment ""Le Cap" absolutely 
Royalist in feeling, and it was clear that the "Le Cap" 
veterans did not stand alone. Some time before the Com- 
missioners' arrival there had landed two battalions of 
the Irish raiments "Dillon" and "Walsh"; and these, 
like most of the foreign troops in French service, had 
remained loyal to the King. Lastly, Dc»parb6s had 
grown so furious at the Conunissioners' conduct that he 


listened receptiyely to the proposals now made against 

The crisis was prematurely evoked by a trivial inci- 
dent. On the morning of the J7th of October, Le Cap 
was placarded with libels representing the officers of 
these Royalist raiments hanged in chains. An Irish 
officer of *'Walsh" lost his temper at the sight, began 
tearing down the placards, and told an angiy group of 
clubmen that "he thanked Grod he was no Frenchman." 
As he was about to be lynched a number of his soldiers 
arrived, and a free fight followed. Both sides now took 
action* The Royalists demanded the dissolution of the 
club, the club demanded the embarkation of Cambefort 
and the Royalist officers. Finally, before dawn of the 
18th October, the mob seized the arsenal, and there- 
upon, by Cambefort's advice, Desparb6s ordered out the 
troops. The raiment **Le Cap" and the Irish battalions 
responded with a will, but the four thousand French Na- 
tional Guards declared for the Conunissioners. One of 
their officers has left us a vivid pictiu^ of how he ha- 
rangued a battalion, asking the soldiers if they were going 
to shoot their brothers "to satisfy the barbarous humor 
of a handful of aristocrats who wished only the destruc- 
tion of the human race." •^ 

It is probable that the discipline of the regulars would 
have given them the victory; but Desparb6s, an old 
man of seventy-three, could not face the terrible struggle 
which would certainly follow a Royalist attack. He re- 
fused to give the necessary orders, and the affair ended 
in a fiasco. The Commissioners hereupon took vigorous 
measures; Desparb^, Cambefort, and the chief Royalist 


officers were sent prisoners to France, while most of the 
junior officers of *'Le Cap" and the Irish battalions threw 
up their commissions and left the country.'^ The Royal- 
ist party in the North had ceased to exist, and the Com- 
missioners were freed of their most dangerous enemy. 



It was less than a week after the Royalist plot that a 
squadron entered the harbor of Le Cap with General 
Rochambeau ^ and two thousand men on board. Having 
been repulsed from Royalist Martinique, Rochambeau 
received a fine reception at Le Cap and was appointed 
Governor-General in place of DesparbSs. The* stanch 
Revolutionary sentiments of these new troops still fur- 
ther encouraged the Conmiissioners, who now proceeded 
to further measures for the strict enforcement of the 
Law of the 4th of April. 

A month's residence in the island had already con- 
vinced the Commissioners that much must be done if this 
law were to become a reality. Their tactics had divided 
the colonists on political questions, it is true, but they 
had made no progress in rallying any white support for 
measures against the color line. "Strange, indeed," they 
write the Convention on October 25, "is the error pre- 
vailing in Europe that there has ever been a single 
colonial white who has shown himself the true friend 
of the colored citizens. The famous Confederation of 
La-Croix-des-Bouquets, the Union of Saint-Marc, the 
cajolery of the military oflScers, have all been so much 
Counter-Revolutionary speculation." ^ 

However, the Commissioners' conduct in these last 
days of October bore witness to their zealous employment 


of those ''measures for the destruction of the ruling prej* 
udice" promised in their first letter to the Minister of 
Marine.' The colored members of the ''Commission 
Interm^Iaire'* were but the first of a lengthening list 
of official appointees from the ranks of the "Citizens of 
the 4th of April." And how white disrespect to these new 
appointees would be treated was soon made plain by the 
striking case of the Sieur Th^ron. 

The Sieur Th^ron was captain-general of a parish in 
the region of Fort Dauphin, and held a brilliant record 
for bravery and military skill. The captain-general of the 
adjoining parish was none other than the mulatto leader 
Candy who had gained so sinister a reputation in the 
rising of the Plain. Candy had later quarrelled with the 
negro chiefs, had made his peace with the authorities, 
and was now high in the Commissioners' favor. It ap- 
pears that Th6ron did not show much respect to the 
mulatto officers sent through his district with Candy's of- 
ficial reports, in consequence of which Candy made some 
personal remarks about the Sieur Th^ron. When the 
white leader heard of this he lost his temper and wrote 
Candy the following letter: "If the National Assembly 
has granted you the political rights you now enjoy, we 
on our part know how to bear it. Of this, you yourself 
are the best proof; our conduct in your case should con- 
vince you that we know how to sacrifice to time and cir- 
ciunstance. But the whole nation has not the power to 
tear from our hearts the feeling of superiority toward you 
which we have always held and ever shall hold while 
there remain at San Domingo those negro slaves from 
which you spring. This is a fact you now overlook, — 


and which it is good some one should teach you. Sir, you 
make a great mistake if you think that any of us will 
ever live in friendly familiarity with you and yours. 
*Grood-day'; *Grood-bye'; politeness, but exceeding re- 
serve; that, sir, is all you can ask of us, — and the law 
itself can force us to nothing more, because the law can- 
not command the feelings of the heart. If this same law 
subjects us to your orders, we will obey you with resig- 
nation, but also with a certain dignity which will still 
maintain us at a great distance from you." The letter 
closed by explicitly stating that as this was a private 
aflFair the writer trusted Candy would not stir public feel- 
ing by showing these words to others, but would keep the 
quarrel a personal one. 

The infuriated Candy, however, instead of seeking 
satisfaction of Th6ron, promptly forwarded the letter to 
Le Cap. The Conmiissioners felt that Th6ron had ex- 
pressed only too well what all the white colonists were 
thinking, and the captain-general's very prominence in- 
creased their resolve to make an example of him. Ac- 
cordingly, the Sieur Th6ron was summoned to Le Cap 
for trial. Sonthonax opened the examination by asking 
Th^ron why he had written Candy such an insulting and 
provocative letter; to which the captain-general replied 
that he had wished to abate the pride of Candy. To this 
Polverel observed that the air of superiority in the letter 
was a manifest violation of the Law of the 4th of April, 
which had established equality between all citizens re- 
gardless of color. Th6ron replied that he had expressly 
wished to keep this matter between Candy and himself, 
and that he could not see how he had violated the law. 


''which commanded execution and resignation, — not 
the feelings of the heart"; and that therefore he had con- 
sidered himself free to choose his friends. But the Com- 
missioners observed severely that this was not a case of 
** feelings kept carefully within the heart, but an overt act 
squarely against the law"; and to Th6ron*s further objec- 
tion that this act, though overt, concerned only Candy 
and could never hinder the law's execution, the Commis- 
sioners answered that by showing Candy his sentiments 
Th^ron had increased race hostility and had been guilty 
of sedition. Thus the trial proceeds for many pages, in 
which it is instructive to note both the cold severity of 
Polverel and Sonthonax's brutal invective. The verdict 
was, of course, certain from the start: ''Considering that 
it is necessaiy to take severe measures to repress a preju- 
dice whose annihilation can alone save the colony," the 
Sieur Th^ron was degraded from his office and shipped 
a prisoner to France to answer for his "incivism" before 
the bar of the Convention. When we remember that this 
same Candy had torn out the eyes of his wretched pris- 
oners with a corkscrew and had been guilty of unspeak- 
able outrages upon white women, it is easy to understand 
the wild despair that settled down upon white San Do- 
mingo. The Sieur Th^ron had been in error: Jacobin law 
did "command the feelings of the heart." ^ 

The condemnation of the Sieur Theron was almost the 
last joint act of the Civil Commissioners for many months 
to come: on October 29, Polverel and the cipher Ailhaud 
sailed for the West. The "Tenth of August" had so 
intensified the Royalism of this province that the Com- 
missioners had decided something must speedily be done, 


and the quiet then prevailing at Le Cap encouraged them 
to think that the North would give little further trouble.* 
This momentary lull at Le Cap encouraged the ener- 
getic Rochambeau to begin those operations against the 
negro rebels which until then had been entirely forgotten 
in face of the necessity for holding down the white popula- 
tion of the city; but his successes were ephemeral, for ever 
larger numbers of troops had to be held in Le Cap itself 
to face the storm raised by the character of Sonthonax's 
rule.* Relieved of his colleague's relative moderation, 
Sonthonax, as sole dictator of the North, now displayed 
to the full the reckless and arbitrary violence of his na- 
ture. Every ship for France carried numerous suspects, 
while a forced loan to cover his lavish expenditure struck 
terror to the propertied classes. Most significant of all, 
however, was the hostility of his former allies the poor 
white clubmen. Their dreams of exploiting the aristo- 
crats and monopolizing public office had proved bjit fond 
illusion; they now saw themselves more and more dis- 
carded for "Citizens of the 4th of April." Officials, 
counsellors, intimates, mistresses, — all about Son- 
thonax was now mulatto. The white proletarians of Le 
Cap discovered that in the eyes of Sonthonax they too 
were aristocrats — "Aristocrates de la Peau." ^ As the 
poor whites took no pains to conceal their rage at this new 
state of things, a series of violent quarrels with Sonthonax 
ensued which ended in the closing of the club and the 
deportation of its prominent agitators. Sonthonax, how- 
ever, seems to have realized the growing difficulties of 
his position, for he attempted to veil his most arbitrary 
measures by making the suggestions come from his crea- 


ture, the 'Commission Interm^diaire." But this petty 
ruse deceived no one, and popular hatred became merely 
dashed with contempt.^ 

His state of mind was probably not improved by his 
colleague's remonstrances. These are particularly sharp 
in Polverel's letter of the 14th December.' In this Son- 
thonax is sharply censured both for his wholesale de- 
portations and for his manner of bringing them about. 
Sonthonax's method was to have the ''Commission In- 
term^diaire'' draw up proscription lists of those who 
had " lost the confidence of the People " ; whereupon Son- 
thonax would yield to the voice of the "People's repre- 
sentatives," declare the accused "suspect," and order 
them deported to France for examination by the Con- 
vention. This practice Polverel condemned as both il- 
legal and impolitic. The West had cried that Sonthonax 
was trying to hide behind his tool, and the Commis- 
sionera' prestige was being ruined in consequence. Pol- 
verel also condemned Sonthonax's closure of the club. 
" This act is a manifest violation of the rights of man and 
the citizen," reads the letter, "in addition to which, you 
have remedied nothing; for by dissolving the club you 
have not annihilated its members." He also expressed 
indignation that Sonthonax should have taken general 
measures without his assent, and announced that he had 
forbidden in the West and South the execution of that 
forced loan decreed by Sonthonax for the whole of San 

Sonthonax's reply was characteristic. He complained 
bitterly that his colleague should have listened to the 
"voice of calumny," and justified his arbitrary measures 


on the broad ground of ** necessity/' As to the club» it 
was a ''nest of aristocrats'*; in addition to which he 
expressed astonishment that Polverel should "quote the 
Rights of Man in a slave countiy." He had consulted the 
''Commission Interm^diaire" "to have virtually the de- 
sire of the colony by the mouths of its provisional repre- 
sentatives"; and he closed by stating that "his heart was 
torn" by Polverel's action. ^^ In other words, Sonthonax 
intended to persevere in the course he had laid down. 

But before Polverel had even written his protest a 
fresh explosion had occurred at Le Cap. That Sonthonax 
had scented trouble is plain, for during the month of 
November he had recruited a large body of mulatto sol- 
diers. It was further action in this same line which 
brought on the explosion of the 2d of December. It will 
be recalled that after the failure of the Royalist attempt 
in late October, most of the officers of the old regiments 
had thrown up their conunissions and left the country. 
Sonthonax now announced that in conformity with the 
Law of the 4th of April a number of lapsed commissions 
in the regiment "Le Cap" would be given to mulattoes. 
But at this even the veterans of '*Le Cap" forgot their 
discipline and broke into open mutiny. On December 1, 
Sonthonax sent the popular young general, Laveaux, to 
recall them to their duty, but his appeals were fruitless. 
A committee of the oldest soldiers met Laveaux at the 
barrack gate and flatly refused to receive the mulatto 
officers, while a great crowd encouraged their resistance 
with cries of "Bravo, Regiment du Cap," and a thunder 
of applause. 

Next day the regiment was ordered to parade on the 


Champ de Mars. The command was obeyed, but when 
the regulars arrived they found themselves confronted by 
the new mulatto companies. Voices in the crowd cried 
"Massacre/' for the regiment was without cartridges. 
At this moment a negro was seen moving toward the 
mulatto lines with a bag over his shoulder, and was at 
once seissed by the crowd. General Laveaux rode up, 
crying that the bag contained bread, and when ripped 
open the bag was, indeed, found to contain bread on top, 
but beneath was a mass of cartridges. Then came a gen- 
eral explosion. The white mob and the mulattoes en- 
gaged in a general m616e which ended by the sudden re- 
treat of the mulattoes from the town and their seizure 
of the fortified lines at the entrance to the Plain. The 
threat was unmistakable, and beneath the awful menace 
of destruction by the wild rebel hordes the whites of 
Le Cap bowed in trembling despair. Sonthonax himself 
acted as the messenger of peace and returned to town at 
the head of the triumphant mulattoes.^^ 

Le Cap now lay apparently crushed beneath the yoke 
of Sonthonax and his mulatto battalions. The re^ment 
"Le Cap " and a great number of civilians were deported, 
and for the next few months the white population lived 
under a veritable reign of terror. Sonthonax presently 
set up a miniature Revolutionary tribunal, the prisons 
were jammed with suspects, and every ship carried 
batches of deported persons for trial in France." 

Sonthonax's state of mind during this period is well 
shown by his letter of December 8 to the Minister of 
Marine. After detailing his repressive measures conse- 
quent on the rioting of the 2d of December, he says, "It 

^'f'i^K ^i^>''. rj rLi\ thf! 1*;^/- t.iou.n ar^- in fear h 
I %ha,\\ continue to pimi&h with the same 
goerer ahall trofuble the public peace, is 
daredeay the natioiial will, — especially 1 

And the violence of Sofnthonax seemed I 
with time. Some three weeks later, in hit 
Convention, he exclaims, ** Herein the Cc 
see the efforts of pride to destroy the he 
equality among free men; its members 
themselves that the French Revolution wil 
the league of kings before it succeeds in en 
prejudice at San Domingo. Oh! that I mi^ 
to that equality which it is my first duty 
to defend. I shall never flinch before 1 
detractors.'' ** 

Crushed as the white population appe£ 
Sonthonax continually dreaded some supre 
of despair. His anxiety appears in a letter < 
1708, to explain the sending of an unusual 


audacious than before. Everywhere, especially at Port- 
au-Prince, they prate of independence." ^* The opening 
weeks of the year 1793 brought ever deepening troubles 
in their train. The sullen fury of the whites, the stub- 
bom Royalism of the West,^* the melting away of the 
French troops under bad management and disease, and 
the total failure to accomplish anything against the 
negro rebels, — all these combined to form a pictiure 
of deepening gloom. Sonthonax's letter of February 8 
confesses to utter exhaustion in both credit and supply. ^^ 

But most ominous of all was that storm-cloud which 
now peered over the horizon-line of the ocean. To say 
nothing of the crisis with Spain, Revolutionary France 
was fast drifting toward war with England; and Son- 
thonax knew only too well that the infuriated whites 
were dreaming of an English war. *'The independents 
and the Royalists breathe only the hope of foreign fleets," 
he writes the Minister of Marine on February 18, 1793.^* 
"However, France may count upon the Citizens of the 
4th of April. She has no better friends, and they alone 
would suffice to repel all the valets of all the tyrants with 
islands in the Antilles." ^' 

As recently as the December riots, Sonthonax, to quiet 
uneasiness at his rule, had affirmed with his usual exu- 
berance of statement his conviction as to the necessity 
of slavery. "Such are my principles, such my profession 
of faith," he had cried, pointing to his maiden speech 
before the Colonial Assembly; *® "may the day on which 
I change be the last of my life." ** However, on the same 
day that he had written the letter last quoted to the 
Minister of Marine, he penned a report to the Conven- 

these rebels are a large number ol genuine ut( 
to tlie Rei)ul)lic. Tliese follow blindly a nun 
potic chiefs who are devoted Royalists. Stupi 
the furies of a sanguinary Court, these wretcl 
fight only for their religion and for that King 
imagine themselves destined to restore upon 
The thought of Liberty never enters their h 
the chiefs have such ideas; and even they tl 
being free men than of themselves reigning < 
It is, therefore, not at all the noble sentimeni 
which inspires them; they even speak of it as 
cessory thing/* The real persons to blame, cc 
letter, are ''the wretches who misled the i 
Assembly in its last moments; those who snc 
it the fatal Decree of the 24th September"; 
the Royalists the chance to tell the negnx 
National Assembly had abandoned them to 
mercies of the Colonial Legislature and thai 
hope lay in the King. 

Sonthonax now comes to the point. Of cou 
tinues, he and Laveaux will fight bravely on; 
no Inncrer conceal "a conviction that the 


the Convention and which will probably never possess 
sufficient enlightenment and wisdom to feel the neces- 
sity for a new regime. Everything, then, demands that 
the Convention should break the bonds which the Con- 
stituante has laid upon the national sovereignty." 

"I do not pretend," concludes Sonthonax, "to point 
the exact moment for effecting an entire reform in the 
colonial system. But if this be not promptly modified, 
if the lot of the slaves be not ameliorated, it is impossible 
to foresee the duration of the woes of San Domingo. Last 
of all, such a decree will be only the natural sequence of 
the Law of the 4th of April." ** Thus did Sonthonax 
foreshadow his future action, when, six months later, 
without authority from home and despite Polverel's 
opposition, he was to proclaim the freedom of all the 
negroes in the North Province of San Domingo. 

With Sonthonax action followed so quickly on the 
heels of thought that had he continued to remain at Le 
Cap it is more than likely his desire would not have waited 
six months for its translation into fact. However, the 
explosion which had just occurred at Port-au-Prince de- 
termined him to yield to Polverel's entreaties, and early 
in March he committed Le Cap to the trusty Laveaux 
and sailed for the West. 


polverel's government of the west 

It was on the 2d of November, 1792, that Polverel and 
his shadowy coUeague Ailhaud landed at the Confederate 
stronghold of Saint-Marc. The Commissioners had hoped 
that their presence *' would awaken the patriotism of its 
inhabitants, still too warmly attached to the Old Regime 
and its agents"; ^ but they soon found that report had 
not belied the Boyalism of the West. PolvereFs explana- 
tion of the ** Tenth of August'* and the late troubles at 
Le Cap "did not produce the effect we had expected"; 
instead of applauding, the assembled crowd shouted, 
"Vive le Roi !" Next day things grew still more serious. 
An angry mob of both whites and mulattoes surrounded 
the Conmiissioners' house and so alarmed them by its 
threats that they hastily took refuge on shipboard. It is 
true that they had brought a small body of troops under 
the conunand of a reliable officer named Lasalle, but they 
dared not use this slender force against the angry inhabit- 
ants, and covering their humiliation by talk of ''leniency 
to the unenlightened," they sailed for Port-au-Prince.* 

Here their reception was very different. The favor 
shown by the Commissioners to the poor whites of Le 
Cap had aroused the greatest enthusiasm among the 
' democrats of Port-au-Prince, and the news of the "Tenth 
of August" had excited as much rejoicing in the city as 
fury in the Royalist hinterland. Polverel and Ailhaud 


were therefore given the warmest of welcomes, and the 
tone of the reception speeches must have been delight- 
ful indeed to persons still smarting from Saint-Marc 

''This city, so grossly libelled by Monsieur Blanche- 
lande and the former agents of despotic authority," the 
Commissioners inform the Convention, '' appears to us 
full of a great number of patriots/' ' *'Here is the state 
of things in the West,*' they write Sonthonax on the same 
day; ** except Port-au-Prince, all is aristocrat. Monsieur 
de Jumecourt holds in his hand all the planters and 
atdiera of the Plain.^ Up till now he has kept things in- 
tact; but the slaves are armed, and at the first sign from 
Monsieur de Jumecourt, or at the least move against him, 
all would be on fire." * The Confederate leader, it is 
true, received the Conmiissioners with formal respect, 
but Polverel was not deceived by his attitude, and, de- 
spairing for the moment of reconciling the mulattoes 
to the Revolution, he leaned more and more upon the 
whites of Port-au-Prince. This explains much of his 
criticism at Sonthonax's closure of the Le Cap Club 
and other anti-white measures.* In his protest already 
quoted, Polverel says as much. ''The only dependable 
patriots," he assures Sonthonax, "are the whites of Port- 
au-Prince and Jacmel.^ Despite their resistance to the 
Law of the 4th of April, all the whites here are 'patriotes 
enrages.'" * 

That Polverel had not overstated the matter is shown 
from a letter written by a member of the Port-au-Prince 
Club to a brother clubman at Le Cap describing the wel- 
come accorded Borel, the famous partisan fighter of the 


Artibonite.' The writer was evident^ a man of little 
education» as the script is bad and the spelling worse. 
Put into grammatical language, this letter runs as fol- 
lows: ''The clubs, my brother, the dubs may yet save 
this unhappy country, covered with all possible crimes, 
the victim of the greatest rascals and the most infernal 
plots. ... At Borel's arrival the town was all lighted up, 
— except a few houses of aristocrats. The sight was very 
pretty, but I was hoping for something prettier still; — 
that is to say, after the fashion of Le Cap, the entire an- 
nihilation of the aristocrats, who, to the disgrace of good 
citizens, dare inhabit the dty of Port-au-Prince. I had 
thought that only patriots had the right to breathe the 
air of this town. Nothing of the sort: not a single de- 
portation, not a single holy proscription; no change. The 
public offices are still partly held by aristocrats, by 
enemies of the Revolution; and Port-au-Prince, my dear 
brother, reeks with aristocrats; incredible to you, of 
course, but true." ^^ It is certainly a strange irony that 
Sonthonax at this very moment was showing the recipient 
of this effusion, worthy of the Cordeliers Club, that the 
San Domingo clubmen were also aristocrats: ''Aristo- 
crates de la Peau." 

Thus for two months Polverel remained in Port-au- 
Prince; closely allied to the town whites but daring no 
move against the solid Royalism of the inland country. 
In mid-January, however, tired of inaction, he resolved 
to visit the South, — a resolve made doubly urgent by 
the desertion of his colleague Ailhaud. The Commis- 
sioners had been only a few days at Port-au-Prince when 
Polverel had directed his colleague to take command of 


the South. Ailhaud, however, proved but a broken reed. 
His weak nerves had entirely gone to pieces under the 
horrors of San Domingo, and he was no sooner at sea 
than he ordered his ship to sail forthwith to France. ^^ 

The South was more than ever under white control, 
and the policy of the Commissioners had stimulated the 
Royalism of the hard-fighting planters of the ''Grand 
Anse" to a pitch which reduced Polverel to despair. In 
a detailed report on the South by parishes he describes 
one of these as ''a sterile land where the seed of Revolu- 
tion will not grow. It is the abode of a great number 
of ci-devant nobles who are openly addressed by their 
former titles, and since they and their creatures form 
almost the whole population, they find few persons to 
contradict their liking." The adjoining parish was also 
full of these ''honmies k parchemin." In Les Cayes 
itself he had made some progress by f oimding a club 
*' which walks in the right line of patriotism, — hatred of 
the Coimter-Revolutionists, love for the Republic, submis- 
sion to its laws and respect for its representatives. But 
the great planters and the inhabitants of the Plain, ^^ just 
as in all the other parts of the colony, view with pain an 
order of things which places them upon a level with their 
fellow citizens." " 

However, before Polverel could accomplish much, he 
was forced to leave Les Cayes by alarming tidings from 
the West. During his absence Sonthonax's mulatto rule 
at Le Cap had been doing Polverel's work, and the West- 
em Royalists were at last splitting along the color line. 
For while there were a good many genuine Royalists 
among the mulattoes, the race question so overshadowed 


politics with the bulk of the caste that Sonthonax's ultra- 
radical measures were fast bringiiig the mulattoes to see 
that they had more to gain from the Commissioiiers than 
from their white Confederate allies. And, conversely, 
Sonthonax's treatment of the Northern whites had roused 
such terror throughout the colony that the whites of the 
West felt they must sink eveiy political difference before 
a peril which menaced their veiy existence. 

Accordingly, about the end of January, 1793, Bord, 
who had become the acknowledged head of the whites of 
Port-au-Prince, held a conference with De Jumecourt, the 
Confederate leader, at which they agreed to forget the 
past and to form a new Confederation including both 
parties. Polverel was greatly disturbed at the news and 
forbade any such action, but his unavailing protests were 
presently supplemented by an unlooked-for diversion in 
the shape of a negro rising in the West.^^ 

We have already noted the existence of that powerful 
maroon community among the moimtains of the Spanish 
border, whose political individuality had been recognized 
by the Royal Government some years before the Revolu- 
tion.^^ This people had been powerfully recruited during 
the late troubled years, and had not remained an idle spec- 
tator of events. Its ravages had hit the mulattoes even 
harder than the whites, since the maroons bore a special 
hatred toward their old enemies of the marichau8s6e.^^ 
At this moment these people had become still more for- 
midable through the adhesion of an able negro leader 
named Hyacinthe, who succeeded in raising many of the 
slaves and who carried his ravages to the outskirts of 
Port-au-Prince itself. This negro rising had important 


political consequences. Hyadnthe had recently been in 
Confederate service, and the town whites, fearing some 
treachery on the part of De Jumecourt, drew away from 
the white Royalists for the time. Furthermore, the race 
feeling of the town mob was so aroused that they began 
to maltreat mulattoes, and when Greneral Lasalle imder- 
took to suppress these disorders the pent-up rage at Son- 
thonax's conduct burst into flame. Lasalle was expelled 
the city, and Port-au-Prince stood in open defiance of the 
Civil Commissioners. ^^ It was the report of these troubles 
that induced Sonthonax to come to the West.^^ 

Sonthonax landed at Saint-Marc on the 0th of March, 
and was received with rapture by the mulattoes who had 
recently made themselves absolute masters of the town. 
He at once saw that quick action was necessary before the 
Western whites should cement their alliance once more. 
His feelings toward them are shown by his letter to the 
Minister of Marine. " The crimes of Port-au-Prince begin 
again," he writes on March 10; **the town is forming an 
alliance with the heads of the Royalist party. . . . The 
negroes have risen, and the Plain of Cul-de-Sac lies in 
ashes. Such, citizen, are the fruits of the stupid and 
frantic pride of a handful of Europeans whom the Na- 
tional Assembly and its representatives have treated 
altogether too leniently." ^* 

That Sonthonax did not intend to display much leni- 
ence in the future was plain from the manifesto drawn up 
with his approval by his followers at Saint-Marc and 
published throughout the West. ** Hasten," it reads; 
"hasten from all parts of the colony, regenerated citizens. 
Surround the organs of the Law, and may our bodies fall 


a thousand times beneath the blows of our miserable 
enemies rather than allow them to abate one jot the laws 
of the Republic. Put forth all your strength; let our 
enemies tremble with fear at sight of the ardor with 
which we shall crush and annihilate that insolent faction 
which centres at Port-au-Prince. Swear never to return 
till the last of them are exterminated. No more peace, 
friends, no more pardon; crush this foul vermin which 
carries desolation to the most distant mountains. Re- 
member that the foreign enemy make compromise with 
domestic agitation impossible, and purify with death 
this land still reeking with crimes." ^^ 

The response to this appeal was so general that when 
Polverel arrived from the South he f oimd a considerable 
force assembled for the march on Port-au-Prince. The 
exclusively racial character of this new struggle is shown 
by the fact that "there were not thirty whites in the 
whole army." *^ The campaign which followed was short 
and decisive. The mulattoes soon surrounded Port-au- 
Prince from the landward side while the Commissioners 
and their fleet blockaded it by sea. The inhabitants 
knew that they could expect little mercy, but after nearly 
two days' terrific bombardment by .the fleet their forts 
were silenced; to avert the general massacre which would 
probably have followed an assault, Port-au-Prince sur- 
rendered on April 13, 1793. Borel and several hundred 
of the most determined whites cut their way through the 
mulatto lines and escaped to the South.^^ 

The conquered city was treated with extreme severity. 
The Commissioners' mulatto and negro troops plundered 
and murdered almost at will; hundreds of the inhabit- 


ants were confined in the prisons or upon hulks in the 
harbor, and great numbers were deported. A letter 
written on the 24th of April and smuggled out of the town 
by a friendly sailor *' gives a vivid picture. "I have lost 
hope," cries the writer to his brother in France; "I am 
convinced that we are the destined victims of the most 
execrable horrors that hell itself can invent. . . . Behold 
our reward for all the sacrifices we have made for the 
Revolution. We are good citizens; we flatter ourselves 
that we are good Republicans: and we can speak only 
by signs. Should we dare make a murmur, we are thrown 
aboard ship like bags of dirty linen and sent to France 
without a word to those left behind." ** 

The West as well as the North now lay crushed be- 
neath the heel of the Civil Commissioners and their mu- 
latto soldiery. But the South still defied them and refused 
obedience to the Law of the 4th of April This last centre 
of resistance was now taken in hand. During the weeks 
which followed the surrender of Port-au-Prince a consid- 
erable army was formed for the conquest of the South 
and the command entrusted to Andr6 Rigaud, a Southern 
mulatto who had shown considerable ability in the vari- 
ous struggles of the South and West. But the fighters of 
the Grande Anse proved more formidable than before: 
Rigaud's army was completely cut to pieces and hundreds 
of mulattoes were left dead on the field. Rigaud's report 
to the Commissioners shows how serious had been his 
defeat and how momentous might well be its conse- 
quences. *'If the South be not conquered," he asserts, 
"the whole colony will try the same course. In all the 
parishes our enemies openly rejoice, — and you know 


▼csjr w«n what ndi Rjoidng means. — Gtiwea^Hjoa 
want any pfacg you moft dfpoft half tlie wnite pmnila 
tion of San Dominso. Tke mask ia off at kil; it pkgra 
the ariatocrat to oar face." ** 

But many days befme Bigaod wrote thcae fines the 
ORnmiswmeri had hastened from Port-ao-Prinoe to face 
a new storm-cloud in the North, and it was plain that 
action against the whites of the Sooth woold have to be 

i • •• I I, r , I 



When Sonthonax sailed for the West in the opening 
days of March, 1793, Le Cap appeared so crushed in 
spirit that he anticipated little resistance to the stem 
rule of Greneral Laveaux. And yet the very first report of 
this trusted deputy must have stirred Sonthonax to fresh 
disquietude. In his letter of March 7, Laveaux reported 
quiet, it is true, but added that this was ^'thanks to the 
watchfulness of the Commission Intenn^diaire and to his 
own military patrols." He also reported so much veiled 
hostility and seditious language that a projected sally 
against the rebel negroes had been indefinitely postponed. ^ 

And his subsequent letters were more ominous still. 
The very next day arrived the tidings of the execution of 
Louis XVI, which produced "commotion" suppressed 
only by redoubled patrols,' while ten days later the news 
of the English war caused him to ask Sonthonax for 
further orders in case of extreme necessity.' Before 
March was out the situation had grown so bad that 
Laveaux wrote, "You must repress the disaffected; their 
numbers grow with every day. Count on us, but do not 
lose a single instant in your return. . . . We fear a violent 
explosion." * 

Such was the state of Le Cap when on the 7th of May 
a new Govemor-Greneral arrived from France. The out- 
break of war with both England and Spain ' placed dis- 


tntUdSan Domingo in a Id^iJIy perilaiis gtnation, and 
made the yau/tn t ut of an able militarj head a matter of 
pdme neoeantj. RfaKring this obvioos fact, the Con- 
▼ention de^atdied to San Domiiigo one Galhand, an 
officer free from political mtanglrments and with a im>- 
ffniond reputation of the best. His instmctiocs were 
the counterpart of those issoed to Desptjhia, — sob- 
ordinatjon to the CommisBionerB in political matters, bnt 
a free hand in the tiyhniral handling of the troops.* 

Galbaod was a quiet, steadlsr soldier iriio had always 
kept out of politics and iriio asked nothing better than 
absorption in his prcrfessional duties. But the excitable 
population of Le Cap, goaded to despair by the long 
months of Sonthonax's brutal rule, wdcomed the new 
Governor-General as a deliverer: when it discovered that 
his wife was a San Domingo Creole it greeted Galbaud 
as an avenger as well. Madame Galbaud has left a vivid 
picture of her husband's triumphal progress throu^ the 
streets of the city and of the frantic enthusiasm which 
met him on every side.' 

Galbaud*s soldieriy instincts were greatly shocked at 
the terrible condition of Le Cap. He found everything in 
the greatest dilapidation; the magazines empty, the sol- 
diers destitute and mutinous for want of pay, the treasury 
completely looted by Sonthonax and his corrupt asso- 
ciates. Madame Galbaud relates her horror at the Com- 
missioners' conduct in both North and West, and the 
General himself seems to have shared her feelings. He 
at once took measures to remedy the situation, quieted 
the troops, and confirmed the inhabitants in their favor- 
able opinion of his character. 


At the news of Galbaud's arrival the Civil Commis- 
sioners' jealous and despotic temper at once took alarm: 
when they learned of the new Governor-General's meas- 
ures and increasing popularity, fear gave place to fury. 
Galbaud's letters expressed the utmost respect, it is true, 
but it was clear that he intended to be master in his own 
department and that he was not the type of man to be- 
come their unresisting tool. The Commissioners resolved 
to hasten back at once to deal with this dangerous rival. 
Their state of mind may be gauged by a letter sent the 
Commission Interm^diaire announcing their coming. 
"Be of good heart, brave citizens," it reads, "soon the 
colony shall be purged of this frightful lethargy which now 
consumes it. Yet a few days and we shall appear once 
more at Le Cap; and we are there resolved to display a 
severity which our principles have too long restrained. 
The agitators of all parties will soon be annihilated, and 
a better order of things shall then succeed to this de- 
structive chaos. Let not discouragement seize true Re- 
publicans. Yet a little while and they shall triumph. 
Let public fimctionaries tremble who have abused and 
still abuse the power of place to mislead the people! 
Their reign is almost over." ® 

At Le Cap itself the Commissioners' partisans breathed 
the same frantic menaces as their chiefs. Madame Gal- 
baud relates how Duf ay, one of Sonthonax's closest inti- 
mates, "often made remarks to me like this: 'The white 
population must disappear from the colony. The day of 
vengeance is at hand. Many of these colonist princes 
must be exterminated.' His tone," concludes Madame 
Galbaud, "was one of frenzy." • 


It was cm the 10th ct June that the Civil CommissiaDers 
and their long oolunin of mulatto soldiery entered Le Cap 
amid the frantic applause of their partisans and the sul- 
len silence of the whites. Even before their arrival th^ 
seem to have made up their minds that Galbaud must at 
all costs be disposed of, for their attitude toward him was 
hostile in the extreme.. Their plan of action was soon re- 
vealed. After a short examination of his credentials they 
pronounced these invalid, and after an angiy altercation 
they declared him deposed and ordered him to embark 
for France. To all this, despite the prayers of the white 
population, Galbaud submitted. He realized that with 
men like these the only alternative to obedience was armed 
rebdlion, and he was too much the disciplined soldier to 
seek a struggle with the civil authorities. 

Unfortunately the Civil Conunissioners began their 
work of vengeance before Galbaud had put to sea. Never 
before had Le Cap witnessed such deportations en masse^ 
and within a few days every ship of the departing squad- 
ron was crowded with the condemned. Nevertheless, the 
impending catastrophe might still have been averted had 
it not been for the conduct of the Commissioners' mu- 
latto soldiery. These men proceeded to treat the whites 
of Le Cap as they had those of conquered Port-au-Prince, 
and they made no distinction between the civilian popu- 
lation and the sailors of the fleet. Seamen on shore leave 
were insulted, and resistance was answered by murder. 
This was too much. In the harbor of Le Cap were nearly 
three thousand sailors, and the whole body now rose in a 
furious cry for vengeance. The movement spread like 
wildfire, the naval officers were swept off their feet, and 


Galbaud himself yielded to the universal ciy . On the even- 
ing of the 10th of June, Galbaud was borne in triumph 
through the fleet amid thunderous cheers of '^Vive la 
R6publique! Vive Galbaud!" and summoned the sailors 
to land for the overthrow of the tyrants. 

About dawn on the 20th of June, Galbaud landed with 
over two thousand sailors of the fleet. The r^ulars who 
garrisoned the harbor forts went over without firing a 
shot, but the Prench National Guards held firm for the 
Commissioners. Then a terrible struggle began. Every 
street, every house, was fiuiously defended by the Com- 
missioners' white and mulatto troops. Purthermore, 
these regular combatants were soon reinforced by the 
whole civilian population: the whites rising for Galbaud, 
the mulattoes and town negroes for the Conunissioners. 
At the end of the day, however, it was plain that the 
discipline of the r^ulars and the wild courage of the 
sailors were gaining the victory, and at dawn next day 
Galbaud's columns pierced the main line of defence while 
the Commissioners fled to the fortified lines at the 
entrance to the Plain. 

But the shouts of victory soon died in the terrible cry 
of **The Brigands are in the town!" The dreadful news 
was only too true. During the night the Commissioners, 
knowing that they would be beaten on the morrow, had 
offered plunder and liberty to the eager rebels of the 
Plain, and dense masses of howling savages were now 
pouring into the town. Against the pressure of these 
black hordes Galbaud and his followers could do nothing, 
and by nightfall they held only the harbor forts and the 
water-front. But the fall of night made little difference in 


the scene, for harbor and shipping lay bright as day in the 
awful glare of the burning city: Le Cap was in flames, and 
those of the white population not huddled along the quays 
were dying amid their burning homes or imder the tor- 
ments of the savages. Next day fully fifteen thousand 
more of the rebels poured into the city, and Galbaud» 
recognizing that the case was hopeless, set sail for the 
United States. Every ship that could keep the sea fol- 
lowed his flag, and soon the great fleet with its ten thou- 
sand despairing refugees on board had dropped the empty 
harbor and blazing city below the horizon. Fortunately 
the voyage was fair, and when this tragic armada cast 
anchor in Chesapeake Bay the sufferings of the wretched 
fugitives were over. Public and private benevolence vied 
in the work of mercy, and even distant Massachusetts 
supplemented the federal grant by special legislative % 

During all those scenes of horror which marked the 
fall of Le Cap the Commissioners remained immovable* 
and true to their promise allowed the rebel negroes the 
absolute sacking of the town. They would neither stir 
themselves nor allow any one else to do so. On the even- 
ing of the 22d, Greneral Lasalle had arrived from the West 
with two himdred mulatto dragoons, and he had implored 
the Commissioners to let him take command of the 
French National Guards and the mulatto battalion to 
fight the fire and stop the massacre. This request, how- 
ever, the Commissioners absolutely refused, and only on 
the evening of the 24th was Lasalle allowed to enter the 
city with a single squad of his dragoons; ''with whom," 
he writes, ''I marched amid flames and corpses." " The 


Commissioners' responsibility for this awful disaster 
seems to be complete. 

The best picture of the catastrophe is that left us by 
Carteau, at that moment on duty at a military post upon 
the heights overlooking the Plain. *'For four days and 
nights," he writes, "we watched the fire consume this 
rich and famous city, the glory of the French colonies. 
. . . We were stupefied at sight of the immense clouds of 
black smoke which rose by day; at night we were awed by 
the flames which, striking the bold promontory that over- 
hangs the town, lit up with reflected light the whole vast 
immensity of the Plain. During the first two days we 
did not know the meaning of this terrible spectacle. 
Deep in our own thoughts, therefore, we whites, mulat- 
toes, and free negroes who made up the post instinctively 
ranged ourselves by colors, — each against the others, 
each prepared to sell life dearly. In this uncertainty we 
awaited impatiently the outcome of this tragic event; 
although we whites, so long the butt of the Commis- 
sioners' injustice and cruelty, had the keenest dread of 
that which lay in store." " 


The destruction of Le Cap was interpreted by white 
San Domingo as a virtual sentence of death: save within 
the parishes controlled by the white Confederates of the 
Grande Anse, all sought to quit the land accursed. Every 
merchant ship from the ports of North and West bore 
its sad freight of refugees; every Spanish outpost received 
a stream of despairing fugitives. But there was something 
still more serious. The Commissioners' deliberate sum- 
mons to the savage hordes of the Plain had horrified the 
regular troops almost as much as the civilian population, 
and wherever their position allowed, these also resolved 
to forswear allegiance to such authorities. The results 
of all this were at once decisively apparent upon the 
Spanish border. The Spaniards had begun hostilities as 
far back as early May, but the small number of their 
troops and the scanty population of Spanish Santo 
Domingo ^ had confined their efiForts to a few border 
skirmishes. Now, however, things became very differ- 
ent. The whole Cordon de I'Est went over in a body, 
while the Spaniards bestirred themselves to take the 
Royalist negro chiefs into their pay and laid plans for 
the complete conquest of the ^'Partie frangaise de 

The desperate state of the French colony is disclosed 
by Sonthonax himself in his letters during the month of 


Ju]y» 1798. A long report to the Convention, written 
July 10, describes the general exodus of the white popu- 
lation, the departure of the whole naval station, and the 
desertion of a thousand regulars and French National 
Guards to the Spaniards. *'Such, citizens," he concludes, 
''is the disastrous condition to which Galbaud has re- 
duced us in the Province of the North. Without ships, 
without money, with only a month's supply, — still we 
do not yet despair of the safety of the pairie. We ask no 
troops, no ships, no sailors; it is with the real inhabitants 
of this country, the Africans, that we will yet save to 
France the possession of San Domingo." * 

However, despite this characteristic flourish, Son- 
thonax's reports grow more and more hopeless as he 
describes the triumphant progress of the Spaniards and 
their allies, black and white. ''The slaves remaining in 
the party of kings," he writes on July 80, "march in 
company with a great number of white hnigris. After 
every action we find these people among the dead. The 
corsairs which infest our coast are armed and manned by 
Frenchmen. Well may we say that morally, as well as 
physically, all that is European becomes tainted and 
rotten in this unhappy country." • 

When Sonthonax penned these lines he was once more 
in sole command of the North, Polverel having hastened 
back to the West. Accompanied by his mulatto troops 
and the few hundred French National Guards who still 
remained faithful to the Republic, Sonthonax lay on the 
heights overlooking the ruined city, surrounded by 
swarming thousands of negro savages. The terrible condi- 
tion of Le Cap is described in a letter from an officer of 


the French National Guards. Although the Ammcans 
were bringing in enough supplies to keep them from 
actual starvation, ^^all the whites are leaving for New 
England^ who can possibly get away. This countiy will 
in future be little suited to Europeans, and will have no 
lasting tranquillity. Battalions of negro slaves have been 
formed and have been given their liberty. They will be 
the future armed force of this country. Also, a general 
emancipation and division of the land will soon take 
place.*' ^ So appalled was the writer at the future and so 
worn down by privation that he closes his letter with the 
statement that he was about to throw up his lieutenant^ 
colonel's conmiission and sail for the United States with 
the rest. 

