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Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Haiti 
in the United States 


New York and Washington 










Quisqueya or Haiti Geographical position The first inhabitants: 
their manners, religion and customs Divisions of the territory. 19 


Christopher Columbus His arrival in Haiti Behavior of the 
Spaniards toward the aborigines Their cupidity War 
Caonabo Anacaona The Spanish domination Cacique Henry. 22 


The French freebooters and buccaneers Their customs Their set- 
tlement at La Tortue (Tortuga Island) Little by little they 
invade Hispafiola, now known as Saint-Domingue Continual 
wars with the Spaniards Treaty recognizing the French occu- 
pation 31 


The French part of Saint-Domingue Its prosperity Its different 
classes of inhabitants: their customs The color prejudice The 
colonists: their divisions; their jealousy of the Europeans Their 
desire to be in command Their contempt for the affranchis 
(freedmen) their cruelty toward the slaves The maroons. ... 35 


Number of inhabitants of Saint-Domingue Savannah The French 
revolution Efforts of the colonists to take advantage of it 
The affranchis claim their rights The first conflicts Atroci- 
ties committed by the colonists Vincent Oge" and Chavannes 
Uprising of the slaves The first Civil Commissioners Decree 
of April 4, 1792 41 


Arrival of the new Civil Commissioners, Sonthonax, Polvgrel and 
Ailaud Application of the Decree of April 4, 1792 The Inter- 
mediary Committee Resistance of the colonists Fighting at 
Port-au-Prince and Cap-Frangais The English land in Saint- 
Domingue The Spaniards conquer a portion of the French ter- 
ritory General freedom is granted to the slaves The colored 
men are in power 58 

6 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 


The English occupy Port-au-Prince Polve"rel and Sonthonax try to 
cause disunion among the colored men They leave Saint-Do- 
mingue Toussaint Louverture deserts the Spanish cause and 
joins the French Andre" Rigaud expels the English from Le"o- 
gane The treaty of Bftle The English attack LSogane Tous- 
saint Louverture goes to the help of General Laveaux impris- 
oned at Cap-Frangais by Villate Arrival of the new Civil Com- 
mission Sonthonax Toussaint Louverture, Commander-in-Chief 
of the Army He"douville The English abandon Saint-Domingue 
He"douville causes enmity between Toussaint Louverture and 
Rigaud Civil war between Toussaint and Rigaud Rigaud is de- 
feated and compelled to leave the island 68 


Administrative measures taken by Toussaint Louverture Occupa- 
tion of the Spanish portion of the island Meeting of the Central 
Assembly Constitution of Saint-Domingue Toussaint Louver- 
ture elected Governor-General The French expedition The 
"Crete-a~Pierrot" Deportation of Rigaud Surrender of Tous- 
saint Louverture His arrest and deportation His death at 
Fort de Joux 102 


Reactionary measures The natives unite under the leadership of 
Dessalines The war of independence Death of Leclerc Ro- 
chambeau Atrocities committed by the French Capois-la-Mort 
Expulsion of the French 120 


Proclamation of independence Saint-Domingue becomes Haiti- 
Dessalines, the first ruler of Haiti (January 1, 1804-October 17, 
1806) Intrigues of the English Military organization of Haiti 
Discontent provoked by Dessalines's administration His 
death 152 


Henri Christophe, Chief of the Provisional Government Alexandre 
Pe"tion Convocation of a Constituent Assembly Constitution of 
1806 Christophe marches against Port-au-Prince He is elected 
President of Haiti (December 28, 1806) Civil war The Senate 
dismisses Christophe, who at Cap is elected President of the 
State of Haiti (February 17, 1807) The Senate at Port-au- 
Prince elects Potion President of Haiti for four years (March 9, 
1807) Christophe assumes the title of King of Haiti (March, 
1811) French intrigues against the independence of Haiti 
Potion and Simon Bolivar Pe"tion reelected President March 
9, 1811, and March 9, 1815 Elected President for life on Octo- 
ber 9, 1816; died on the 29th of March, 1818 160 