This French officer was a true prophet, for Sonthonax 
had already taken the first steps of that momentous 
action secretly advocated since February, 1793. "The 
flames which devoured Le Cap,** says Carteau, "marked 
the triumph of the yellow caste; they were also the har- 
bingers of black supremacy.'* ^ The same author tells of 
a number of white refugees who, despairing of mercy 
from the Commissioners, sought and found refuge with 
the terrible mulatto Candy: "for,** he adds, "this gen- 
tleman, grown suspicious of the Commissioners* real aim, 
had begun to look upon them with an evil eye.** ^ 

Candy had, indeed, good cause for his disquietude. 
On that very 21st of June, when the rebel negroes of the 
Plain swarmed into Le Cap at the Commissioners* sum- 
mons, there had appeared the following astounding 
proclamation: "The will of the French Republic and its 
representatives being to give liberty to all negro warriors 


who shall fight for the Republic under the Civil Commis- 
sioners' orders, ... all slaves declared free by the Repub- 
lic's delegates shall be the equals of all men, white or any 
other color. They shall enjoy all the rights of French 
citizens. Such is the mission which the National Conven- 
tion and the Executive Council of the Republic have 
given the Civil Commissioners." • Furthermore, on the 
following day, another proclamation promised liberty to 
individuals who, "'wishing to become free, should enroll 
themselves in the forces of the Republic." • 

After Polverel's departure, the attitude of Sonthonax 
grew clearer with every day, and the mulattoes now un- 
derwent the same painful disillusionment as the white 
proletariat a few months before. The mulatto caste saw 
itself thrust into the background, and the entourage of 
Sonthonax grew steadily more and more negro. Lasalle 
Glow appointed Governor - General) saw astonishing 
changes in his corps of officers. "I foimd myself," he 
writes the French Grovemment, "surrounded by epau- 
lettes of all grades worn by slaves of the day before " ; and 
he notes that one of these new citizens had been appointed 
colonel and inspector-general of San Domingo.^® 

Sonthonax's intentions are still more clearly shown by 
his letter to the Convention written at the end of July, 

The time for shufflings and half -measures," he exclaims, 

is past. The slave-drivers and the kings must be put 
on the same plane. Let them cease their tyranny; let 
them quit their prey; better still, let them disappear 
from the surface of the globe." " 

Obviously, Sonthonax was resolved to wait no longer, 
and on the 29th of August, 1793, he formally proclaimed 


the freedom of the slave population throughout the North 
Province of San Domingo, attempting at the same time 
to justify his former inconsistencies of conduct. The 
proclamation opened with a quotation from the ** Rights 
of Man." 

*'*A11 men' [it reads] ^are bom and remain free and 
equal.' Behold, citizens, the evangel of France! It is 
high time that it was proclaimed in all parts of the Re- 
public. Sent by the Nation as Civil Commissioners to 
San Domingo, our mission there was to enforce the Law 
of the 4th of April and to prepare gradually, without 
dissension or convulsion, the enfranchisement of the 
slaves. . . . 

** At that time, citizens, we assert that slavery was 
necessary, both for the continuance of labor and for the 
preservation of the inhabitants. For San Domingo was 
then in the power of a horde of ferodous tyrants, who 
openly preached that the color of the skin should be the 
sign both of power and of reprobation. The judges of 
the unhappy Og6, the creatures and members of the in- 
famous provost courts who filled the towns with gibbets 
and torture-wheeb to sacrifice the Africans and men 
of color to their atrocious pretensions; — all these men of 
blood yet peopled the colony. 

**To-day things are changed, indeed. The slave-drivers 
and cannibals are no more. Some have perished, victims 
of their own impotent rage; others have sought safety in 
flight and emigration. Those whites who yet remain are 
the friends of the law and of French principles. . . . 

"The French Republic wishes liberty and equality 
among all men, regardless of color; the kings are happy 


only in the midst of slaves. The Republic adopts you 
among its children; the kings aspire to cover you with 
chains or to destroy you utterly. The representatives 
of this same Republic, to aid you, have unbound the 
hands of the Civil Conmiissioners. A new order is about 
to be bom, and the ancient servitude shall disappear." ^' 

This proclamation, preceded by a "" bonnet rouge" at 
the end of a pike, was ordered solemnly read in every 
conmiune of the North, while a delegation was sent to 
France to implore the ratification of the Convention. 

In his report to that body Sonthonax did not attempt 
to deny that he had acted without orders, but based his 
defence upon the broad ground of necessity. ''The last 
ships are gone," he writes; ''we are without supplies, and 
all would appear lost to men not resolved to hold out to 
the last. Under such circumstances the only course was 
to give a great example of justice. I have attained this 
end by proclaiming the 'Rights of Man' in the Province 
of the North." ^' His letter to Polverel was less positive 
in tone, but stated that the writer was "at least sure 
of having turned the results of a great disaster to the 
profit of humanity.'^ " Polverel was, indeed, angiy and 
alarmed, but he realized that the step was irrevocable 
and he presently proclaimed emancipation in the West 
and South with certain minor qualifications.^'^ 

If Sonthonax had expected that emancipation would 
end his troubles, he was soon bitterly undeceived: the 
proclamation did not rally the negroes to the Republic, 
but did produce fresh social disorders. Jean-Frangois and 
Biassou, now formally commissioned in Spanish service 
and steadily extending their authority over the lesser 


n^ro chiefs, replied in no uncertain fashion. **We can- 
not,'* reads their letter, '* conform to the national will, 
seeing that since the beginning of the world we have 
obeyed the will of a king. Wehavelost the King of France, 
but we are dear to him of Spain, who constantly shows 
us reward and assistance. Wherefore, we cannot recog- 
nize you as Commissioners until you have enthnmed a 
king." " 

And not merely was Sonthonax unable to reconcile the 
negroes m Spanish service; his own ranks suffered daily 
depletion. At the fall of Le Cap many thousand negroes 
had taken the tricolor, but as soon as there was nothing 
more to plunder, these new converts quickly vanished 
with their booty to take up their careless life among the 
woods and mountains or to enroll themselves beneath the 
banner of Spain. Indeed, the one prominent chief whom 
Sonthonax had converted to the Republic, a certain 
Macaya, presently changed sides and sent to Sonthonax 
this astonishing profession of faith: ''I am the subject 
of three kings, — the King of the Congo, lord of all the 
blacks; the King of France, who represents my father; the 
King of Spain, who represents my mother. These three 
kings are descended from those who, led by a star, went 
to adore the Man-Grod. If I passed into the Republic's 
service, I should perhaps be forced to make war on 
my brothers, the subjects of these three kings to whom 
I have sworn fidelity." ^^ 

The social consequences of emancipation were equally 
disappointing. Up to this time, despite all the disturb- 
ances of the last few years, some considerable districts 
had continued under regular cultivation. But now the 


negroes everywhere refused to work and broke into com- 
plete insubordination. How serious was this state of 
things may be seen by a letter from the island of Tortuga, 
hitherto entirely exempt from serious disturbance. '*De- 
cidedly»" it reads, **all is lost in this colony. Deprived 
as we now are of our personal property, what becomes of 
our lands? Nothing. The slaves, become suddenly free, 
independent, our equals, or rather our superiors (for 
to-day they give us the law), have been changed into so 
many scoundrels armed with torch and knife to strike 
their victims and bum everything at the slightest sign, 
like the Janissaries in Turkey, they have become the 
terror even of those who have freed them and given them 
arms. Little by little their aversion to work has strength- 
ened. In vain has the attempt been made to keep them 
on the land they tilled by making them co-owners and 
giving them a fourth of the product.'^ Unsatisfied, in- 
diifferent to this benefit, idleness, indolence, debauchery, 
theft, and evil-doing are for them the sovereign good, 
the highest happiness, to which all else is sacrificed. In- 
deed, they scarcely permit the planters, their former 
masters, to live in their own houses or to enjoy what 
little remains to them. Such, my dear Armand, are the 
fatal results of the 29th of August, 1793. The insurrec- 
tion of 1791 was partial, and was caused by the mulat- 
toes for their own special benefit; to-day this insurrection 
is general, and 400,000 individuab are being ceaselessly 
told, *You are all freemen.* The evil is past cure; the 
colonies are lost to France; and I doubt whether French- 
men can here find any more French property." ^* 
Our Tortuga planter's description of conditions at Le 


Cap was hardly overestimated; the position of Sonthonax 
had rapidly become such as to endanger his own person. 
His mulatto troops could, of course, no longer be relied 
on, while as supplies and money waned so did the sub- 
ordination of the black soldiery. An attempt to restore 
discipline ended in riotous mutiny, and the attitude of 
the thousands of idle and destitute negroes became daily 
more menacing. Carteau gives a vivid picture of this 
critical time. *'As I was walking to the Commissioner's 
for my passport," he writes, *'I saw a n^ro raise himself 
among a group lying under the balcony of a government 
storehouse and cry loudly to his comrades: 'That Son- 
thonax! If some one would give me fifty portugaises 
I would kill him within the hour.* I marvelled," adds 
Carteau, **at the n^ro's audacity in speaking thus so 
high." *® When, in early October, this writer at last suc- 
ceeded in leaving Le Cap, he draws a sad picture of the 
broad harbor, quite empty now save for a scant half- 
dozen American vessels scattered along the vast, de- 
serted quays.*^ 

Small wonder that Sonthonax had himself departed 
when, upon these local perils, came the evil tidings that 
the English had landed in San Domingo, welcomed by 
both the white and mulatto populations of South and 



English aid against Revolutionary France had long 
been the hope of many persons in San Domingo. As 
far back as the outcry at the Decree of May 15» 1791, 
the prevalence of such opinions had alarmed Governor 
Blanchelande,^ and this sentiment had been still further 
strengthened by the negro insurrection and its conse- 
quences. When in late September, 1791, Edwards ar- 
rived at Le Cap with the warships and supplies lent by 
the Grovemor of Jamaica, he relates that the assembled 
inhabitants '"directed all their attention toward us, and 
we landed amidst a crowd of spectators who, with up- 
lifted hands and streaming eyes, gave welcome to their 
deliverers (for such they considered us), and acclama- 
tions of *Vivent les Anglois' resounded from every 
quarter." * The English officers were splendidly re- 
ceived, and Edwards specifies **a very strong disposition 
in the white inhabitants* of Le Cap to renoimce their 
allegiance to the mother country. The black cockade was 
universally substituted in place of the tricolored, and very 
earnest wishes were avowed in all companies, without 
scruple or restraint, that England would send an arma- 
ment to conquer the island or rather to secure its volun- 
tary surrender from its inhabitants." ' And he adds that 
he was so generally considered an accredited emissary 


of the British Grovemment that his position became a 
highly embarrassing one. 

This pro-English feeling is well shown by a letter from 
Le Cap written shortly after the outbreak of the negro 
insurrection. *'I am as good a Frenchman as there is in 
this world," it reads, **and I am attached to the mother 
country by ties of blood, affection, and gratitude. But 
rather than see my fortune, honorably acquired, become 
the prey of brigands egged on by another set of brigands 
sitting in Paris, I prefer a thousand times to go over to 
the English. . . . And every one else here thinks as I." ^ 

If such had been the feeling in the North during the 
autumn of 1791, the state of the traditionally pro-Eng- 
lish South may be imagined two years later after a 
twelvemonth of Sonthonax's rule in San Domingo. The 
tragedy of Le Cap had not only loosed the last tie to 
Jacobin France; it had also shown the South what would 
follow if the next attempt of the savage mulatto partisan 
Rigaud should end in victory. Accordingly, on Septem- 
ber 3, 1793, the Confederates of the Grande Anse signed 
a treaty with the Governor of Jamaica which formally 
transferred their allegiance to the British Crown. "The 
Inhabitants of San Domingo," runs the first article, 
"being imable to appeal to their legitimate sovereign for 
deliverance from the tyranny which oppresses them, in- 
voke the protection of His Brittannic Majesty and bear 
hun their oath of fidelity; begging him to preserve the 
colony, and to treat them as good and loyal subjects 
until the general peace, when the French Government 
and the Allied Powers shall definitely decide the question 
of the sovereignty of San Domingo." The subsequent 


articles assured to the French inhabitants the full en- 
joyment of their old laws and customs.* 

The Grovemor of Jamaica acted quickly. On the 19th 
of September, a small English squadron dropped anchor 
in the harbor of J£r6mie, the stronghold of the Grande 
Anse, situated at the extreme end of the long peninsula 
of the South, and nine hundred British soldiers landed 
amid salvos of artillery and shouts of "'Long live King 
George!" The neighboring parishes at once submitted; 
only the eastern districts and the city of Les Cayes were 
still held down by Rigaud and his mulatto soldiery. 

And the defection of the South was but the prelude to 
a stiU greater disaster. Upon the outermost tip of the 
northern peninsula stood the great fortress of the M61e- 
Saint-Nicolas, the key of the Windward Passage, pro- 
verbially known as the Gibraltar of the Antilles. Its nat- 
ural strength had long marked it out as the last refuge 
in case of supreme disaster, and here were gathered the 
reserve matSrid and the only considerable body of white 
troops, besides Laveaux's shattered battalions at Le 
Cap, which still adhered to the Republic. This garrison 
consisted of the Irish battalion *' Dillon" and some five 
hundred French National Guards, but its temper had 
become increasingly doubtful, and the tactless conduct 
of Sonthonax was now to bring on irreparable disaster. 

On his way to the West after the destruction of Le 
Cap, Polverel had visited the M61e and had sent an 
alarming letter to Sonthonax urging decisive measures. 
"If you do not hasten to change the spirit of this place," 
he writes, "it will become one more dangerous nest of 
Royalism, Anglicism, and love of Spain. ... If the gar- 


ruon be not dianged . . . and 'DiDon' replaced by a 
strong garrison (rf free companies and new citizens,* all 
is lost in this quarter. It must be totally regenerated." ^ 
Sonthonax had immediately b^^un to take steps in 
this direction, but he had quickly discovered that the 
defenders of the MMe absolutely reused to put them- 
sdves in his power. At this insubordination Sonthonax 
had complete^ lost his temper and had issued a proc- 
lamation declaring the whole garrison guilty of *'lese- 
nation" and ^'tratties k la Patrie." The result was in- 
evitable. On the 22d of September a single ship appeared 
oflF the M6le with a hundred British grenadiers aboard, 
but at the mere si^ of the English flag Major OTarrel, 
(rf the Irish battalion, came out with proposals of capit- 
ulation, and the great fortress, with its two hundred 
^ heavy guns, immense maUrid, and entire garrison of 
-^ nearly a thousand men, surrendered without striking 
a blow. The example of the M61e was followed by the 
German colonists of Bombarde, and the whole peninsula 
down to the walls of Port-de-Paix had soon thrown off 
allegiance to the Republic." 

These defections of the white districts to north and 
south were serious enough, but what now began in the 
West Province reduced the Commissioners to absolute 
despair. The mulattoes had everywhere greeted Son- 
thonax's negrophil policy with ill -concealed rage; his 
emancipation proclamation had roused them to furious 
mutiny. The mulattoes had always been as bitterly 
opposed to emancipation as the whites themselves, and 
at the present moment they were even harder hit, since 
up to this time they had succeeded in keeping most of 


their slaves in some sort of obedience. ''These Citizens 
of the 4th of ApriU*^ writes Grovemor-General Lasalle to 
the French Government, ''whom you regard as the true 
defenders of the colony and whose fortune consisted 
largelyinslaves;howare they nowto live? The proclama- 
tion of the 29th of August has reduced them to the most 
frightful misery." • 

Upon the angry mulattoes of the West the English 
intervention worked almost as powerfully as upon the 
whites themselves. It is true that the presence of Polverel 
and a few mulatto leaders thoroughly committed to the 
Republic kept Port-au-Prince quiet for the moment, and 
that the iron hand of Rigaud continued to hold down Les 
Cayes; but elsewhere all was seething disaffection. When, 
about mid -October, a thousand more English troops 
landed in the South, the mulatto stronghold of the Ar- 
tibonite rose in open revolt and a new Confederation of 
Saint-Marc called the English into the West. "So long 
as the Civil Commissioners' proclamations assured our 
future well-being," announced the mulatto Mayor of 
Saint-Marc, "I obeyed them to the letter. But from the 
moment that I realized they were preparing the thimder- 
bolt now shattering everything around us, I took meas- 
ures to save our fellow citizens and to preserve our prop- 
erties." ^® The example of Saint-Marc was followed by 
L6dgane, and Port-au-Prince was thus hemmed in on 
both sides by British territory. 

In the North Province the situation was even more 
hopeless. Laveaux with the wrecks of the European bat- 
talions had retired to the stronghold of Port-de-Paix, and 
behind the walls of this first centre of French coloniza- 


tion he now lay watching the progress of the Spaniards 
from the east and of the English from the M61e-Saint- 
Nicolas. His terrible situation is shown by his report to 
Sonthonax of mid-September. At that moment Laveaux 
had but seven hundred men fit for duty, and these poor 
remnants were wasting rapidly under the terrible con- 
ditions which prevailed. '*I cannot describe to you,'* 
he writes, ''the horrors of our hospitals. Never cleaned, 
even the dying are unattended while the dead remain in 
their beds sometimes two days. . . . Into these dens of 
pestilence the soldier enters with horror, crying, 'Behold 
my last abode.'" The food was execrable: a little bread, 
fish so bad ''that men shrink from it," and for drink 
tafia-grog to which the soldiers laid much of their sick- 
ness. "In fine, one sees walking spectres instead of French 
soldiers." All the supplies having been burned at the 
destruction of Le Cap, "the troops cannot march for 
lack of shoes and will soon be absolutely naked." La- 
veaux closes with a pathetic appeal for Sonthonax's 

Laveaux's report on the general military situation at 
the beginning of October was more hopeless still. Be- 
sides the danger from foreign enemies, most of the negro 
troops were showing a desire to replace him by one of 
their own number. "We are in a country," he writes, 
"where by the course of events the white man is detested. 
The guilty have fled, it is true; but the hatred toward the 
whites borne by the Africans is not in the least assuaged 
thereby. Each day the whites are threatened. . . . And 
who can force these new citizens to do their duty once 
they have abjured it? Will they respect the handful of 


white troops which yet remains?" Laveaux frankly 
admits that he despairs of keeping order; all he can do is 
to die at the head of the few soldiers that yet remain. 
Since the fall of the M61e, he continues, the military situa- 
tion has become quite untenable. Even a retreat over- 
land into the West is most uncertain, for the attitude of 
the negro troops is doubtful; if the English once pierce 
the lines of Port-de-Paix, this attitude will become more 
doubtful still. ''For, after all the examples of their lack 
of courage or good faith in fighting the brigand negroes, 
what can you expect of them against the English?" " 

This crushing series of disasters lashed Sonthonax into 
a delirium of fury. Weeping with rage, he dashed oflp 
incoherent letters to Laveaux and Polverel, urging them 
to make the whole coast a desert and then retire like 
maroons into the mountains. But this ferocious counsel 
Polverel refused to follow, and returned a severe answer 
stating that such a policy would merely unite all men 
against them. "Let us," concludes this letter, "indeed, 
save the colony, liberty, and equality; but let us also 
understand once for all why we are fighting, whom we are 
fighting, and what shall be the means." ^' 

From insane rage Sonthonax now fell into abject de- 
spair, and inlateDecemberhe wrote to Polverel proposing 
that one of them should leave San Domingo to carry a 
report to the Convention; but his colleague adminis- 
tered another severe rebuke, stigmatizing this plan as 
desertion. ^^ Soon after this the demoralized Sonthonax 
rejoined his colleague at Port-au-Prince. 

However, the opening months of 1794 brought no 
comfort in their train: the North fell more and more into 


English and Spanish hands, while in the West the mu- 
lattoes continued to abjure the Republic. The extent of 
this defection is shown by the number of intercepted 
letters still preserved in the Archives Nationales.^* In 
one of these the writer passionately urges his Republican 
friend to follow his example. He, too, had fought in the 
earlier mulatto insurrections, but he had since felt ''the 
humiliations which the Civil Commissioners have heaped 
upon us by making us the servile instruments of their 
sanguinary passions and their destructive projects." In- 
deed, he was in complete despair when the coming of the 
Englishopened the door of hope. ^^ Another letter is still 
stronger in tone. "Cease; yes, cease, sir," it reads, "to 
work blindly for the general liberty of the slaves and to 
further the perfidious and devastating intentions of the 
Civil Commissioners. Join the party of honest men; 
preserve your property from destruction and fire. Our 
rights are safe-guarded by the word of a nation whose 
established constitution is unmenaced by the fluctuations, 
crises, and convulsions which cause the present weakness 
of the French, and which reduce aU their colonies to a 
frightful fluidity." ^^ 

During these months another blow had been struck at 
the prestige of the Commissioners. The stream of de* 
ported persons flowing constantly into France with alarm- 
ing tales of outrage and tyranny had excited French public 
opinion and roused the watchful jealousy of the Conven- 
tion, which, in July, 1793, passed a decree of accusation 
against its representatives in San Domingo.^^ "The late 
disasters at Le Cap," writes a colonist at Nantes to a 
friend in the island, "have been deeply felt in France. 


Polverel and Sonthoaax -Jxaye been- cbnounoed- 'to-4lw 
NatiQnal Convention as the ^ntJhora of ^^p nun, pf gan 
Domingo, and have been decreed in a^^teLoLaccuaation. 
Thiitj we"Tg^Eope^^ at ere long the colony will be 
purged of those two mon sters." ^* ''Ihe news had been" 
hailed with delight by the whole English party, which 
scattered broadcast a violent manifesto smnmoning the 
Republican districts to rid themselves of the tyrants 
whom the Convention had just *' broken like a glass of 
beer." ^ But all regular communication between France 
and San Domingo had ceased with the outbreak of the 
English war, and the Commissioners, stigmatizing these 
reports as libels, showed no signs of obeying the orders 
of the Convention by a return to Prance. 

The colonists, however, soon realized that the Conven- 
tion's action toward its Commissioners was a purely 
personal affair which betokened no change in sentiment 
regarding the colonies. Indeed, Jacobin France, now full 
in the throes of the Terror, breathed an ever-increasing 
hatred of the "Aristocrates de la Peau" and greeted the 
English intervention with a fresh burst of fury at this 
new Vendue over-seas. How the returned colonist fared 
at this moment is revealed by the experiences of Carteau 
in the month of May, 1794. Scarcely had his ship cast 
anchor in the harbor of Toulon when the young port 
officer approached him with a menacing air. *''WeU,' he 
exclaimed loudly, *at last they are free; those unhappy 
slaves. After a century of abuse and torture it was high 
time that they became your equak and enjoyed our pre- 
cious liberty; for they are as much men as we ourselves.' 
I was silent," conmients Carteau; *'it was no time to 

-•CI i. aLr^A-MWai 


reply. The guillotiiies were 'en pemumeiice' apon the 
public squares/' '^ 

And Carteau's further experiences show that the pott 
officer's words were but the echo ci all those who then 
dared express an opinion. ** From Toulon to my journey's 
endt" he goes on, *'in coach or barge, in public house or 
private home, at cross-road or on city square, — every- 
where I found the same prejudice, the same virulence 
against the colonist. 'Prejudice'! that is too mild a 
word. It was a furious hatred which prevailed: a hatred 
of such intensity that our most terrible misfortunes did 
not excite the slightest commiseration. To those prej- 
udiced minds we appeared more guilty than the most 
abandoned criminals, to whom are often vouchsafed 
some dregs of pity. We colonists, . . . just escaped from 
tempest and prison, destitute, ruined, impoverished, 
often fated to beg our bread, found only cold hearts and 
unfeeling souls. Ah! how many there were who, to all 
this, added signs of detestation and of horror. I could 
name a great number of persons, men and women, young 
and old, who to my story of misfortune merely answered, 
'You have richly deserved it!' Our detractors had poi- 
soned against us all classes of society : servants, peasants, 
workmen, — the very day-laborers in the fields. These 
simple people, impressed only by striking ideas, remem- 
bered about us only those reports most sensational in 
character. In their opinion we colonists were worse than 
cannibak, and they really believed that we were accus- 
tomed to mutilate, flay, and massacre our slaves. I was 
actually introduced to many persons so touched by the 
unhappy lot of the slaves that they had long since ceased 


to take coffee; thinking that they swallowed only blood 
and sweat in this sugared drink!"" 

Such being the state of French opinion, it is not strange 
that when Sonthonax's delegates reached France in early 
1794, they received a warm welcome and foimd the Con- 
vention disposed to set its seal upon the new order in San 
Domingo. These three delegates, a white, a mulatto, and 
a negro, had been sent as deputies to the Convention in 
pursuance of national legislation which had already as- 
similated the colonies as ordinary departments of the 
French Republic. What followed their request for ad- 
mission to seats in the Convention is well described by the 
official record in the "Moniteur " **: — 

"At the session of the 15th Pluvi6se, Year II pPebruary 
8, 1794], the chairman of the Conmiittee on Decrees rose. 
* Citizens, your Committee on Decrees has verified the 
credentials of the deputies of San Domingo. It finds 
them in order. I move that they be admitted to seats 
in the Convention.' 

** Camboidas. 'Since 1789, the aristocracy of birth and 
the aristocracy of religion have been destroyed; but the 
aristocracy of the skin still remains. However, it too is 
at last doomed: a black man, a yellow man, are about to 
sit amongst us in the name of the free citizens of San 
Domingo.' [Applause.] 

"The three deputies of San Domingo enter the hall. 
The black features of Bellay and the yellow face of Mills 
excite long and repeated applause. 

**Lacroix (of Eure-et-Loire). *The Assembly has long 
desired to have in its midst some of those men of color 
oppressed for so many years. To-day it possesses two. 



I demand that their introduction be marked by the 
President's fraternal embrace/ 

The motion is carried amid loud applause. 
The three deputies of San Domingo advance and re- 
ceive the President's fraternal kiss. The hall rings with 
fresh applause." ** 

Next day the n^ro deputy Bellay delivered a very 
violent speech against the Coimter-Revolutionary nature 
of the white colonists, and ended by ''Imploring the Con- 
vention to vouchsafe to the colonies full enjoyment of the 
blessings of liberty and equality." What followed is strik- 
ingly told by the official account in the "Moniteur": — 

**Leva8seur (of Sarthe). *I demand that the Conven- 
tion, yielding, not to a moment of enthusiasm, but to the 
principles of justice, and faithful to the Declaration of 
the Rights of Man, decree that from this moment slavery 
is abolished throughout the territory of the Republic. 
San Domingo is part of this territory; — nevertheless^ 
there are still slaves.' 

**Lacr<nx (of Eure-et-Loire). *When we drew up the 
Constitution of the French people we did not direct our 
gaze upon the unhappy negroes. Posterity will severely 
censure us for that fact. Let us now repair this fault. 
Let us proclaim the liberty of the negroes. . . . President, 
do not suffer the Convention to dishonor itself by a dis- 

The Assembly rises by acclamation. 
The President pronounces the abolition of slavery 
amid great applause and repeated cries of 'Vive la R6- 
publique ! ' * Vive la Convention ! ' * Vive la Montague ! ' 

"The two deputies of color appear on the tribune; 


they embrace. [Applause.] Lacroix conducts them to 
the President, who gives them the fraternal kiss. [Ap- 

*'Cambon. *A citizeness of color, regularly present at 
the Convention's sittings, has just felt so keen a joy at 
seeing us grant liberty to all her brethren that she has 
fainted. [Applause.] I demand that this fact be men- 
tioned in the minutes, and that this citizeness be ad- 
mitted to the sitting and receive at least this much rec- 
ognition of her civic virtues.* 
'The motion is carried. 

On the front bench of the amphitheatre, at the Presi- 
dent's left, is seen this citizeness, drying her tears. [Ap- 

''After some discussion on the wording of the intended 
decree, Lacroix gets the following resolution carried: 
'The National Convention declares slavery abolished in 
all the colonies. In consequence, it decrees that all men, 
without distinction of color, domiciled in the said colo- 
nies, are French citizens and enjoy all the rights assured 
under the Constitution.' " ** 

When it is remembered that at this moment San Do- 
mingo was the only colony in which any official acts of 
emancipation had taken place, the spirit of the Conven- 
tion toward colonial questions in thus abolishing the 
colonial system by a rising vote without discussion is 
sufficiently plain. 

The effect of all this upon San Domingo may be im- 
agined. More and more the mulattoes of the West re- 
noimced their allegiance to the Republic, and the Com- 
missioners' position in Port-au-Prince (now renamed 


*' Port R^ublicain'Ogf^cw worse with every day. Acts of 
tenor availed but little, and the CommissioiieTs, grown 
suiqiicious of the whole mulatto caste, leaned increaan^ 
upon the n^ro population. In early Februaiy, 1794, the 
appearance of an En^ish squadron off Port-au-Prince 
spurred the Commissioners to fresh exertions, and black 
battalions were recruited from the half-savage negroes 
of the Plain and the wild insurgents of the mountains. 
But this merely precipitated the crisis. Rigaud, the mu- 
latto commandant of Les Cayes, wrote an ominous pro- 
test warning the Commissioners that '*the soldiers' order 
and good-will for the service and defence of the country'* 
was waning at sight of the public revenues ** entirely 
given to African laborers who assuredly have not the 
same needs as themselves." Rigaud asserted that the 
negroes should serve the Republic without pay, and should 
also support the mulatto soldiery *'out of gratitude for 
the debt they owe the former f reedmen who now de- 
fend them.** *• The mulattoes of Port-au-Prince did not 
stop at words. On the night of the 17th of March the mu- 
latto battalions suddenly rose, the Commissioners barely 
escaped from the town, and returned only upon condi- 
tions tantamount to an abdication.^^ 

Under such conditions the fall of Port-au-Prince was 
plainly at hand, and toward the end of May the English 
prepared to strike the decisive blow. The campaign was 
well planned and skilfully executed. A column of whites 
from the Grande Anse, about a thousand strong, under 
the Baron de Montalembert, advanced northwards from 
lAogane, another column of some twelve hundred white 
and mulatto Confederates, imder Hanus de Jumecourt, 


moved down from Saint-Marc, while on May 30, a 
strong squadron appeared off Port-au-Prince with fifteen 
hundred British troops on board. The city made but a 
feeble resistance. It was soon demoralized by a heavy 
bombardment from the English fleet, and when the chief 
land fort had fallen before the assault of De Montalem- 
bert's hard-fighting Southerners, the Commissioners and 
the wreck of their troops sought safety with Rigaud. 
Despite its misfortunes, Port-au-Prince was a rich prize. 
The English captured one himdred and thirty pieces of 
heavy artillery and merchant shipping to the value of 
four himdred thousand pounds.'^ 

But the sands of the Conmiissioners' rule were now run 
out. Scarcely had they joined Rigaud when a fast-sailing 
corvette appeared bearing the Convention's mandate to 
arrest its refractory delegates and bring them to France 
for trial under the decree of accusation passed almost a 
year before. There could be no evading this imperious 
summons, and on June 12, 1794, Sonthonax and Polverel 
sailed for France, leaving Rigaud and his half-guerilla 
soldiery to sustain the struggle against the English and 
their partisans. In West and South the situation seemed, 
indeed, hopeless, but in the North a man had appeared 
in the ranks of the Republic who had already wrested 
half their conquests from the Spaniards. This man was 
Toussaint Louverture. 



PRAN901S-D0MINIQUE T0U88AINT ("Louverttjre") 
was bom about the year 1743 on a plantation of the North 
Plain not far from the city of Le Cap. His father was 
an African negro from Guinea; his mother, bom in the 
colony, was a negress of imcertain origin. One th ing is 
sure: Toussaint was a full-blooded negi^o with no trace 
of white or mulatto blood. The origui of the name 
"Louvertiure" is obscure. Toussaint at first served as 
a stable-boy, but his intelligence was soon remarked by 
the plantation manager, who made him his coachman* 
and in the comparative leisure of this occupation Tous- 
saint learned to read and write, albeit very imperfectly.^ 
He seems to have gained a certain local reputation among 
the negroes, and to have already displayed that power 
over his racial brethren which was to be the keystone 
of his later authority.^ 

At the outbreak of the negro insurrection of August, 
1791, Toussaint was nearly fifty years old. He took no 
part in the rising until the late autumn, when he attached 
himself to the bands of Jean-Francis and Biassou. His 
ability was, however, recognized from the first, for he was 
at once made a high officer and appears to have been one 
of Jean-Francois's intimate counsellors in the December 
peace negotiations with the first Civil Commissioners.* 

Upon the outbreak of war between Spain and the 


French Republic in the spring of 1798, Toussaint nat- 
urally entered Spanish service. His growing importance 
is shown by the fact that he was already the leader of a 
band of six hundred well-armed negroes devoted to his 
orders, and also by the circumstance that he acted no 
longer as a subordinate of Jean-Frangois, but directly 
under the Spanish general's orders as a semi-independent 
commander. During the ensuing year Toussaint's prog- 
ress was rapid. He induced many of the French regular 
troops who had deserted to the Spaniards after the de- 
struction of Le Cap' to officer his growing bands and 
train them in the European fashion. Several brilliant 
military feats increased his prestige to such an extent 
that by the spring of 1794 he commanded four thousand 
men, wholly devoted to his person and unquestionably 
the best armed and disciplined black corps in the Spanish 

At this moment the cause of the Republic was at its 
lowest ebb. In the North, Laveaux had retired with the 
wrecks of the European troops for a last stand behind the 
walls of Port-de-Paix; in the West, the English were pre- 
paring their decisive stroke against distracted Port-au- 
Prince. Yet this was the moment chosen by Toussaint 
to enter the Republic's service. Strange as this may at 
first appear, reflection shows that his decision was de- 
termined by motives of soimd policy. The progress of 
the English had greatly alarmed Toussaint, for England 
had entered San Domingo as the champion of the whites 
and mulattoes: she was therefor pledged to the mainte- 
nance of that slavery which the French Republic had just 
abolished throughout its colonies.^ His personal mdtives 


also strongly favored a change of side. In Spanish service 
he could never hope to supplant Jean-Francis, now 
become the trusted generalissimo of the black forces 
entirely devoted to the Spanish cause, and loaded with 
honors and dignities. On the other hand, the French 
RepubUc had failed to gain over any important negro 
leader, and in its desperate situation was sure to grant 
Toussaint a position equivalent to that of Jean-Frangois 

Accordingly, in April, 1794, Laveaux was overjoyed 
to receive an intimation that Toussaint was ready to 
open negotiations, and the details were quickly settled to 
their mutual satisfaction. In the execution of his project 
Toussaint now showed to the full that extraordinary 
>dupUcity which is the most striking trait in his character. 
Up to the very hour of his desertion to the Republic he 
maintained his attitude of complete devotion to the 
Royalist cause: only a few days pirevious to his change of 
side,* the Spanish general, after observing the fervor of 
his religious devotions, wrote, "In this whole world God 
has never entered a soul more pure." ® The Marquis of 
Hermona's feelings may be imagined when on the 6th 
of May, 1794, Toussaint suddenly massacred the Spanish 
soldiers imder his orders and led his four thousand negro 
troops into Republican territory. Toussaint's first report 
to Laveaux contained a fervent Republican profession 
of faith.* This astounding defection completely disorgan- 
ized the Spanish forces, which rapidly evacuated most 
of their conquests in the North. ^® 

The news of Toussaint's conversion came as a ray of 
hope to the despairing Civil Commissioners. Their de- 


light is shown by the letter written Toussaint on the eve 
of their departure for France. "You cannot imagine," 
it reads, "our joy at such glad tidings. We had long be- 
lieved those Africans allied with the Spaniards and Royal- 
ists as lost to the Republic; but now that the brave Tous- 
saint has come under its banner, now that he is finally 
disabused of his errors, we hope to see all the Africans 
of the North imitate his generous repentance and defend 
their liberty by fighting for France. . . . Bless, citizen, 
bless the National Assembly, which, by overthrowing the 
thrones of kings, has f oimded the happiness of the hiunan 
race upon equality and liberty. Remember that the dis- 
tinctions of color are no more: that a negro is as good 
as a white man; a white as good as a black.'' ^^ 

The utter disorganization of the Spanish forces en- 
abled Toussaint to attempt operations against the Eng- 
lish in the West. The cloture of Port-au-Prince had been ^ 
tiie high-water mark of English success. Scarcely had 
they taken possession of the ciQ^' when there appeared 
amongst them the dread scourge which eight years later 
was to destroy the great army of Napoleon. Yellow fever 
broke out among the English regiments at Port-au-Prince 
and within two months swept away nearly seven hundred 
of the British soldiers." In such circumstances it was 
madness to expose the troops to active campaigning till 
the sickness should abate with the autumn; therefore the 
English failed to push their advantage, and gave time for 
Rigaud to consolidate his rule«in the South and for Tous- 
saint to reorganize the North. 

This English inaction was most fortunate for the Re- 
public, since the first attempts of Toussaint and Rigaud 

North of the Spaniards and had driven tii 
their footholds on the Cordon de TOuest 
repaired his defeat before Port-au-Princ< 
the important town of L6ogane. FurtJhen 
ity with which Tonssaint was building up 
aged fresh successes in the coming year.^' 

The campaign of 1795 was almost excli 
to the struggle with the English. The 
mained strictly on the defensive, and it wi 
that nothing more was to be feared fn 
peace negotiations had already opened 
and the French Republic. The British C 
done little to sustain its cause in San Don 
two thousand troops arrived during the w 
and when the unhealthy season began in 
ease again thinned the ranks of the ] 
Stilly the English position was veiy formic 
West Province was dotted with strong 
black and mulatto regiments recruited a 
population fought stubbornly in their d< 

In September, 1795, arrived the moi 
•V _ _• — u.^ «f fi,^ Pmiap. of Bide, by wl 


at last resolved to make a great efiFort to conquer San 
Domingo, and with the healthier days of late October, 
General Howe and seven thousand troops fresh from 
home landed at the Mdle-Saint-Nioolas. Two years be- 
fore, this fine army would have absolutely assured the 
conquest of San Domingo: now it was too late. Rigaud 
showed his strength by beating off the formidable Eng- 
lish attack on IA>gane» while Toussaint weathered the 
storm with slight losses of exposed territoiy. In a few 
months the English army had wasted to a shadow, and 
by early 1796 it was plain that the invaders would make 
no further efforts of a vital nature. ^^ 

It was weU for the Republican cause that the English 
peril was thus virtually past, for in these same spring 
months of 1796 there arose the first storm-clouds of that 
great convulsion which was to rend San Domingo for the 
next four years. With the general collapse that followed 
the destruction of Le Cap in June, 1798, white supremacy 
was ended, and short of an English conquest or some 
future supreme effort from France, was ended forever. 
But what San Domingo was to be had not yet been de- 
cided. The South, under the iron rule of Rigaud, was 
obviously mulatto; " the West was for the moment in 
foreign hands; in the North the policy of Sonthonax had 
already resulted in black supremacy. Up till now the 
struggle against the foreigner had obscured the racial 
issue, but before the year 1795 was out the stage had been 
set for the coming struggle between the colored castes. 
On the one side stood the mulattoes both free and slave, ^ * 
joined by the free negroes of the Old Regime and loosely 
allied to the wild maroon elements; on the other lay the 


mass of the negro population, — vastly superior in num- 
ber but only half-conscious of itself and lacking intelli- 
gence and organization. Would the mulattoes be able 
to rivet their domination over the black population as the 
whites had done before them? That was the question. 

Ambitious as were the projects of the mulatto caste, 
they were already realized in many parishes of the South 
and West. The sphere of Rigaud's authority now formed 
a genuine mulatto state in which white and black were 
alike subject to a domination more severe than that of 
the Old Regime. The country was systematically ex- 
ploited by the mulatto caste and the negro population 
once more reduced to slavery. The character of this 
mulatto rule is described in the report of an old officer of 
the marSchaussSe, sent out by the French Government in 
early 1794 to investigate conditions in the South. "Ever 
since the Civil Commissioners got rid of the whites," 
reports this agent to the Minister of Marine, ''the 
mulattoes have monopolized the public posts. All of- 
fices, both civil and military, are now in their power. 
. , . Only the vain appearance of a free government re- 
mains. The municipalities are a farce, — all power is 
lodged with the mulatto commandants. . . . The few 
white troops that remain are perishing of misery and 
want, while the remnant of the white inhabitants still 
loyal to the Republic are more wretched than the Africans 
in slavery days. The Africans themselves are not con- 
tent, and everywhere complain of their great misery." 
The worst of the matter was that this mulatto rule was 
not only despotic but factious and inefficient as well. 
The commandants were generally ignorant, "and so 


jealous that they never stop accusing each other. Mont- 
brun says that Beauvais is a traitor, Beauvais says the 
same of Montbrun, while Rigaud accuses them both." ^' 
The great obstacle to mulatto dominion was obviously 
the rising power of Toussaint Louvertiure. Hitherto, the 
black general had been but a distant figure to the mu- 
lattoes of the South, since the English occupation of 
the West Province had completely cut communications. 
But by late 1795 the English sphere was so shrunken that 
relations had been resumed. And Toussaint's first act 
showed the Southern mulattoes both his dangerous in- 
tentions and his superiority to their leader Rigaud. The 
Peace of B&le had been a great thing for Toussaint Lou- 
verture: his one dangerous negro rival, Jean-FranQois, 
had retired to Spain, while most of the disbanded black 
soldiery had taken service in Toussaint's army. Thb 
powerful accession of strength now led the black leader 
to venture a further step in the consolidation of his 
authority over all the negroes of San Domingo. In the 
Western mountains were certain negro bands which had 
remained nominally loyal to the Republic. However, 
while aiding Rigaud in his struggle against the English, 
the commanders of these negro bands had always refused 
to admit his authority and had thus drawn down the 
hatred of the vengeful mulatto. Toussaint realized the 
situation and resolved to turn it to his own profit. He 
first gained over the least powerful of these independ- 
ent commanders, an ambitious negro named Laplume, 
and then offered Rigaud his assistance in crushing the 
two chief leaders. Rigaud accepted with joy, and under 
Toussaint's orders Laplume betrayed his coUeagues to 

I lie negroes of the West/' 

But the eiiniged Rigaud spied the joi 
armor: the journey of the clever mulat 
chinat to Le Cap in early 1796 reveale< 
mination to rouse the mulattoes of the ] 
action. And Pinchinat found the groui 
for conditions at Le Cap were abeady 
explosion would have probably occun 
his incitations. 

When Laveaux had withdrawn the 
to Port-de-Paix in the autumn of 179 
Cap in charge of a mulatto officer nai 
wild negroes of the Plain had soon left 
Villatte had before long established hi 
Le Cap presently became the rallying 
mulattoes of the North. Things had gc 
the caste till the close of 1795, when 
vantage of the improved militaiy situa 
Port-de-Paix to Le Cap. Completel; 
Toussaint and his negro regiments for 
the English, and already falling imdi 
1-1-^1- i<«.«ri/kv»o T^-pfinnAlitv. Laveaux w 


is shown by Laveaiix's correspondence with the French 

There are here,'' he writes on January 14, 1796, 
many evil persons who work for independence; who cry 
that the colony has no need of France." And he cites a 
list of mulatto and free negro agitators with Villatte at 
their head. ''An abominable jealousy exists here among 
the citizens of color,'' he continues, ** against the whites 
and negroes. The colored citizens are furious that one of 
their number does not govern San Domingo. They say 
to us openly, 'This is our country, not yours. Why do 
you give us white men to govern our country? * They are 
abominably jealous of me, and wish Villatte as Governor. 

"The citizens of color are in despair at seeing Tous- 
saint Louverture, a negro, become brigadier - general. 
. . . Yes, citizen, I must admit the fact: all the colored 
citizens and old free negroes are the enemies of emancipa- 
tion and of equality. They cannot even conceive that a 
former negro slave can be the equal of a white man, a 
mulatto, or an old free negro." He concludes with a long 
accoimt of the predatory rule of Villatte and his follow- 
ers, "who have ceaselessly crushed the other inhabitants. 
My efforts have roused the fury of these men, who wish 
to continue that old life of 1793-94, when the strongest 
hand seized all"; and he ends by describing a number of 
partial riots and mutinies.^* 

If such was the state of affairs before Pinchinat*s 
arrival, it is not strange that the presence of this dever 
intriguer quickly brought on more serious trouble. At 
the end of January the arrest of one of Villatte's fol- 
lowers for official peculation caused a general riot in which 



Laveaiix was insulted and his authority openly flouted. 
His report to the Minister of Marine shows his growing 
indignation. ^'Citizen mulatto,'' he writes, **ia resolved 
to govern this country. He cannot bring himself to be 
the equal of a black, and he wishes to be more than a 
white. Crime is nothing to him: when one of his kind is 
the guilty party, all is excusable. Villatte is quite per- 
suaded that he is going to be Governor, and in this mad 
idea all his partisans support him.'' Laveaux attributes 
the late riots to Pinchinat, the agent of Rigaud, ''whose 
pride and ambition are such that he dreams of becoming 
Dictator of the colony. The mulatto citizens wish to 
rule, wish to have every office, wish to embezzle every- 
thing: they recognize no laws the moment these hinder 
their passions and their pride." '^ 

Villatte and Pinchinat were, indeed, determined on 
decisive action. The crisis came with the 30th Ventdse 
(20th of March). About sunrise the mulattoes of Le Cap 
rose en masse, dragged Laveaux with jeers and insults 
through the streets, and cast him into prison. But the 
conspirators now found that by their factious antics they 
had merely played another's game. From his strong- 
holds on the Cordon de I'Ouest, Toussaint Louverture 
had watched all that passed at Le Cap. Up to the veiy 
moment of the crisis he had made no sign, but that his 
plans had been carefully laid was soon apparent. The 
fortified heights above the town were held by the black 
general, Michel, who now refused obedience to Villatte, 
curtly ordered the release of Laveaux, and announced 
that Toussaint was coming with ten thousand men, de- 
termined "to sacrifice everything that lived in Le Cap" 


should any attempt be made on the life of Laveaux.*^ 
After some bluster the terrified mulattoes released their 
prisoner: a few days later Toussaint entered Le Cap with 
a large army» while Villatte and his partisans retreated 
into the country.^^ 

The afiFair of the 30th Ventdse was a crushing blow 
to the mulattoes of the North and a great triimiph for 
Toussaint Louverture. The keen-sighted n^ro had well 
judged his man, for the impetuous Laveaux was so over- 
whelmed with enthusiastic gratitude that he virtually 
surrendered himself into his deliverer's hands. PubUcly 
acclaiming Toussaint as '^that black Spartacus pro- 
phesied by Raynal» whose destiny is to avenge the out- 
rages upon his race," he made Touss^fcjf lieutenant* 
GoveHMMLpf Ssldl Domingo and promised to do nothing ^; 
without his advice and counsel. Toussaint reciprocated 
in the same vein. '^ After God, Laveaux/' he cried; and 
with rather grotesque inconsistency this elderly negro, 
generally known as "le vieux Toussaint," addressed the 
youthful French general as "Bon Papa." ** All this 
enormously increased Toussaint's prestige among the 
negroes, and correspondingly weakened white authority. 
"This," declares Lacroix, "was the death-blow to French 
authority in San Domingo. It is from this moment that 
we must date the end of white prestige and the beginning 
of black rule." «* 

Such was the state of afiFairs when on May 11, 1796, a 
third Civil Commission arrived at Le Cap, sent by the 
new Govenunent of the Directoire to restore French 
authority over distracted San Domingo. 




b Ffaaoe tlie Terror w» long pMt,^ and the Kv Gcvr- 
cmnmt of tiK DxrectoiR Mnrea a iuaIxvc^ 
f^nne. In the iKnend forvej wludi fctkmtd its 
ikffk to power, the Directobe's attentioii liad been nst- 
orally attracted to San IXmuiigo, and m the tm^ 
ifffmg of 17d6 ft had reaoKned to attempt a restoration of 
French authority. To this end a bod^y of fire Commis- 
sionen had been deapatched to the island with a con- 
iiidera(#le naval squadron and three thonwand troops 
wfakh succeeded in <w t w itt ing the F.ngHsh cruisers. 

The personnel of this new expedition was most inter- 
editing. The troops were commanded by General Bo- 
chambeau, seconded by Geneial Desfoumeanx, both of 
whom had served in the island. And three of the Civfl 
Commissioners were equally familiar with San Dmningo 
politics. The Chairman of the Commisrion was none 
other than Sonthonax, acquitted of the charges laid 
against his previous stewardship after a long and farcical 
trial. Purged of his extreme Jacobinism, Sonthonax was 
nriw a good ''Thermidorien** and high in the Directoire's 
fiivor. The mulatto Raymond was also upon the board» 
liaving thus obtained the post of which he had been 
baulked in 1792. Another member of the Commission 
was Roumcy though he had been ordered to Spanish 
Santo Domingo, to prepare that colony for the coming 


transfer of national authority.' The other two Commis- 
sioners were Leblanc, an ex-Terrorist, and Giraud, a 
neurotic nonentity of the type of former Conmiissioner 

The four Conunissioners, Sonthonax» Roimie» Leblanc, 
and Giraud, were well received at Le Cap. The return 
of Sonthonax, the ^^ Liberator of San Domingo," excited 
the enthusiasm of the negro population; the appointment 
of the colored leader Raymond pleased the mulatto ele- 
ment: the landing of three thousand white troops over- 
awed the disaffected. The Commissioners' first report 
describes their triumphal progress between cheering 
crowds and double ranks of negro soldiery.^ They were, 
however, confronted by a difficult situation. Toussaint 
Louverture's black regiments held down Le Cap, it is 
true, but Villatte and his army still lay near by, while the 
town population was overwhelmingly in his favor. In 
this delicate situation the Commissioners acted with con- 
siderable tact. They induced Villatte to appear before 
them and then sent him to France for further examina- 
tion; but they managed the affair without imdue vio- 
lence, and as Villatte was not personally beloved, they 
succeeded in reconciling the mulatto element to their 

The Conunissioners were evidently uneasy at the com- 
plete authority exercised by Toussaint and his lieutenants 
over the negro population. This feeling shows in their 
early letters and is strikingly displayed in a long memoir 
to the Directoire drawn up in the early autumn. "To 
speak of laws to the negroes," write the Commissioners, 
"is to burden them with things too metaphysical for 


tlkdr iDidentaiMfiiig. To time pgoplr, tl» bub is 
tbiDg: Jtt Ills rrjicjt thej sre qcite carried svaj, and Us 
k U> them what tihe fatfaolaaid i§ to geamnt fne- 
Tat iif gillie wliidi we fomid cstuEHned upon our 
airhnd St San DoamigD was cxict^ sniiikr to the ieo^ 
fjntem of the c^dh eqiluiji . Law and Eberty wm but 
idk names: the ddtivaton and the soldkrs passnn^ 
obeyed their mifitary chiefs, and fon^it for them alaoe 
while crying, 'Long fire the Bcpnblic."' * 

GtfTcn such conditioDs, it was plain that Tonasaint 
Lomrertttre and his fellows would have to be tactfully 
handled; but it should haTe been equally dear thai the 
interests of France r e quir e d that he should not be al- 
lowed to make himself abscJute, and that the on|y possi- 
Ue connterbalanoe lay in a judicious s upp or t of the mn* 
lattoes. Unfortunately for France it was not Img befoie 
the new Commission followed Laveanx's example in 
favoring the power of Toussaint Louverture. The cause 
of this fatal policy was Sonthonax's overweening ambi- 
tion. Time had, indeed, changed the stripe of his pcditi-' 
cal coat, but not his insatiable thirst tar power, and he 
soon conceived the idea of dmninating his cdkagnes 
throngb an alliance with Toussaint Louverture. Son- 
thomufs previous experience with n^ro chiefs had not 
increased his reapect for their mental ability, and he had 
no conception of the extraordinary cunning and duplicity 
of the man whom he proposed to use as his instrument to 
power. The acdamations of the negroes had intoxicated 
the '^ Liberator/* while his remembrance of past insults 
in the West and South prejudiced him against the mulat- 
toes. Accordingly 9 aided l^ his fellow Terrorist Leblam;, 


he soon dominated the weak Raymond and the con- 
temptible Giraud, and quickly showed Toussaint favors 
of no uncertain character.^ 

However, Sonthonax*s policy quickly produced dis- 
turbing results. General Rochambeau protested against 
the new militaiy powers granted the black leader, and 
Sonthonax promptly used his old methods by formally 
deporting him to France.^ The mulattoes of the North 
showed their feelings in more disagreeable fashion: they 
incited the negroes to murder the whites by spreading 
reports that the Conmiissioners were come to restore 
slavery. In the district of Port-de-Paix nearly all the 
remaining whites of that quarter were barbarously mas- 
sacred in a negro rising of late September. How serious 
was the situation is shown by a letter from one of the 
French officials sent out with the Conmiissioners. ''If 
the Directoire does not promptly send imposing forces," 
he writes, "the colony is lost forever. The disturbances 
have become general and the Europeans are everywhere 
being massacred. The cantons of Port-de-Paix are com- 
pletely devastated, and outside of the town itself not 
a white man remains alive. The national authority is 
flouted; we are at the mercy of the negroes, whom La- 
veaux has wholly demoralized, . . . and by the time you 
reedve this letter we may have all been massacred." * 

Equally pessimistic was the report of General Des- 
foumeaux, the commander of the French troops, to the 
Minister of War. ''I have some great truths to tell you, 
citizen," he writes on the 15th of October, "and as man 
to man, as a soldier who loves his country, I ought not to 
leave you ignorant of the greatness of our ills, the deep- 

iwcniy inousana men wno, acimg ] 
from tlie surface of this island th 
public." ^0 

That the Civil Commissioners o 
from the negro generals is shown by 
ence. In their memoir of October 9 
instance of disobedience on the pari 
Michel, adding, ''Our position has < 
look this act of insubordination, as 
casions. These generals leave their ; 
orders. Th^ oppress and plunder 
dare not complain. The Commissi< 
compromise its authority if it tried 
of any one." " 

In the South, the results of Sor 
more serious still. Rigaud, furious 
Toussaint Louverture, absolutely 
the black leader. And he appeared 
his defiant attitude. His virtual i 
negro population had restored pro: 
and his full warehouses procured hi 
from the numerous American vess< 


more it was impossible to send an expedition against him. 
The English still occupied most of the intervening West, 
while their maroon allies of the Eastern momitains made 
any flank march via Spanish territory impracticable. 

What he could not effect by force of arms» however* 
Sonthonax determined to accomplish by indirection. 
Accordingly, he sent a sub-commission* headed by his 
henchman General Kerverseau» to ''investigate condi- 
tions in the South." ^' No sooner had this commission 
arrived, however, than it showed its true purpose in no 
uncertain fashion. Rigaud's report to the French Grov- 
emment details the doings of Sqnthonax's pupils. ''The 
delegates had scarcely landed at Tiburon," he writes, 
"when th^ began to sow dissension among the troops. 
'Why,' they asked the negro, subalterns, 'are you not 
commanders like the mulattoes?' and to the soldiers, 
'Why are you not advanced in grade? Join the whites, 
then, to exterminate these people and have their places.* 
On their journey to Les Cayes many idle and vagabond 
negroes came to them, complaining of the punishments 
inflicted by the inspectors of labor. To these people the 
delegates replied, ' We are come hither to end the tyranny 
of the mulattoes. Tell your comrades that they are free 
and that no one can force them to labor.' " " From other 
accounts of the delegates' conduct this picture appears 
substantially correct." The Civil Commissioners com- 
plain to the Directoire that the Southern troubles were 
caused by their delegates' efforts "to insure the equal 
happiness of all citizens; from having wished to destroy 
a new aristocracy." ^' 

It could not be expected that the mulattoes would 


kmg UJkmte soAeSorfs todestzvytiicir 
eorvfio^, Bi^Kod jocxi left L» Cayv&r cstcnsblv' to 
fOBQie mxEtarj opcratioEB agiifwt tiie FngWi. and m Us 
op^jrtane afcaen» agents rode tiuou^ tiie Fbm iadt- 
n^ tliie u eipi j c a to rise agazsst tiie dplrgatr^ ^wiio liad 
IffVMight diains to leSosIarcre thrnr," asd tdEng the 
fant cnlthraiors ''thst sioce the mwlattnw mad the 
groca were the true inhabitants and ovners of the ooloBy , 
everytfaing beioc^ed to them, while the whites afaould be 
driven out or exterminated.** ^' The ruse w o Aed as sac- 
ceasfaDy with the Southern negroes as with their brethroi 
of Port-de-Paiz. On the lOth Fmctidor (27th of Angost), 
• general rising took place, the few remaining white 
inhjJMtants were exterminated, and the ddegstes were 
dragged ignominioosly to prison. It is true that Rigand 
soon reappeared and released the ddegates, but they 
were so obrionsly under duress that the Cidl Commis- 
sioners promptly recalled them to Le Cap. Sonthonaz 
was furious but h^less, and Rigand remained absolute 
master of the South.^' Sonthonax frankly confessed his 
utter failure idien ei|^ months later he wrote the Minis- 
ter of Marine, ^The South is quiet, but Rigaud is ever 
rebellious to authority. Since the massacres he has gov- 
erned those parts like a Nabob: that is to say, his will 
is law. The military power is aU; the civil authority 
nothing.'* »• 

Meanwhile, at Le Cap, Sonthonax had been steadily 
clearing his path. Giraud was easily bullied into a nervous 
collapse and left voluntarily for France. Leblanc was of 
sterner stu£F, but he presently died, — not without sus- 
picions of poison. As for the mulatto Raymond, he 


showed himself too much of a coward to be dangerous, 
and as he was obviously a useful figurehead for future 
moves against his caste, both Sonthonax and Toussaint 
agreed that it was best to let him remain. 

Save for the distant Roiune at Spanish Santo Domingo, 
the only prominent European still left in the island was 
(jeneral Laveaux — and him Sonthonax now disposed of 
by a clever trick. The French Constitution of the Year 
m had declared San Domingo an integral part of France, 
and had assigned the island a number of seats in the na- 
tional l^islative bodies. Sonthonax determined to have 
Laveaux elected deputy for San Domingo and thus re- 
move him from the scene. In this plan Toussaint Louver- 
ture heartily agreed. Laveaux was altogether too popular 
with the negro generals for Toussaint's liking, and his 
stanch Republican ideab might cause trouble on some 
future occasion. Accordingly an election was held, and as 
(jeneral Michel threatened to bum Le Cap if the result 
was unfavorable, it is not surprising that Laveaux was 
"elected" by an overwhelming majority.*® 

How clodis were the relations between Sonthonax and 
Toussaint at this moment is shown by a letter from the 
black leader to the Directoire. It opens characteristically 
by a great deal of fulsome flattery, and after the usual 
invocation of Heaven's blessing upon San Domingo, it 
expresses the greatest admiration for Sonthonax and 
Raymond. ** The people are attached to the former as the 
founder of their liberty, and love the latter for the vir- 
tues which so honor him." Another phrase of this letter 
could not have been wholly pleasing to its recipients. 
"So long as the people are governed by men as wise as 


tliose ^dio have thus far guided its destinies,'* Toassaint 
informs the Directoire, Trance will always find the peo- 
ple obedient"; and adds significantly, '*I assure yon of the 
truth of this. Citizen Directors; — I being its dtief." ^ 

Sonthonax had thus rid himself of the last annoying 
European presence. Unfortunate]^, ahhou^ his own 
road was dear, he now made the unpleasant discoveiy 
that he himself stood in the path of Tpussaint Louver- 
ture. The black leader had been as willing as Sonthonax 
to see the principal Europeans removed from the island, 
but now that this was done, the presence of the ambi- 
tious Commissioner was both unnecessary and dangerous. 
It is therefore not surprising that Sonthonax himself was 
presently *' elected'* deputy from San Domingo. Son- 
thonax did not at aD relish this promotion and attempted 
to gain support among the black generals, but Toussaint's 
eagle eye was upon him and these plottings merely has- 
tened the d^ouement. On August 20, 1797, Toussaint 
suddenly appeared at Le Cap with several thousand men 
and urged Sonthonax to take up his legislative duties in 
France. There was no denying this pressing invitation. 
The greatest politeness was observed on both sides, but 
the furious Sonthonax was none the less escorted on 
shipboard next day. The craven Raymond alone re- 
mained as Toussaint's passive instrument.'^ 
^ The last white authority in French San Domingo had 
thus disappeared, but Toussaint was by no means easy 
for the future. He weU knew that his expulsion of Son- 
thonax was a virtual act of rebellion which the Directoire 
would bitterly resent. And this was not all. France was 
no longer the France of the Terror. Robespierre lay a 



full four years in his grave, and meanwhile the conserva- 
tive tide had been sweeping steadily on. Colonists were 
no longer hunted down as "Aristocrates de la Peau"; 
instead, th^ were given a respectful hearing on colonial 
questions, and in the National Legislature itself voices had 
been raised for the restoration of the old colonial system. 

Toussaint's alarm showed in his measiu'es. A special 
envoy was sent to the Directoire to explain his recent 
action, and in a long memoir on the late events Tous- 
saint made the extraordinaiy assertion that Sonthonax 
had proposed secession from France and their establish- 
ment as joint sovereigns of San Domingo.^' From Son- 
thonax this brought forth the following caustic reply: 
''As to the charge of fomenting independence, I have but 
two words to say: Toussaint speaks only Creole, hardly 
understands French, and is perfectly incapable of uttering 
the language with which he is credited.'^ Up to this time 
no one has ever accused me of stupidity; nevertheless, 
this ridiculous conversation makes me a schoolboy imder 
the ferule, stammering absurdities and brought to order 
by his pedagogue.'' After asking the Directoire to search 
his whole career for one word which might support Tous- 
saint's assertions, Sonthonax concludes, ''Certes, if any 
one should be suspected of independence it is he whose 
whole political life has been one long revolt agaiost 
France. Toussaint has fooled two kings; he may well end 
by betraying the Republic." ** 

The attitude of Toussaint Louverture was certainly 
not one of submission. His letter to the Directoire of 
September, 1797, opens with the usual flattering phrases, 
and ''takes this occasion to renew the assurance of my 


inviolable attachment for France"; but goes on in the 
following strain: ''It b to this sentiment, so deefdy 
graven upon my heart, that France owes the preserva- 
tion of San Domingo. By this time aU would have been 
over if, forgetting the benefits received by the n^roes 
from its immortal decree, I myself had set the example 
of ingratitude. Independence would have been pro- 
claimed, and instead of submissive and grateful children, 
France would have found us ovly rebels." ^* 

Still more menacing was Toussaint's warning to the Di- 
rectoire not to heed the growing demand for the sending 
of an army to restore San Domingo to French authority. 
After assuring the Directoire that he knew its wisdom 
and virtue would never permit it to listen to such pro- 
jects, Toussaint continues, ''You wiU permit only Re- 
publican Frenchmen to come to San Domingo. These 
we will receive fraternally; but we will ever repd those 
rash enough to dare tamper with the rights guaranteed us 
by the Constitution. How would the negroes regard the 
arrival of a European French army if th^ knew that 
thdr enemies had brought about its arrival in this 
country for the carrying out of libertiddal projects? • . . 
Citizen Directors, I swear to you that I will die bdfore I 
will see snatched from my hands that sword, those arms, 
which France has confided to me for the defence of her 
rights, for the rights of humanity, and for the triumph of 
liberty and equality!" *' 

Small wonder that early in 1798 the alarmed Direc- 
toire, its hands still tied by the English war, sent the able 
General Hfedouville to repeat his conciliatoiy triumphs in 
the Vendue by a diplomatic pacification of San Domingo. 



The sending of General H£douville to San Domingo 
proved the Directoire*s fear of Toussaint Louverture. 
For H^ouville was one of the Directoire's ablest serv- 
ants. A man of keen insight and strong personality, 
his considerable military ability was outshone by his 
remarkable diplomatic talents. His recent exploits in the 
pacification of the Vend^ had iparked him out as one of 
the strong men of the Republic. The Directoire's action 
thus showed both soimdness of judgment and sense of 
reality. Matters had gone so far in San Domingo that 
only the Machiavellian dilemma remained. *' Crush or 
conciliate'*; — that was the sole alternative: and since 
Toussaint Louverture could be crushed only by a large 
army which could not be sent imtil the close of the Eng- 
lish war, conciliation was the one policy which for the i 
' present stood any chance of success. Toussaint himself 
had warned the Directors that half-measures would be 
fatal. ^ But a man of strong personality and diplomatic 
ability might dominate the black leader; or, at least, 
hold the balance between the colored castes till an Eng- 
lish peace should give France the choice of other means. 
It was toward the end of March, 1798, that H^douville 
landed at Spanish Santo Domingo to take counsel of 
Roume and the other French officials there before begin- 
ning his hazardous undertaking. But the tidings which 

«^ • » I ^ ' 

no sooner had the (lej)arture of Sontho 
for the moment than Toussaint hega 
arations against the foreign enemy. 
in evil case. The failure of General ] 
in the autunm of 1795 had convince! 
emment that the conquest of San Dc 
sible, and for the last two years the Engl 
ing on by mere inertia and by the pre 
opponents. Even so, they had steadil; 
they now possessed only a strip of the 
two isolated strongholds of the Grande 
and the Mdle-Saint-Nicolas in the No 
As soon as Toussaint b^an his prep^ 
the English commander realized that 1 
rule in San Domingo were numbered; 
tingency had been long foreseen, he 
British territorial loss by commercial g 
cal damage to France. For the Englisl 
conflicting aims of the Republic and 
verture. Could they but play upon t 
Toussaint's friendship, they miRht he 


Toussaint and his army appeared in the West, he was 
met by courteous envoys who flattered his pride with 
their attentions and fed his ambition by their hints and 
proposals. The campaign became one of notes and con- 

All this convinced H^ouville that no time was to be 
lost, and on April 21 he arrived at Le Cap. His first acts 
were well calculated to restore French prestige: his cold 
reception of Raymond emphasized the Directoire's dis- 
pleasure at the expulsion of Sonthonax, its agent, while 
a summons to both Toussaint and Rigaud to appear 
before him at Le Cap announced the primacy of the 
Republic's special representative.' Both Toussaint and 
Rigaud obeyed the summons, though the conference 
which followed was of a purely formal nature. H^ou- 
ville realized that the expulsion of the English was as 
desirable for the Republic as for Toussaint himself, and 
determined to postpone all questions of internal policy 
until this end had been attained. 

But H£douville was unable long to maintain this reso- 
lution. As representative of the French Republic he was 
forced to hold a certain supervisory attitude over the 
English negotiations on penalty of losing all his prestige 
and appearing as the passive instrument of Toussaint's 
will. But the course of these negotiations was fast as- 
suming a character which called for the active inter- 
ference of the Republic's representative. On the 2d of 
May, the English general signed an agreement with 
Toussaint for the evacuation of Port-au-Prince and all 
the other posts in the West. In this same docimient 
Toussaint agreed to grant full anmesty to all the English 


partisans — a clause absolutely oontravening the French 
laws regarding traitors and hnigris. And to this fint 
difficulty, the English general soon added another blow 
at H£douville's position : he presently offered to surrender 
the Mdle to the French representative, then acceded to 
Toussaint's protest and delivered the fortress to the 
black leader. The circumstances of this surrender were 
striking in the extreme and emphasized yet more strongly 
the flouting of H£douville*s authority. Toussaint, re- 
ceived with regal honors, again agreed to amnesty the 
English partisans in defiance of H6douville's express pro- 
hibition, and signed a secret agreement giving the Eng- 
lish extensive rights of trade.^ Lacroix asserts that the 
English had hoped for much more than this. **I myself 
and the other staff officers as well," he writes, " saw in the 
archives captured at Port-au-Prince the secret proposals 
which were the cause of those public demonstrations.* 
These proposals were to the effect that Toussaint Lou- 
verture should declare himself King of Haiti, and Mait- 
land * assured him that England would at once recognize 
him as such if at the moment of assuming the crown 
he signed a commercial treaty by which England should 
have the exclusive right of exporting the island's colonial 
products and of importing manufactured articles. The 
King of Haiti would then be assured the constant pres- 
ence of an English squadron to protect him against 
France." ^ 

But Toussaint Louverture took no such action. The 
mulatto power was still unbroken; his own authority over 
the black generals was far from secure; lastly, since the 
Peace of Campo Formio,® England was left alone against 


Franoe» and for months past had been openly menaced 
with a French invasion headed by the rising genius 
of General Bonaparte. Toussaint continued to proclaim 
his loyalty to the Republic. 

Nevertheless, his defiance of the Republic's laws ren- 
dered a struggle with its San Domingo representative in- 
evitable. Hedouville had recognized this fact and was 
already making his preparations. The obvious counter- 
poise to Toussaint's power was the mulatto caste» and 
a journey of Rigaud to Le Cap revealed H^ouville'» 
intentions for the future. Of this journey Toussaint was 
well aware, yet he made no move to prevent the inter- 
view. His intentions for this reserved attitude are shown 
by the following statements made to a white colonist 
then high in his service. *'I have from a Creole worthy 
of every confidence, now a resident of Paris," writes 
Lacroix, *'that one day he was talking with Toussaint 
Louverture when some negro officers came in great alarm 
to inform him that Rigaud had passed through Port- 
au-Prince en route for Le Cap. *Let Monsieur Rigaud 
go get his instructions from the agent of the Directoire,' 
answered Toussaint. 'Do not be alarmed. Go.* The 
officers obeyed, and my informant started also. *No,* 
said Toussaint to him, 'stay. You are never too much 
with me'; and he continued the following monologue in a 
far-away voice: *I might have him stopped; — but God 
keep me from it. I need Monsieur Rigaud — he is violent 
— he suits me to make war with — that war which is 
necessary to me. The mulatto caste is higher than mine; 
if I did away with Monsieur Rigaud, they might perhaps 
find a better man. I know Monsieur Rigaud. He is vio- 

_^ . * 

A «^'j i-'-'L >-j.^xC-i larv ; \Mit*ll J 

Ti.c LiiuJattrx^s' Lour had not vet 
viiie*s time was come: the man who 
himaeif against Toussaint Louv«tai 
crated in San Dcmungo. Sudden^ tl 
veiy streets of Le Cap, swarmed wil 
that HedoaviDe had come to restore s 
general protested loudly, but fomid 
idle wind against the credulity ci i 
however mndi they may be makrea 
look upon their word as orades.** ^* £ 
insurrection swept across the Plain, 
quickened by their erotic dances, espo 
a buD's skuD lighted mside/' Onthei 
a Tast horde of negroes a{^)eared bef 
Le Cap, and idien the garrison lean 
was in their midst it refused to offer 
ville saw that the game was up. CoU 
dred European troops in the town, am 
a thousand whites, mulattoes, and fre 
cialfy feared Toussaint 's Tenfleanoe. he 


blaqk leader's commands. The pacifier of the Vendue 
had lost his laurels in San Domingo. 

H6douville's reflections upon the situation are most 
interesting. "The facts I have related," he writes the 
Directoire, "show that all Toussaint's protestations of 
attachment to the Republic were false; that his sole aim 
has been to preserve that arbitrary authority usurped be- 
fore my arrival in the colony; and that even before that 
time he had been secretly negotiating with Maitland for 
the evacuation of the English posts on conditions that 
assured the return of the hnigrSsy free trade with the Eng- 
lish and Americans, and his de facto Independence "; — 
covering his ingratitude, meanwhile, by oaths of fidelity. 

"But, presently, Toussaint Louverture will deceive all 
those enemies of ours whose tool he may at this time 
appear, and in the end he will oppress and cover with 
humiliation those whites whom he fears as much as he 
hates; yes, even those among them who are especially 
boimd to him and who have encouraged him in his meas- 
ures. . . . Toussaint Louverture now receives the hnigrSs 
with open arms: yet at the same time he never ceases to 
fill the cultivators with suspicion against all white men, 
to the end that these may never succeed in destroying his 
despotism. He is heaping up great wealth by the sale 
of colonial products to the English and Americans, and 
to-day San Domingo is practically lost to France. If the 
Directoire cannot take the veiy strong necessary meas- 
ures, the sole hope of checking Toussaint Louverture 
even for the moment lies in sedulously fostering the hate 
which exists between the mulattoes and negroes, and by 
opposing Rigaud to Toussaint Louverture." ^' 



If Toussaint had feared the anger of the Directoire 
after Sonthonax's removal, he was still more alarmed at 
the possible consequences of his expulsion of HddouviUe. 
For Hddouville was one of the strong men of the French 
Republic and would certainly throw all his influence 
in favor of vigorous action. Furthermore, the French 
agent's parting orders had been a heavy blow to Tous- 
saint Louverture. They had legalized the future resist- 
ance of Rigaud and had shifted the Republic's moral 
sanction to the side of the mulattoes. Lastly, there was 
a distinct possibility that the Directoire would decide to 
back Rigaud with French troops. 

All this made it necessary to strike the decisive blow 
against the mulattoes. And yet, for the moment, Tous- 
saint still held his hand. The cause of this restraint bears 
witness to the political sagacity of this extraordinary 
man. Toussaint was now quite alone in French San 
Domingo, for by this time Raymond had gone the way 
of his colleagues. With the approach of the decisive 
struggle between the negro and the mulatto castes even 
the subservient Raymond could not be trusted to act 
against his race ; wherefore the usual " election " had called 
the mulatto Commissioner to a seat in the French Legis- 
lature as a deputy for San Domingo. But French au- 
thority was still represented by Roume, — for the last 


two years Civil Commissioner in Spanish Santo Domingo. 
During these two years» however, Toussaint had care- 
fully studied this man and had by now quite taken his 
measure. Boimie was no Sonthonax to change his opin- 
ions with the times. He still remained the humanitarian 
enthusiast of 1792, and his ideab had been neither shat- 
tered by the Terror nor shelved after Thermidor. Tous- 
saint felt certain that by personal contact his own strong 
personality could win the doctrinaire enthusiast to his 
support and thereby regain that moral sanction of the 
Republic's name lost since his rupture with Hddouville. 

Accordingly he besought Roimie to come to French 
San Domingo as arbiter between himself and Rigaud, 
and once Roume had accepted this proposal Toussaint 
quickly gained complete ascendancy over the French- 
man's weaker personality. How complete was Tous- 
saint's triumph is revealed by Roume's letters to the 
Minister of Marine. ''Eveiy opinion that I have held 
hitherto," he writes from Port-au-Prince on the 11th of 
February, 1799, ** is quite beneath the actual merit of this 
great man. We understand each other perfectly and do 
not differ on a single point. . . • Toussaint Louverture and 
the other black generals are truly the saviors of San Do- 
mingo and the benefactors of France." Roume was quite 
out of sympathy with the mulattoes and with H^ou- 
ville's policy of their support. Toussaint, asserted Roume, 
had the devotion of nine tenths of the population; Ri- 
gaud that of only one tenth. H£douville's idea of support- 
ing this minority seemed to Roimie "'im-Republican and 
Machiavellian. I, on the contrary," he contends, "'see 
tlie guarantee of San Domingo's loyalty in the hairiness 

ncwiy liuiufu j^uiw|,vv*^ - 

aii>' (liifcTcnce hetwtt^n the dcpartmen 
San Domingo." He ends with a wan 
saint's reception of the emigres, Acco: 
era of universal fraternity was breal 
mingo; all the colors had forgotten th 
and were looking upon one another 
fortunately Bourne saw with the ^e t 
of fact: the unhappy island was abo 
by a deathnstruggle which for sheer h 
anything that had gone before.' 

Bourne's first act was to call a < 
Toussaint and Bigaud for the settle 
putes. The mulatto leader must I 
great reluctance, since Boume's lett 
scribed his black rival as *'a virtuou 
pher,'* and ^'a good citizen devoted 
nothing was to be gained by refusal, t 
took place at Port-au-Prince. Her 
found that his surmises were corre 
sphere embraced not merely the ! 
southern districts of the West Pro'' 


ture. As this would have meant Rigaud's virtual impris- 
onment within the remote peninsula of the South, it is 
not surprising that the mulatto leader left in a rage and 
broke off the negotiations. This was just what Toussaint 
had wanted, for the flouted mediator was greatly incensed 
at Rigaud's conduct and clove yet tighter to the side 
of Toussaint Louverture. 

The decisive struggle was now plainly at hand, and 
Toussaint b^an his preparations. Troops assembled at 
Port-au-Prince while the black leader started on a flying 
trip to secure the doubtful quarters of the West and 
North. Before his departure he warned the mulatto pop- 
ulation of Port-au-Prince against the consequences of 
rebellion. Ordering them to assemble in the main church 
of the town, he denoimced from the pulpit a vast mulatto 
conspiracy against his life and closed with these ominous 
words: "'General Rigaud refuses to obey me because I 
am black. Mulattoes, I see to the bottom of your souls. 
You are ready to rise against me. But, in leaving Port- 
R6publicain for Le Cap, I leave my eye and my arm: 
my eye to watch, my arm to strike." * 

Toward the end of April, Toussaint formally de- 
nounced Rigaud as a traitor, and when the mulatto leader 
quoted H^ouville's instructions, Roume also proclaimed 
him guilty of treason and rebellion against France. 
Nevertheless, although Toussaint soon gathered an army 
of ten thousand men at Port-au-Prince, the campaign 
began with a serious reverse. In early June the conmiand- 
ant of L6ogane, a free negro of the Old Regime, went over 
to his caste and betrayed this bulwark of Port-au-Prince 
to Rigaud. Moreover, this was the signal for further 


ct tioe AitifaoBite 
widk m tiar Ncrtk m 
bfolBe est Aided uf stiui 
bgr nfakmiiB es <^plo M cy to IkostzEtj to T< 
^vrtme. E^a Gcml Midsci tiae bfack 

liC Cjp^ ra llliulicd ID tbe DQVCZDCSt. 

If BupMid nad Jftrd pnnpCqr, tlieic b bo trffiMg 
wntpBW mustc fuppcnea: gnioro f lair^y ux lEit 
Ids sicasdo liftrif rwi! |><utaB vebc 

tlii^ ^^■ ■ ■ ■g *^ of aa iiifiiii i tfd tilpr. ^ratlw i wn^ 

fefl Ek^ s tLujiinboli l^x■t tl&e Aztibomte^ tfloi chciBd 
ftragfrt lor Le Cm^ wiule hk tcnSJe ficstcflaait I>e»> 
mimes zaoed fcr the oClicr Rfad ccBlie St tfae Mik^^ 
Xioohft. Tbc pnnwhnfigt of the Xcrth ms 

the scrrzYDCs vere bfobn fay tortine azad bgr 
mto blacs Fc^iZDCSits wnere cfe wsA moe GDC 
T mwMJnt dbaictei Btka Hy mumwumtiI the dose off tke 

■' ■ ■■ by a wiii i mi to the fei^ihu;^ DnJattoes off Le 

Cmp oo the CIuisliJD. dnty ol pawfca'iing ooe*s dKBDen^* 
Tbe vaj vas nor dear for the attack en the Sontk. 
RxaHMTs mulatto 3 uUi ei \ oi>po6e d a fozioos resistaiice 
azid e^nen bis black Rgimaxts ffoaght stoot^ agai&st tkcir 
biethrexiof the North, bat bj the tnm of the j>ear, after 
tfazee Trymtfw" desperate figlitizzg^ Tonssamt^s sapeiiar 
immbcrs had driven Rigand into the pmnwnla off tke 
South. Hovercr, thk vas aoly the brgrnnmg. Hie nar* 
row neck cocmectzsg Bipuad*s terrhory with the main- 
laod W&5 coTered by the fortress c?f JacseL a place of 
gnat strczxth bdd by the Sever of Biza::d*s mulatto 


soldieiy under his best lieutenant. Potion. Until Jacmel 
had fallen, Toussaint dare not plunge into the mountain- 
ous fastnesses of the South, so for three months the ter- 
rible Dessalines broke his teeth against the bastions of 
Jacmel while Toussaint held off the relieving columns of 
Rigaud. At last, on the night of March 11, 1800, Potion 
abandoned the ruined town and cut his way through the 
black lines. The gate was down at last, and Toussaint's 
army poured on to the conquest of the South. 

Then began a struggle whose horrors have probably 
never been surpassed. Neither side dreamed of quarter, 
and the only prisoners taken were those reserved for tor- 
ture. So ferocious was the racial hatred of the combat^ 
ants that men often tore one another to pieces with their 
teeth.* But the end was now only a question of time. On 
July 5, Rigaud's army was crushed at Acquin and the 
shattered renmants took refuge in Les Cayes. The town 
was strong and Rigaud still breathed defiance, but the 
efforts of Roume and a French officer named Vincent 
finally persuaded him to avoid the further shedding of 
blood. On the last day of July, Rigaud and his principal 
officers took ship for the Danish island of Saint Thomas, 
while his mulatto corps d'Uiie^ some seven hundred 
strong, retired to Cuba rather than obey the orders of 
a black. ^ 

It was on August 1, 1800, that Toussaint Louverture 
made his triumphal entry into Les Cayes. After a solemn 
Te Deum for his victoiy, Toussaint mounted the pulpit 
according to his wont and promised a general pardon. 
But this was only a ruse. Toussaint knew that the mu- 
lattoes were his irreconcilable enemies, and he had no 


mmd to see himsdf stabbed m thp bM^ at the lio^ of 
some future stmggk with France. Be thcRfoie appointed 
the sinister Dessafines Goveinor of the Sooth with gen- 
eral (»ders' for the "partfiration** of the c omilo . And 
Dessalines did not dis^^ioint his master. Backed fay 
a%e r »l>elTnTfi g masses of negio troops, this fe rocioos 
brute bom in the wilds of the Congo tiaie i aed in tnni 
the districts of the Sooth. Xot by sadden massacre, bot 
dawiy and methodicaflljr, the mulatto popolation was 
weeded oot. Men, women, and cfaildren were qrtfrmati- 
cal^ done to death, general^ after excrodating tortoRS 
chief among which was Dessalines^s own special inven- 
tion, — a form of impairmmt christened "The Bayonet.** 
The nmnher of persons who perished in this atr ocia ui 
p i ottc r ip tion is osoal^y estimated at ten thno i s a nd -* Tooa- 
saint's eommcsit was <iiaracteristic. BciHoacfaed with 
Dessalincs's croehy he answered, "I told him to prone 
the tree, not to uproot iL" ^' 

Eightfffn hmidred was, indeed, an «nL;eaK.Jar San 
Domingo: to the depc^NiIation of the Sooth waa added 
the eooDcmic ruin of the West. Fcx* during those same 
antmnn months whidi witnessed Dessahnes's grim prog- 
ress thiou^ the Sooth, the rains fell xspaa the island aa 
they had nerer f aDen within the mcmoiy of man. The 
raging moontain torrents soon overwhelmed the great 
irrigation dams of the Artibonite and Cutde-Sac, al- 
leady ne^ected for the past ten years, azad since there 
was no French o^Mtal to repair the loss the piobp ei ity 
of the semi-arid West " vanished forever/^ The corse 
of Heaven seemed to have fallen upon the unh^ipy 



So far back as December, 1799, when his columns had 
barely appeared before Jacmel, Toussaint Louverture had 
begun to prepare for the next step in his ambitious career. 
In that month he had demanded of Roume authorization 
to occupy Spanish Santo Domingo. We have seen that 
by the Treaty of B&le, in 1795, Spain had ceded her por- 
tion of the island to the French Bepublic, but it must also 
be remembered that by the express desire of France she 
had agreed to retain possession until an English peace 
should enable the Republic to occupy the countiy. The 

> Directoire's intentions were precise on this point, and 
Roimie's instructions had been explicit in their prohi- 
bition of any amalgamation with the French portion. 
Hitherto Roume had appeared the blind instrument of 
Toussaint's ambition, but as a matter of fact his attitude 
had come more from the strength of his convictions than 
from moral cowardice or subservience. Therefore, when 
Toussaint demanded of Roume something clearly for- 
bidden by the explicit will of France, he was chagrined 
to receive an uncompromising refusal.^ 

For the moment Toussaint could not afford to break 
with the French representative. The resistance of Jacmel 
revealed the power of Rigaud and the slightest reverse 

' might still have been fatal. But as soon as the fall of 
Jacmel had made his eventual triumph a certainty. Tons- 


saint showed the French agent what it meant to thwart 
his will. The old tragi-comedy aheady played upon Son- 
thonax and H6douville was now enacted for the benefit 
of Roume. Toussaint's brutal nephew Moyse» already 
noted for his hatred of the white race, roused the wild 
negroes of the hinterland, descended upon Le Cap, and 
subjected the helpless Roume to insults and menaces. 
After a fortnight of this maltreatment, Toussaint ap- 
peared and rescued the frightened man, but let him know 
at the same time that further obstinacy might be fatal 
to the whole white population of the colony. So terrified 
was Roume by all this that on April 27, 1800, he granted 
the required authorization. 

It was no mere lust of conquest which spurred Tous- 
saint to these extreme measures. In the preceding au- 
tumn the 18th Brumarre ^ had made General Bonaparte 
master of France, and Toussaint's European agents' 
assured him that the young dictator would draw the 
reins of French authority far tighter than had the 
weak and discredited Directoire. A struggle with France 
had become more than ever an ultimate certainty, and 
in that struggle Toussaint could not afford to leave his 
whole flank open to attack. 

How well Toussaint had judged the necessity for haste 
was quickly shown. An entire week before Roume*8 
capitulation, a French Commission had landed at Santo 
Domingo with letters and proclamations from Bona- 
parte.^ The proclamation, it is true, was of a reassuring 
nature, and the letters confirmed Toussaint in his existing 
rank and dignities, but despite Bonaparte's evident de- 
sire to avoid a rupture for the moment there was much 


to rouse the black leader's alarm. The Commissioners 
were authorized to mediate a truce between Toussaint 
and Rigaud, and tbe French Government's^ determina- 
tion to TmtiptAJn the separation of Spanish Santo Do- 
mingo was explicitly stated.^ The personnel of this new 
Commission was also significant. Its members were 
Vincent, a white officer with long experience in San 
Domingo, who, though friendly to Toussaint, had never 
swerved in loyalty to France; the mulatto Raymond; and 
one Greneral Michel,* an expert well able to discern the 
true military situation. 

Toussaint's action, however, showed that he was re- Z— , 
solved on no half -measures. The Commissioners' prestige 
was promptly destroyed by their rough arrest by Moyse 
and their appearance as prisoners at Le Cap. Of course, 
Toussaint at once released them and disavowed his 
nephew's action, but he expressed great indignation at 
the proposed truce with Rigaud, n^lected to publish 
Bonaparte's conciliatory proclamation, and shipped the 
intractable General Michel back to France. 

However, Toussaint well knew that it was an ill thing 
to juggle with the new First Consul. He had received 
Bonaparte's commands and he had defied them: only 
decisive action remained. Nevertheless, Toussaint's first 
attempt on Santo Domingo ended in disaster. Rigaud's 
still unbroken power in the South made the sending of an 
army over the Eastern moimtains as yet impossible, but 
early in May Toussaint despatched a white officer with 
a detachment of black soldiers by sea to take formal 
possession of the Spanish capital. No sooner had these 
emissaries landed, however, than the French agent and 


the ^MUiiah Govemor united in refnmig to disobey the 
orders of their respective Governments. And this was 
not all. The population of Santo Domingo showed 
greater hostility than the authorities. In the Spanish 
colony negroes were few,^ and if the idiites abhorred 
black rule, it is easy to imagine the feelings of the mulatto 
majority toward the adversary of Bigaud. At sight ci 
Toussaint's black soldiers the population rose in fury, 
and only an escort of Spanish troops to the border saved 
them from massacre. Furthermore, the news of this 
unexpected event had important results in French San 
Domingo: Roume was encouraged to revoke his authori- 
zation, and in July he wrote the Spanish Govemor that 
no occupation would take place. 

But these were mere idle words. In August the South 
lay at Toussaint's feet and by the late autumn Des- 
salines's proscription had crushed thie mulatto caste once 
for aU.* As soon as Toussaint's army was thus released 
for foreign service, the black leader struck quick and 
hard. Roume (once more left to the brutalities of Moyse) 
was dragged off to the Western mountains, while the pro- 
tests of Vincent were answered by veiled imprisonment. 
The cowardly Raymond, once more Toussaint's passive 
tool, was contemptuously disregarded. Elarly in Janu- 
ary, 1801, two strong armies crossed the border. The 
northern column imder Moyse overran the back coup- 
try, while the main body under Toussaint himself struck 
straight for Santo Domingo. Against these overwhelming 
forces the slender Spanish garrison could do nothing; the 
population was too cowed by the recent horrors of the 
South to offer any resistance; and on the 28th of January, 


1801» Toiissamt Louverture made his triumphal entiy 
_1inl7> thfi Spaniffh ^ftpital Within a month he was abso- 
lute master of the whole countiy. 

Toussaint's settlement of the conquered territory again 
showed his political sagacity. The land was strongly held 
by four thousand black soldiers, it is true, but these were 
picked troops kept under iron discipline, while their com- 
mander was not a negro, but the mulatto Clervaux. The 
abolition of customs lines was a great economic boon to 
the Spanish colony, and this material prosperity aided 
in quieting hostility, albeit San Domingo's welcome to 
Napoleon's army in 1802 showed that Toussaint had 
not succeeded in really reconciling the population to his 

Toussaint Louverture was at last master of aU San 
Domingo. And yet he faced the future with the gravest 
disquietude. His success had been gained only at the 
price of virtual rebellion against France and defiance of 
the terrible First Consul. The moment an English peace 
^ould free Bonaparte^'^ hands, Toussaint knew that he 
wfLS marked for destruction, while t^i years of race war 
and social dissolution had so worn San Domingo down 
that only superhuman exertions could make her ready for 
the blow which lay in store. Up to this moment Tous- 
saint had been absorbed in a series of struggles which had 
precluded any reconstructive measures, and his power, 
though no longer threatened by domestic enemies, thus 
rested on most insecure foimdations. 

The terrible condition of San Domingo during these 
years is well shown by the series of secret reports drawn 
up for the French Government by various trusted agents 


and officials. How matters stood at the time of Hedou- 
ville's expulsion in the autumn of 1798 may be gathered 
from the report of General Becker» one of the high officers 
on H^ouviUe's staff. Becker did not have a high opinion 
of Toussaint's army and thought it could offer little re- 
sistance to a powerful European force, since it was "with- 
out regular discipline or instruction. The number of 
officers is past coimting, especially in the higher grades. 
Naturally vainglorious, these good fellows believe that 
once they put on ej^ulettes they are forthwith com- 
manders: in reality the best of them are hardly equal to 
poor European officers, while the rest are of a stupidity 
such as I have never seen anywhere else. As to the few 
white officers, instead of being a useful leaven, they are 
the corrupters of the colony. They flatter the negro and 
mulatto chiefs, compare them to the greatest heroes, laud 
their military talents, hail them as the fathers and saviors 
of the colony, and assert that the government of San Do- 
mingo really belongs to them." He estimates the black 
army at about twenty thousand men, though the district 
generals varied their corps at pleasure. "These com- 
mandants," he continues, "are in reality so many little 
monarchs in their respective quarters. They monopolize 
all the powers of government and obey the higher au- 
thorities only when it suits them. In a word, they are 
so many despots, more or less insupportable as they are 
more or less evil." The civil administration was in com- 
plete anarchy; the generals requisitioned at pleasure, and 
the officials were mere spoilsmen. The courts were a farce, 
and justice was always bought and sold. Becker's vital 
statistics are the most depressing feature of his entire 


report. He asserts that the whites had duninished by 
over two thirds, the mulattoes by one fourth, and that of 
the vast n^ro population fully a third had perished. ^° 

If such had been the state of San Domingo at the close 
of 1798, its condition could certainly not have been 
improved by that frightful struggle between the castes 
which had brought ruin and massacre to eveiy province. 
Assuredly the picture presented by confidential reports 
of that later period fully bears out this hypothesis. Only 
a month before Toussaint's invasion of Santo Domingo, 
Chanlatte, the French agent, wrote the following lines 
to Bonaparte: *'The Colony of San Domingo is in the 
most deplorable state. ^^ A civil war between North and 
South has swept away an immense number of cultivators, 
and although this war is now over, new troubles have 
arisen which daily sacrifice fresh victims in all parts of the 
countiy. Anarchy in eveiy sense of the word is tearing 
this unfortunate colony." " 

What these new troubles were of which Chanlatte 
speaks is described by the reports of persons in the 
French portion of the island. In the autumn of 1800 the 
Minister of Marine presented to the Consuls a long report 
on San Domingo, compiled from interrogations of re- 
turned government agents and from the written reports 
of others still in the island. "According to these," writes 
the Minister, "the greatest discord reigns between Tous- 
saint Louverture and the different generak under his 
orders. General Moyse is on very bad terms with his 
unde; he has even shown a desire to supplant him. Des- 
salines apparently enjoys Toussaint Louverture's chief 
confidence, but may shortly form a new party different 


{rom that of Moyae. In sndi an event, Manrepaa^ m- 
dmed to revolt like the others, would be iea47 to join 
Dessalines. Christophe is excessively discontented with 
Toussaint Louvertiiie» and the white inhalntants would 
be for him. . . . The rivalries cS Generals Moyse and 
Dessalines presage new storms for the colony. Toa»- 
saint holds them on^ by hopes of hi^ier rtf^wntnyw^ mid 
greater wealth." ^* 

Still more alarming was the report of a Frendi oflScial 
who had left Le Cap in mid-September. He reported 
that since Boume's arrest Toussaint had set no bounds 
to his assumptions of sovereignty, the ^diite oflicials 
being completely ignored. Toussaint was buying im- 
mense quantities of arms and ammunition from the Eng- 
lish and Americans, paying for them with the state rev- 
enues. He estimated that thirty thousand muskets had 
been already imported. Before his departure for France 
the writer had protested to Moyse, whose answer had 
been a threat to have the Frenchman shot. The white 
officials were terrorized and dared not write home, since 
even official correspondence was systematically violated. 
New officials coming out from France were being thrown 
into prison. ''There is no law left in San Domingo," as- 
serts this writer. ''The will of General Toussaint and the 
other generak' arbitrary whims are the basis for all that 
is done. The commandants are aU negroes and have 
complete authority, while the civil service and judiciary 
are only an empty farce." He, too, reports grave dissen- 
sions among the negro generak. At the moment of his 
departure in mid-September, "Toussaint dared not go 
to Le Cap for fear of General Moyse. . . . Moyse, more 


sanguinary but less crafty than Touissaint, has aheady 
lifted the mask; he says that he no longer recognizes the 
laws of France and that the colony ought to legislate for 
itself. Toussaint, hypocritical, sly, playing the religious 
devotee, orders crimes and protects the abuses and di- 
lapidations of his creatures, whom he disavows according 
to circumstances and on whom he throws the odium of 
his Machiavellian conduct. Dessalines, a ferocious and ^ 
barbarous Congo, swears he will drink the blood of the 
l^hites. ... In fine, throu^dut the North I have seen 
terror and desolation. The towns are deserted and men 
are fleeing a country in which th^ can no longer 
exist.** " 

Such were the difficulties confronting Touissaint Lou- 
verture in the autunm of 1800. T hat o nly two years 
later he should have built up the j)ow erf ul machine whi ch 
faced Kapoleon's acgg ,is the ^?ea test triumph o f this 
extraordinary man. For Toussaint held the key to the 
situation. He knew the natural wealth of San Domingo; 
he knew how his race could endure forced labor; lastly, 
he knew that could he but wring sufficient wealth from 
these two factors, he might hold the loyalty of his greedy 
generals and buy the products of the civilized world. To 
this end he now turned the whole power of his ferocious 
energy — and succeeded in marvellous fashion. Ten 
years of war's natural selection had already assembled the 
strong men of the negro race in the ranks of his army, 
and this army showed no repugnance to execute its 
leader's will upon the mass of the black population. The 
whole country was soon scoured by Toussaint's flying 
columns, and the negroes were herded from their vaga- 


bond life in the woods and mountains back to work such 
as they had never known under the Old Regime. Free 
men by law, in fact the negro cultivators found them- 
selves once more slaves: slaves of the State» — and of a 
military State at that. The colony was divided into regu- 
lar districts, each under its general, with two captain- 
generals, — Moyse for the North, Dessalines for the 
South and West. Dessalines showed himself particularly 
successful in his stewardship. He patrolled his province 
like a King of Dahomey, surroimded by a coips of exe- 
cutioners, and shirkers and rebels were publicly buried 
alive or sawn between two planks to encourage the zeal of 
the ateliers. Yet the results of this regime were extraor- 
dinary. Ever since the abolition of slavery in 1793, the 
refusal of the negroes to work had reduced the produce 
of San Domingo to insignificant proportions. Now, the 
old prosperity returned with a boimd, and despite the 
tremendous largess bestowed upon the black generals, 
the treasury and state warehouses were filled to over- 

Still more noteworthy was Toussaint's friendly atti- 
tude toward the whites. The chief cause of his rupture 
with H^ouville in 1798 had been his welcome of the 
hnigrSs in contravention to the laws of the Republic,^* 
and ever since then he had shown increasing favor to the 
returned colonists. Several motives combined to influ- 
ence Toussaint in favor of this policy. First of all, he 
realized that he needed the whites' superior intelligence 
in his plans for reconstructing the shattered edifice of 
San Domingan society, and he also knew that in this 
work his white subordinates would be thoroughly trust- 


worthyy both through lack of sympathy for the negroes 
and from fear of their vengeance should he be over- 
thrown. Agam, he realized that nothing would so raise 
his prestige among the blacks as the sight of their former 
masters in his service. Lastly , in case of war with France, 
the whites would be most valuable hostages. For all 
these reasons, then, the white colonists were invited to 
retiun, and all who consented to do homage to the 
black ruler were assured of his most gracious favor. 
Their estates were restored and stocked with negroes 
who were compelled to labor as zealously as their fellows 
upon the state domains or the private plantations of the 
black generak. Toussaint himself set up a genuine Court, 
where amid regal splendors the native force of his com- 
pelling personality obtained the respect of aU around 

Most of the black generak were so sated with power 
and plunder that they asked for nothing better than 
the continuance of this reign of plenty. But there was a 
minority whom thirst for power or race hatred alienated 
from Toussaint and his regime. The leader of this mi- 
nority was Toussaint's nephew Moyse. We have seen 
how strained relations between the two had been in the 
autunm of 1800, and as time passed this tension had in- 
creased. Toussaint's iron rule necessarily provoked great 
discontent among the negro population, and Moyse pres- 
ently came out as the champion of the exploited masses 
of his race and the denouncer of Toussaint's pro-white 
policy. "Whatever my old uncle may do," said Moyse, 
'*I will not be the hangman of my own color. He urges 
me on in the name of the interests of France, but I 


notice that these same interests are always those of the 
whites; — and I shall never love the whites till they have 
given me back the eye that th^ put out in battle.** ^' 

With such sentiments it is not surprising that Moyse*8 
stewardship of the North was not so pleasing to Tous- 
saint as that of Dessalines in the West. Matters were 
finally brought to a head by an insurrection of the Plain 
and the massacre of several himdred whites. But Tous- 
saint acted with his usual rapidity. Before his terrible 
presence the rising died away and Moy se fell helpless into 
his power. Toussaint never cared to deal a second blow. 
Moyse was summarily shot» Toussaint's prestige was 
restored by spectacular executions, and the last overt 
opposition to his authority was thoroughly stamped 
out.^* Only in the inaccessible fastnesses of the Eastern 
and Southern mountains the savage maroon bands still 
defied his power. Everywhere else the last murmurs had 
died away. 

The time was now come for the formal consecration of 
Toussaint's supremacy. In the late siunmer of 1801 a 
miniature convention of ten persons met at Port-au* 
Prince and soon drew up a new constitution for San Do- 
mingo. By it Toussaint Louverture was appointed Gov- 
ernor for life with power to name his successor, and the 
tie with France was reduced to a mere empty acknowl- 
edgment of the sovereignty of the Republic. Vincent 
protested against this virtual declaration of independ- 
enpe, but was sharply bidden to take the document to 
France for "approval." As, however, Toussaint had at 
once declared the new constitution in full operation, it 
was plain that this was only a hollow mockery.*® 


But the sands of Toussaint's rule were running low. 
Before Vincent had reached France the Preliminaries of 
Amiens *^ had assured an English peace; and the ban had 
not been ten weeks lifted from the sea when a great 
armada sailed for San Domingo bearing twenty thousand 
veterans from the armies of Italy and the Rhine with 
Bonaparte's answer to the black who had dared defy 
his will. 

^ J 



When the coup d*6tat of the 18th Bnimaiie ^ gave the 
sovereignty of France into Napoleon's iron grasp, the 
French colonial empire had ceased to exist. San Domingo, 
greatest of them all, was lost to the white race and was 
at the moment the prey of warring negroes and mulat- 
toes. Guadeloupe had been preserved to the Republic 
by the brutal energy of the Jacobin Victor Hugues, who 
from 1794 to 1798 had wrung out of the negro population 
the necessaiy sinews of war by a regime of state slaveiy 
much like that adopted by Toussaint Louverture; but 
Hugues's recall in 1798 had been followed by civil broils 
which were fast reducing Guadeloupe to anarchy. Cay- 
enne, too, still flew the tri-colored flag, but its remote 
insignificance alone preserved it from attack. Those 
remote islands of the Indian Ocean, Isle-de-France and 
Bourbon, were in open rebellion against the Republic 
and had maintained the old colonial system in complete 
defiance of the national will. All the other colonies, 
Martinique included, had been for years in English 

Previous to the 18th Brumaire, Napoleon appears to 
have been too much absorbed in his plans against Egypt 
and India to have paid much attention to the West In- 
dian colonies,' but no sooner had he grasped the reins 
of supreme authority than his devouring energy assailed 


a problem which cried so loudly for solution. The first 
result of his deUberations was a decisive preliminary step 
that cleared the ground for aU subsequent action. The 
Directoire Constitution of the Year HI (1795) had main- 
tained the Jacobin ideal of colonial assimilation. All the 
French dependencies had been declared integral parts of 
the Republic, and no difference whatever had been made 
between the departments of the European mainland and 
the ''departments" overnseas. But all this had remained 
pure theory. The colonies in English hands and the 
rebellious islands of the Indian Ocean had simply main- 
tained the old slave regime; the negro and mulatto dicta- 
tors who ruled San Domingo did as th^ pleased; lastly , 
in Guadeloupe and Cayenne, the only colonies where 
white Republican officials actually ruled, the tricolor 
had been kept flying only by a crushing exploitation of 
the new black citizens which violated every principle of 
"Liberty and Equality.*' 

Bonaparte, however, soon showed that he was re- 
solved to end this empty farce: his Constitution of the 
Year VIII (1800) abjured the Revolutionary principle 
of assimilation and declared that the colonies should 
be henceforth governed by special laws in conformity 
to their peculiar geographical and social situation. This 
was a return to the theory of the Old R6gime and freed 
Napoleon's hands for all contingencies.^ 

The basis of future action was thus laid down, but 
little else could be done for the moment. The iron gir- 
dle of the English blockade kept the shattered and dis- 
organized French navy strictly in port, and whatever 
Napoleon might wring from his weak sea-power must 


be devoted to his imprisoned Eg3rptian army. Still, the 
First Consul determined to be ready for prompt action at 
the first favorable moment, and to make up his mind 
what this action should be he now sought to obtain all 
possible information on the state of the colonies. The 
opening months of the year 1800 saw a flood of letters 
and memoirs from aU the principal actors in colonial 
affairs and from many exiled colonists as well. As re- 
gards San Domingo these advices were most diverse 
in character. According to H^douville, Sonthonax, and 
most others, Toussaint Louverture was the great obstacle 
to the restoration of French authority, and Rigaud was 
the only bulwark against the establishment of San Do- 
mingo's de facto independence under English protection; * 
yet a minority held that Toussaint should be supported 
as the one man capable of restoring peace and order to 
the distracted island.* Most of the exiled colonists ad- 
vised sending new officials to restore French authority; 
but while some urged their backing by a small army,^ 
others maintained that such half-measiues would merely 
drive the negroes to rebellion and open indepenclence. 
Forfait, the new Minister of Marine, told Napoleon that 
a strong expedition could restore San Domingo to France, 
but that until an English peace made such an expedition 
possible, Toussaint must be most tactfully handled. He 
advised sending a commission to reassure Toussaint and 
stop the horrible struggle between the castes, and he 
warned Napoleon of the dangerous alarm already roused 
among the negroes of San Domingo, who saw in the re- 
actionary colonial principle proclaimed by the new con- 
stitution the first step toward the restoration of slavery.* 


It was in consequence of Forfait's representations that 
Napoleon despatched that Commission which received 
such cavalier treatment at the hands of Moy se and Tons* 
saint Louverture.* 

Despite Forfait's advice, however. Napoleon seems to 
have been sceptical as to the residts of these efforts, for 
at the very moment of the Commissioners' departure he 
ordered the preparation of a strong squadron at Brest 
and the concentration of some five thousand soldiers for* 
San Domingo. That even at this early date Napoleon 
was inclined to vigorous measures is shown both by the 
choice of its commander and the tone of his instructions. 
The ideas held by Greneral Sahuguet, the destined leader 
of this expedition, were certainly not those of conciliation. 
** Toussaint Louverture and Rigaud, whom an abuse of 
words makes * friends of the Republic,"* he writes the 
First Consul, '*are really both of them enemies of France. 
It is not as the ally of one or the other that I should go to 
San Domingo. Whichever faction questions the European 
general's authority shoidd be exterminated. Otherwise 
all will be lost." ^^ And Sahuguet's instructions were 
quite in this spirit. He was directed to end the war be- 
tween the castes, and as soon as possible to banish botii 
Toussaint and Rigaud from the island. ^^ 

But Sahuguet's armament was destined never to reach 
San Domingo. The preparations were slow and faulty, '^^ 
the English blockade was alert and vigilant, and in May 
Napoleon left Paris for the campaign of Marengo. Not 
till the beginning of June did a violent storm scatter the 
English blockading fleet, and no sooner )iad the San Do- 
mingan squadron gained the open sea than it was forced 


to put back in distress. For ten years of the Revolution 
had ruined the French navy. The ill-found ships of the 
San Domingo squadron could scarcely keep the boisterous 
sea, the supplies were mostly spoiled, and disease was 
raging among the troops. To attempt the conquest of 
San Domingo with such an armament was clearly mad- 
ness, and the expedition collapsed.^' 

Shortly after Napoleon's return from the triumph of 
Marengo, he began to recdve news from the West Indies. 
This news was of the most contradictory character. His 
Commissioners reported their bad reception by Moyse, 
Toussaint's designs on Spanish Santo Domingo, and his 
refusal to publish Bonaparte's conciliatory proclama- 
tion.^' Nevertheless, Vincent maintained that Tous- 
saint was the one man who coidd save San Domingo 
from anarchy, and advised the French Government to 
send none but persons known for sympathizers of the 
negroes and of Toussaint's rule. Roume wrote still more 
strongly. He asserted that the black leader was devoted 
to France and that his recent conduct had been caused 
solely by his fear of a new slave regime. To bind him 
firmly to France all £iux>pean agents should be recalled 
and Toussaint left supreme till the peace with England. 
On the other hand, the French agents in Spanish Santo 
Domingo gave exactly the opposite advice. They as- 
serted that Toussaint was fast working toward inde- 
pendence, and that Roume and Vincent were writing 
under duress." "All the bonds of intimacy with the 
mother country are dissolved," wrote Chanlatte from 
Spanish Santo Domingo. "Attachment to the French 
Republic has become a crime or an object of derision. 


The very name of the national authority is flouted and 
outraged. ... I cannot too often repeat that time presses 
and that the situation is grave: if independence strikes 
its roots too deep, the means of reestablishing the love of 
France wiU become more and more costly and diflScult. " ** 

Chanlatte's sentiments were echoed by (Jeneral H6dou- 
ville, then in the United States. "Since the victory over 
Rigaud," he wrote Napoleon in the late autumn, "the 
spirit of independence has greatly increased in San Do- 
mingo." As one of his proofs H6douville quoted the fol- 
lowing incendiary speech of Dessalines to his troops : " The 
war which you have just finished is a little war, but you 
have two bigger ones still to fight: one against the Span- 
iards, who do not want to give up their land and who 
have insulted your brave general-in-chief; another against 
France, who will try to make you slaves again as soon as 
she is freed from her enemies. And these two wars we 
will be able to sustain." This speech, adds H6douville, 
was no idle boast, for from the port of New York alone > 
twenty-five thousand muskets, sixteen pieces of artiUery, f 
and an immense amount of war maUriel had already (" 
started for San Domingo.^* ^ 

From all these reports, however, one fact was certain, 
— the authority of France was destroyed. Small wonder, 
therefore, that Napoleon began fresh preparations for an 
expedition to San Domingo, especially as in August he 
had opened negotiations with England. But the hopes 
of peace soon died away, Napoleon was forced to con- 
centrate his attention upon the imprisoned Army of 
Egypt once more, and all thoughts of a San Domingo 
squadron had to be again postponed.^^ 



Yet just as dedsive action had thus become impossible, 
the news from San Domingo grew worse. In October 
arrived the tidings of Rigaud's flight and Toussaint's 
complete triumph over the mulattoes: ^® Napoleon now 
realized that he woidd be fortunate if he succeeded in 
keeping even Spanish Santo Domingo from Toussaint's 
grasp. In this unpleasant situation the Minister of Ma- 
rine again urged Napoleon to try condUation by means 
of another Commission. **The expedition to San Do- 
mingo/' writes Forfait, ''is at present a diplomatic mis- 
sion. Your object is to stop bloodshed and to obtain 
peace without a violent convulsion. The men whom you 
send thither must act with tact, prudence, and dissimu- 
lation toward the negroes. An officer just returned from 
San Domingo portrays the condition of the whites in the 
most alarming colors. They are in a state of absolute 
oppression, ceaselessly threatened with ill-usage which 
is but too often actually infficted upon them. The ne- 
groes have not disarmed since the submission of the South; 
on the contrary, they remain on a fuU war footing and 
daily increase their military preparations. They make 
no secret of their intention to conquer the Spanish part 
of the island and later on to fight France. They look with 
the gravest suspicion upon the whites, and our unfor- 
tunate brothers expect to become the victims of their 
tyrants at the first intimation that an army is on the 
way. All this should lead you to flatter Toussaint Lou- 
verture, conciliate the other chiefs, and tactfully retain 
your prestige while awaiting the favorof circumstances." " 

Sceptical as was Napoleon over the efficacy of fresh 
conciliation, he agreed to Forf ait's proposals; but before 


the new Commission had sailed there arrived the news of 
the outrages upon Roume and the conquest of Spanish 
Santo Domingo.^^ All that the Commission was to have 
averted had now taken place, and Napoleon coimter- 
manded its departure in order not to expose the dignity 
of Prance to further humiliations. But the need for Com- 
missions was almost over: already Napoleon had begun 
those negotiations which were to culminate in the Pre- 
liminaries of Amiens. On October 1, 1801, Napoleon's 
hands were at last free to deal as he saw fit with San 

What Bonaparte had in mind was perfectly clear, 
for soon every dockyard from Plusbing to Toulon rang 
with preparations, while twenty thousand veteran troops 
stood ready to go on board. ^^ At the head of this formi- 
dable armament was Napoleon's brother-in-law, Greneral 
_JLed»c. His instructions bear impressive testimony to\ 
the Pirst Consid's care for San Domingo, while their L 
nature shows how far Prance had travelled since thej 
18th Brumaire. 

Napoleon divided the conquest of San Domingo into 
three periods. In the first, lasting from fifteen to twenty 
days, Leclerc should occupy the coast towns and organize 
his forces. In the second, a quick converging movement 
from several points should smash organized resistance. 
In the third, mobile flying columns should hunt down the 
scattered negro bands among the woods and mountains. 
Thereupon the colony should be reconstructed on Unes 
analogous to those of the Old Regime, though chattel 
slavery was not to be restored. This programme Na- 
poleon tersely sums up in the following words: — 


blanks. In the third you will di>a: 
"In the first jxTiod you will no 
treat with Toussaint, you wUl pror 
asks, — in order that you may get 
cipal points and establish yourself 
**Ab soon as you have done this, 
exacting. You wiU order him to 
your proclamation and to my lettei 
to come to Le Cap. 

" In your interviews with Moyse, 
saint's other generals, you will trei 
"Gain over Christophe, Clervai 
the other black leaders favorable 
first period, confirm them in their r 
last period, send them all to Fran 
they have behaved well. 

''All Toussaint's principal agen 
should in the first period be indiscri 
attentions and confirmed in their po 
all sent to France ; — with their rj 
haved well during the second; pr 


power. Toussaint, Moyse, and Dessalines should be well 
treated during the first period; sent to Prance at the last, 
in arrest or with their rank according to their conduct. 

'* Raymond has lost the Government's confidence; at 
the beginning of the second period you wiU seize him and 
send him to Prance as a criminal. 

''If the first period last fifteen days, all is well; if 
longer, you will have been fooled. 

''Toussaint shall not be held to have submitted until 
he shall have come to Le Cap or Port-au-Prince in the 
midst of the Prench army, to swear fidelity to the Re- 
public. On that veiy day, without scandal or injury but 
with honor and consideration, he must be put on board 
a frigate and sent to Prance. At the same time, if pos- 
sible, arrest Moyse and Dessalines: if impossible, himt 
them down; and then send to Prance all the white par- 
tisans of Toussaint, all the blacks in office suspected of 
disaffection. Declare Moyse and Dessalines traitors and 
enemies of the Prench people. Start the troops and give 
them no rest till you have their heads and have scattered 
and disarmed their partisans. 

"If after the first fifteen or twenty days it has been 
impossible to get Toussaint, proclaim that within a speci- 
fied time he shall be declared a traitor, and after that 
period begin a war to the death. 

"A few thousand negroes wandering in the moxmtains 
should not prevent the Captain-General from r^arding 
the second period as ended and from promptly beginning 
the third. Then has come the moment to assure the 
colony to France forever. And, on that same day, at 
eveiy point of the colony, you wiU arrest all suspects in 


office whatever their color, and at the same moment 
embark all the black generals no matter what their con- 
duct, patriotism, or past services; — giving them, how- 
ever, their rank, and assuring them of good treatment 
in France. 

•** All the whites who have served under Toussaint, and 
covered themselves with crimes in the tragic scenes 6i 
San Domingo, shall be sent directly to Guiana. 

** All the blacks who have behaved well, but whose rank 
forbids them to remain longer in the island, shall be sent 
to Brest. 

*'A11 the blacks or mulattoes who have acted badly, 
whatever their rank, shall be sent to the Mediterranean 
and landed at Corsica. 

*'If Toussaint, Dessalines, or Moyse is taken in arms, 
they shall be passed before a court-martial and shot as 
rebels within twenty-four hours. 

''No matter what happens, we think that during the 
third period you should disarm all the negroes, whatever 
their party, and set them to work. 

''All those who have signed the Constitution '^ should 
in the third period be sent to France; some as prisoners, 
others at liberty as having been constrained. 

"WTiite women who have prostituted themselves to 
negroes,''^ whatever their rank, shall be sent to Europe. 

"You will take the regimental flags from the National 
Guard, give out new ones, and reorganize it. You will 
reorganize the gendarmerie. Suffer no black above the 
rank of captain to remain in the island. . . . 

"The Captain-General shall allow no temporizing 
with the principles of these instructions; and any person 



talking about the rights of those blacks who have shed 
so much white blood shall under some pretext or other 
be sent to Prance, whatever his rank or services." *• 

Armed with these instructions, Greneral Leclerc and the. 
main squadron under Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse sailed 
from Brest on the 14th of December, 1801, for San Do- 




On the £9th of Jamiaiy, 1802, the Brest fleet under 
Villaret-Joyeuse and the Rochef ort squadron of Admiral 
Latouche-Tr^ville lay off Cape Samand, the eastern ex- 
tremity of the island of San Domingo. There was no 
sign of the Toulon-Cadiz division with its forty-five hun- 
dred troops, neither had any news arrived of the Havre- 
FlUshing squadron with its twenty-five hxmdred men. 
General Leclerc thus found himself off San Domingo with 
barely twelve thousand soldiers. But his troops were vet- 
erans, ^d the lexicon of Napoleonic generals did not con- 
tain the word "delay." Leclerc therefore resolved to strike 
at^once. A small squadron was told off to rouse Spanish 
Santo Domingo, while the bulk of the fleet sailed on 

During those hours of final preparation, the French 
fleet had been scrutinized by no less a person than Tous- 
saint Louverture. As the black leader looked down upon 
the great armada from the high cliffs of Cape Samani, 
a moment of discouragement seems to have seized him. 
" We must perish," he cried to his staff. "All France is 
coming to San Domingo. She has been deceived; she 
comes to take vengeance and enslave the blacks." ' 
Toussaint seems to have underestimated the magnitude 
of Napoleon's preparations and to have expected a much 
smaller armament. His first attitude was therefore 


marked by some micertainty and by a desire to gain time, 
though it is plain that thoughts of submission were never 
seriously entertained. 

Toussaint's position was, indeed, a strong one. He 
possessed an army of fuUy twenty thousand regular 
troops, the pick of the whole negro population, hardened 
by years of war, well armed and fairly disciplined. This 
army was divided into three grand divisions. The North 
was held by five thousand men under Christophe. The 
main corps was at Le Cap, while a considerable divi- 
sion, under the able Maurepas, lay at Port-de-Paix to 
watch the doubtful districts about the Mdle-Saint-Nicolas. 
The West and South were more strongly garrisoned, for 
the remaining mulattoes were, of coiu*se, unreconciled, the 
maroon tribes were as yet unconquered, and even the . 
ordinary negro population of those provinces had never 
fallen so completely under Toussaint's influence as had 
their brethren of the North. All this was well known to 
Toussaint, who had placed these regions under the terri- 
ble Dessalines with eleven thousand soldiers. The third 
military division — four thousand strong — garrisoned 
Spanish Santo Domingo. It was commanded by the mu- 
latto Clervaux, seconded by Toussaint's brother, Paul 
Louverture. It must also be noted that nearly the whole 
negro population of the French part was armed and could 
furnish many thousands of guerilla fighters to supple- 
ment Toussaint's twenty thousand regular troops. Al- 
together, the problem facing Leclerc and his twelve 
thousand French soldiers was by no means an easy one.' 

However, the French general acted with the greatest 
boldness. General Rochambeau, with two thousand sol- 


diers, was ordered to capture Fort Dauphin, the most 
eastern point of French San Domingo; General Boudet 
and thirty-five hundred men sailed on to seize Port^iu- 
Prince; Leclerc himself with his remaining five thousand 
troops made for Le Cap. 

It was on February S that Leclerc appeared off the 
harbor and demanded the submission of the town. What 
followed was most significant. At sight of the French 
fleet the large mulatto and free negro population broke 
into extravagant rejoicings, while the mayor of Le Cap, 
himself a free negro of the Old Regime, implored Chris- 
tophe to offer no resistance. Christophe seems to have 
been confused by these demoDstrations, and it is possible 
that Leclerc might have been able to enter the harbor by 
a sudden coup de main. Unfortunately a storm now blew 
up which compelled the French fleet to stand offshore, 
and this gave Christophe time to regain his resolution and 
to follow Toussaint's orders. These orders were to bum 
the town and retreat to the mountains: accordingly, 
when the French fleet reappeared toward evening of 
February 5, Le Cap was in flames. Leclerc, however, 
acted with great promptness, saved part of the dty from 
destruction, and sent out flying columns which preserved 
the Plain.^ Furthermore, these troops soon encountered 
the outposts of Rochambeau, who on February 4 had 
carried Fort Dauphin by a brilliant coup de main. By 
February 6 the whole of the Plaine du Nord was in 
French hands. 

And on the same day as Lerclerc's capture of Le Cap, 
Port-au-Prince had fallen almost without a blow. Gen- 
eral Boudet had appeared on February 4 and had re- 


oeived the same refusal to surrender, but next day he had 
landed a strong force which advanced boldly on Fort Bizo- 
ton» the key to the town. This rash move bad been 
crowned with success. At sight of the advancing French 
infantry the mulatto commandant of Fort Bizoton cried, 
"Vive la France," and led his whole battalion over to 
the invaders. At this defection the garrison of Port-au- 
Prince had left in such a panic that th^y neglected to 
destroy the town, though they dragged away several 
hundred wretched whites to glut their future vengeance. 
This striking French success was undoubtedly due to 
the absence of Dessalines, at that moment enjoymg the 
pleasures of his gorgeous palace at Saint-Marc.'^ 

And further triumphs awaited Greneral Boudet. On 
the very night after the capture of Port-au-Prince a black 
officer arrived from Laplume, the conmiander of the 
South, offering to submit with all his troops. This was 
the same Laplume who, in 1795, had brought his bands 
over to Toussaint Louverture, but like most of the West- 
em negroes he showed little personal attachment to the 
great black of the North. Laplume kept his word to 
Boudet, for on February 7 his soldiers quietly took the 
oath of allegiance to France. Even his officers showed 
no signs of discontent.* 

Moreover, these successes in the French part of the 
island were surpassed by those in Spanish Santo Do- 
mingo. On February 2 the small squadron detailed for 
this duty appeared off the Spanish capital. The city of 
Santo Domingo was commanded by Paul Louverture, 
who refused the French summons to surrender. But at 
sight of the French squadron the inhabitants showed 


their hatred of Toussaint's rule by a furious rising. It is 
true that Paul Louverture's black soldiers finally quieted 
the town, but the whole back countiy was ablaze behind 
him, and when his superior officer, the mulatto Clervaux, 
submitted at Saint Yago, Paul Louverture himself sur- 
rendered. Of the four thousand black troops in Spanish 
Santo Domingo not a n^in rejoined Toussaint in the 

Thus» within a week». Toussaint was reeling under Le- 
. clerc's stunning blows, and outside ojf the Noi'Lh hiiTJpbwer 
had shown scant vitality.' So far thei^fesuHsT iad excee ded 
Napoleon's expectations. Not even the savage courage 
of Dessalines had prevented the defection of the West 
coast. As soon as he learned of the events at Port-au^ 
Prince, Dessalines had rushed from Saint-Marc, picked 
up the retreating garrison and struck for L^ogane to pre- 
vent the defection of the South. But Boudet was too 
quick for him. Hardly had Dessalines arrived at lAo- 
gane when a strong French colimm appeared, and on 
February 11 the black general was forced to beat a hasty 
retreat after burning the town. A body of two thou- 
sand irregulars left behind in the mountains back of lAo- 
gane was quickly smashed by the French, whose com- 
mimications with Laplume were firmly established.^ 

Meanwhile Leclerc had restored order at Le Cap, and 
as several days were needed to complete his miUtaiy 
preparations, he resolved to try negotiations with Tous- 
saint Louverture. But all his startling reverses had in 
no way altered Toussaint's determination, and Leclerc 
soon realized that his adversary was merely seeking to 
gain time. On the 17th of February, when his prepara- 


tions were completed, the French general issued a proc- 
lamation putting Toussaint and Christophe beyond the 
pale of the law and declaring all their armed adherents 
guilty of rebellion.' 

Leclerc can certainly not be charged with having 
wasted time in these negotiations. The armistice was 
only local, and besides the fighting in the West a fresh 
blow had been struck in the North. On February 10, 
General Humbert and twelve hundred men had landed, 
at Port-de-Paix, the strongest point on the North coast. 
Port^ie-Paix was held by the able black general, Mau- 
repas, and two thousand regular troops, but a brilliant 
action of the French land and naval forces took the town 
by a coup de main. Nevertheless, Maurepas was far from 
beaten. Port-de-Paix is girt in by rugged hills on which 
the negroes lay strongly entrenched, while the fanatical 
hatred of the whites held by the population soon gave 
Maurepas the backing of many thousand savage irregu- 
lars, undisciplined but well armed and full of courage. 
It is therefore not siu^rising that when Greneral Humbert 
attempted to follow up his victory the French troops 
sufiFered a bloody check and would have been forced 
to reembark but for the guns of the fleet. ^® 

But Leclerc was now ready to strike his decisive blow. 
On the 14th of Februaiy, the Toulon-Cadiz squadron had 
arrived with its precious re^orcements, and the French 
conmiander now had some nine thousand men free for 
offensive operations, not coimting a strong corps of mu- 
lattoes and free negroes eager for revenge. Therefore the 
ink of his proclamation was hardly dry when Leclerc's 
columns started across the Plain to storm the long moun- 


V , 


tain wall behind which lay Toussaint Louverture. The 
French plan was a bold one. Rochambeau was to move 
from Fort Dauphin and clear the mountains along the 
Spanish border, while Leclerc and the main body should 
strike for the Cordon de TOuest and roll Toussaint down 
into the Western plains, where he should be crushed by 
Boudet's advance from Port-au-Prince. 

The week which followed saw a truly Napoleonig .cam- 
paign. From Fort Dauphin Rochambeau hurled himself 
like a thunderbolt upon the Eastern mountains, and in 
three days he lay over the Spanish border with Tous- 
saint's right wing broken to pieces. Leclerc, meanwhile, 
was mastering the Western mountains, with more labor 
but with equal success. That old "Cordon de TOuest," 
which had for two years held back the tide of negro insur- 
rection, was no easy prey: its rugged heights and tangled 
valleys were held by the flower of Toussaint's soldieiy, 
while thousands of wild guerillas swarmed upon eveiy 
mountain-side. But the veterans of Italy and the Rhine 
would not be denied, and their tremendous 6lan car- 
ried all before them. On the second night Leclerc lay at 
Plaisance, halfway through the mountains. "Our three 
divisions," he writes the Minister of Marine, "have 
everywhere forced back the enemy with the greatest 
impetuosity. You should see this country to form any 
idea of the difficulties we encounter at every step. I have 
seen nothing in the Alps to compare with them." ^^ 

Torrential rains held up the French columns during the 
20th of February, but next day began that final advance 
which on February 23 culminated in the storming of 
Toussaint's main position at the Gorge of Couleuvres. 


This natural fortress had been greatly strengthened by 
entrenchments and abattis of felled trees, and was held 
by three thousand of Toussaint's choicest troops sup- 
ported by several thousand guerillas. Yet in a few hours 
all was over: Toussaint had retreated southward leaving 
a thousand men dead on the field, and the French right 
slept that night at the Western seaport of Gronaives.^^ 

The Cordon de TOuest was won — yet the blow was 
not decisive. Leclerc had expected that Toussaint's re- 
treat would have led him straight into the arms of the 
French columns from Port-au-Prince; but no such col- 
unms appeared, and Toussaint retired safely to his fast- 
nesses in those mountains of the Spanish border over- 
looking his base of supplies, the inland valley of the 
Artibonite. The black leader had been javed from the 
trap by Dessalmes's able defence of th^ West. Although 
checked at L^ogane on the 11th of February, Dessalines 
had continued to menace Port-au-Prince, and General 
Boudet had been obliged to take such elaborate precau- 
tions to protect his lines that only on February 21 had 
he dared begin his northward advance. And even then 
his progress had been slow and difficult. The road from 
Port-au-Prince to Saint-Marc led through a narrow belt 
of broken country lying between the sea and the high 
mountains enclosing the valley of the Artibonite. These 
natural advantages were skilfully used by Dessalines. 
His army was of good quality and superior in numbers, 
and it offered such a stubborn resistance that the French 
advance had to be continually cleared by artillery. Not 
until February 25, two days after Toussaint's defeat at 
the Gorge of Couleuvres, did Boudet enter Saint-Marc. 



And the capture of Saint -Marc meant nothing. The 
town was a heap of ruins, for Dessalines had fired it 
at the last moment, leaving only the mangled bodies of 
several hundred white prisoners as his savage greeting to 
the French; a wide tract of country still lay between 
Saint-Marc and the Northern mountains: most ominous 
of all, the black army had disappeared, though its where- 
abouts were only too well shown by the letter from Tous- 
saint to Dessalines which now fell into Boudet's hands. 
'* Nothing is hopeless. Citizen General," read this de- 
spatch, '"if you can but deprive the invaders of the re- 
soiut^es of Port R^publicain." Try to bum that place by 
every means of force or guile; it is of wood, and a few 
faithful spies could do the business. Can you not find in 
your army men devoted enough to undertake this service? 
Ah, my dear General! what a misfortune that there was 
a traitor in that town and that our orders were not 
executed! Watch for the moment when the garrison is 
weakened by expeditions into the plains, and then try to 
surprise and capture that town behind them. Do not 
forget that while we are awaiting that rainy season which 
should rid us of our enemies, our sole resources are de- 
struction and fire. Remember that the land bathed by our 
sweat must not furnish the slightest sustenance to our 
enemies. Ambush the roads, throw dead men and horses 
into the springs. Destroy all, bum all; so that those who 
come here to force us back into slavery may have ever 
before their eyes the image of that hell which they 
deserve." " 

This letter, coupled with the ominous disappearance 
of Dessalines, was quite enough for Boudet, who re- 


treated hastily on Port-au-Prince. The town was de- 
fended by only six hundred troops under General La- 
croix,^^ and it might have gone hard with this slender 
garrison but for a diversion of a most unexpected char- 
acter. We have often noted those formidable maroon 
tribes of the Spanish border who had so successfully 
maintained their independence under the Old Regime. 
Grown still more powerful diuring the troubled years of 
the Revolution, these maroons had proved as much of 
a thorn to Toussaint Louverture as to the former Gov- 
ernors of the French Crown, and though he had suc- 
ceeded in expelling them from the mountains about the 
Artibonite he had failed against their chief stronghold in 
the great woods to the southeast about Lake Henriquillo. 
No sooner had the French arrived at Port-au-Prince than 
the maroons prepared to take revenge upon their hated 
enemy, and at the very moment when Dessalines was 
doubling back upon Port-au-Prince, two strong maroon 
bands appeared before the town to offer General Lacroix 
their services. Informed by these valuable allies of Des- 
salines*s approach, Lacroix put them to skilful use. 
Weak as was the garrison, he marched boldly upon Des- 
salines's advance guard of a thousand men, set a maroon 
ambush, and destroyed it at a blow. When on the night 
of February 26, Dessalines arrived before Port-au-Prince 
he dared not attack, and soon retreated before the ap- 
proach of Boudet's retiu-ning columns.^* 

Meanwhile, Leclerc had not been inactive. Although 
Toussaint and his regulars had been driven into the West, 
the mountainous regions in French hands still swarmed 
with guerillas, and much hard work was needed to clear 


these nigged districts of their presence. Furthermore^ 
the news from Port-de-Paix called for instant action. 
On the same day that Leclerc had begun his advance 
against Toussaint Louverture, a strong squadron carry- 
ing fifteen hundred men had left Le Cap to re^orce 
Humbert at Port-de-Paix, while other ships had sailed 
to raise the M61e-Saint-Nicolas. This latter expedition 
had been a brilliant success: at sight of the French ships 
the M61e had welcomed them as deliverers, and the whole 
region had soon thrown off Toussaint's hated yoke.^' 
But what happened at Port-de-Paix was very different. 
The re^orcements landed on the evening of February 
19, and that same night Humbert attacked, hoping to 
take the negroes by siuprise. But Maurepas was on the 
alert and the French were repulsed with heavier losses 
than before. A German battalion which headed the as- 
sault was completely cut to pieces, and Humbert was 
forced to resume his defensive attitude. 

However, Leclerc's occupation of the Cordon de TOuest 
completely changed the situation. If Toussaint had 
escaped, Maurepas at least was cut off, and his only 
refuge vanished with the revolt of the M61e-Saint-Nicolas. 
Leclerc resolved to crush the black general at once, and 
on February 25 he despatched a strong column to take 
Port-de-Paix in rear. But Maurepas cleverly avoided 
annihilation. The news of Toussaint's defeat at Cou- 
leuvres had shown Maurepas his hopeless position, and 
he had at once approached Humbert with offers of sur- 
render. The defeated French general, ignorant of Le- 
clerc's success, granted Maurepas very favorable terms, 
and Leclerc was, of course, forced to ratify this capitula- 


tion. The black general and his officers retained their 
rank and were taken into French service, together with 
the two thousand troops under their orders. The eight 
thousand irregulars were dismissed to their homes. Le- 
clerc was much chagrined at the moment, but afterwards 
congratulated himself on this event, for Maurepas served 
him well, while the black soldiers as usual passively fol- 
lowed their chiefs.** 

The submission of Maurepas opened the way for the 
final attack on Toussaint's main position in the moun- 
tains about the Artibonite. On March 2, Leclerc ordered 
a general converging movement, and after a fortnight's 
confused fighting the French columns met under the walls 
of the Cr6te-i-Pierrot. Dessalines had especially dis- 
tinguished himself in this preliminaiy campaign, and 
when at last forced to quit the West he left a ghastly 
trophy of eight hundred white corpses, largely those of 
women and children, most barbarously massacred. The 
Cr6te-i-Pierrot, a fortress of enormous strength, com- 
pletely blocked the entrance to the valley of the Artibo- 
nite. It had been the chief inland stronghold of the Eng- 
lish, and Toussaint had still further fortified it until it 
was almost impregnable. Held by twelve hundred picked 
troops, the Cr£te -k- Pierrot was a most formidable 

Nevertheless, Leclerc knew that it must be taken — 
and taken in short order as well. For Toussaint was mak- 
ing desperate efforts to raise the siege. Slipping through 
the French lines, he burst into the North, and at his 
presence the negroes rose in furious insurrection. The 
whole Plaine du Nord was ablaze, Le Cap was closely 


besety and Leclerc's conmiunications were completely 
severed. The French position became most critical. Four 
desperate assaults broke in vain against the bastions of 
the Cr£te-4-Pierrot and merely cost the besiegers fifteen 
hundred men and some of their best officers. But Leclerc 
was not to be shaken off. With incredible energy, double 
lines of circumvallation were drawn about the besieged 
fortress, and Dessalines's ferocious night attacks from the 
neighboring mountains were repulsed, the while a terrible 
three days' bombardment wore the defenders down. At 
last, on the night of the 24th of March, the garrison 
threw itself upon the French lines and after losing half 
its strength cut its way through.^* 

The capture of the Cr6te-i-Pierrot had cost the French 
two thousand men, but the moral effect was tremendous. 
Now," writes the chief-of-staff to the Minister of War, 
we have nothing more to do but to clear the colony of 
brigand bands which dare not face our soldiers and war 
only by pillage, massacre, and arson. I hope my next 
despatch will report their entire annihilation." *® This 
letter appears unduly optimistic; nevertheless, every- 
thing announced the speedy collapse of organized resist- 
ance. Leclerc acted with his usual energy. General La- 
croix was ordered to overrun the Artibonite while the 
Captain-General himself turned back to subdue the re- 
bellious North. This was not accomplished without much 
hard fighting, for Toussaint again appeared in person to 
animate resistance, but in a week Leclerc cleared the 
Plaine du Nord and on April 2, entered Le Cap. The 
very next day the long-delayed Havre-Flushing squadron 
arrived, and its twenty-five himdred fresh troops placed 


Leclerc in position to deal the final blows at the insur- 

But the very arrival of reenforcements made these 
blows apparently superfluous. The fall of the Cr6te-i- 
Pierrot had greatly shaken the negroes, and the coming 
of these new troops completed their demoralization. In a 
few days Leclerc received emissaries from Christophe oflFer- 
ing to submit on promise of pardon and reception into 
the French service, and when the Captain-General had 
agreed to these conditions Christophe carried his twelve 
hundred regular troops over to the French. To the black 
cause this defection was a crushing blow. Qn_May 1,_^*< 
Dessalines and Toussaint-Louverlure capitulated on / 
similar terms, and shortly afterward they made their '^''^ 
formal submission at Le Cap. Dessalines followed Chris- 
tophers example by entering the French service; Tous- 
saint retired to private life on his estates near Gonaives.** 

General Lacroix has left an interesting account of these 
events. "Some days before Dessalines's arrival," he 
writes, "Toussaint Louverture had come to greet Leclerc. 
His presence aroused great excitement at Le Cap. The 
inhabitants of that town, like those of the countiy 
through which he passed, showed him every outward 
sign of the most profound respect. He arrived followed 
by three or four himdred horse-guards, who during his 
entire interview with Leclerc remained in the courtyard 
drawn up in battle array with bared sabres." ** Tous- 
saint's conduct was certainly not marked by humility: 
he responded coldly to Leclerc's warm greeting and 
maintained an attitude of proud sadness, as if already 
repentii^ of his resolution.'^ 


LacToix*s impressions of Dessalines's submission are 
most striking. "On arriving at Le Cap/* he writes, "I 
had occasion for most serious reflections. I saw several 
of our general officers pass by in full uniform; — the 
inhabitants paid them not the least sign of deference. 
All at once I heard a murmur, — it was General Des- 
salines! He was coming to salute Leclerc. The whole 
population rushed forward and prostrated themselves be- 
fore him. I was more saddened than angered at the sight. 
These sombre and painful thoughts followed me to head- 
quarters. In Leclerc*s antechamber I found Dessalines. 
My horror of the man kept me at a distance; but he 
asked who I was, came over to me, and without looking 
at me said in a raucous voice, 'I am General Dessalines. 
In unfortimate times I have heard much of you.' ** His 
bearing and his manners were savage; I was surprised 
at his words, which annoimced more assurance than 
remorse. This barbarian must have felt himself strong 
indeed, to have dared adopt this attitude. I could hardly 
be polite, for the image of the massacres of Verettes and 
Petite Riviere rose before my eyes at sight of the man 
who had ordered those scenes <rf horror." *• 

This defiant attitude of the black generals is the best 
proof of the necessity for Leclerc's policy of conciliation. 
Napoleon, it will be remembered, had ordered him to 
deport Toussaint and the other negro leaders, and then 
proceed at once to the disarmament of the whole popu- 
lation; instead of which, Leclerc had allowed the black 
generals to remain in the island and attempted nothing 
beyond a slight reduction of the negro regiments. But 
in this matter the Captain-General had no choice. Or- 


ganized resistance was» indeed, at an end, but the effort 
had cost him half his anny. Those terrible drives across 
mountain and jungle had crushed even the veterans of 
Italy and the Rhine, and on April 1, Leclerc wrote the 
First Consul that he had butjseyen thousand European 
troops with.thfi_gol or8 and five thousand inltosp ital. As 
up tf> that mompnt fully ■XTfPJrrg.thgmnnd men had 
reached San Domingo, another five thousand French 
soldiers were dead.*' By that time Leclerc had seven 
thousand *' colonial troops" in his pay, partly made up of 
mulatto and free negro corps which could be relied upon 
with reasonable certainty, but in still greater measure 
composed of the black regiments brought over by Cler- 
vaux, Maurepas, and Laplume. The very ease with which 
these troops had deserted Toussaint showed their blind 
devotion to their chiefs and made it almost certain that 
any violence offered these generals would entail the de- 
fection of their men. Leclerc's financial position was 
also bad, for Napoleon apparently thought that a rich 
island like San Domingo should pay the costs of cam- 
paigning in European fashion, whereas no supplies could 
be obtained except from the English and Americans, who 
would take nothing but hard money in payment. Also, 
the commissary department had broken down and sup- 
plies from France were either defective or worthless. 
Again, the reinforcements announced for San Domingo 
were no longer choice troops, but raw material, for now 
that the great blow had been struck. Napoleon was evi- 
dently not minded to consume his veterans in policing 
the island through the dreaded rainy season now at 
hand. Lastly, Leclerc had learned that the English nego- 

four thousand regular troops a 
armed cultivators. I cannot fini^ 
both conquer and eflFectively hold 
and West, and while I am attack] 
continue to occupy those alread;; 
vators are beginning to stir again, 
of San Domingo I need twenty-i 
this moment I have eleven thoi 
and seven thousand colonials,^ in 
implicit confidence. While I am s 
by me, but a few reverses migl 
strength of my enemies. I cannot 
ures which can alone assure San £ 
I have twenty-five thousand Europ 
Thus the black generals remai 
in haughty aloofness upon his c 
albeit his captured archives con 
black leader's treason to France, 
of letters in my hands which sh 
ture's firm intention of independ< 
tain-General to Bonaparte, "I sen 



The negroes were thus. 9ubduedL.JDiot broken. Still, all 
organized resistance was over, and with no necessity for 
further active campaigning Leclerc hoped to nurse his 
army through the unhealthy months and build it up for 
decisive action in the autumn. Never was hope more 
cruelly deceived. Within a fortnight after Toussaint's 
submission the French army became aware that in its 
midst there stood a foe against which skiU and courage 
were in vain. 



It was about mid-May that yellow fever broke out at 
Le Cap and Port-au-Prince. During the hot months of 
summer the disease nearly always appeared at San Do- 
mingo, and we have seen how severely it had scourged the 
English invaders in 1794. Nevertheless, up to this mo- 
ment it had never been greatly feared. Serious as had been 
the losses of the French forces in San Domingo during the 
Revolution, they had been caused mainly by malarial 
fevers and intestinal disorders aggravated by wretched 
sanitation. The best proof of how slight a toll yellow 
fever had hitherto exacted is the fact that until this 
moment not a single high officer or important civilian 
had fallen a victim to the disease.^ 

But the horror which now smote the doomj^ army was 
unparalleled in the whole history of the West Indies. 
Before the first week of June was out, three thousand men 
were dead, while the losses among officers and high civilians 
were proportionately greater than those of the rank and 
file. The crowded cantonments of Le Cap and Port- 
au-Prince became vast charnel-houses, and every night 
long rows of corpses were laid in the barrack-yards wait- 
ing for the death-carts to cany them to the lime-pits 
without the town. The fleet was as hard hit as the army, 
and the sailors died by hundreds and by thousands.* 

These first ravages of the yellow fever are vividly de- 


scribed in the Captain-General's melancholy despatches. 
**If the First Consul wishes to have an army at San 
Domingo in October/* writes Leclerc to the Minister 
of Marine on the 11th of June, *'he must send it from 
France, for the ravages of this disease are simply inde- 
scribable. Our losses in officers and civil fimctionaries are 
out of all proportion to those of the troops. Not a day 
passes but I lose some whom I bitterly regret. My helpers 
are dying and leaving me to bear alone a burden already 
insupportable." ' This was but too true, for Leclerc him- 
self was a sick man. Almost upon arrival he had been at- 
tacked by malarial fever, and only his iron will enabled 
him to surmount the crises of the disease. In this same 
letter he asserts that he cannot last long and begs for his 
recall. This desire must have rapidly increased, for a 
month later things had grown worse. "^This disease con- 
tinues its ravages over the whole colony," writes Leclerc 
to the Minister of Marine on the 17th Messidor (6th of 
Jidy). "Prairial cost me three thousand men; Messidor 
will probably cost me more still. At present I lose one 
hundred and sixty men a day." * 

This terrible visitation had not long continued before 
a change became apparent in the attitude of Toussaint 
Louverture. His conduct had been suspicious from the 
first, for, though ostensibly retired to private life, his 
two thousand chosen life-guards had all renounced mili- 
tary service and had settled about their general; — 
technically peaceful cultivators, patently the possible 
focus of a new insurrection. Toussaint watched the 
fever's ravages with ill-disguised glee. Soon even generals 
like Christophe and Dessalines were warning Leclerc 


of his intentions, and presently intercepted letters trans- 
formed suspicion into practical certainty.^ 

What followed is well told by Lederc. " My position 
grows worse from day to day," he writes Napoleon on the 
6th of Jime. '* Disease takes my men. Toussaint Lou- 
verture is playing false — just as I expected. However, I 
have gained from his submission what I had intended — 
the winning over of Dessalines and Christophe with their 
troops. I have just ordered his arrest, and I think I can 
count on Dessalines (whose spirit I have mastered) to 
hunt him down if he escapes. At the same time, do not be 
astonished if I fail. For the last two weeks this man has 
been very suspicious: not that I have given him cause, 
but the fact is, he regrets his former power, and these 
regrets have engendered the idea of re-forming his 
party." • 

However, Leclerc's plans had been weU laid, and a 
clever ruse lured Toussaint within the French lines, 
where he was at once arrested and embarked forJPrwice.^ 
Leclerc's reflections on the event are contained in the 
following letter, written on the 11th of June to the Min- 
ister of Marine: ""In one of my last despatches I told you 
of the pardon granted General Toussaint. This ambi- 
tious man, however, from that very moment never ceased 
to conspire in secret. He surrendered only because Gen- 
erals Christophe and Dessalines told him that they isaw 
he had deceived them and that they were resolved no 
longer to make war upon us. But no sooner had he seen 
himself thus abandoned than he sought to organize a 
great insurrection among the cultivators. The reports 
which came to me even from Dessalines on Toussaint's 


conduct since his submission left no doubt on this point. 
I intercepted letters written to his agent at Le Cap which 
proved that he was trying to regain his former influence. 
Under such circumstances I could not allow him time 
to carry out his criminal projects. I ordered his arrest. 
The thing was not easy, but it is done. I am now send- 
ing to France with all his family this man so dangerous 
to San Domingo. Citizen Minister, the Government 
must put him in some fortress in the centre of France, so 
that by no possibility can he escape and retiun to San 
Domingo, where he has the power of a religious leader. 
For if, three years from now, this man were to reappear 
at San Domingo, he might well destroy everything that 
France had done." * And on the same day Leclerc wrote 
Napoleon, "Toussaint Louverture must not be at liberty. 
Imprison him far within the Republic, that he may never 
see San Domingo again." • The fear of Toussaint's 
escape seemed to haunt Leclerc, for a month later he 
wrote the Minister of Marine, "You cannot keep Tous- 
saint at too great a distance from the sea nor in a place 
too sure. The man has fanaticised this country to such 
a degree that his appearance would set everything once 
more aflame." ^° 

However, no general outbreak followed Toussaint's 
deportation. Leclerc's strong precautions worked well, 
and the few partial risings were at once stamped out. The 
black generals were not wholly averse to their late master's 
downfall, and the colonial troops obeyed orders. ^^ After 
Leclerc's vigorous despatches, Toussaint's fate was easy 
to foresee. Upon his arrival in Fratnce he was sent to Fort 
de Joux, a post in the heart of the Jura near the Swiss 



frontier. The winter chill of this bleak region was fatal 
to the aged negro, who p^jfflj^ly HAVPl(]|TiAfj^f»nTigiimpf mn 
and died on Apnl 7; 1809.^^ Thus the great black van- 
ished from the scene. Judged by white standards Tous- 
saint is in many ways a sinister and repulsive figure; yet 
he should be measured, not with Europeans, but with 
the great men of his own race — with the Zulu Chaka 
and with Macandal. 

Toussaint's arrest had caused no overt rebellion, it b 
true, but Leclerc knew that the negro population was 
greatly excited and that the slightest shock to his moral 
prestige might produce a general explosion which would 
sweep away the poor remnants of his dying army. He 
also realized that the materials for such an explosion 
would be always ready to hand while the negro popula- 
tion kept possession of the arms served out by Toussaint 
Louverture. Hence, although he well knew the desperate 
risks involved, Leclerc resolved upon the general dis- 
armament of the negroes. This was to be primarily 
effected by the black generals and their troops, and was 
to be done by provinces — Laplume in the South, Des- 
salines in the West, Christophe and Maurepas in the 
North. Since the North Province was the danger-point, 
Leclerc ordered it left alone until the disarmament of the 
other provinces was complete. 

The work began about the third week of Jime. In the 
South all went smoothly, and Laplume soon reported that 
within his jurisdiction nothing more was to be feared. 
In the West there was considerable trouble, but Des- 
salines showed the same ferocious pleasure in carrying 
out Leclerc's orders that he had in executing Toussaint's 


commands, and broke resistance with barbarous cruelty. 
Leclerc's report of July 6 is full of confidence. "The 
black generals/' he writes, ''now see clearly that I am 
destroying their influence in this coimtiy. Nevertheless, 
they dare not rebel: (1) because they detest each other 
and know that I should use them for their mutual de- 
struction; (2) because the negroes are not brave and have 
been terrified by the war I have waged upon them; (3) 
because they fear to measure themselves against the man 
who has broken their chiefs. Under these circumstances 
I march with rapid strides toward my goal. The South 
and West are about disarmed; the North will be taken 
in hand next week. The gendarmerie is being organized, 
and as soon as the gendarmerie is in working order and the 
disarmament is complete I shall strike the final blows. 
If I succeed, as now seems probable, San Domingo will 
be truly restored to the Republic." ^' 

The North, it is true, proved no easy task. Trouble had 
begun at the mere news of the disarmament of the South 
and West, and the first active measures provoked serious 
risings in several quarters. Leclerc's difiiculties in han- 
dling the situation are revealed by his correspondence. 
" Another of these insurrections has broken out at Port- 
de-Paix," he writes the Minister of Marine on the 22d of 
July. "It is impossible to send the European troops — 
th^ drop on the road. Of colonial troops I have but few; 
I have been obliged to dismiss many, since I dare not 
keep them in great number." ^* Still, these risings were 
only sporadic, Christophe and Maurepas acted loyally, 
and Leclerc did not doubt his ultimate success. 

But at this veiy moment there arrived news from 


France and Guadeloupe which plunged the Captain- 
General into absohite despair. In Ledere's instructions 
Napoleon had expressed his firm resolve not to leaXose 
slavery, and had specified the status of Guadeloupe as 
the future basis for San Domingo.'* But in the ensuing 
months the First Consul's attitude had changed. D£- 
cr^, the new Minister of Marine, was a strong believe 
in the restoration of the old colonial system, and his 
arguments, backed by the appeals of French conunerce 
and the planter exiles, slowfy converted Bonaparte. The 
results of this conversion were soon apparent. On May 
SO, the French Government annoimced that no change 
would take place in the social status of the colonies re- 
stored by England; that slaveiy and the color line should 
there remain unaltered. And the Home Government soon 
took a still more serious step. In early June the slave- 
trade was formally restored for all the French colonies, 
and it was specifically stated that these new arrivals from 
Africa were to be genuine chattel slaves even in islands 
whose present black inhabitants then enjoyed personal 
freedom. A few weeks later further legislation deprived 
the mulattoes of their equal rights, restored the color 
line, and prohibited mixed marriages.^* About mid-July, 
just after the disarmament of the North had begun, 
Leclerc received an authorization to restore slavery in 
San Domingo whenever he saw fit. 

This startling proof of Napoleon*s new policy filled 
Leclerc with terror. Already the negroes were restive 
under the reports of the pro-slavery agitation in France 
and the intemperate language of returning planters, 
while at this veiy moment the news of the reestablished 


slave-trade sent a wave of sullen fury over the whole 
colony. To restore slaveiy while the French army was 
wasting to a shadow was sheer madness, and Lecleic 
hastily penned letters beseeching against any such action. 
** Do not think of establishing slaveiy here for some time,'* 
he wrote the Minister of Marine on the 24th of July; " I 
believe I can so fix things that my successor will have 
nothing to do except execute the Government's orders. 
But after my numberless proclamations assuring the 
negroes their liberty, I cannot so stultify myself." ^^ 

Whether Leclerc's tact and prestige would have 
blinded the negroes to Napoleon's ultimate intentions is 
impossible to say, for in the last days of July the news 
from Guadeloupe made further denial impossible. At 
the beginning of April, Napoleon had sent a certain Gen- 
eral Richepanse and four thousand men to reduce that 
island to obedience. The troubles foUowing the recall of 
Victor Hugues in 1799 had broken French authority in the 
bland and had ended in mulatto supremacy. This regime 
Napoleon resolved to destroy, and Richepanse's instruc- 
tions were even more vigorous than Leclerc's had been. 
Sweeping as were these directions, however, they had 
been carried out to the letter. Guadeloupe was so much 
smaller than San Domingo that the young and vigorous 
General Richepanse had succeeded in effecting its com- 
plete subjection after a few weeks' sharp campaign, and 
the Napoleonic " third period " had thereafter been put 
in force at once. The whole population was winnowed 
like wheat, and three thousand persons were deported. 
Napoleon*s idea proved a sound one, for the loss of all 
its natural leaders broke the spirit of the colored popula- 


tion» and Guadeloupe gave no further trouble. The en- 
tire subjection of the island was so perfectly dear that 
when Richepanse received Boni^arte's permisskm to re- 
store slavery he hastened to cany it into effect, and in 
mid-July the old colonial system was formally restored.^' 

But the reckless and short - sighted Richepanse had 
given no thought to San Domingo. The news from Guade- 
loupe quickly reached the greater island — and suspicion 
became certainty. The effect was terrible. The fanatic 
North burst into flame, and most of the West followed its 
example. Even the black soldiers b^an to desert their 
generals and go over to the insui^ents. The yellow fever 
continued to rage, and Lederc's re^orcements vanished 
almost as quickly as they came. The army of San Do- 
mingo entered upon its death-agony. 

"My position is in no way bettered," writes Leclerc on 
August 6 to the Minister of Marine; "" the rebellion grows, 
the disease continues. It will last till the 1st Vend^miaire 
[23d September]. All the n^roes here are convinced by 
the news from France, by the re^stablishment of the 
Trade, and by General Richepanse's restoration of slav- 
ery at Guadeloupe, that we are about to reduce them to 
servitude. I can no longer obtain disarmament except 
after long and obstinate resistance. These men will not 
surrender. I must confess it: at the veiy moment of 
success, those political circumstances above mentioned 
have almost destroyed my work. You must no longer 
count upon the moral force I used to have here; it is de- 
stroyed. Those measures taken elsewhere have infuriated 
men's minds. I can reduce the negroes only by force — 
and for this I must have an army and money." ^* 


The most alarming thing about this new insurrection 
was that it came from below. The black generals had 
been little affected by the news from Guadeloupe. Le- 
clerc had profited by Toussaint*s example, and the negro 
leaders, sure of their personal safety and loaded with 
wealth and power, gave no signs of changing sides. Only 
one black general, Charles Belair, joined the Western 
insurgents,^ and his fate merely proved Leclerc's hold 
upon his fellows, for Dessalines hunted him down, shot 
him offhand and massacred his soldiers. But if the black 
generals stood by the French, their lesser officers did not, 
and it was these hundreds of unknown chiefs who now 
led over the colonial troops and roused the cultivators to 
rebellion. ** To have been rid of Toussaint is not enough,'' *'l 
writes Leclerc on August 25; '* there are two thousand 1 < 
more leaders to get rid of as well." ** 

Leclerc's desperate situation is best shown by his report 
of August 6 to Bonaparte: — 

"My position grows trying and may well become 
worse. Here it is: disease had made such frightful rav- 
ages among my troops that when I wished to disarm the 
negroes an insurrection broke out. . • . Our first attacks 
drove the insurgents, but they scattered into other can- 
tons. In the present insurrection there is a veritable 
fanaticism. These men may be killed, but will not sur- J 
-rpnHp.r,-^Ihcy laugh at death; — and it is the same with 
the women. I begged you. Citizen Consul, to do nothing 
to make these people fear for their liberty till the mo- 
ment when I should be prepared. Suddenly there came 
the law authorizing the Trade, and on top of that Greneral 
lUchepanse has just decreed the restoration of slaveiy in 


Guadeloupe. With this state of things. Citizen Consul, 
the moral force I had here acquired b destroyed. I can 
do nothing more by persuasion; I can only use force, — 
and force I have none. 

'' At presets. Citizen Consul, now that your colonial 
plans are perfectly weD kn6wn,~if you wiS'to preserve 
^^" P9^ingo flftnd ft "^^ ^i^y^^^-^rfwi^^^^tpgyroHy send 
money. I declare positively that if you abandon us to 
ourselves as you have so far done, this colony is lost; — 
and, once lost, you will never get it back again. 

"My letter may surprise you. Citizen Consul, after 
what I had before written you, but was there ever a 
general obliged to calculate on the death of four fifths 
of his army and the uselessness of the rest through 
lack of money, as I have to do in a country where 
nothing can be boi^t save for hard cash and where 
a little money would have allayed much discontent? 
Ought I, imder these circumstances, to have expected 
the law on the slave-trade and the decrees of General 

" I have explained my position with a soldier's frank- 
ness. In bitter sorrow, I see all that I have so far done 
on the verge of annihilation. Citizen Consul, if you cotdd 
but have seen the difficulties of all sorts that I had con- 
quered and the results I had obtained, you would tremble 
with me at sight of my position to-day. Nevertheless, 
unpleasant as it is, I still hope to succeed. I am mak- 
ing terrible examples; and since terror alone remains, 
terror I employ. 

"But all the planters and merchants arriving from 
France speak of nothing but slaves. It seems as though 


there was a general conspiracy to prevent San Domingo's 
restoration to the Republic." 

Leclerc ends with an appeal for money: ''Sacrifice six 
million francs at this time. Citizen Consul, that you may 
not have to spend sixty millions in the spring." ^^ 

August passed, September came; — and the fever still 
raged on. The colonists all assured Leclerc that with the 
autunm equinox the disease would rapidly abate and 
that a fortnight later it would have entirely disappeared. 
However, on the 18th of September, with the equinox 
only a week away, there were no signs of a change. The 
re^orcements which now arrived (mostly North Eu- 
ropeans) stood the climate veiy badly: these masses of --7 
Germans, Dutchmen, Belgians, and Poles, died even ~]) 
faster than the French. 

"The moment troops arrive," writes Leclerc, **I have 
to throw them into the field to repress that general insur- 
rection discussed in my last despatches. For the first 
few days these troops act with vigor and gain successes; 
— then the disease smites them, and all my reenf orce- 
ments are annihilated. People assure me of a certain 
change of season by the 15th Vend6miaire [7th October], 
but I greatly fear that by that time I shall have no 

*'I can give you no exact idea of my position: each day 
it grows worse, and what will most retard the colony's 
prosperity is the fact that when the disease ceases I 
shall have no men for aggressive action. If on the 15th 
Vend^mlaire I have four thousand Eiux>peans fit to 
march, even counting those now on the sea, I shall be 
glad, indeed. All my coips conmianders save two are 



dead, and I have no fit persons to replace thenu To give 
you an idea of my losses, know that the 7th of the Une 
came here 1395 strong: to-day there are 88 half-sick men 
^) with the colors and 107 in hospital; the rest are dead. 
The 11th light Infantry landed here 1900 strong: to-day 
it has 163 fit for duty and 200 m hospital. The 71st of the 
Line, originally 1000 strong, has 17 men with the colors 
and 133 in hospital. And it is the same with the rest of the 
army. Thus, form your own idea of my position in a 
country where civil war has raged for ten years and where 
the rebels are convinced that we intend to reduce them 
to slavery. 

"Citizen Minister, if the French Government wishes 
to preserve San Domingo it must, on the veiy day that 
it receives this letter, order the departure of ten thou- 
sand men. They will arrive in Nivdse [January, 1803], and 
order will be entirely restored before the next hot aeascm: 
although, if this disease habitually lasts three months on 
end at San Domingo, we must renoimce this colony.*' *' 

Three days after this despatch a letter to Napoleon 
announced the abandonment of much of the hinterland 
and such loss of prestige that one or two of the black 
generals were beginning to waver, albeit the majority 
were still loyal. 

"My position,'* writes Lederc, " is desperate. • • • The 
main cause of my present plight is the re^stablishment 
of slavery in Guadeloupe. As soon as this news arrived, 
the insurrection, hitherto only partial, became general, 
and since I was unable to face it everywhere, I have 
been obliged to abandon many points. The arrival of 
considerable reenforcements helped me over the first 


crisis, but was no lasting benefit, for after twelve days* 
campaign these coips were annihilated and the insurrec- 
tion made new progress through the lack of means to 
crush it. In these last days the force and boldness of 
the rebels are such that I have been obliged strictly to 
cover Le Cap. • . . The negro troops are entirely untrust- 
worthy. Recent^ a whole battalion killed its white offi- 
cers and deserted — for this struggle is now strictly a 
war of color. 

*'Here is the state of my black generals. Maurepas is 
a dangerous rascal, but I dare not arrest him at this mo- 
ment, since this would surely entail the defection of all 
his troops. Christophe has so maltreated the negroes that 
he is hated by them, and is therefore not to be feared. 
Dessalines is at present the butcher of the n^roes; it is 
through him that I execute all my odious measures. I 
shall keep him as long as I need him. He has already 
begged me not to leave him at San Domingo when I re- 
turn home. Laplume, Clervaux, and Paul Louverture 
are three imbeciles whom I shall get rid of at will. Charles 
Belair has been tried and shot. 

*'Next month I hope to have eight thousand men — 
four thousand white troops, two thousand gendarmes, 
two thousand negro soldiers. But these forces will not 
suffice to hold the country, and the longer I put off its 
submission the harder that submission will be. 

** Yes, Citizen Consul, such is my i)osition. I have not 
exaggerated. Each day I have to rack my brains to know 
how I may repair the ills of the day before. Not one con- 
soling thought to efface or diminish the cruel impressions 
of the present or the future. The preservation of San 


Domingo since the embarkation of Toussaint Louverture 
is something more extraordinary than my In-nHing and 
my capture of that general. If I did not know how much 
you have the success of this expedition at heart, I should 
believe myself sacrificed. • • • 

'* Citizen Consul, I must have ten thousand men at 
once. I must have them to assure you San Domingo. 
The disease has put us far back, and the longer you 
delay, the more men you will have to send to remedy 
the situation." 

The fever was raging worse than ever; it was killing 
from 100 to 120 men per day.*^ The losses to date could 
be estimated from the following figures: original expedi- 
tion, ^0,000; later reenforcements, 6500; marine artilleiy, 
1500; total, 28,000. Of these Leclerc expected that next 
month there would be 10,500 alive; but of these only 4500 
fit for duty, while 1500 would be convalescent and 4500 
in hospital. Also, 5000 sailors had died. '*Thus," con- 
tinues Leclerc, *' the occupation of San Domingo has so 
far cost us 29,000 men, — and as yet we are far from being 
its masters." He ends by a detailed report on the serious 
state of his own health and urges Napoleon to send out 
his successor, for ''the situation is such that San Do- 
mingo should not be a moment without a head, — and 
there is no one here to fill my place. Rochambeau, a 
brave soldier and a good fighter, has not an oimce of 
tact or policy. Furthermore, he has no moral charac- 
ter and is easily led." ** 

The longed-for 1st Vend^miaire came at last: that Re- 
publican New Year's Day or autumn equinox which the 
colonists had told Leclerc was the date for the abate- 


ment of yellow fever. But this particular visitation 
seemed as unparalleled in its duration as in its virulent 
intensity, for the fever still raged on. The thin French 
lines shrunk rapidly toward the coast and the black gen- 
erals became more doubtful in their attitude. 

"My position grows worse from day to day," writes V 
Leclerc to Napoleon on the 4th Vend^miaire» "and the 
mosr terrible thing about the situation is that I cannot 
tell you when or how it will improve. I thought that the 
ravages of the disease would slacken with Vend^miaire. 
I was mistaken; it has taken on new virulence. Fructidor 
[September] has cost me more than four thousand dead, 
and to-day people tell me that it may last till the end 
of Brumaire [21st November]. If this be true and its 
intensity continue, the colony is lost. 

"Each day the insurgent forces increase, while mine 
diminish by loss of whites and desertions of the blacks. 
Dessalines, who up to this time has not thought of re- 
bellion, thinks so to-day. A month ago he was destroying 
captured arms; to-day he no longer destroys them, and 
he no longer maltreats the n^roes as he did then. He 
is a scoimdrel. I know him; but I dare not arrest him: 
I should alarm all the negroes who are still with me. 
Christophe inspires more confidence. Maurepas is a 
rascal, but I cannot yet order his arrest. 

"Never was general in a more dreadful situation. The 
troops arrived a month ago no longer exist. Each day 
the rebels attack, and the firing can be heard in Le Cap. 
I cannot take the offensive, — it crushes my troops; and 
even should I attack, I could not follow up the victories 
I might gain. I repeat what I have said before: San Do- 


mingo is lost to France if by the end of Nivdse [Januaiy 
20, 1803] I do not receive ten thousand men in a body. 
The partial reenf orcements you send me might feed the 
army in ordinary times, but they can never reconquer 
San Domingo." *• 

Next day the Captain-General wrote in still more em- 
phatic terms: ''You will never subdue San Domingo 
without an army of twelve thousand acclimated troops 
besides the gendarmerie; — and you will not have this 
army until you have sent seventy thousand men to San 
Domingo." *^ 

When the 15th Vend£miaire (7th October) had passed 
with no sign of the usual cessation of the fever, Lederc 
wrote the following despairing letter: "Here is my opin- 
ion on this country. We must destroy all the mountain 
negroes, men and women, sparing only children under 
twelve years of age. We must destroy half the negroes 
of the plains, and not allow in the colony a single man 
who has worn an epaulette. Without these measures the 
colony will never be at peace, and every year, especially 
deadly ones like this, you will have a civil war on your 
hands which will jeopardize the future." Leclerc then 
sketches out what must be done. Let Napoleon send 
twelve thousand men at once, six hundred men per 
month through the next hot season, then another fifteen 
thousand the following autiunn, and the thing will be 
done by the spring of 1804.^^ 

This letter was Leclerc's last will and testament. He 
had written it in the flush of a new malarial crisis which 
prostrated him for some time, and scarcely had he shown 
signs of recovery when the first symptoms of yellow fever 


appeared. For eleven days his iron will battled with the 
disease, but on the morning of the ^ pf Novsmbfii-the 
French army leamfd that its general was deadL** Le- 
clerc has been much blamed for the French failure in 
San Domingo, but when, in the light of all the attendant 
circumstances, we picture the Captain-General dragging 
himself from his bed in the flush of fever or the shiver of 
ague-chill to pen his luminous de^>atche8, we must agree 
with Boloff that it b a wonder he did so weU.^ 



Lbclebc's last days were tortmed by new misfor- 
tunes. On October 10, the mulatto general, Clervaux, 
suddenly revolted and carried with him all his troops. 
This spectacular desertion was another result of the reac- 
tionaiy legislation in France and Richepanse's measures 
in Guadeloupe. In July, Napoleon had formally rees- 
tablished all the mulatto discriminations of the Old B£- 
gime»^ while at about the same time Richepanse had re- 
stored the color line for Guadeloupe and its dependencies. 
This enraged the mulattoes of San Domingo as much as 
the restoration of slavery had infuriated the n^roes, and 
since caste feeling was much stronger among the colored 
people than among the blacks, the mulatto leaders soon 
initiated decisive action. 

Their plans had been so quietly laid that this mulatto 
defection took the French army by surprise and exposed 
it to the danger of absolute destruction. Up to this time 
the colored people had been the negroes' most savage 
exponents, and Clervaux*s mulatto troops had made up 
the greater part of the garrison of Le Cap itself. For the 
moment the city was defended by only a few hundred 
French troops and the white National Guard numbering 
one thousand infantry and two hundred horse. All this 
was well known to Cler vaux, and two days after his deser- 
tion he made a bold attempt to storm Le Cap by a sudden 


assault. Backed by fully ten thousand n^ro rebels his 
mulatto troops flung themselves upon the city lines, but 
the whites defended themselves with superb courage and 
forced the baffled Clervaux to draw off with great loss.' 

Le Cap was saved, but the mulatto revolt decided the 
black generals' attitude. On the following day Christophe 
joined Clervaux, the other black commanders in the 
North quickly followed his example, and when the news 
reached Dessalines he simimoned the West to revolt 
against white rule.' Leclerc^s death greatly encouraged 
the insurgents, and by mid-November the French held 
only Le Cap and the M61e in the North, and the coast 
towns of the West. However, the faithful Laplume stiU 
kept the South intact, while Spanish Santo Domingo 
vigorously rejected the idea of any cooperation with the 
rebel n^roes and mulattoes of the French colony.^ 

Indeed, before the month of November was out, the 
French cause began to improve. Napoleon had in noway 
relaxed his determination for the conquest of San Do- ^ 
mingo, but the unprecedented ravages of the yellow fever ^^ 
had coTnplfttjRly upset his plans, while the disorganiza- 
tion of the navy and colonial administration had greatly 
hampered his efforts to remedy the situation. Neverthe- 
less, by early autunm these efforts had begun to bear 
fruit, and a new system of colonial d6p6ts in the French 
ports enabled the First Consul to equip some ten thou- 
sand fresh troops for service in San Domingo.^ Further- 
more, in the island itself the convalescents were beginning 
to rejoin the colors, and since these men were immune 
to yellow fever they formed a growing nucleus of ac- 
climated troops. It is true that the disease continued into 


January and swept away many of Napoleon's le^oice- 
ments, but the French army steadity gained in strength 
and soon enabled the new Governor-General, Rocham- 
beau» to take offensive measures. Fort Dauphin was re- 
captured in December, Port-de-Paix in January, 1803, 
and much of the hinterland in both North and West was 
recovered. The chief set-back was in the South. The 
mulatto element there had been greatly strengthened by 
the return of all those exiled on the fall of Rigaud, and 
in mid-January the colored population had made com- 
mon cause with the disaffected n^ro element by a revolt 
against the faithful Laplume. The black general still 
held many of his people loyal to the French, but he 
was slowly driven back on Les Cayes. StiU, by the begin- 
ning of March, Rochambeau had over eleven thousand 
French troops with the colors, and as onl^ four thousand 
men lay in hospital it was plain that disease had done its 
worst by the French army.* 

Frankly a war of race, the struggle which now ensued 
acquired a most ferocious character. We have se^i that 
Leclerc's last despatch to Bonaparte had advised a war 
of extermination,' and this opinion was generally shared 
by both the army and the civilian population. ^^ Almost 
all the negroes in the gendarmerie have deserted bag and 
baggage to the enemy," writes a white colonist to a lady 
in France, ^^and the same thing is true of the black 
troops. After such examples how can we trust those 
negroes who appear to desire submission? So long as 
there remains at San Domingo any considerable body of 
negroes who for twelve years have made war, the colony 
will never be reestablished. The n^^ who has been a 


soldier will never again become a cultivator; he prefers 
death to work. He who has once worn an epaulette 
holds it dearer than life; he will commit every crime to 
retain it. If France wishes to r^ain San Domingo she 
must send hither twenty-five thousand men in a body, 
declare the negroes slaves, and destroy at least thirty 
thousand negroes and negresses — the latter being more 
cruel than the men. These measures are frightful, but 
necessary. We n^ust take them or renounce the colony. 
Whoever says otherwise lies in his throat and deceives 
Prance." « 

Bochambeau fully agreed with these sentiments, and 
his ruthless energy was eminently suited to the task. 
Through March and April, 1800^ the rebeb were steadily 
rooted out of the open couiitiy and forced into the moun- 
tains, even man-himting dogs being imported from Cuba 
to fill the gaps in the ranks of the French army. The 
growing peril forced the insubordinate negro bands to 
jdeld stricter allegiance to Dessalines, but even so 
Bochambeau's ultimate triumph grew clearer with every 
day. Napoleon was equipping fifteen thousand .fresh 
troops to maintain the army during the coming siun- 
mer, and he had planned another fifteen thousand for the 
decisive blow in the autimm.' But already a shadow lay 
athwart the path of Bochambeau's success. During 
these same months Napoleon's negotiations with Great 
Britain grew more and more hopeless, and on May VI 
the short and hollow Peace of Amiens gave place to a 
^nfw English yrnr ^^ 

The English war soimded the death-knell of white San 
DomingoTA^year' later the island would probably have 


been crushed; but as it was, the half-finished work was 
soon entirely undone. In the last days of Jiine a strict 
blockade cut off San Domingo from the world . and 
stopped the stream of men and money which fed the 
French army. The English at once aided the rebels, the 
flame of insurrection burst forth with new energy, and 
the hinterland was lost once more. This was a fatal blow. 
The English blockade stopped all intercommunication 
by sea, and the scattered garrisons of the coast towns were 
crushed in turn by Dessalines's overwhelming forces. 
Early in October the fall of Les Cayes announced the 
loss of the South; before the end of that month the evac- 
uation of Port - au - Prince heralded the end of French 
resistance in the West; and on November 10, 1808, 
Rochambeau sailed out of the harbor of Le Cap to give 
his sword to the waiting English admiral. On the 28th 
of November, the evacuation of the M61e-Saint-Nicolas 
gave the death-stroke to French San Domingo. ^^ Na- 
poleon's great effort had ended in complete disaster. Of 
the fifty thousand soldiers sent thither during those short 
two years, only a few thousand ever saw France again — 
and these after years of English captivity; while the ten 
thousand sailors dead of yellow fever were to be sorely 
missed on the day of Trafalgar.^' Only in Spanish Santo 
Domingo was the French flag still kept flying by a tiny 
corps of European troops." 

And the destruction of French authority was but the 
prelude to the complete extermination of the white race 
in "la Partie frangaise de Saint-Domingue." At the mo- 
ment of the French evacuation Dessalines was the ac- 
knowledged war-chief of all the black armies, but with 


the removal of external pressure his position became a 
most critical one. In December^ 1803, he formally pro- 
claimed the island's independence, reviving the Indian 
name of *' Haiti" to mark the complete break with its 
colonial past. The succeeding year saw a fierce struggle 
with the other black and mulatto chiefs, but in the end 
Dessalines triumphed over all his enemies, and in October, 
1804, he set the seal upon his victory by crowning him- 
self emperor.^* 

The time was now ripe for the final blow. When the 
French troops had left the country in November, 1803, 
Dessalines had promised protection to all white civilians 
who chose to remain, and shortly afterwards a proclama- 
tion had invited all white exiles to return. The favorable 
treatment accorded those who remained after the de- 
parture of Rochambeau induced a considerable number 
of colonial whites to return to San Domingo. But no 
sooner was the black leader firmly seated on his imperial 
throne than these unfortunates discovered their mistake 
in trusting the word of Dessalines. Scarcely had the new 
year begun when orders went forth to massacre the 
white population, and on April 25, 1805, a ferocious proc- 
lamation set the seal on this awful proscription and laid 
down that doctrine of white exclusion ever since retained 
as the cardinal point of Haitian policy. ^^ 

The nature of these events is well shown by the letter 
of a French officer secretly in Port-au-Prince at the time, 
who himself escaped by a miracle to the lesser evil of an 
English prison in Jamaica. ** The murder of the whites in 
detail," he writes, "began at Port-au-Prince in the first 
days of January, but on the 17th and 18th March they 


were finished off en nuuse. ASi, without exception, have 
been maasacredrdownto Ihe Veiy wodemhi aad- ehildren. 
Madame de Bogmes was killed in a peculiarly horrible 
manner. A young mulatto named Fifi Pariset ranged the 
town like a madman searching the houses to kill the little 
children. Many of the men and women were hewn down 
by sappers, who hacked off their arms and smashed in 
their chests. Some were poniarded, others mutilated, 
others 'passed on the bayonet,'^* others disembowelled 
with knives or sabres, stiU others stuck like pigs. At 
the beginning, a great number were drowned. The same 
general massacre has taken place all over the colony, and 
as I write you these lines I believe that there are not 
twenty whites still aJive — and these not for long.'* *' 

This estimate was, indeed, scarcely exaggerated. The 
white race had i)erished utterly out of the land, French 
San Domingo had vanished forever, and tixe black State 
of Haiti had begun its troubled history. 





1. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Description de la Partie Fran^^aise de 
risle Saint-Domingue " (2 vols.; Philaddphia, 1707), i, 295. 

8. "Mome," the Creole word for "mountain." 

8. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 295-509. An extraordinarily detailed 

4. Ibid., I, 10^-06. 

5. The standard work for the early period is that of the learned Jesuit 
Charlevoix, "Histoire de Tlsle Espagnole ou de Saint-Domingue.'* 
(Amsterdam, 1733, 4 vols.) 

6. The standard works on the buccaneers are, besides Charlevoix: 
Du Tertre (1667-71); Le Pers (MSS., Biblioth^ue Nationale, 
"Fr. 8002"); Labat (1742); Oexmelin (Dutch writer, 1674); 
Archenholz (1804). 

7. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 7. 

8. From their manner of curing the beef and hides. 

9. Vaissiire, "Saint-Domingue (1620-1780): La Sod^t^ et la Vie 
Crtole sous TAnden Regime" (Paris, 1000), 13; Levasseur, 
"Histoire du Commerce de la France" (Paris, 1011), i, 284. 

10. Vaissiire, 7-11. (He has deared up this obscure period by his 
original researches in the English "Calendar of State Papers.") 

11. Ibid,, 16-17. 

12. Anno 1607. 

13. The Peace of Utrecht. 

14. Vaissi^re, 25; Levasseur, i, 301-03. 

15. Vaissiire, 18-24. 

16. Levasseur, i, 484-85. 

17. Peytraud, "L'Esdavage aux Antilles Franguses avant 1780," 151. 

18. Vaissi^re, 55. 
10. Ibid., 56. 

20. Speech to the Tiers £tat by the San Domingo deputy Gouy d* Arcy, 
at the taking of the OaUi of the Tennis-Court, June 20, 1780; 

."R^qu^te Pr^nt^ aux £tats G^n^raux, le 8 Juin, 1780, par les 
deputes de risle de Saint-Domingue" (pamphlet); several other 
instances to the same effect but with slightly different language. 

21. Speech of the San Domingo deputy Cocherel in the National As- 
sembly, November 26, 1780; "M^moire instructif adress6 aux 
Notables par les Conmiissaires de Saint-Domingue" (pamphlet. 

354 NOTES 

anno 1787, pp. 5-7); "Opinion de Blin sur la propoeition d'lm 
comity coloniale" (pamphlet, November, 1789); other language 
to the same efiFect. 


1. The standard authority on Spanish San Domingo is Moreau de 
Saint-M^Ty, "Description de la Partie Espagnole de I'lsle Salnt- 
Domingue." (1780.) 

2. Roloff, "Die Kolonialpolitik Napoleons I*' (Munich, 1899), 87. 

3. For description, see ante^ pp. 1-^ 

4. Moreau de Saint-M6y, i, 103-06; Garran-Coulon, "Rapport sur 
les Troubles de Saint-Domingue, fait au nom de la Commission 
des Colonies, des Comity de Salut Public de Legislation, et de la 
Marine, r6unis** (official publication; 4 vols.; Paris, Year VI- 
1798), I, 33-34. 

5. Moreau de Saint-M^Ty, i, 506; n, 6-13; Garran-Coulon, i, 85. 

6. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, n, 320-406; De ^mpfiFen, "A Voyage to 
Saint-Domingo in the Years 1788, 1789 and 1790" (London, 1797; 
trans.), 206-07. 

7. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, n, 532-35. 

8. Garran-Coulon, i, 36. 

9. Vaissiire, 153. (MSS. data in the Archives des Colonies.) 

10. Sdout, "La Revolution k Saint-Domingue: Les CommiaBairea 
Sonthonax et Polverel" (Revue des Questions Hiatoriques* 

October, 1898), 400. 

11. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 106; n, 13; n, 533. 

12. Girod-Chantrans, "Voyage d*un Suisse dans les diflferentes Colo- 
nies de TAmdrique" (Neufchatel, 1785), 219. 

13. Vaissi^re, 279-80; Du Buisson, "Nouvelles Considerations aiir 
Saint-Domingue" (2 vob.; Paris, 1780), n, 9. 

14. Billiard d'Auberteuil, "Considerations sur I'etat present de la 
Colonic Fran^iise de Saint-Domingue" (2 vols.; Paria» 1776)» 
n, 1^-24. 

15. See bibliographical note on Billiard d'Auberteuil. 

16. Du Buisson, n, 8-9. 

17. Vaissiere, 278-79. 

18. Mills, "The Eariy Years of the French Revolution in Sao Do- 
mingo" (Ph.D. thesis, Cornell Univ., 1889), 21. 

19. Ibid., 22; Roloff, 6. 

20. Billiard d'Auberteuil, n, 11-13. Raynal, "Essai sur rAdministr^- 
tion de la Colonic de Saint-Domingue" (?: 1785), 145-46; Bois- 
sonnade, "Saint-Domingue k la Veille de la Revolution et la 
Question de la Representation Coloniale aux fitats Generauz" 
(Paris, 1906), 7. 

NOTES 355 

21. Viuan^ 181. 

22. Boissonnade, 6; Roloff, 6-7; Mills, 22. 

23. Mills, 23; also, RolofiF, 7. 

24. Roloff, 7; Mills, 22-23; Hilliard d'Auberteuil n, 2-18; Raynal, 

25. Boissonnade, 6-7. 

26. Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 17. 

27. Ibid., n, 2-18; Raynal, 145-46; Roloff, 7. 

28. Vaissi^i«, 108-14. 

29. Ibid., 181-52. 

80. D^schamps, "Les Colonies pendant la Revolution: la Constitu- 
ante et la R^orme Coloniale" (Paris, 1808), 11-18. 

31. Vaissi^re,115. 

32. VenaultdeCharmilly,"Lettie&BiyanEdwards" (London, 1707), 

33. D^schamps, &-10. 
84. Raynal, 223. 

35. D^schamps, 300 bis. (Appendix.) 

36. De Wimpffen, 69-73. 

87. D^schamps, 10-11. 

88. De Wimpffen, 211-12. 

39. Vaissi^re, 89-92. 

40. Boissonnade, 7. 

41. Roloff, 9; Mills, 14; Hilliard d'Auberteuil, i, 35-36. 

42. Boissonnade, 7. 

43. For a full discussion of these proposed reforms, see Daubigny: 
"Choiseul et la France d'Outiemer apr^ 1763." (Paris, 1892.) 

44. Mills, 25. 

45. Carteau, "Soirto Bermudiennes" (Bordeaux, 1802), 25-26. 

46. Vaissi^re, 85. 

47. Ibid., 86-87. 

48. Raynal, 177. 

49. Ibid., 171-72. 

50. Ibid., 177. 

51. Vaissi^ 112-14. 

52. De Wimpffen, 78. 
58. Mills, 9. 

54. Ibid, 

55. Leroy-Beaulicu, "De la ColomsaUon chez les Peuples Modemes** 
(4th ed.; Paris, 1891), 163-64. 

M. Peytraud, 448-^; Leroy-Beaulieu, 164. 

57. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 100. 

58. D^hamps, 4. 

59. Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 100. 

60. D6schamps, 5. (Official Report of August, 1791.) 


61. The figures for San Domingo are doubtfuL Leroy-Beanlieii't 
193 millions (p. 167) is far too hi^ The nearest figure is probftbly 
Mills's 176 millions (p. 11), thou^ his authority b doubtfoL 
Even this figure seems slightly high from other evicieaoe; see 
Treille, 24-25; Boissonnade, 19. 

62. Boissonnade, 19; D^sdiamps, 5-7; Mills, 18. 

63. Boissonnade, 20. 

64. D^hamps, 19-20; Boissonnade, 21. 

65. D^schamps, 7; 19-20; Boissonnade, 21. 

66. The best discussion is that of Ncmnand, "Le Facte Coloniale" 
(Doctor's thesis. Faculty de Droit, Fans, 1900). See also treatment 
in Leroy-Beaulieu. Both are based upon the leading economic 

67. Normand, 23. 

68. D^hamps, 21. 

69. Feytraud, 452-53. 

70. Normand, 49. 

71. D^hamps, 21-22; Roloff, 5. 

72. Feytraud, 76; Levasseur, 489. 

73. De Wimpffen, 72-77; 85-87; 276-77. 

74. Roloff, 5; Mills, 12. 

75. Mills. 12. 

76. Ibid., 12-13; Roloff, 5; Levasseur, 489. 

77. Levasseur, 489. 

78. Ibid., 489; Normand, 148. 

79. Normand, 148-49; Milb, IS; Roloff, 5-6; Levasseur, 489. 

80. D6schamps, 29-37. 

81. Boissonnade, 24. 

82. Ibid., 17. 


1. As already seen, not over forty thousand. This figure does not, 
however, include the garrison troops nor the sailors of the royal 
or merchant marine in the ports of the colony. These will be con- 
sidered later. 

2. Leroy-Beaulieu, 159. 

3. Although loose usage has since obscured its true meaning, the 
terra "Creole" has to do, not with race, but with birthplace. 
"Creole" means "one bom in the colonies." In the eighteenth 
century, this was perfectly clear. Whites were *' Creole" or "Eu- 
ropean "; negroes were "Creole" or "African." 

4. De Wimpffen. 65. 

5. Ililliard d'Auberteuil, ii, 33-35; 42-43; Moreau de Saint-M6ry, 
I. 9-11. 

NOTES 357 

6. miiard d'Auberteuil n, 44-45 

7. Du Buisson, n, IM. 

8. Boissonnade, 81. 

9. Raynal, 6. 

10. Garran-Coulon, i, 16. 

11. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 9. 

12. Leroy-Beaulieu, 184. 

18. This class will be discussed later. 

14. Vaissi^re, 78; De Wimpflfen. 81-82. 

15. Garran-Coulon, i, 10 (Barb^Marbois's figures). 

16. Vaissiire, 279; Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 18; Raynal, 5. 

17. Billiard d'Auberteuil, n. 42. 

18. These social traits will be discussed later. 

19. Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 45. 

20. Ibid., n, 85-86; Roloff, 7. 

21. Mills, 14. 

22. Leroy-Beaulieu, 155-60; P^ytraud, 12. 
28. Boissonnade, 81-82. 

24. Ibid, 

25. The rural gendarmerie. 

26. Vaissi^re, 98-152 (an extremdy full treatment of the subject). 

27. Ibid., 854-55. 

28. Mills, 27. 

29. Vaissi^re, 855-^. 

80. For clergy of other islands, see Leroy-Beaulieu, 160; Peytraud, 

81. Vaissi^re, 82. 

82. Raynal, 286. 
SS. Ibid., 236-87. 

84. De WimpfiFen, 280-81. 

85. Ibid., 281. 

86. Vaissi^re, 80. 

87. Ibid. (Like most of the quotations from this author, the above is 
drawn from the official correspondence in the Archives des Colonies.) 

88. Ibid., 81-82. 

89. Boissonnade, 82-88; Peytraud, 13; 270-71; Leroy-Beaulieu, 160- 
61; Milb, 14-15. 

40. Mills, 15; Vaissi^re. 104-06. 

41. Literally "small whites." 

42. See ante, p. 15. 

48. Peytraud, 4; 18-25; 270; 445-49; 455-57; Leroy-Beaulieu, 161-64; 

Vaissi^re, 52; 154. 
44. See Peytraud and Leroy-Beaulieu above; also the latter's remarks 

on Cuba and Porto Rico before development of slaver>' there, 

251-56; 269-70. 

858 NOTES 

45. A large proportion of these were Creoles. 

46. Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 4(Hbl; Roloff, 8. 

47. See letter of Governor Blanchdande to the German ColcMiy of 
Bombarde, Archives Nationales, D-xxv, 46; Bdasonnade, 81. 

48. Schoelcher, 5. (These play a not unimportant part in the Revolu- 
tionary disturbances, especially the Maltese demagogue Praloto 
at Port-au-Prince.) 

49. I have noted in lists of prisoners, deported persons, etc, pre s e rve d 
in the Archives Nationales, very many foreign names. Some are 
even Slav. 

50. Vaissiire, 888 (Police report of 1780, in Archives Coloniales). 

51. Ibid., 229; "D^sastres," 130-82; D^schamps, 18. 

52. Vaissiire, 229; "D^astres," 129-80. 

58. The regimente "Le Cap" and "Port-au-Prince." 

54. D^schamps, 800 bis. (Appendix.) 

55. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 8-^. 

56. Ibid., 1, 12; Vaissi^re, 801-02; Hilliard d' Auberteuil n, 45; Biills, 18. 

57. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 12; 16-17; Vaissi^ 806; De Wimpffen, 

58. Vaissi^re, 802-08; Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 81. 

59. Vaissi^re, 303. 

60. Ibid., 805. 

61. Ibid., 306. 

62. Moreau de Saint-M€ry, i, 18. 
68. Ibid., 1, 12-13. 

64. Ibid., I, 13; Vaissi^re, 305-06. 

65. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 12 (note); Vaissi^re, 306-07; and others. 

66. Vaissiire, 303-06; De Wimpffen, 268. 

67. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 15-16. Vaissi^re, 305-06. 

68. De Wimpffen, 264. 

69. Ibid., 268. 

70. Moreau de Saint-M€ry, i, 13-15; Vaissi^re, 808. 

71. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 17-21; Vaissi^re, 308-19; Hilliard 

d'Auberteuil, n, 31-32. 

72. Miss Hassal, "Secret History; or, the Horrors of San Domingo, in 
a series of Letters, written by a Lady at Cai>e Francois to Colond 
Burr, Late Vice-President of the United States. Principally during 
the Command of General Rochambeau " (Philadelphia,1808), 1^-20. 

73. Vaissi^re, 313-18; Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 20-21. 

74. Vaissi^re, 319-22; Moreau de Saint-Mfery, i, lfr-20. 

75. Vaissi^re, 61-62; also, see ante, p. 4. 

76. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 7-8. 
''77. The Peace of Utrecht, in 1714. 

78. Vaissi^re, 63. 

79. D^schamps, 4. 

NOTES 359 

80. Peytraud, 458. 

81. See anie^ pp. 16-18. 

82. Vaissi^, S5-S6; 68-69; Peytraud, 182-85. 
88. Peytraud, 458-59. 

84. Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 11. 

85. Ibid, 

86. Vaissi^re, 297. 

87. Ibid., 296. 

88. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 11. 

89. Vaisffl^re, 295. 

90. Du Buisson, n, 2-8; Moreau de Saint-M£ry, i, 11; Vaissi&re^ 800. 

91. Du Buisson, n, 4. 

92. Moreau de Saint-M^» i, 11. 
98. RaynaL 25. 

94. Ibid., 7. 

95. Yaisakre, 64-67. 

96. Ibid., 71. 

97. Ibid,, 72. 

98. Ibid., 72-73. 

99. Ibid., 78; 827; Moreau de Saint-M£ry, i, 10. 

100. Vaissidre, 884-87; Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 92-97. 

101. Vaissi^re, 327-50. 

102. Ibid., 287-05 (quoting several contemporary descriptions). 
108. De Wimpffen, 103. 

104. Ibid., 202. 

105. Vaissi^re, 279^80. 

106. Ibid., 282-86 (dtes instances of various types of plantation life» 
from contemporary accounts). 

107. Ibid., 280-82. 

108. Ibid., 823. 

109. Du Buisson,n,4-5; Billiard d'Auberteuil, 1,107; Vaissi^ 319-25. 

110. De Wimpffen, 117-18. 

111. Ibid., 118-19; Vaissi^re, 823-24. 

112. See the opening pages of Castonnet des Fosses, Dr. Magnac, and 
articles in various periodicals. 

113. See the effect produced by these accounts on Miss Hassal, in 1802 
(p. 18) ; and on Captain Rainsford, at about the same date (p. 104). 

114. De Wimpffen, 315-16. 


1. "Les Gens de Couleur Libres." This was not a euphemism, but 
the legal definition. 

2. See ante, pp. 8-9. 

3. That is, c^ mixed white and negro blood. 


4. Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 00; Hilliard d'Auberteuil n, 87-68; 
Roloff, 8. 

5. This will be brought out by the course of events. 

6. Peytraud, 196-207; Lebeau, 95-100; Vaissi^ 214-16. 

7. Vaisai^re, 216. 

8. Peytraud, 195-96. 

9. Ibid., 205. 

10. Mills, 19. 

11. Vaissi^ie, 834-37; Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 19-20; Lebeau, 93-M. 

12. Vaissi^re, 281-82. 

13. Ibid., 21. 

14. Moreau de Saint-M£ry, i, 68-69. 

15. Lebeau, 90-93; Vaissi^ 217. 

16. Vaissi^re, 76; 216-17; Peytraud, 197. 

17. Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 79. 

18. Vaissi^re, 221. 

19. Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 89. 

20. Vaissi^re, 219. 

21. Ibid., 219-20. 

22. Ibid., 220. 

23. Ibid., 221. 

24. Lebeau, 91-92. 

25. Peytraud, 205. 

26. In Louisiana and Bourbon: see Lebeau, 92. 

27. Lebeau, 92-93. 

28. Ibid., 19-21; Peytraud» 424. 

29. Hilliard d*Auberteuil, n, 79. 

80. Lebeau, 94. 

81. Hilliard d*Auberteuil, n, 79. (This in accordance with the Roman 
maxim, Parttu icquitur verUrem.) 

32. Lebeau. 3-4; Vaissidre, 221-22; P^ytraud, 425. 

33. Moreau de Samt-M6ry, i, 71-89. 

34. Peytraud. 422-23. 

35. Lebeau, 4. 

36. Lebeau, 9. 

37. That is, with agricultural implements; espedally with machetes. 

38. Carteau, 60-61. 

39. Vaissi^re, 228. 

40. Lebeau, 17-54; 92-94; Peytraud, 425-34; Vaissi^re, 224-27; Mills, 

41. Vaissi^re, 221-24; Peytraud, 423-25; Roloff, 8. 

42. Lebeau, 111-15. 

43. D^schamps, 18. 

44. Gouy d*Arcy, "Id^ Sommaires sur la Restoration de Saint- 
Domingue " (Paris, 1792), 8. 


45. "D^sastres," 180-81. 

46. Peytraud 48^-88; Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 74. 

47. "D^sastres," 181-82; Schoelcher. 5-6. 

48. Peytraud, 206. 

49. Vaisai^re, 229. 

50. Ibid., 224. 

51. Edwards, 2; Moreau de Saint-M^ry, i, 91. 

52. Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 90. 

58. Ilnd., u 92-97; Vaissi^ 884-87; Peytraud, 429-80. 

54. See ante, p. 88. 

55. Lebeau, 98-94. 

56. Gouy d*Arcy, 8; Moreau de Saint^M^, i, 17; Ibid., "Conaid4ra- 
tiona," 6-8. 

57. Peytraud, 401-21; Lebeau, 58-78; Hilliard d*Auberteuil i, 20-21; 
De Wimpffen, 14-15. 

58. Roloff.9. 

59. See ante, p. 87. 

60. Quoted in Peytraud» 484. 


1. Dischamps, 16 (quoting an economic writer of the later eighteenth 

2. Peytraud, vn-vm; 82-84; 148-44; 485-45; Leroy-Beaulieu, 164- 
65; 189-95; Ddschamps, 15-16. 

8. See ante, pp. 8-9. 

4. Semi-official estimates of 1788-B9 give 509,000. See Garran- 
Coulon, I, 15. 

5. Vaiasi^re, 164. 

6. Peytraud, 137. 

7. See ante, p. 8. 

8. Peytraud, 188. 

9. Ibid., 189. 

10. Moreau de Saint-M^ and Bryan Edwards, both careful contempo- 
rary writers, come independently to this conclusion. See Peytraud, 
141; Leroy-Beaulieu, 194. 

11. Mills, 20; Hilliard d'Auberteuil n. 68. 

12. Peytraud. 140. 

18. Hilliard d'Auberteuil n, 64; Peytraud, 218-88; Vaissi^ 165-69. 

14. Hilliard d*Auberteuil n, 64. 

15. Du Buisson, n, 48-44. 

16. Peytraud, 214-15; 287; 486^7. The fact was noted by colonial 
writers, but without drawing any conclusions. See Du Buisson, 
I, 72-78; Ducoeurjoly, i, 19. 

17. Leroy-Beaulieu, 195. 

S62 , NOTES 

18. Leroy-Beaulieu, 104. 

19. Peytraud 142 (quoting Wallon). 

20. The deficit of deven thousand peraonB previously quoted is oodp 
servative. Roloff states that fifteen thousand were needed to fill 
the gaps (pp. 8^). 

«1. Peytraud, 135-86. 

22. Vaissi^re, 164. 

23. Peytraud, 139. 

24. Vaissi^re, 164. The customs figures aie:1787» 31,000; ITSS^SO^OOO. 
These aie obviously too low. See Peytraud, 139. 

25. For a masterly account, see P^ytraud, 36-142; also Vaissi^ 

26. Peytraud, 35-76. 

27. D^schamps, 19. 

28. Boissonnade, 21. 

20. Treille, 26-30; Bdssonnade, 21; Dtehamps, 20. 

80. Peytraud, 77-105. 

81. Ibid., 106-28; Vaisndre, 15^-63. 

82. Hilliard d'Auberteuil, n, 68. 
88. Moreau de Saint-M£ry, i, 28. 

84. The best account b in Peytraud, 87-00. For more detuled treat- 
ment* see observations of Moreau de Saint-M£ry, i, 28-25, and off 
his contemporary Bryan Edwards, on the same types in Jamaica. 
They tally very closely. 

85. Peytraud, 90 (quoting a contemporary account). 

86. Ibid., 86. 

87. Moreau de Saint>M£ry, i, 85. 

88. Ibid., I, 40. 

80. DucoBurjoly, n, 22. 

40. Vaissi^re, 206. 

41. Ibid,, 20^-08; Garran-Coulon, n, 108-208. 

42. Garran-Coulon, n, 23-24. 

43. See Moreau de Saint-M4ry, i, 43-62; De Wimp£fen, 120-82; 
Ducceurjoly, i, 18-22; Hilliard d'Auberteuil, i, 133-36; Du Buis- 
son, h 71-75. 

44. De Wimpffen, 120-82. 

45. Peytraud, 171. 

46. Peytraud, 167-81; Moreau de Samt-M6ry, i, 35-86; Vaissi^^ 

47. Moreau de Saint-M£ry, i, 45-51; Vussi^re, 178-70; Peytraud, 294. 

48. See Sir Spencer St John, and Hesketh Pritchard*s "Where Black 
rules White." 

40. Vaissidre, 176-206; Edwards. 5; Hilliard d*Auberteml, i, 136. 

50f Peytraud. 216-18; 226-32. 

51. Vaissi^re, 160-80; 106-205; Peytraud, 216-41; Edwards. 5. 

NOTES 863 

52. Vaiasi^re, 168; Peytraud, 216; 00; Moreau de Saint-M^, i, 40. 

53. Peytraud, 214-16; 290-01; Vaissiire, 166-68. 

54. Peytiaud, 200. 

55. Vaissi^re, 180-81. 

56. Peytraud, 198-04. 

57. M. Schoelcher (quoted in Peytraud, 201). 

58. Peytraud, 201-08; Vaissi^re, 180-01. 
50. Vaiflsidre, 108-04. 

60. Peytraud, 144--I5; Vaissi^re, 182-83. 

61. The manuscript text of the "Code Noir" in the Colonial Archives 
is reproduced in full in Peytraud, 158-66. 

62. Peytraud, 140-57; Vaissi^re, 183. 

63. Vaissi^re, 185-86. 

64. Ibid., 105-205; Peytraud, 243; Edwards, 14-15. 

65. Vaissidre, 184-85. 

66. Ibid., 181. 

67. Ibid. 

68. Edwards, 13-14. 
60. Vaissidre, 188. 

70. Ibid., 18^-88 (entire aocoimt of the "Affaire Lejeune"). 

71. See ante, p. 61. 

72. Vaissi^ 234-35. 

73. Du Buisson, i, 77. 

74. Vaissidre, 235. 

75. Peytraud, 344. 

76. Garran-Coulon, i, 4. 

77. "Lettre au 'Patriote fran(^' par un ancien Offider cr£ol/* 
October 31, 1701. 

78. Charlevoix, m, 162. (He is strictly contemporary, for his book 
appeared only a few years after this event.) 

70. Ibid., m, 162-64; Levasseur, 302. 

80. At that time the most populous quarter of the colony. 

81. Vaissi^re, 232 (official quotation); also see Charlevoix, iv, 10. 

82. Vaissi^re, 232-33 (official quoUtion). 

83. "Lettre par unancien Officier cr^ol" (op. cii.). 

84. Vaissi^re, 236; "Lettre" (op. cii.). 

85. Vaissi^re, 237. 

86. Ibid., 238-45; 240-53; Peytraud, 817-^; Moreau de Saint-M£ry, 

87. Vaissi^re, 236-38; 245-40; "Lettre par un ancien Officier cr^l " 
(pp. cit.). 

88. In the year 1783. 
80. Vaissi^re, 220-30. 
00. De Wimpffen, 336. 

364 NOTES 


1. The Notables had met in Febniary and had been dtisolved in 
May, 1787. 

2. See ante, pp. 10-15 and 21-22. 

3. See ante, pp. 16 to 18. 

4. Boissonnade, 43-46. 
6. Ibid., 46-67. 

6. Ibid., 61-67. 

7. Ibid., 74-83. 

8. Ibid., 90. 

9. Ibid., 95. 

10. Ibid., 98-113; Mills, 27-28. 

11. Boissonnade, 113-125. 

12. The meeting of Vizille had been held in July; the Assembly of 
Romans in September. 

13. Boissonnade, 125. 

14. Ibid., 7-8. 

15. Ibid., 10-11; Garran-Coulon, i, 42; Mills, 40. 

16. Boissonnade, 126-27. 

17. Ibid., 127-28. 

18. Ibid., 69-71. 

19. Notably Voltaire, Rousseau, Turgot. (See Zimmermann, 249- 

20. Boissonnade, 37-38; Moreau de Saint-M^, "Considerations,** 

21. A French translation of the name of Clarkson*s society. 

22. D^schamps, 50-52; Boissonnade, 38-40; Edwards, 19-20. 

23. Moreau de Saint-M£ry, "Considerations,** 16. 

24. Ibid., 4. 

25. Ibid,, 4. 

26. Boissonnade, 71; Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Considerations,'* 8. 

27. Boissonnade, 71; Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Considerations,** 16. 

28. See ante, p. 70. 

29. Boissonnade, 70-71. 

30. Arch. Col, F. 16 (Letter of December 8, 1788). 

31. Boissonnade, 138-43. 

32. Ibid., 180-48. 

33. Ibid., 149. 

34. Venault de Charmilly, 48 (himself one of the protestants). 

35. Boissonnade, 149-67; Mills, 28-29; Garran-Coulon, i, 46. 

36. Boissonnade, 167-70; Mills, 29-30; Garran-Coulon, i, 47-48. 
87. Boissonnade, 187-88. 

38. Ibid., 192-95; Mills, 89-41. 

NOTES 365 

89. Boissonnade, 198^202. 

40. Ibid., 209-18. 

41. IM., 202-08. 

42. Ibid,, 213. 

48. D^schamps, 58-59. 

44. The 20th of June, 1789. 

45. Boissonnade, 214-88; D^hamps, 61-C6; Mills, 80-81. 

46. Boissonnade, 284-71; Mills, 81. 

47. D^schamps, 69. 

48. Ibid., 69-70. 

49. Boissonnade, 5-6; 278-74; Vaissi^re, 859-61. 

50. Roloff, 22-23. 

51. Quoted in Boissonnade, 274; and in Vaissiire, 860-61. 

52. Vaissi&re, 861. 


1. "Lettre 6crite par MM. les D^ut^ de Saint-Domingue k leur 
Constituans au Cap." (Pamphlet form; also mainly quoted in 
Gairan-Coulon, i, 116.) 

2. Mills, 84. 

8. Garran-Coulon, i, 57-59; Mills, 85; Ddschamps, 90. 

4. Mills, 85. 

5. This whole topic is exhaustively tieated in Brette, "Les Gens de 
Couleur Libres et leurs D^ut^ en 1789*'; in "La Revolution 
Fran^ise," xxix, 82^-45; 385-407 (1895); see also Boissonnade, 
172; Edwards, 20. 

6. Brette, 829-37; Mills, 85-86; Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Considera- 
tions," 8-9. 

7. Brette, 885-86; Mills, 85-86; Moieau de Saint-M^ry, "Considera- 
tions," 8-9. 

8. Deschamps, 78-79. 

9. De Curt, deputy for Guadeloupe. By this time the other French 
colonies had been given representation in the National As- 

10. Deschamps, 76-77; Garran-Coulon, i, 60-62; Mills, 50. 

11. Deschamps, 79-80. 

12. Treated in the next chapter. 

18. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Considerations," 17-29; Garran-Coulon, 
I, 126. 

14. Deschamps, 80-81; Garran-Coulon, i, 128. 

15. Deschamps, 90-91. 

16. The text of the decree may be found in Arch. Pari., xn, 78. 

17. For different comments on the decree, see Mills, 54; Deschamps, 
93; Edwards, 28-29. 


18. Mills, 54; Ddschamps, 92. 

19. D6achamps, 99-100; Mills, 56. 

20. Mills, 56. 


1. See ante, pp. 75-76. 

8. Mills, 41, 44; Gairan-Coulon, i, 71-72. 

8. Garran-Coulon, i, 73-74; "Dtestres," 189-10; MiDs, 41-42.' 

4. See anUt pp. 75-76. 

5. See ante, pp. 25-26. 

6. Mills, 41. 

7. Garran-Coulon, i, 80-81; "Dtestres," 140; Bfills, 44. 

8. Mills, 42. 

9. Garran-Coulon, i, 75-78; Bfills, 43; Scfaoelcher, 14-15; "D^ 
astres,** 141. 

10. Mills, 41; 47. 

11. "D^sastres,** 142-48; Garran-Coulon, i, 80-81; Mills, 48-40. 

12. Garran-Coulon, i, 80-88; Mills, 45-47; Scfaoelcher, 14-17; Dalmas^ 

13. Garran-Coulon, i, 88-00; Mills, 45-47. 

14. Garran-Coulon, i, 9(K-95; Mills, 52-53; Edwards, 25-26. 

15. Mills, 58. 

16. Boissonnade, 172-73; "Dtestres," 144. 

17. See ante, pp. 72-74. 

18. Ibid. 

19. Edwards, 21. 

20. MUls, 42. 

21. Letter of tfae local commandant of Maribarouz to the district com- 
mandant of Fort Dauphin, October 14, 1780, Arch. Col, F-8, 194. 

22. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Considerations," 17-29. 

23. Letter to La Lmseme, February 12, 1790, Arch. CoL, C-9, 164. 

24. Mills, 47-48; Garran-Coulon, i, 109-14. 

25. See ante, pp. 46-47. 

26. Lacroix, i, 21, 22; "D^sastres," 144; Gatereau, 22-28. 

27. Lacroix, i, 22-23; "Ddsastres," 145. 

28. "D^sastres,** 146; Edwards, 23. 

29. Lacroix, i, 24; Edwards, 24. 
SO. See ante, p. 46. 

31. Lacroix, i, 14-15. 

32. Ibid., 24HM;. 

33. "D^sastres," 145; Gatereau, 41-42. 

34. Roloff, 22-23. 

85. Lacroix, i, 25-28; Edwards, 65. 

NOTES 867 


1. Garran-Coulon, i, 161-65; Mills, 58. 

8. D^schamps, 175. 

8. Garran-Coulon, i, 170-75; Mills, 61; Edwards, 82-86. 

4. Garran-Coulon, i, 175-98; Dalmas, 45-47; Mills, 77-78; Edwards, 

5. See especially atUe, pp. 2-5. 

6. See ante, pp. 10-14. 

7. See ante, p. 88. 

8. That is, the hnigris, 

9. That is, the Clergy and the Vendtou. 

10. Garran-Coulon. i, 181-82. 

11. Mills, 78. 

12. "D^sastres," 148-^; Mills, 64-65. 
18. See arUey pp. 97-98. 

14. Mills, 58. 

15. "D^sasties,'* 146-48; Mills, 59; Garran-Coulon, i, 159-60. 

16. Garran-Coulon, i, 182-87. 

17. Mills, 62-65; Edwards, 87; Dahnas, 48-44; "Ddsastres," 152. 

18. "D^sasties," 151-52. 

19. Letter of June 21, 1790, Arch. Col., C-9, 164. 

20. Mills, 66-67; Garran-Coulon, i, 211-13. 

21. Garran-Coulon, i, 248-51; "D^sastres,** 158; Mills, 70. 

22. In September, 1789; see ante, p. 91. 
28. Garran-Coulon, i, 222. 

24. Ibid,, I, 221-^; Blills, 68; Edwards, 81-82. 

25. Edwards, 82. 

26. D^schamps, 800 bis. (Appendix.) 

27. Garran-Coulon, i, 78, 229. 

28. Ibid., I, 225-29; "D^sastres," 158. 

29. Garran-Coulon, i, 251^5; Mills, 70-71; Edwards, 87-88. 

80. That is, "Pompons Blancs." 

81. The most detailed account is by Governor Peynier himself, in his 
report of July 81 to the Minister of Marine, Arch. CoL, C-9, 164; 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46. De WimpfiPen, who was in Port^iu-Prince 
at the time, has left some interesting pages (888-40). See also 
Garran-Coulon, i, 248-51: "D^sastres," 154-55; Edwards, 89-40. 
Both sides later drew up justificatory memorials to the National 
Assembly; but these, together with other pamphlet literature, 
have as usual been digested by Garran-Coulon (mpra), 

82. Report of July 81, quoted above. 

88. MUls, 71-78; Garran-Coulon, i, 255-61; Edwards, 40. 

84. Gairan-CouloD, i, 262-69; "D^sastres," 154-57; Mills, 72-78. 

368 NOTES 

35. Mills, 73; Garran-Coulon, i, 269-72; "D^sastres," IS5-56. 

36. Garran-Coulon, i, 272-80; Mills, 83; "D^sastres,'' 156-67. 

37. D^schamps, 179-^0; Garran-Coulon, I, 313-18; Mills, 82-63. 

38. Garran-Coulon, i, 272-80; 293-97; Mills, 83. 
89. See ante, p. 8. 

40. The best account of affairs in the North is in the reports of Bforeaa 
de Saint-M6ry*8 special correspondent at Le Cap — due allowance 
being made for party bias, — Arch. Col., F-^, 195, 196. See also 
Garran-Coulon, i, 300-07; "D^sasties," 157-58; Dalmas, 67-68. 
See abo instructive letter of a "Patriot" inhabitant of the North 
to a friend in Paris (printed as a pamphlet now apparently very 
rare. Bib. Nat., LK-12, 296). 

41. De Wimpffen, 334. 

42. Garran-Coulon, u, 42-71; "D^sastres," 160-65; WSk, 86-00; 
Edwards, 44-55. 

43. See ante, p. 96. 

44. For the action of the Grovemment in the West, see official cor- 
respondence and Mauduit*s report. Arch. Col., C-0, 164. The 
treatment of this point in the various secondary worics is mostly 
doubtful conjecture. 

45. Lacroix, i, 64-65. 

46. See next chapter. 

47. Garran-Coulon, i, 281-89; Mills, 74-77; Edwards, 56-58. 

48. For this period, see official correspondence. Arch. CoL, C-9, 164, 
165; Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; also, the Moreau de Saint-M^ry cor- 
respondence above. Arch. Col., F-3, 196. This period is not tqeated 
in any published work. 

49. See Blanchelande*s report, March 13, 1791, Arch. Col., C-9, 165; 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; other official and semi-official papers 
summarized in Garran-Coulon, i, 332-43; see also "D^sastres,** 
169-71; Mills, 91-93. 

50. Garran-Coulon. i. 348-52; "D^sastres," 172-73. 

51. For this period, see Blanchelande's correspondence. Arch. CoL, 
C-9, 165; Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; Moreau de Saint-M6ry corre- 
spondence. Arch. Col., F-3, 196; also, Garran-Coulon, i, 848-62; 
Mills, 93-94 (very summary treatment). 


1. See ante, pp. 87-69. 

2. De Wimpffen, 49-51. 

3. That is, the General Assembly's "Constitutional Bases"; see 
ante, pp. 101-03. 

4. See ante, pp. 84-85. 

5. "Adresse de TAssemblde provinciale du Nord de Saint- 

NOTES 369 

Domingue k rAssembl^e Nationale.*' (Le Cap, July 13, 1790; 
oflBcial publication.) 

6. See arUe, pp. 105-108. 

7. Arch. Pari., xix, 569. 

8. Moreau de Saint-M^ry, "Considerations," 47-48. 

9. Edwards, 65-66; Dalxnas, 109-10. 

10. For text of this report, see Arch. Pari., xxv, 636 et seq. 

11. See anUy p. 118. 

12. The text of these debates, etc., may be found in Arch. Pari., xxv- 
xzvi, under dates of the 7th, and the 11th to 15th May. For brief 
accounts, see Ddschamps, 219-£8; Mills, 97-98. 

13. Letter to Minister of Marine, July 16, 1791, Arch. Col., C-9, 165. 

14. That is, on May 16. 

15. Arch. Pari., xxyi, 122. 

16. "Expose des motifs des Dtoets des 13 et 15 Mai sur T^tat des 
Personnes dans les Colonies." 

17. See ante, pp. 116-18. 

18. Letter to the Minister of Marine, July 8, 1791, Arch. Col., C-9, 

19. Letter of July 31, Arch. Col., C-9, 165. 

20. See especially, letter of the Procureur of the Conseil Supdrieure 
du Cap, and addresses of the North Provincial Assembly to the 
National Assembly and to the Eling, Arch. Nat., AD-vn, 16. 
Others quoted in Garran-Coulon, n, 111-20. 

21. Letter from Le Cap to Havre, July 5, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 78. 

22. Letter to a relative at Bordeaux, July 10, Arch. Nat., D-xzv, 78. 
28. Letter to Havre, July 12, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 78. 

24. Ibid. 

25. Garran-Coulon, n, 183-03; Edwards, 70-71; "D^sastres," 178-79. 


1. Letter of Blanchelande to the Minister of Marine, September 2, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; also see good account in Edwards, 72. 

2. See ante, pp. 94-95. 

3. Letter of October 1, 1789, Garran-Coulon, n, 195. 

4. Garran-Coulon, n, 195-96. 

5. Castonnet des Fosses, 81-82. 

6. Garran-Coulon, n, 207-08 (another similar letter quoted). 

7. Ibid., n, 211-12 (quoting the words of one of the prisoners). 

8. Garran-Coulon, n, 210-11; Lacroix, i, 88-89. 

9. See ante, pp. 62-67. 

10. "D^sastres," 183; Edwards, 88. 

11. Garron-Coulon, n, 210. 

12. Castonnet des Fosses, 82-83; Schodcher, 30-31. 

870 NOTES 

13. Edwards, 79-75; "Dtestres," 189-80; Sdout, 41S-14; Castomiet 
des Fosses, 83-B4. History curiously repeats itsdf. At least one 
similar outrage occurred during the late negro rinng in Cuba 
(province of Oriente), in the spring of 1912. 

14. Edwards, 74-75; Sdout, 413. 

15. Garran-Coulon, n, 213-14; Edwards, 78-79. 

16. Carteau, 87-88. 

17. E!dwards, vii. 

18. I have here specially in mind the region of Martinique devastated 
by that great eruption of Mont Pel^ on May 8, 1902, whidi de- 
stroyed the city ojf Saint-Pierre. The contrast between the utter 
desolation of the lava-scorched fire-cone and the luxuriant vege- 
tation of the surrounding hills was extraordinary in the extreme. 

19. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, i, 491-92. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Letter of September 2, 1791, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46. 

22. See ante, pp. 25-26. 

23. Garran-Coulon, n, 217-18; Edwards, 77-78. 

24. Blanchelande to the Minister of Marine, September 18, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 46. 

25 Blanchelande*s correspondence through September and Octo- 
ber, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; Edwards, 78; Lacroix, i, 105-06; 
Sdout, 413. 

26. Edwards, 82-83. 

27. It must be remembered that Ekiwards was an eye-witness of these 
early months of the insurrection, and is therefore high authority. 

28. Letter of a British officer, dated September 24, 1791, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 79; see also numerous letters of colonists, merchant ci^ 
tains, etc., preserved in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 78, 79, 87. 

29. Letter of the Colonial Assembly to its commissioners at Parii^ 
November 12, 1791, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

30. Lacroix, i, 106-07; Sciout, 413-16. 

31. Blanchelande*s correspondence; especially letter of November 16, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; the best account of these expeditions is 
found in a series of letters from a militia officer to a friend in 
Le Cap, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 87. 

32. Private letter from Le Borgne, November 9, 1791, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 79. 

33. "Tableau des fivdnemens qui ont eu lieu dans la Paroisse du T^oa 
depuis la R6volte des N^gres," Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 78. 

34. See ante, p. 130. 

35. Garran-Coulon, n, 258-60. 
86. "Dfoastres," 192. 

37. Remember the chronic mcaroruige and revolts under the Old 
Regime; see ante, pp. 62-67. 


88. Garran-Coulon, n, 194-06; 209-12; 264-66. 

39. Arch. Pari., xxxvn, 222 et seq. (report of January 11, 1792). 

40. This is the thesb of Edwards, 87-93; and Governor Blanchelande 
suspected them at the time: see especially his letter of September 
2, 1791, Arch. Nat., I>-xxv, 46; see also Moreau de Saint-M6ry 
correspondence. Arch. Col., F-8, 197. 

41. Carteau, 75-76. 

42. See arUe, pp. 113-114. 

43. BlancheUnde to the Minister of Marine, March 13, 1790, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 46. 

44. Garran-Coulon, n, 208. 

45. Report of January 11, 1792, quoted iupra. 

46. "Ddsastres," 190-95; Carteau, 71-85; Lacroiz, i, 101-11. 

47. Garran-Coulon, n, 209-10; 264-66. 

48. Ibid., n, 258; "D^sastres," 194-95; Lacroiz, i, 108-11. 

49. See Blanchelande's correspondence. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; 
Moreau de Saint-M^ry correspondence. Arch. Col., F-3, 197; also 
very interesting private letter of November 22, 1791, from Le 
Cap, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 87; see also Garran-Coulon, u, 237-38; 
Lacroix, i, 104; Dalmas, 151-53. 

50. De Wimpffen, 335-86; to the same effect, see Carteau, 74-75. 

51. See neait chapter. 


1. Garran-Coulon, n, 125-38; "D^sastres," 180-81; Edwards, 71-72. 

2. Letter of one Labuissonnidre to J. Raymond, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 

3. See ante, pp. 113-14. 

4. Garran-Coulon, i, 348-58. 

5. Ibid., n, 189-41. 

6. Garran-Coulon, n, 104. 

7. Ibid., n, 142-43. 

8. Ibid., n, 142-43; Lacroiz, i, 116. 

9. Garran-Coulon, ii, 144-46; Edwards, 84-85; '^D^sastres,'* 201- 

10. Letter of M. de Coigne, September 21, 1791, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 

11. The Colonial Assembly to its commissioners at Paris, October 2, 
1791, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62; see also scepUcal opinion of Civil 
Commissioner Roume in his comment to the National Assembly 
on the real value of this and subsequent Concordats: note, dated 
April 20, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 2. 

12. Letter of Labadie to J. Raymond, the mulatto leader at FaxiB, 
July 9, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 114. 

872 NOTES 

13. The popular mmucipttUtiei were ercrywliere wippim e d L and 
power restored to the old King's officers* who^ d coiine» were 
De Jumecourt's followers. See BUnrhrUnde's corre^Modenoe; 
espedaUy letter of October 22, 1791, Arch. Nat. D-xxv, 40; 
General Assembly's letter to its commissioners, October 10» 170]« 
Arch. Nat., Drxxv, 62; also, an interesting letter from their Port- 
au-Prince business correspondent to Dacosta Frires ol Nantes. 
November 8, 1791, Arch. Nat, I>-xzy, 79. 

14. It must be remembered that no decree went into effect until after 
the arrival of the formal document: this the mere news always 

15. See oorrespondenoe between Blanchdande and De Jumeooort* 
Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 46. 

16. Letter of a merchant in Portrau-Prince to a merchant in Nantes^ 
Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 87. 

17. Garran-Coulon, n, 146-58. 

18. See ante, pp. 121-22. 

19. Garran-Coulon, n, 269-80; for numerous addresses still p r eser v e d, 
see Arch. Nat, AD-vn, 16. 

20. For various comments on the decree, see Ddschamps, 282-289; 
Edwards, 95-96; Garran-Coulon, u: 280-81. 

21. Edwards, 96-97. 

22. See letter of Blanchelande, December 17, D-xxv, 46; veiy inters 
esting letter from a major of National Guards to a relative in 
France, December 17, Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 87; another private 
letter of December 17, Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 79; various pieces 
of ex parte testimony summarized in Garran-Coulon, n, 157-76. 

23. Lacroiz, i, 194; Schoelcher, 63. 

24. Letter of the Colonial Assembly to its commissioners, January 
28, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62; Sciout, 420; "D^sastres," 

25. Letter of January 28, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. These hide- 
ous practices seem to have been frequently perpetrated by the 
mulattoes in all parts of the colony. For a similar and perhi^ 
even more horrible instance, see the case of the S^joum^ family, 
Edwards, 98; "D^sastres," 212; for similar instances in the South, 
see letter of a merchant of Les Cayes to a relative at Nantes, 
January 10, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 87; deposition of a merchant 
captain from Les Cayes, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 79. For similar 
atrocities of the mulatto leader Candy in the North, see letter of 
the Colonial Assembly, October 6, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62; other 
atrocities, taken from the Arch. Nat., in Sciout 415-21. 

26. Deposition sent to the Minister of Marine, Arch. Nat., D-xzv» 

27. Edwards, 98. 


28. See files of Blanchelande's correspondence. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 
46; of the Colonial Assembly's correspondence with its commis- 
sioners. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62; also several good private letters, 
depositions of merchant captains, etc.. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 79, 87. 


1. Garran-Coulon, n, 74-81; also several documents on this point in 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 87. 

2. Garran-Coulon, n, 802-03. 
8. Ibid., 808-04. 

4. The Commissioners to the Biinister of Marine, November 29, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

5. Ibid. 

6. The Colonial Assembly to its commissioners at Paris, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 62. 

7. The Civil Commissioners to the Minister of Marine, December 
28, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

8. Quite without foundation. 

9. Letter of Jean-Frangois and Biassou to the CivO Commissioners, 
December 9, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. This and subsequent letters 
from the negro leaders are evidently written by mulattoes or by 
white priests, the negro leaders being illiterate. 

10. That is, from Africa. 

11. Letter of Jean - Francois and Biassou to the Commissioners, 
December 12, 1791, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

12. Letter of the Commissioners to the Minister of Marine, Dec. 28, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

18. Letter of December 29, Arch. Col., F-8, 197. See also similar 
letter of an Assemblyman to the Commissioners, December 15, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1; and similar language in the Colonial 
Assembly's justificatory memoir to the National Assembly, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 47. 

14. Besides the original documents quoted above, see Garran-Coulon, 
n, 808-21 ; Lacroix, i, 147-57. Neither mentions the extraordinary 
offer made on December 12 by the negro leaders to reduce their 
followers to slavery in return for personal liberty, although this 
would seem to be the vital point in the whole affair. Lacroix was 
undoubtedly ignorant of this letter's existence. Garran-Coulon 
must have kno^n of it, but suppressed it. This is one of his numer- 
ous "sins of omission," against which one must be continually on 
one's guard. 

15. Letter to the Minister of *Marine, January 25, 1792, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 46. 

16. Letter of February 20, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

374 NOTES 

17. Memoir quoted above. Arch. Nat., D-zxv, 47. 

18. Letter to the Minister of Marine, January 25, 1798* Arch. Nati» 
D-xxv, 4k6, for events above narrated, see correspondence ol 
Blanchelande, the Civil Commissioners and the Colonial As- 
sembly; also Garran-Coulon, n, 825-28. 

19. Letter to the Mimster of Marine, December 28, 1791, Arch. Nat^ 
D-xxv, 1. 

20. Mirbeck*s report to the National Assembly, May 26, 1792, Arch. 
Pari., xuv, 189 el seq,; also reflections by Roume, April, 1792, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

21. Mirbeck*s report, supra. 

22. See ante, pp. 151, 152. 

28. Letter of January, 1792, Garran-Coulon, n, 427-28. 

24. Correspondence of the Commissioners with the Confederates and 
with Port-au-Prince, in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1-2; see also Garran- 
Coulon, n, 455-70. 

25. Saint-Leger's correspondence with his colleagues and with the 
Minister of Marine, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1-2; also, Garran-Coulon, 
n. 470-72; 487-92. 

26. Saint-Leger*s correspondence above. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1-2; 
Garran-Coulon, n, 472-506. 

27. See ante, p. 159. 

28. Saint-Leger*s correspondence with his colleagues and with the 
Minister of Marine, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 2; also, letter of the Colo- 
nial Assembly to its conmussioners, April 21, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 
62; see also Garran-Coulon, n, 509-15. 

29. See ante, p. 158. 

80. Letter of a private person from Le Cap, spring of 1792, Arch. Col., 
F-8, 197. 

81. Letter dated March 7, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 88. 

82. Mirbeck's report, eupra, 

88. That is, the military mutiny at Port-au-Prince, March 4, 1701; 
see ante, p. 118. 

84. Blanchdande*s letter to the Minister of Marine, April 1, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 46; also his letter of April 21, ibid. ; the Commis- 
sioners' report to the Minister of Marine, April 2, Arch. Nat^ 
D-xxv, 2; Mirbeck's report, supra. 

85. Mirbeck*s report, supra; Roume to the AdQnister of Marine, April 
2. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 2. 

86. See ante, pp. 107-08. 

87. That is, the "Ugislatif." 

88. Roume's correspondence with the Minister of Marine, Arch. NaU 
D-xxv, 2; Garran-Coulon, n, 406-18. 

NOTES 875 


1. D^schamps, 289-40. 

2. Blanchelande to the Minister of Marine, September 8, Arch. Nat.» 
D-xxv, 46. 

S. The CommissionerB to the Minister of Marine, November 29, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

4. The Colonial Assembly to the National Assembly, February 20, 
1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

5. The Commissioners to the Minister of Marine, February 20, 1792, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1. 

6. The "Amis des Noirs" were by that time almost synonymous 
with the Jacobins; the two societies were being rapidly purged of 
moderate members in the manner already related of the Jacobins. 

7. Speech of December S, 1791, Arch. Pari., xxxv, 536. 

8. See almost any volume of the Arch. Pari, after xxxm. A large 
number of petitions, etc., preserved in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 79. 

9. For particularly flagrant instances, see session of December 8, 
Arch. Pari., xxxv, 585 ei seq, ; session of February 10, 1792, Arch. 
Pari., xxxvm, 854 el seq. 

10. Blanchelande to the Minister of Marine, January 25, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 46. 

11. See files of correspondence in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 1, 46 and 62, 

12. The entire correspondence on both sides is preserved in Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 62. As it was strictly confidential in character, it 
is very valuable. I have already made much use of it in the previ- 
ous chapters on affairs in San Domingo for late 1791 and early 

13. For this point, see Arch. Pari., xxxv-xxxvi, especially debates 
of early December. 

14. See especially letter of the Colonial Assembly's commissioners, 
February 26, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

15. Arch. Pari., xxxvn, 222 ei seq. 

16. Letter to the Colonial Assembly, February 14, Arch. Nat., D-xxy, 

17. See ante, p. 158. 

18. Mirbeck's report to the National Assembly, Arch. Pari., xuv, 
139 ei seq. 

19. "La Question politique des Affranchis," Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 118. 

20. See also interesting letter by another Assemblyman, January 31, 
1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 88. 

21. J. Raymond to friends in San Domingo, June 18, 1792, Arch. Nat.» 
D-xxv, 18. 

876 NOTES 

22. For debates, see Aidi. Pari., xl, under dates 21st to 28th Maich* 
1792; see also Garran-Coulon's account, he himself being one ol 
the princ^Mil advocates of the measure, m, 4-25. 

23. Text of the decree in .\rch. Pari., xl, 577 et geq. 

24. These articles will be discussed in the next diapter. 

25. That is, Guadeloupe and Martinique. 

26. Letter of March 26, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

27. Letter of one Barillon to a friend in Paris, Arch. Nat^ D-zxv, 70. 

28. Letter of May 13, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 
20. Letter of June 7, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

SO. Blanchelande to the Minister of Marine, May 18, Arch. Nat.» 

D-xxv, 46. 
81. Letter of June 18, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 13. 

32. Letter to J. Raymond at Paris, Aquin, July 18, Arch. Nat.* D-xxv, 

33. Roume to the Minister of Marine, June 0, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 2. 
84. On this point, see Garran-Coulon, m, 3^-44; "D^sasties," 228-20. 

35. The Assembly to its Paris commissioners. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

36. Roume to the Minister of Marine, June 0, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 2. 

37. That is, in late March, 1702; see ante, pp. 160-61. 

38. See correspondence of Blanchelande, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; and 
of the Colonial Assembly to its commissioners. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 
62 (months of April and May). 

30. Thb document still exists in duplicate in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 111. 

40. Garran-Coulon, in, 71-78. 

41. Lacroix. i, 182-83. 

42. It must be remembered that news of the new law did not reach 
Le Cap until the 11th of May. 

43. Roume to the Council of Peace and Union, May 0, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 2. (Note that this was written only two days before the 
decisive news from France.) See also letter to the Parish of 
Le Borgne, May 8, Arch. Col., F-3, 107. 

44. Roume to the Minister of Marine, July 11, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 2. 

45. See Roume*s and Blanchelande's correspondence. Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 2and 46; also, Garran-Coulon, m, 78-08; Lacroix,!, 181-08. 

46. See Blanchelande's correspondence. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46; 
Garran-Coulon, n, 571-600; m, 101-16; Lacroix, i, 103-07; good 
short account of the military operations in Poyen, 17-10. 


1. See text of the law in Arch. Pari., xl, 577 el »eq, 

2. Text in Arch. Pari., xlv, 235 et seq. 

3. See corres|>ondence with the Colonial Assembly for April, May, 
and June, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 62. 

NOTES 377 

4. Garran-Coulon, m, 128-29 (himself very prominent in all these 

5. See ante, pp. 173-77. 

6. See letter of the Colonial Commissioners, April 24, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 62. 

7. He was bom in the Bugey. 

8. In Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 11. 

9. Garran-Coulon, m, 131. 

10. Letter of June 18, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 13. 

11. Letter of Cougnac-Mion to the Colonial Assembly, July 20, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 11. 

12. See especially, Polverel to the Minister of Marine, January, 1793, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 11. 

13. " M^moire du Roy pour servir d'Instruction auz Sieurs Polverel, 
Sonthonax et Ailhaud, Commissaires Civib pr^pos^ k Tex^cution 
de la Loi du 4 Avril 4 Saintp-Domingue," 17 June, 1792, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 4. 

14. The Civil Commissioners to the Minister of Marine, September 
80, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 4. 

15. Letter of September SO, supra. For these and subsequent differ- 
ences between the Civil Commissioners and Desparb^, see Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 4 and 47. 

16. The new title given to the head of the civil administration, cor- 
responding to the Intendant of the Old Regime. 

17. These documents are all in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 4. 

18. See Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 4. Extracts of all the speeches on this 
occasion are quoted in Garran-Coulon, ni, and in Sciout. 

19. See supra, 

20. Ibid, 

21. The Commissioners to the Minister of Marine, September SO, 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 4. 

22. See ante, pp. 162-63. 

23. " Les Amis de la Constitution " ; later " Les Amis de la Convention." 

24. The sarcastic nickname given by the colonial whites to the 
mulattoes and free negroes decreed equality by the new law. 

25. See various papers in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 4. 

26. Papers of trial of Blanchelande in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 46-47. 

27. Garran-Coulon, in, 139-40. 

28. At Martinique, it will be remembered, the Old Regime had been 
restored for the past two years. 

29. The name commonly given the negro insurgents. 

SO. Letter to the Civil Conmiissioners, Plaisance, October 14, Arch. 

Nat., D-xxv. 80. 
31. Memoir of Adjutant-General Lacombe,Aff.£tr,"F.D.," "Am6r- 

ique," 14. 

878 NOTES 

82. Documents on this a£Pair in Arch. Nat., D-xxr, 4, 47, 56. Soo- 
thonax*8 report to the Convention, October 25 (Arch. Nat^ 
D-xxY, 4), b an extraordinary garbling of the facta, and is quite 
worthless. Lacombe's memoir {supra) is better, bat is couched in 
the same vein and should be used with great caution. Garnm- 
Coulon's Account (m, 176-94) is partisan and unreliaUe. This is 
true of his entire treatment of the second Civil Commissionen^ 
with whom he was closely involved. 


1. The son of the French general so famous in the American War 
of Independence. 

2. Letter of October 25, Aidi. Nat, D-xxv, 4. 
S. See ante, p. 180. 

4. All the papers of this case are preserved in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 4. 

5. For Polverd's journey and its consequences, see next chi4>ter. 

6. Good summary of these military operations in Poyen* 28. 

7. This striking expression is first used by Sonthonax in his letter 
to the Convention of Januaiy 11, 1708, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5. 
Thereafter he uses it constantly to describe the white population 
of San Domingo. 

8. The minutes of the "Commission Interm^diaire" are partly pre- 
served in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 68, 64. 

0. Polverel to Sonthonax, Port^iu-Prinoe, December 14, 1702; 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 12. 

10. Sonthonax to Polverel, December 28, Arch. Nat., D-xxr, 12. 

11. For these troubles, see Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5, 11, 14, 50. The num- 
ber of documents is very large; summary in Sciout, 482-85; Gar- 
raurCoulon, in, 227-87. 

12. A good picture of conditions is found in '^Dtestres," 259-54; 

18. Sonthonax to the Minister of Marine, December 8, Arch. Col., 
C-0, 166. 

14. Sonthonax to the Convention, December 81, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5. 

15. Ibid., January 11, 1708, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5. 

16. See next chapter. 

17. Sonthonax to the Convention, February 0, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5. 

18. France had declared war on England February 1, but of course 
Sonthonax was not yet aware of the fact. 

10. Letter of February 18, Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 5. 

20. See ante, pp. 188-80. 

21. Speech of December 2, 1701, Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 5. 

22. Sonthonax to the Convention, February 18, Arch. Nat., D-xxv. 5. 

NOTES 879 


1. Polverel and Aflhaud to the Convention, November 14, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 11. 

2. Besides the official report above quoted, see Garran-Coulon, in, 

8. Letter of November 14, supra, 

4. That is, the Plain of Cul-de-Sac, in rear of Port^u-Prince. 
6. Polverd and Ailhaud to Sonthonaz, November 14, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 12. 

6. See anie, pp. 108-200. 

7. A port town farther to the south, where similar conditions pre- 

8. Polverel to Sonthonax, December 14, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 12; see 
also detailed memoir of General Lasalle to the Convention, Feb- 
ruary 16, 1798, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 60. 

9. See ante, pp. 100-61. 

10. Letter dated November 80, 1792, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 80. 

11. The Convention severely reprimanded Ailhaud and tried him for 
desertion, but finally contemptuously dismissed him. Documents 
of trial. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 12. 

12. That is, the plain back of Les Cayes. 

18. Polverel to the Minister of Marine, Januaiy 22, 1798, Arch. Nat., 

D-xxv, 11. 
14. Garran-Coulon, m, 296-99. 
16. See ante, p. 68. 

16. Composed nuunly of mulattoes with white officers. 

17. See memoir of Adjutant-General Laoombe, A£f. £tr., "F.D., 
" Am^rique," 14; Garran-Coulon, ni, 299-816. 

18. See ante, p. 206. 

19. Sonthonax to the lifinister of Marine, March 10, Arch. Nat, 
D-xxv, 6. 

20. Garran-Coulon, m, 820. 

21. Sonthonax to the Convention, June 18, 1798, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 6. 

22. For thb whole affair, see the Conunissioners' correspondence and 
other papers. Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 6; also large numbers of docu- 
ments in Arch. Nat., D-xxv 16; with due precaution, see ac- 
count in Garran-Coulon, m, 817-69. 

28. The mails were by this time so systematically violated that only 

letters by private hands give real information. 
24. Letter from Port-au-Prince dated April 24, 1798, Arch. Nat., 

D-xxv, 80. 
26. Rigaud to the Civil Conmiiadoners, June 24, Arch. Nat, D-xxv, 



880 NOTES 


1. Laveam to SonthomiT, Maicli 1, 1793, Ardi. Nat^ D-ZXT» 19. 

2. Ihid^ \fardi 9, Arch. NaU D-xxv, 19. 
8. Ihid^ \fardi 18, Arch. NaU D-xxr, 19. 
4. Ihid^ 3iarcfa 29, Arch. Nat., D-zxr, 19. 

6. France had declared war on RngUnH Febmazy 1, and oo Spain 
March 7, 1793. 

6. "M^moire en forme dlnstructions donn^es par le Cooseil £x^ 
cutif Provisoire,'' Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 47. 

7. Deposition of Madame Galband. Ju^r 18, 1794 (30th Meandor, 
An II). Her evidence is all the more valuable since it was given 
as a prisoner of the Committee of Public Safety. Galbaiid*s own 
official account, together with his oorrespondenoe, is preserved in 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 47, 48. 

8. The Commissioners to the Commission IntermAdiaire^ May 89, 
Arch. Nat., D~xxv, 5. 

9. Madame Galbaud*s deposition, supm. 

10. The documentary material on the destruction of Le Cap is enor- 
mous. The accounts of Gralbaud and other officers are in Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 47, 48; the Commissioners* oorrespondenoe is in 
D-xxv, 5, 0; their official relation (practically worthtess) in D-xxv, 
6; a large dossier of documents in D-xxv, 19. Lastly, an enormous 
collection of letters, etc., from refugees and other perscMis is in 
D-xxv, 79-84. The best printed account is in Sciout, 445H19 (based 
on the above material); a good short account is in Poyen, 31-33. 
Garran-Coulon's treatment(iii, 423-84) is meretridoiis special 
pleading and absolutely unreliable. 

IL Lasalle to the Ck>nseflEz^cutif (report), Aff.fitr./'FJ).,'* '*Aiii£i^ 
ique," 14. 

12. Carteau, 4-5. 


1. See anle^ p. 6. 

2. Sonthonax to the Convention, July 10, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 6. 

3. Ibid., July 30, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5. 

4. '* Pour la Nouvelle Angleterre." This was a general term applied 
to the whole coast of the United States. 

5. Letter to a friend in France, July 24, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 80. 

6. Carteau, 5. 

7. Ibid., 232. 

8. This last statement is wholly untrue. Text of this proclamation 
preserved in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5; printed in Sciout, 448, and in 
Garran-Coulon, iv, 39. 

NOTES 881 

0. Text printed in Garran-Coulon, iv, 40. 

10. Report to the Conseil Ex^cutif, Aff. fitr^ "F.D.»" "Am^rique/* 

11. Sonthonax to the G>nyention, July 30, Arch. Nat., D-xxy, 5. 

12. Most of the text is printed in Gamm-Coulon, iv, 50-64. 

13. Sonthonax to the Convention, September 9, 1793, Arch. Nat., 
D-xxv, 6. 

14. Sonthonax to Polverel, September 3, Arch. Nat., D-xxy, 5. 

16. See Polverel*8 correspondence with Sonthonax, Arch. Nat., D-xxv; 
5; and with his agent Delpech in the South, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 18. 
Good summary of this point in Sciout* 458. 

16. Lacroix, i, 252. 

17. Ibid., h 253. 

18. One of the regulations made by the Civil Commissioners. 

19. Letter from Tortuga to a relative in France, early 1794, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 30. Much information as to the effect of enfranchise- 
ment and the working of labor regulations is found in the great 
collection of documents by parishes in Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 28-^80; 
printed accounts in Carteau, 238-40; Lacroix, i, 251-62. 

20. Carteau, 289-40. 

21. Ibid., 242. 


1. See ante, pp. 124-26. 

2. Ekiwards, vu. 
8. 7^., ix-x. 

4. Letter to I'Archevesque Thibault at Paris, September 5, 1701; 
Garran-Coulon, m, 16-17. 

5. Text printed in Garran-Coulon, iv, 128-32; also in Edwards: 
summarized in Sciout, 458-^9. The entire history of the English 
intervention is treated in Edwards with a considerable amount of 
local deUul. It is summarized in Rainsford. The French side, up 
to 1795, is given in detail by GarranrCoulon, nr, though his ac- 
count must be read with the usual caution. The main facts are 
accurately summarized in Poyen, 86 et seq. 

6. That is, mulatto and negro troops. 

7. Polverel to Sonthonax, August 26, Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 5. 

8. It must be remembered that these districts contained the largest 
rural white population of the colony. For details, see Garran- 
Coulon, IV, 186-48. 

9. Lasalle to the Conseil Ex6cutif, September 5, Aff. £tr., "F.D.,** 
"Am6rique," 14. 

10. Quoted in Lacroix, i, 278. 

11. Laveaux to Sonthonax, "M^moire sur T^tat des troupes europ^ 

882 NOTES 

Sfptfinbcy 10, Azcil Nst-^ I/^zzTy 19. Sec ■■uuf icputls 

bj General LsMlle to the CookA BW^^wfif^ Sqytanbcr 6^ Af. 

fitr^ '^F.D^'* '^AmMpie,'* 14; uid to the Mimrtcr ol War. Aidk. 

Gncfret i» "St. D.*** a« Cufrcipoiidaiipe. 
U. LaTcanz to Soothonaz, October 4, Ardi. NaL, D-ZZT, 19. 
IS. Pohrefd to Soothonaz, December 1, Ardi. Nat, D-zxr, 12. Son- 

thooax waa at tlut tnne in the hmtcriaiid of the West tzying to 

14. PolTeiel to Soothonaz, January 82, ITM^ Ardi. Nat., D-xxr, 12. 

1^. Note that moe these are all intercepted letters they form but a 
fraction of a much more nnmeroos correipondenoe between the 
mnUttoes of the En^di and the Bepnblican cfiatricta. 

16. Letter of the early apmg of ITM^ Ardi. NaL, D-zzr. 98. 

17. Letter dated Uogane, March 15, ITM^ Ardi. Nat., D-xxr, 88w 

18. Ardi. Part, ixnc» 90. 

10. Letter dated October 24, 1709, Arch. Nat., D-zzT, 98. 

20. Text printed in Garran-Cocdon, nr, 107-00. 

21. Carteao, zzL ' 

22. Carteao, zzii-zrv'. 

29. The Ardiivef Parlementairet do not yet go beyond Angost, 1709. 
For further proceedingB of the National Le^datnres, see reports 
in the "Moniieur OflkieL" Most of the inqrartant debates, 
reports, etc, were printed in pamphlet form, and are preserved 
in the "Collection Camus," Arch. Nat., AD-xnn C. 

24. "Moniteur Offidd," stance du 15 Fluvidse, An XL 

25. Ihid,, stance du 16 Fluvidse, An 11. 

26. Rigaud to Pdverd, Fdbruary 26, 1704, Ardi. Nat., D-xxr, 28. 

27. For these troubles, see Garran-Coulon, iv, 105-295; snmmary in 
Castonnet des Fosses, 144-«6. 

28. For French accounts, see Pqyen, 98-90; Castonnet des Fosses, 
148-50; for the F«nglish side, see Edwards, svpro. 


1. Toussunt's handwriting remained always crude. Hie autograph 
memorials to Ni^X)leon during his a^vity are barely legible. 

2. Most of what has been written on Toussaint'seariy life is legend or 
invention. The analysis and discussion of this material pertains 
to a biography and is not germane to a general work like this. Tlie 
essential facts regarding Toussaint'seariy days are best presented 
in Castonnet des Fosses, 157; see also Poyen, 41-42. 

8. Garran-Coulon, n, 819. 

4. See ante, p. 222. 

5. Poyen. 49-47. 

6. February 4, 1704. 


7. Lacroiz« i, 890-800; Castonnet des Foeses, 158-59; Poyen, 47. 

8. LacToix, I, 801. 

9. Toussaint Louverture to Laveaux, Biay 18, 1794, Bib. Nat., 
D^pt. des MSS., "Fonda Fr.," 12102; quoted in fuU by Schoelcher, 
98-100. He has quoted all the essential parts of this correspond- 
ence under the heading, "Papiers de SaintpDomingue," and I 
shaU cite him when quoting from this correspondence. 

10. Schoelcher, 102-09; Poyen, 48-50; Castonnet des Fosses, 160; 
Lacroix, i, 802. 

11. The Commissioners to Toussaint Louverture, June, 1794, Arch. 
Nat., D-xxv, 23. 

12. Rainsford, 193. 

18. Poyen, 50-54; Schoelcher, 107-17; Castonnet des Fosses, 160-62. 

14. Poyen, 54-57; Schoelcher, 140-54; Castonnet des Fosses, 168-64. 

15. Save the districts of the Grande Anse, in Anglo-colonial hands. 

16. See ante, pp. 48-49. 

17. Cardon's report to the Minister of Marine, Paris, January, 1795 
(Nivdse, An m), Aich. Col., F-8, 199. 

18. Castonnet des Fosses, 164-^; Sdioelcher, 185-89. 

19. Laveauz to the Conmiittee of Public Safety, January 14, 1796 
(24th Nivdse, An IV), Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 50. 

20. Laveaux to the Minister of Marine, February 2, 1796 (18th 
Pluvidse, An lY), Arch. Nat., D-zzv, 50. 

21. Ibid,, June 14, 1796 (26th Prairial, An IV), Arch. Nat., D-zzv, 

22. For these events, see Laveaux's correspondence with the Minister 
of Biarine, Arch. Nat., D-zzv, 50; also his correspondence with 
Toussaint Louverture and other documents quoted in extenso by 
Schoelcher, 155-66. 

28. Schoelcher, 172; 181-84; Lacroiz, i, 809. 
24. Lacroix, i, 809. 


1. Robespierre had fallen on the 9th Thermidor, An H (July 27, 

2. Took office November 8, 1795. 

8. Spain had ceded her colony of Santo Domingo to France by the 
Treaty of BAle, but had agreed to administer the colony until a 
peace between France and England should enable the Republic 
to assume effective control. For Roume*s instructions, see Aff. 
fitr., "F.D.," "Espagne," 50. 

4. The ConmiiBsioners to the Minister of Marine, May 16, 1796 
(27th Florfal, An IV), Arch. Nat., D-zzv, 45. 

5. See the Commissioners' ocnrrespondenoe, D-zzv, 45; Laveaux's 

884 NOTES 

coirespondenoe. Arch. Nat.* D-zzr* 50; also docimienta quoted 
in Schoelcher, 167-68. 

6. Memoir to the Directoire, October 0. 1796 (18th Veiid6iniAize» 
An V), Aich. Nat., D-xxv, 45. 

7. The minutes of the Commission unfortunately no longer exist. 
Our chief source for its internal history is the long memoir ol 
Raymond to the Sinister of Marine, of September, 1797. For the 
later period it is unrriiahle, being influenced by Toussaint, but 
for this early period comparative analysis with other ooRespond- 
ence and events shows it to be largely correct. See Arch. NmL, 
AF-ra, 210. 

8. For Sonthonax's justification of his conduct herein, see letter to 
the Minister of Marine, July 28 (5th Thermidor), Arch. Nat.* 
D-xxv, 45. 

9. Letter of one Vergniaud to Lesage (of Eure-et-Loire), member 
of the National legislature, October 18,4796 (27th Vendfaniaiw; 
An V), Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 83. 

10. Letter of October 15, 1796 (24th Vend£miaire, An Y), Aidi. 
Guerre, i, "St.D.,*' a, Correspondanoe. 

11. Memoir to the Directoire, October 9, 1796 (18th Vendfaniaiw; 
An V), Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 45. 

12. Castonnet des Fosses, 175. 

13. Sonthonax and Leblanc terrorised Giraud and outvoted Ray- 
mond's veto. 

14. Rigaud to the Corps L6gislatif, October 21, 1796 (80th Vend6- 
miaire. An V), Arch. Nat., AF-m, 208. 

15» Castonnet des Fosses, 175-78; Lacrdx, i, 819-20. 

16. Memoir to the Directoire, supra. 

17. Ihid, 

18. For these events, see the CivO ConmussionerB' conespopdenoe^ 
Arch. Nat., D-xxv, 45; also the very full correspondence of Ri- 
gaud, both directly with the French Government, Arch. Nat., 
AF-m, 208-09, and indirectly through the French Minister to 
the United States via the American ships trading at Les Cayes, 
Aff. £tr., "F.D.," "Am^rique," 14. 

19. The Civil Commissioners to the Mimster of Marine, May 27, 1797 
(8th Prairial, An V). AF-ra, 209. 

20. See Raymond's report to the Minister of Marine, September 10, 
1797; also Castonnet des Fosses, 173-75. 

21. Toussaint Louverture to the Directoire, February 1, 1797 (13th 
Pluvidse, An V), Arch. Nat., AF-iii, 209. Two points should be 
noted regarding Toussaint's correspondence. In Uie first place, he 
himself spoke and wrote only Creole French, — a dialect so cor- 
rupt as to be often quite unintelligible to a European Frenchman. 
Therefore all Toussaint's letters are translations by educated 

NOTES 885 

secretaries. The style of his letters is also very peculiar. The lan- 
guage is so verbose as to be hard to quote bridiy. There is always 
much fulsome flattery and obscure language. Only occasionally 
does some significant phrase like the one just quoted reveal the 
iron hand in the velvet glove. 

22. Besides Raymond's account, see Lacrcnx, i, S2Q-27; Poyen, 69-64. 

2S. Report to the Directoire, September 4, 1707 (18th Fructidor, 
An V), Aroh. Nat., AF-m, 210. 

24. Toussaint*s report (supra) is in the form of long dialogues, written 
as if word for word with the supposed conversations reported. 

25. Sonthonax to the Directoire, January 27, 1708 (8th Pluvi^^ 
An VI), Arch. Nat.. AF-m, 210. 

26. Toussaint Louverture to the Directoire, September, 1707, Arch. 
Nat., AF-ra, 210. 

27. Toussaint Louverture to the Directoire, October 5, 1707 (14th 
Brumaire, An VI), Arch. Nat., AF-m, 210. 


1. See ante, pp. 267-68. 

2. Lacroix, i, 387-88. 

8. For this and subsequent events, see HMouviUe's correspondence 
with the Directoire, Arch. Nat., AF-m, 210. The main facts are 
fairly well treated in Lacroix, i, 888 ei seq. 

4. This document, together with the preliminaries extending over 
several months previous to the event, are preserved in Arch. 
Guerre,!, "St.D.," a, Correspondance (first carton). They were 
found among Toussaint's archives after the capture of Port-au- 
Prince by Napoleon's invading army in 1802. 

6. That is, the striking honors shown Toussaint by the English. 
For good account of this, see Lacrcnx, i, 844-4ff. 

6. The English commander. 

7. Lacroix, i, 846. 

8. October, 1707. 

0. Lacroix, i, 853-54. Lacroix is so careful in his quotations, and the 
words themselves are so completely in accord with all Toussaint *s 
acts, that the interview above quoted must be considered as of 
the highest authority and substantially correct. 

10. HMouville's report to the Directoire upon his return to France, 
December, 1708 (Frimaire, An VII), Arch. Nat.. AF-ra, 210. 

11. All this was quite true, as shown by the secret documents after- 
ward discovered in Toussaint*s archives and now preserved in the 
Arch. Guerre. 

12. Report to the Directoire, $upra. 

386 NOTES 


1. Roume to the Minister of Marine, " Port R^ubticain," February 
11, 1799 (28d Pluvidee, An VII), Arch. Nat., AF-m, ftlO. 

2. For accounts of this strug^e see Lacroix, i, 878-94; Castoimet des 
Fosses, 194-214; Poyen, 70-74; Schoelcher, 245-70 (for repro- 
duced documents). 

8. Castonnet des Fosses, 196. 

4. Ibid., 199. 

5. Lacroix, i, 879-80; Castonnet des Fosses, 205. 

6. Lacroix, i, 381. 

7. Besides the longer accounts quoted in note 2, a good short sum- 
mary is found in RolofiF, 17-18. 

8. This was Toussaint's customary method. He could thus always 
disavow particular acts as having exceeded his instructions. 

9. Lacroix, i, 898-94; Castonnet des Fosses, 212-14; Poyen, 78-74. 

10. Castonnet des Fosses, 214. 

11. See drUe, p. 7. 

12. Castonnet des Fosses, 215. 


1. RolofiF, 87-39. Henceforth RolofiF is one of the main sources. His 
work is based upon elaborate research in the Frendi archives and 
is in every way fundamental. See also Lacroix, opening pages of 
vol. n; Castonnet des Fosses, 210-17. 

2. November 9, 1799. 

8. Toussaint was always well informed of European events and their 

4. Bonaparte's policy will be treated in the next chapter. 

5. RolofiF, 80-81. 

6. Of course not to be confused with the negro general, Michelt 
formerly commander of Le Cap. 

7. See ante, p. 6. 

8. See ante, pp. 281-B2. 

9. For this whole topic, see RolofiF, 87-44; Lacnnx, n, 1-21; Caston- 
net des Fosses, 210-28; Poyen, 74-76. 

10. Becker, " Observations sur VitaX de SaintpDomingue" (apparently 
for the use of the Minister of War), Arch. Guerre, nr, M^moires 
hbtoriques, a, P^riode de la Revolution, "Colonies" (1789-1804). 

11. "La Colonic de Saint-Domingue**; i.e., the French part of the 

12. Chanlatte to the First Consul, Santo Domingo, December 15, 
1800 (24th Frimaire, An IX), Arch. Nat., AF-iv, 1212. 

NOTES 887 

18. Report to the Consuls on San Doiniiigo by the Minister of Marine, 
September 29, 1800 (7th Vend6miaire, An IX), Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 

14. "Notes sur I'^tat politique de SaintpDomingue"; addressed to the 
Minister of Marine, Paris, December 80, 1800 (9th Nivdse, An 
IX), Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 1212. This memoir is apparently anno- 
tated by the hand of Napoleon. 

15. RolofiF, 44-^; Lacroiz, n, 46-47; Castonnet des Fosses, 288-88. 

16. See anie^ pp. 271-72. 

17. Lacroix, i, 894-410; Castonnet des Fosses, 287-46; Poyen, 79-88. 

18. Lacroix, n, 49. 

19. Ibid., n, 48-51. 

20. Lacroix, n, 21-84; Roloff, 47-48; Castonnet des Fosses, 246-59. 

21. Signed October 1, 1801. 


1. November 9, 1799. 

2. Roloff, 18-24. This splendid work, based on the fullest aichival 
research, is the main source of this chapter. 

8. Roloff, 24-28. 

4. Ibid., 28-29. 

5. At this moment (early 1800), people in France knew only of the 
outbreak of the war between Rigaud and Toussaint Louverture. 

6. For able memoirs not mentioned in Roloff, see the anonymous 
"M4moire sur les Colonies,*' drawn up by an expert for the Biin- 
ister of Foreign Affairs, Aff. fitr., "F.D.," "Am^que," 20, as- 
serting the necessity of subduing Toussaint; Admiral Truguet's 
secret memoir to Napoleon, Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 1187, strongly 
asserting the contrary. 

7. All realized that the sending of a large army was impossible during 
the English war. No great fleet of slow-moving troop-ships could 
possibly escape the English cruisers. 

8. Roloff, 29-80. 

9. See ante, pp. 284-85. 

10. Sahuguet to the First Consul, Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 1187. 

11. Roloff, 82-88. 

12. Ibid., 82-84. 

18. See ante, pp. 284-65. 

14. Roloff, 49-51. 

15. Chanlatte to the First Consul, Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 1212. 

16. HMouville to the First Consul, Philadelphia, November 15, 1800, 
Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 1212. 

17. Roloff, 51-52. For draft instructions to the leader of this proposed 
expedition, see Arch. Guerre, i, "St.D.,'* a, Correspondance. 

888 NOTES 

18. See ante, pp. 281-82. 

10. ForfaH to the First Consul, Febniazy 14, 1801* Arch. Nat^ AF-iT, 

80. See ante, pp. 886-87. 

81. Roloff, 58-56. 

88. For details of these preparatknis, see Pojcn, 87-M; also, Bokff, 

88. That is, legally free, hot compelled to w<vk. 

That is, Toussaint's Constitution. See anie^ p. 8M. 

85. The negro generals had greatly abused thdr power in this respec t . 
For Toussaint's gross misconduct in this regard, see Lacroix, n, 

86. "Notes pour servir aux instructions k donner an Capitaine- 
G4n6rale Lederc," October SI, 1801 (9th Brumaire, An X), Aidi. 
Nat., AF-nr, 86S: quoted in full by Boloff, 844-54. 


1. For details, see Poyen, 05-07; Roloff, 70-80. These two works, 
both based on most extensive archival research and summariiing 
the pith of contemporary secondary material, are my main au- 
thorities for this and subsequent dusters. 

8. Poyen, 98. 

8. Poyen, 99-108; BolofiF. 80. 

4. Poyen, 104-11; Roloff, 80-81. 

5. Poyen, 111-15; Roloff, 81. 

6. Poyen, 117-18. 

7. Ibid., 118-19. 

8. Ibid., 115-17. 

9. Poyen, 180-S6; Roloff, 88-88. 

10. Poyen, 130-31. 

11. Quoted in Poyen, 138. 

18. Poyen, 137-44; Roloff, 83-85. 

13. The Revolutionary name of Port-au-Prince. 

14. Quoted in Poyen, 148. 

15. The author of the valuable work so often quoted. Poyen has, 
however, incorporated the essential parts of Lacroix in his mili- 
taiy treatise, so I have forborne to quote Lacroix for the military 

16. Poyen, 147-51; Roloff, 85. 

17. Poyen, 141. 

18. Poyen, 139-41; 144-46; Roloff, 85-86. 

19. Poyen, 158-88; Roloff, 86-87. 

20. General Dugua to the Minister of War, Arch. Guerre, i, "SUD.,** 
A, Correspondance* 

NOTES 889 

21. Poyen, 189-M; Roloff, 87-88. 
82. Poyen, 195-202; Roloff, 88-89. 
2S. Lacroiz, n, 192-98. 

24. Poyen, 200. 

25. It was Lacroiz who had so roug^ily handled Dessalines before Port^ 

26. Lacroiz, n, 191-92. 

27. Lederc to the First Consul, April 1, 1802 (11th Germinal, An X), 
Aidi. Nat., AF-iv, 1213. 

28. See Lederc's correspondence with the First Consul, Arch. Nat., 
AF-IV, 1213; and with the Minister ol Marine, Arch. Guerre, i, B, 
R^tre 4-A, 94, 8; also Roloff, 89-91. 

29. Hiat is, negro and mulatto soldiers. 

30. Lederc to the Minister ol Marine, April 21 (Ist Flor^, An X), 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

81. Lederc to the First Consul, March 5 (14th Ventdse, An X)» 
• Arch. Nat., AF-nr, 1213. 


1. Poyen, 239-40. 

2. Poyen, 240-54; Roloff, 93-94. 

3. Lederc to the Minister ol Marine, June 11 (22d Prairial, An X), 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

4. Lederc to the Minister ol Marine, July 6 (17th Messidor, An X), 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

5. Poyen, 210-12; Roloff, 94-95. 

6. Lederc to the First Consul, June 6 (17th Prairial), Arch. Nat., 
AF-IV, 1213. 

7. Poyen, 212-15; Roloff, 95-96. 

8. Lederc to the Minister ol Marine, June 11 (22d Prairial, An X), 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

9. Lederc to the First Consul, June 11 (22d Prairial, An X), Arch. 
Nat., AF-IV, 1213. 

10. Lederc to the Minister ol Marine, July 6 (17th Messidor, An X), 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

11. See Lederc's correspondence, supra; also several reports of dis- 
trict commanders preserved in Arch. Guerre, i, "St.D.,** a, Cor- 

12. Toussaint's last* letters and memorials are still preserved in Arch. 
Nat., AF-IV, 1213. His appeals to Napoleon's clemency show a 
rather surprising lack of fortitude. One of them has been published 
under the title, "M^oires du G^n^ral Toussaint Louverture, 
Merits par lui-mtee" (Paris, 1858). Poyen quotes some interestp 
ing reports of officials at Fort de Jouz, preserved in the Arch. Col. 

890 NOTES 

(Poyen, 220-33); also, see journal ol CaffareQi, Govenior ol Fort 
de Joux, published under the title, "Toussaint LouTerture an 
Fort de Joux," " Nouvelle Revue Retrospective," vol. xvin, no. M 

13. Leclerc to the Minister of Bfarine, July 6 (17th Messidor, An X}» 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

14. Quoted in Poyen, 257. 

15. See ante, pp. 303-304. 

16. Roloff, 70-74. 

17. Leclerc to the Minister of Marine, July 24 (5th TTiemiidor, An X)» 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

18. Roloff, 117-24. 

19. Leclerc to the Minister of Marine, August 6 (18th TTierniidort 
An X), Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

20. Charles Belair had been Toussaint's favorite, and was the only 
high general sincerely attached to Toussaint by personal affection. 
Revenge for Toussiunt's arrest played the leading r61e in his defect 

21. Leclerc to the Minister of Marine, August 25 (7th Fructidor. 
An X), Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

22. Leclerc to the First Consul, August 6 (18th Tliennidor, An X), 
Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

23. Leclerc to the Minister of Marine, S^tember 18 (26th Fructidor, 
An X), Arch. Guerre, i, b, R^. 4-a, 94, 8. 

24. A much higher death-rate than at first, considering the small 
numbers of the French army. 

25. Leclerc to the First Consul, September 16 (29th Fructidor, An X), 
Arch. Nat., AF-iv. 1213. 

26. Leclerc to the First Consul, September 26 (4th Vend^miaire^ 
An XI), Ardi. Nat., AF-nr, 1213. 

27. Ibid., September 27 (5th Vend^miaire, An XI), Arch. Nat^ 
AF-IV, 1213. 

28. Leclerc to the First Consul, October 7 (15th Vend^miaire, An XI)» 
Arch. Nat., AF-iv, 1213. 

29. Poyen, 298-302. 

30. Roloff, 112-13. 


1. Roloff, 74. 

2. Poyen, 270-72. 

3. Ibid., 273-74. 

4. Ihid., 289-97; 303-20. 

5. Roloff, 130-32; 142^3. 

6. Poyen, 321-85; Roloff, 114-16. 



7. See ante, p. 842. 

8. Letter from Le Cap, October 6 (14th Vend^miaire, An XI), Arch. 
Nat., AF-iv, 1218. 

9. Boloff, 148-44. 

10. For a very able discussion of these events, see Rolo£f, 184-50. 

11. Poyen, 401-M. 

12. Roloff, 157; Poyen, 450-66. 

18. Poyen, 477-546. After Napoleon's seizure of Spain in 1808 this 
French force was expelled by an uprising ol the Spanish inhab- 

14. In imitation of Napoleon's recent action. 

15. Poyen, 467-75; Castonnet des Fosses, 850-52. 

16. That is, impaled in Dessalines's own special fashion. 

17. Private letter from Kingston, Jamaica, to a friend in France, June 
1, 1805, Areh. Nat., AF-nr, 1218. 



(This 18 a select bibliography. It mentions only the sources used, and, 
except in the section devoted to works on Toussaint Louverture, it 
makes no mention of material only remotely pertinent.) 


A. Archival Material. 

1. Archives du Minist^ des Colonies. 

2. Archives Nationales. 

3. Archives du Minist^ des Affaires fitrangi&res. 

4. Archives du Ministte de la Guerre. 

5. Biblioth^ue Nationale (D^partement des Manuscrits). 


c. Contemporary Books and Pamphleib. 

1. Books. 

2. Pamphlets. 
D. Modern Works. 

1. Books. 

2. Articles. 

B. Works on Toitbbaint Louvebtubb. 



These archives contain the best material. Unfortunately I 
was able to obtain access to only a small portion of all that is 
here preserved. The contents of these archives are still imper- 
fectly known; no complete inventory exists; and access is 
granted to only a part of even that which b known and in- 

The most important collection of documents for my subject 
is Series "C." The sub-series "C-9" contains the official cor- 
respondence from San Domingo to the Minister of Marine. 
Series "C" is the chief source used by modem writers on the 
Old Regime in the Antilles (Vaissi^re, Peytraud, Lebeau), and 
is one of the main sources of the modem writers on Napoleon's 


expedition to San Domingo (Poyen, Boloff). Unfortunately 
that portion of the series dealing with the years 1792-1804 is now 
completely closed to investigation, and I was permitted to see 
only nos. C-9, 164, 165, 166, covering the years 1790-92. This 
was extremely unfortunate. I was able to turn the difficulty 
somewhat as regards the official despatches of the highest func- 
tionaries, since many of these were copied for the use of the 
Committees on Colonies in the various National Assemblies, 
which copies are still preserved in the Archives Nationales. 
But "C-9" also contains numerous reports and letters from 
minor officials and private individuals, and this loss was of 
course irreparable, especially as the period from 1789 to 1802 
has never been worked up from archival material. 

The other chief source that I was permitted to see was the 
*• Collection Moreau de Saint-M6ry," Series "F-8." This con- 
tains many copies of official correspondence, otherwise inac- 
cessible, for the early years of the Revolution, and, still more 
important, the files of Moreau de Saint-M6ry's private cor- 
respondence from his friends in San Domingo for the years 
1789-92; also a few scattering letters, etc., of later date. The 
important numbers of this series are F-8, 150, 194, 195, 196, 
197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202. 
2. ARcravES Nationales. 

This is the main field of my accessible archival source ma- 
terial. The most important series is ''D-xxv," an extensive 
series of 114 large cartons exclusively devoted to the Revolu- 
tionary troubles in San Domingo. Nos. 1-45 deal with the first 
three Civil Commissions. The subsequent numbers contain a 
great variety of material; copies of official correspondence, col- 
lections of private letters and memoirs, mii\jiites of colonial as- 
semblies, etc.; the whole forming a collection of the greatest 

Series ''AF-m," nos. 202-10 and 244-51, oontiun official 
correspondence, etc., for the period of the Directoire (1796- 


Series "AF-iv," nos. 1187-94, 1212-16, contain the same 
material for the period of the Consulate (1799-1804). 


The section "Fonds Divers," Series "Am^rique," nos. 14, 
15, 17, 20, contains a large number of official letters and many 


valuable memoirs drawn up for govenunent information. In 
series "Espagne," nos. 50 and 210, there are a few documents 
of some value. 

4. Archives du MmisTiRE db la Guebrb. 

A vast amount of material on my field is here preserved. 
Most of it is technical military matter, but there is a certain 
amount possessing distinct value for the subject as herein 
treated. In "i Partie/' the section "a, Correspondance, £z- 
pMition puis Arm6e de Saint-Domingue (1792-Mars, 1802)" 
(2 cartons), contains many important documents, especially the 
originals of Toussaint Louverture's correspondence with the 
English; also a number of special reports of Government agents 
and army officers upon political and social conditions. The 
series "Arm^ de Samt-Domingue (7 Mars, 1802-12)" (9 car- 
tons) contains a number of important letters and reports. The 
same b true of the section ''Ann6e de Saint-Domingue (affaires 
politiques, conunerciales, etc.) (1791-1812) " (2 cartons). The 
most important material preserved in these archives for my 
purposes, however, is found in "b, R^gistre 4-a, 94, 8," a valu- 
able collection of copies of Leclerc's correspondence with the 
Minister of Marine and oS much of his correspondence with the 
First Consul. Some of these letters are quoted by Poyen and 
a few are found in Henry Adams's article (irtfra). In "iv 
Partie," the series "M^moires historiques, a, P6riode de la 
Revolution (1789-1804)," nos. 1-16, contains a number of 
valuable reports and memoirs by army officers. 

5. Bibl[oth£k)ue Nationals (D6partement des Manu- 

In"Fonds Frangais," nos. 12102, 12108, 12104, contain the 
correspondence between Toussaint Louverture and General 
Laveaux (1794-98). Also, "Nouv. Acquisitions Frangaises," 
no. 9826, a manuscript history of San Domingo by Beauval- 
S6gur (eighteenth century). 


The great collection of published documents for this subject 
is the "Archives Parlementaires," a work unfortunately not yet 
completed. It gives not only the minutes of the various Na- 
tional Assemblies, but also many reports, letters, etc. For the 


period subsequent to that reached by the Archives Parlemen- 
taires, see the official minutes of the NaticHial Asseniblies pub- 
lished in the "Moniteur Offidel." Also, most of the important 
speeches and reports were published in pamphlet form, and 
this series is preserved complete in the "Collection Camus" of 
the Archives Nationales, — Series " AD-xvm-c." Most of the 
official proclamations, etc., published in San Domingo, are 
preserved in the ''Collection Rondonneau" of the Archives 
Nationales, — " AD-vn." 


1. Books. 

Abeille (J,): ''Essai sur nos Colonies et sur la R6tablissement 
de Saint-Domingue" (Paris, 1805). A panegyric of Bonaparte. 
Extremely anti-negro in tone. Written by a former planter. 
Of little value. 

Anonymous: "Details sur quelques-uns des £v^emens qui 
ont eu lieu en Amerique pendant les Ann6es xi et xn" (Paris, 
1804). The comments of an army officer on the last phase of 
Leclerc's expedition. 

Anonymous: "Histoire des Desastres de Saint-Domingue; 
prec6dee d'un Tableau du Regime et des Progres de cette 
Colonic depuis sa Fondation jusqu'4 Tfipoque de la Revolu- 
tion frangaise" (Paris. 1795). A very detailed account of 
events down to the destruction of Le Cap (June, 1793). View- 
point that of a moderate Liberal. Well informed. Generally 
attributed to Barb^-Marbois, though from internal evidence I 
believe that he is not the author. 

Anonymous : "Reflexions siu* la Colonic de Saint-Domingue" 
(2 vols.. Paris, 1796). A series of general observations of no 
special importance in this connection. Attributed to Barbe- 

BarrS Saint-Venani : "Des Colonies Modemes sous la Zone 
torride, et particuli^rement celle de Saint-Domingue" (Paris, 
1802). Exceedingly thin. 

Carteau {F.): "Soir6es Bermudiennes : ou Entretiens sur les 
fiv^nemens qui ont op6r6 la Ruine de la Partie fran^aise de 
Saint-Domingue" (Bordeaux, 1802). An account of events in 
San Domingo down to October, 1793, by an upper-class colonial 


planter, an eye-witness of events in the North Province. In- 
teresting and valuable. 

Chalmers (C): "Remarks on the late war in San Domingo" 
(London, 1808). On the English intervention. Unreliable and 
of no special value. 

' Charlevoix (Pire P. F. X. de): "Histoire de Tlsle Espagnole 
ou de Saint-Domingue. £crite particuli^rement sur des M6- 
moires manuscrits du P^re Jean-Baptiste le Pons, J6suite, 
Missionaire k Saint-Domingue, et sur les pieces originales qui se 
conservent au D6p6t de la Marine" (4 vols., Amsterdam, 1788). 
The standard work on early San Domingo. 

CuUion (C F. V. de): "Examen de TEsclavage en g^n^rale^ 
et particuli^rement des Negres dans les Colonies f rangaises de 
TAm^rique" (2 vols., Paris, 1802). Written from a strong pro- 
slavery standpoint. 

Dalmas (if.) : "Histoire de la Revolution de Saint-Domingue: 
depuis le Conunencement des Troubles jusqu* au Prise de 
J^r^mie et du M61e-Saint-Nicolas par les Anglais" (2 vols., 
Paris, 1814). Written in exile in the United States during the 
winter of 1798-94. Gives events in San Domingo down to the 
autumn of 1798. The viewpoint is strongly Royalist, the 
author being the apologist of the "Government" party. 

Delacroix {J. V.): "M^moires d'un Am^ricain" (Lausanne, 
1771). Shows anti-slavery feeing in radical circles thus early. 

Discourtilz: "Voyage d'un Naturaliste" (8 vols., Paris. 1809). 
The author, a botanist, was for some time a prisoner of the 
blacks. Fairly good. 

De Wimpffen {Baron F. A, S,) : "A Voyage to Saint-Domingo. 
In the Years 1788, 1789 and 1790" (translated by J. Wright, 
London, 1797). A keen observer and trenchant critic. Of great 
value both for conditions on the eve of the Revolution and for 
the early events in 1789-90. 

Dorvo-Soulastre : "Voyage par terre de Santo-Domingo au 
Cap Fran^ais" (Paris, 1809). Mainly descriptive of the Span- 
ish portion of the island. 

Du Buieaon (P. U,): "Nouvelles Considerations sur Saint- 
Domingue, en r^ponse k celles de Monsieur H. D'A" {% vols., 
Paris, 1780). A criticism of Hilliard d'Auberteuil {injra). Val- 
uable both as a check on d'Auberteuil and as showing the colo- 
nial viewpoint at that date. 


Ihuxmrjol^ (5. /.): ''Mmnoel da Habitants de Samt^Do- 
mmgiie" (2 vob^ Paris, 1803). Hie wotk of a fanner planter. 
Some JHt eie stia g c ommrnt s on aodal and radai p wiM e in a. 

Edwards (Brpan): '*An Historical Sarvcj of tlie Ftmck 
Colony of San Domingo: c otmnrf i fnrtin g an A<««»n«wrt of the 
Beroh of the Negroes in the Year 1791, and a I>etafl of the 
Military Transactions of the British Army in that Uand in the 
Years 1793 and 1794'' (first edition. London. 1796). The edi- 
tion here used contains a postscript of events down to the Brit- 
ish evacuation in 1798 (Ffailade^rfiia, 1806). The best account 
in English oi events in San Domingow especially down to the fall 
of Le Cap in June, 1798. An eye-witness of the negro insurrec- 
tion of 1791. Valuable for the English viewpoint as weQ as a 
record of events. 

ismangart (C.) : '^Des Colonies Fhm^aises, et en particuli^ 
de ITsle de Saint-Domingue" (Paris. 1802). Of little vahie. 

Pedon (B.): "R^damaticMis oontre un Ouvrage intital6: 
'Campagnes des Fhmgais 4 Saint-Domingue"* (1805). A 
criticism of Rochambeau's governorship. 

Oala (/.): ''Memorias de la Cc^onia franoesa de Santo Do- 
mingo; per un viagero espaftol" (Madrid. 1787). Superficial. 

Garran-Caidan (J.): ''Ri^)port sur les Troubles de Saint- 
Domingue, fait au Nom de la Commission des Colonies, des 
Comit^s de Salut Public, de L^gislaticm. et de la Bfarine. 
R^unis" (official publication, 4 vols.. Paris, An VI, 1798). The 
main official report for the troubles in San Domingo down to 
1794. An immense amount of official and private correapond- 
ence, memoirs, and pamphlet literature summarised and dis- 
cussed. The last two volumes, dealing with the second Civil 
Commissioners (Sonthonax, Polverel, and Ailhaud). are of 
much less value than the first two volumes, which deal with 
earlier events of the Revolution. These later volumes are a 
whitewash of the Commissioners and are so prejudiced that they 
must be used with the greatest caution. 

Oirod-CharUrans (J.): "Voyage d*un Suisse dans diff^rentes 
Colonies d'Am^que pendant la demi^re Guerre" (Neufchatel, 
1785). A good observer. The book contains reflections of some 

Guillermin (G.): "Pr6cis historique des demiers £)v^nemens 
de la Partie de I'Est de Saint-Domingue'* (Paris. 1811). Con- 


fined to a relation of events in the Spanish portion after the 
death of Leclerc. 

Hassal (Miss): ''Secret Histoiy; or the horrors of St. Do-, 
mingo, in a series of letters, written by a lady at Cape Frangois 
to Colonel Burr, Late Vice-President of the United States. 
Principally during the Command of General Rochambeau" 
(Philadelphia, 1808). Miss Hassal arrived at Le Cap in May, 
1802, and remained until shortly before Rochambeau's evacua- 
tion in November, 1808. Interesting viewpoint, though so 
gossipy and personal in tone as to be generally unavailable for 
exact quotation in this connection. 

HiUiard d'AuberteuU {M. R.): "Considerations sur r£tat 
Present de la Colonic frangaise de SaintrDomingue. Ouvrage 
Politique et L6gislatif, Pr6sent6 au Ministre de la Marine" 
(Paris, 1776). A detailed discussion of conditions in San Do- 
mingo toward the close of the Old Regime. Should be read in 
connection with the critical work of Du Buisson {supra), to 
understand mutual prejudices. 

Howard (Lieutenanf): Manuscript journal of occurrences 
during service in the British army of occupation in San Do- 
mingo (8 blankbooks). In Boston Public Library. Interesting 
detaib, especially of the sufferings of the British. 

JoinmUe-Gauban: ''Voyage d*Outre-mer et Infortunes de M. 
Joinville-Gauban" (Bordeaux, 180-). The reminiscences of a 
former overseer. Extremely anti-n^ro. Some instructive fea- 
tures, but generally unreliable. 

Ldborie (P. J.): "The Coffee-Planter of San Domingo; con- 
taining a view of the Constitution, Government, Laws, and 
State of the Colony previous to 1789" (London, 1798). Ex- 
tremely thin. 

Lacroix (Oeneral P. A, de): "Memories pour Servir a I'His- 
toire de la Revolution de Saint-Domingue " (2 vols., Paris, 1819). 
The standard general work on the entire subject. Good through- 
out. Lacroix was an eye-witness of events during Leclerc*s 
expedition and a prominent actor therein as well. 

Lattre (P. A, de): "Campagne des Frangais k Saint-Do- 
mingue, et refutation des R^proches faits au Capitaine- 
Gen6ral Rochambeau" (Paris, 1805). A spirited defense of 
Rochambeau^s governorship subsequent to Leclerc's death. 
Note that the author was a former planter. 


Lemonnier-Dek^oase : ''Seconde Campagne de Saint-Do- 
mingue, pr6c^6e de Souvenirs historiques de la pieankre Cam- 
pagne" (Havre, 1846). The memoirs of an army officer; an eye- 
witness, though one of minor importance. Good local cxAar. 

Maclean (H,): "An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of 
the Great Mortality among the Troops at San Domingo " (Lon- 
don, 1797). The author was three years with the British army 
of occupation. Some interesting points. 

Malenfant: "Des Colonies, et particuli^rement de celle de 
Saint-Domingue" (Paris, 1819). Of little value. 

Malouet {V, P.): "Collection des Mdmoires et Corresp<Hid- 
ances officielles sur TAdministration des Colonies** (4 vob., 
Paris, 1802). Contain much valuable information concerning 
the old colonial system. 

MarUegazza (C.) : " Viaggio k Santo Domingo" (Milan, 180S). 
A series of letters during the period of Lederc's expedition. 

Mas^rea (F.): "De TUtilit^ des Colonies, des Causes de la 
Perte de Saint-Domingue, et des Moyens d'en recouvrir la 
Possession" (Paris, 1814). Extremely thin and visionary. 

Moreau de Saint-MSry (M. L. E.): "Description Topogra- 
phique. Physique, Civile, Politique et Historique de la Partie 
Frangaise de Saint-Domingue. Avec des Observations g6n- 
^ales sur la Population, sur la Caract^re et les Moeurs de ses 
divers Habitans; sur son Climat, sa Culture, ses Productions, 
son Administration, etc. Accompagn^ des Details les plus 
propres k faire connattre T^tat de cette Colonic k I'fipoque du 
18 Octobre, 1789'* (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1797). An invaluable 
compendium of information of every kind about San Domingo. 
The fruit of many years* researches. It stops strictly at 1789. 
This, indeed, is one of its best features, for the autiior sticks 
to his material and does not allow later events to color his work 
in the least. After much general information of the highest 
value, the bulk of the work is a description of the colony parish 
by parish; the most remote and unimportant being included. 

Moreau de Saint-MSry (M, L, E.): "Description ... de la 
Partie Espagnole de Tlsle Saint-Domingue*' (Philadelphia, 
1799). Similar to the former work. Briefer but excellent. 

Napoleon Bonaparte: "M^moires" (Montholon). Four notes 
on the book of General Lacroix (supra). In vol. i, pp. 194-218. 


These remarks are an attempt to throw the blame of the failure 
in San Domingo on to the shoulders of Leclerc. Extremely 
unfair. Characteristic Napoleonic special pleading. 

Nicolaon (Pire): "Essai sur THistoire Naturelle de Saint- 
Domingue*' (Paris, 1776). The author was Apostolic Prefect of 
the Dominican Mission. Mostly concerned with natural history, 
the book contains a few remarks on the state of the colony. 

Page: "Traits d'ficonomie politique et de Conmierce des 
Colonies'* (Paris, 1802). The work of a former colonist. Of 
little value. 

Prodi: *'Les Trob Ages des Colonies" (2 vols., Paris, 1802). 
Fantastic and unreliable. 

Rainrford {Marcus)', "An Historical Account of the Black 
Empire of Hayti, comprehending a view of the Principal Trans- 
actions in the Revolution of Saint Domingo, with its Antient 
and Modem State" (London, 1805). Pompous, and devoid of 
merit or accuracy. 

Raynal (the AbbS): "Essai sur TAdministration de la Colonic 
de Saint-Domingue" (?, 1785). A detailed discussion of condi- 
tions in San Domingo on the eve of the Revolution. 

Saintard: ''Essai sur les Colonies frangaises; ou Discours 
politique sur la Nature du Gouvemement, de la Population, 
et Commerce de Saint-Domingue" (Paris, 1754). An arraign- 
ment of the arbitrary nature of the colonial government of the 
Old R6gime. Interesting as belonging to such an early date. 

Sanchez Valverde (A,): "Idea del Valor de la Isla Espafiola" 
(Madrid, 1785). French translation in manuscript in the Bib- 
lioth^ue Nationale, Departement des Manuscrits, "Nouv. Ac- 
quisitions frangaises," no. 1871. Mostly on the Spanish part of 
the island. Interesting as being one of Moreau de Saint-M6ry's 
chief sources for his work on the Spanish part of San Domingo 

Venatdt de Channilly: "Lettre k Bryan Edwards" (London, 
1797). Despite its title, a good-sized volume, criticizing Ed- 
wards's book (supra). The writer, an actor in the early troubles 
of the Revolution in San Domingo, furnishes material of con- 
siderable value. He convicts Edwards of many minor errors, 
but fails to shake the Englishman's work as a whole. 

Wanie: "Importance de nos Colonies Occidentales" (Paris, 
1805). Of little value. 


2. Pamphlets. 

The pamphlet literature is extensive, but its value is much 
less than its size would lead one to expect. The most valuable 
portion is that appearing before the year 1798, although even 
here the authors are concerned more with France than San Do- 
mingo. After 1792 the Terror prevents any free discussion of the 
general subject, and the pamphlets of the next few years are 
mere i>ersonal recrimination. The Consulate was also a period 
unfavorable to free discussion, and the pamphlets and brochures 
of this epoch are generally apologetics for the policy of Bonaparte. 

The valuable part of tbds literature has been analyzed and 
discussed by modem writers or in Garran-Coulon's voluminous 
official report published in 1798 (mpra). A nearly complete 
collection is preserved in the Biblioth^ue Nationale, Series 
LK-9 and LK-12. The next best collection in existence is prob- 
ably that bequeathed to Cornell University by Andrew D. 
White. The Harvard University Library possesses a collection 
of considerable importance, and a number of pamphlets relating 
to San Domingo are also to be found in the British Museum. 

References to all pamphlets directly utilized in this work wiU 
be found in the Notes. The great body of official and private 
correspondence preserved in the French archives has yielded 
such superior historical material that I have generally preferred 
it for exact quotation. 


1. Books. 

Boissonnade (P.): "Saint-Donungue k la^Veille de la Revo- 
lution et la Question de la Representation aux fitats-Gr^n- 
eraux (Janvier, 1788^Juillet, 1789)" (Paris, 1906). Avery able 
monograph based on archival material, published documents, 
and all impK>rtant contemporary books and pamphlets. Impar- 
tial, it exhausts the subject. 

Davhigny {E,): "Choiseul et la France d*Outre-Mer apr^s la 
Trait6 de Paris (1763) " (Paris, 1892). An able general account 
of the attempts made to remedy the abuses of the colonial 
regime after 1763. 

Castonnet des Fosses (H,): "La Revolution de Saint-Do- 
mingue" (Paris, 1893). Popular in form (no footnotes), and 


contains many minor errors; yet good on the whole. Contains 
some things not well treated elsewhere. 

DSschampa (£.): "Les Colonies pendant la Revolution: la 
Constituante et la B^orme Coloniale" (Paris, 1898). A de- 
tailed discussion of the colonial question in the Constituent 
Assembly (i.e., to October, 1791). Based mainly on the Archives 
Parlementaires. Prejudiced in favor of the Revolutionary ideas. 
Devoted to events in France, it is of little value for events in 
San Domingo. 

Oaffard (P.): "La Politique Coloniale en France, de 1789 k 
1880" (Paris, 1908). Good summary, though of course very 

Lebeau (A.): "Dela Condition des Gens de Couleur Libres 
sous TAnden R6gime (Th^ pour le doctorat en droit, — Uni- 
versity de Poitiers," Poitiers, 1908). A very able, unprejudiced, 
and scientific discussion of the color line under the Old R6gime. 
Based on archival material, juristic works, etc. Of the highest 

Leroy-Beatdieu (Paul): "De la Colonisation ches les Peuples 
Modemes" (4th edition). An authoritative general economic 

LevoBseuT (E.) : " Histoire du Conmierce de la France " (vol. i, 
avant 1789, Paris, 1911). Another economic work, more de- 
tailed and a good complement to Leroy-Beaulieu (mpra). 

Magnac (Dr.): "La Perte de Saint-Domingue: 1789-1809" 
(Paris, 1909). A brief popular work. Inaccurate and with no 
new features. 

Mills (H. E.): "The Early Years of the French Revolution 
in San Domingo." (Doctor's thesis, Cornell University, Cornell, 
N.Y., 1889.) A scholarly discussion of events down to May, 
1791. No unpublished archival material has been used, but 
nearly all the published documents and pamphlets are examined 
and discussed. Of great value. 

Pauliat (L.) : "La Politique Coloniale sous TAnden Regime" 
(Paris, 1887). An attempt to prove the superlative excellence 
of the Old B^gime. Curious distortions of fact. Of little value. 

Parsons (R.): "Montesquieu et TEsclavage. £tudes sur les 
Origines de I'Opinion anti-esdavagiste en France au XVUI^ 
Si^e" (Paris, 1911). An interesting study of the anti-slavery 
movement preceding the French Revolution. 


Poyen (Lieutenant-Colond B. de): ''Histoire mHitifcire de la 
Revolution de Saint-Domingue" (Paris, 1899). A techiucal 
military history by a French army officer. For the period of 
Leclerc*s expedition (the bulk of the wodc), it ia based on a 
wealth of archival material and on all the in^Mrtant publica- 
tions of the time. From its special viewpoint it exhausts the 

Poyen (lAeiUenant-CoUmd H. de): *'Les Gruerres des Antilles, 
de 1793 k 1815 " (Paris, 1896). Valuable for checking up events 
in the other Islands. 

Priichard (Hesketh): ''Where Black Rules White" (London. 
1900). An Englishman's travels through the Black Republic. 
Interesting description of present conditions, which appear to 
have changed but little since the early years oi negro independ- 

Roloff (G.): "Die KolonialpoUtik Napoleons I" (Munich, 
1899). A very able, authoritative, and unprejudiced exposition 
of this subject; based on archival nuiterial, published docu- 
ments, and all the important works. From the standpoint of 
international politics it exhausts the subject and is an excellent 
complement to Poyen's military work (supra). 

Si. John (Sir Spenser) : "Haiti, or the Black Republic" (Lon- 
don, 1884). The author was for many years British Minister at 
Port-au-Prince. He traces the historical continuity of present 
conditions from the early period in most instructive fashion. 
An extremely useful book. 

Schoekher (V.): "Vie de Toussaint Louverture** (Paris, 
1889). The work of a French anti-slavery writer of the mid- 
nineteenth century, it is so prejudiced as to be of littie value 
as a book, but since it contains many documents and letters 
quoted in extenso, its serves oocasionidly as a handy collection 
of printed documents. 

TreiUe (M.): "Le Commerce de Nantes et la R6volution*' 
(Paris, 1908). This work, based upon the local archival ma- 
terial of the Nantes Chambre de Conmierce, throws much light 
on the old colonial system, especially since Nantes was the chief 
centre of San Domingo commerce and of the slave-trade. Thor- 
oughly scientific and reliable in character. 

Vaissiere (P. de): "Saint-Domingue: La Soci6t6 et la vie 
Creoles sous TAncien Regime** (Paris, 1909). An exceedingly 


able and valuable exposition of colonial conditions under the 
Old Regime, based on archival material, both French and £ng- 
lish» and on a wealth of publications, many of them very rare. 
This book, together with those of Lebeau and P^ytraud {supra), 
forms a trilogy invaluable for an understanding of conditions in 
San Domingo before the Revolution. 

Zimmermann: "Die Franzoesische Kolonien'* (Berlin, 1901). 
The best general work on the history of the French colonies. 
2. Articles. 

Adams (Henry): "Napoleon I and San Domingo." In "His- 
torical Essays" (New York, 1891). A scholarly discussion of 
Napoleon's colonial policy, with special reference to its bearing 
upon the United States. 

Brette (A.): "Les Grens de Couleur Ubres et Leurs D6put^ 
en 1789." Published in "La Revolution Frangaise," vol. xxix 
(1895), pp. 820-45; 885-407. A minute analysis of speeches in 
the Constituent Assembly and of pamphlets on the point. 
Rather partial to the mulattoes. 

DSsehampa (£.): "La Representation Coloniale au Constit- 
uante." In "La Revolution Frangaise," vol. xxxvn (1899), 
pp. 130 et seq. An expansion of one or two points in his book 

Du Hautais (VieonUeOdon): "Une Famille bretonne k Saint- 
Domingue au XVHT Si^cle." In "Revue de Bretagne," vol 
pp. 287-64 (1899). Some local color. 

Oiratdt (A,): "La PoHtique Coloniale de la B^volution 
Frangaise." In "Revue Politique et Parlementaire" (1899), 
pp. 858-04. Conmient and critique of D6schamps' book (supra). 

Hardy (J.): "Correspondanoe intime du Greneral Hardy de 
1797 a 1802 (Expeditions d'Irlande et de Saint-Domingue)." In 
"Revue des Deux Mondes," IV* periode, vol. cmu, pp. 92-184 
(1900). Some interesting letters of one of Leclerc's most vigor- 
ous division conmianders. Good local color. 

Hennel: "Rentree en France de la Depouille mortelle du Gen- 
eral Leclerc." In "Camet de la Sabretache," November, 1908. 
E^lained by title. 

LaUemand: "Saint-Domingue sous le Consulat. Fragment 
des Souvenirs du General Lallemand." In "La Nouvelle Revue 
Retrospective," vol. xvn, pp. 861-78; vol. zvm, pp. 87-41 
(1908). Recollections of some interest. 


Lb Moire (D,): "Un DunkerqucHfl Colcm k Saint^Domingae. 
Lettres in^dites de Dominique le Maire/' In ^'Bulletin de 
llJiiion Fauconnier. Soc^t6 EQatorique de Dunquerque," vd. 
iv, pp. 461-529 (1901). Certain instnictive points. 

Mopinat (J.) : ''Ma Campagne k Saint-Domingue (1802-04)." 
In "Bevue de Champagne et de Brie/' IP sMe, vol. xn» pp. 
1-36 (1900). The reminiflcenoes of an officer in Lederc's ex- 
pedition. Some good points. 

Moabaeh (A.): **Der Fransoesische Fdklsug auf Sanct Do- 
mingo (1802-08). Nach den Berichten vierpohiischer Offiziere" 
(Breslau, 1882). 

Motdin (H.): ''Le 'Courrier'et le 'Hacard'; demierjCpisode 
de rinsurrection de Saint-Domingue." In "La B^ohition 
Vnnqtaae,** vol. vi, p. 688. 

Seiout (£.): "La B6voluti<m k Saint-Domingue: les Com- 
missaires Sonthonax et Polverel." In "Bevue des Questions 
Historiques/' no. cxzvxn (October 1, 1898), pp. 899-470. 
Based on archival material, it is a most useful monogn^h, 
though with a certain Royalist-Clerical bias. 

TrSmaudan {J. de): "Le Commerce de Nantes (XVIT et 
XVnr SiWes)." In "Revue de Bretagne," vol. xxx, pp. 16- 
22 (1903). Another sidelight on the colonial trade under the 
Old Regime. 


Because of the special interest in Toussaint Louverture I Mave 
thought it advisable to devote to him a special section of this 
bibliography. The poverty of the appended list will be disap- 
pointing to those interested in the personality and carrer of the 
black leader, but it will show the difficulty in the way of any 
scientific biography. 

Cousin d'Avallon (C, Y,) : "Histoire de Toussaint Louverture, 
chef des Noirs Insurg6s de Saint-Domingue" (Paris, 1802). 
Stolen from Dubroca (infra), 

Dubroca (J. F.): "La Vie de Toussaint Louverture" (Paris, 
1802). Short and thin. Apparently a bookseller's job, written 
to support Bonaparte's policy in sending out Leclerc's expedi- 
tion. Wholly unreliable. 

Gragnon-Lacoste: "Toussaint Louverture" (Paris, 1877). A 


panegyric of the black leader. Full of apocryphal and legendary 

** Letters of Toussaint Louverture and Edward Stevens, 1799- 
1800." Collection of documents published in the "American 
Historical Review " (October, 1910), vol. xvi, pp. 64-101. Con- 
cerned with trade relations between San Domingo and the 
United States during the period of Toussaint's rule. 

"M^oires du (x6n6ral Toussaint Louverture, Merits par 
lui-m^me," with appendix by Saint-Remy (Paris, 1858). De- 
spite its pretentious title, these so-called "M^moires" of Tous- 
saint Louverture are merely one of several justificatory me- 
morials written during his French captivity to obtain Bonaparte's 
clemency. Concerned only with certain of his public acts during 
the last years of his career, it is extreme special pleading. The 
original manuscript is preserved in Archives Nationales, AF-rv, 

MHral (A.): "Histoire de I'Exp^tion des Fran^^ k Saint- 
Domingue sous le Consulat de Napol^n Bonaparte; sume des 
M^moires et Notes d'Isaac Louverture sur la m6me Exp^tion 
et sur la Vie de Son P^re" (Paris, 1825). M6tral's account is 
brief and unimportant. The appended account of Isaac Lou- 
verture, son of the black leader, contains certain interesting 
featiires, though inexact and romantic in character. 

PMn (R,): "L'Incendie du Cap, ou le R^gne de Toussaint 
Louverture" (Paris, 1802). A diatribe against the black leader. 
Of little value. 

Rainrford (Marcus) : ''St. Donungo, or an Historical, Political, 
and Military Sketch of the projected Black Republic, with a 
view of Toussaint Louverture" (London, 1802). A pretentious 
bit of "fine writing"; most inaccurate and of practically no 

''Recueil de lettres et pieces originales sur Saint-Domingue." 
Three manuscript volumes in the Biblioth^ue Nationale, 
D^partement des Manuscrits, "Fonds Frangais," nos. 12102, 
12103, 12104. Contains many of Toussaint's proclamations and 
numerous letters to General Laveaux between the years 1794 
and 1798. This material, quoted largely in extenso, forms the 
bulk of Schoelcher's book (supra). The letters were intended for 
public consimiption; their tone is extremely inflated and arti- 


Saini-Remy: "Vie de Toussaint Louverture" (Paris, 1850). 
Written at second-hand on rather slender m&tenaAf it is of 
little value. The author, a mulatto, is not over-fond of the 
black leader, 

Stephen (J.): "Buonaparte in the West Indies; or, the Story 
of Toussaint Louverture, the African Hero" (London, 1808). 
A panegyric of the black leader and a diatribe against the Frendi 
in general and the First Consul in particular. Absurdly prej- 
udiced and very thin. 

Stephen (J.): "The History of Toussaint Louverture" (Lon- 
don, 1814). A variation of the earlier work {mpra), and equally 
devoid of value. 

"The Life and Military Achievements of Toussaint Louver- 
ture, from 1792 until the arrival of Greneral Lederc. Also his 
Successor's till 1803" (London, 1805). A pamphlet, similar in 
character to Stephen's productions. 

"Toussaint Louverture au Fort de Joux" (1802). Article 
in "Nouvelle Revue Retrospective," XVIQ* ann^, no. 94, 10 
Avril, 1902. The journal of Caffarelli, Governor of Fort de 
Joux, the place of Toussaint's French captivity. An eye-wit- 
ness's account of the black leader's last days. Of the highest 
value. In this connection, note also some interesting reports 
of officials at Fort de Joux, preserved in the French colonial 
archives and never previously published, quoted in Poyen, 
pp. 220-38. 

U . 8 . A 

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