Contents 7 


Jean-Pierre Boyer, President of Haiti for life (March 30, 1818- 
March 13, 1843) Pacification of "La Grand' Anse" Death of 
Henri Christophe (October 8, 1820) His kingdom made part 
of the Republic The inhabitants of the Spanish portion of the 
island expel the Spaniards They acknowledge the authority of 
the President of Haiti (January 19, 1822) The Haitian flag 
floats over the whole island Hostility of the Great Powers 
toward Haiti : the United States and Great Britain recognize the 
independence of Mexico, Colombia, etc., but refrain from recog- 
nizing the independence of Haiti The Haitians abolish the 
preferential tariff hitherto granted to Great Britain Haiti 
and France at odds over the question of the recognition of th 
Haitian independence Preparations for war in Haiti France 
strives to acquire a protectorate over Haiti Promulgation of 
the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Penal Code, and 
of Code of Criminal Instruction Charles X grants the Haiti- 
ans their independence His ordinance and its effects Loan in 
France and paper money, consequences of the ordinance Nego- 
tiations with France for the conclusion of a treaty destined to 
destroy the bad eil'ects of the ordinance of Charles X. Negotia- 
tions with the Pope Treaty of 1838 by which France recognizes 
Haitian independence Treaties with Great Britain and France 
for the abolition of the slave-trade The discontent provoked by 
the ordinance of Charles X affects President Boyer's popularity 
Reforms indispensable after the conclusion of the treaty of 
1838 The opposition takes advantage of Boyer's inaction 
Charles He"rard, surnamed Riviere, takes up arms at Praslin 
(January 27, 1843) Boyer resigns (March 13, 1843) and sails 
on the English sloop-of-war Scylla 173 


The revolutionists of 1843 Their reforms: the constitution of 1843 
Charles He"rard aine", surnamed RiviSre (December 30, 1843- 
May 3, 1844) Loss of the Spanish portion of the island Claims 
of the peasants of the Southern Department Jean-Jacques 
Acaau The period of transition Guerrier (May 3, 1844- April 
15, 1845) Pierrot (April 16, 1845-March 1, 1846) Riche* 
(March 1, 1846-February 27, 1847) 192 


Faustin Soulouque (March 1, 1847- January 15, 1859) Campaigns 
against the Dominicans The Empire Intervention of France, 
Great Britain and the United States on behalf of the Domin- 
icans Navassa Gonaives in rebellion Faustin Soulouque 
leaves Haiti.. 200 

8 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 


Fabre Geffrard (December 23, 1858-March 13, 1867) Concordat 
with the Vatican Reforms made by Geffrard : diffusion of public 
instruction ; law permitting marriage between foreigners and 
Haitians Attempt to induce the colored people of the United 
States to go to Haiti Geffrard tried to have the whole island 
neutralized Annexation of the Dominican Republic by Spain 
Tne Rubalcava incident Salnave takes up arms at Cap-Haitien 
The Bulldog incident Bombardment of Cap-Haitien by Brit- 
ish men-of-war Mr. Seward, Secretary of State of the United 
States, at Port-au-Prince Geffrard leaves Haiti 206 


Sylvain Salnave (June 14, 1867-December 19, 1869) Constitution 
of 1867 Abolition of the Presidency for life Salnave becomes 
a dictator Resistance of the country Overthrow of Salnave; 
his trial and execution 212 


Nissage Saget (March 19, 1870-May 14, 1874) Redeeming the 
paper money The Batsch incident The Hornet incident The 
Dominican incident The Haitians send a gold medal to Sena- 
tor Charles Sumner At the expiration of his term of office 
Nissage Saget leaves Port-au-Prince for Saint-Marc 217 


Michel Domingue (June 11, 1874- April 15, 1876) The loan of 
1875 Discontent caused by the death of Generals Brice and 
Monplaisir Pierre Riot at Port-au-Prince Overthrow of Do- 
mingue 223 


Boisrond Canal (July 17, 1876-July 17, 1879) Misunderstand- 
ing with France caused by the Domingue loan The Autran in- 
cident ; difficulties with Spain about Cuba The Maunder claim 
The Lazare and Pelletier claims Attitude of the Legislative 
Power The President's resignation 227 


Lysius Salomon (October 23, 1879-August 10, 1888) Insur- 
rection at Miragoane Misunderstanding with the Catholic 
clergy Various foreign claims: Lazare, Pelletier, Maunder 
(continued) The Domingue loan Bank of Haiti Financial 
scandal Universal Postal Union Telegraph Agricultural ex- 
position Reelection of Salomon Discontent at Cap-Haitien 
Salomon leaves Haiti . . . 239 

Contents 9 


Seide Thelemaque F. D. Le"gitime (December 16, 1888 August 
22, 1889) The incident of the steamship Haytian Republic 
Legitime leaves Port-au-Prince 243 


Florville Hyppolite (October 9, 1889-March 24, 1896) The 
United States try to gain possession of Mole Saint-Nicolas 
The United States and Samana Bay Incident with France 
concerning Haitians registered at the French Legation The 
Chicago Exposition Telegraph Telephone Public works 
Death of Hyppolite 245 


T. Simon-Sam (March 31, 1896-May 12, 1902) The Liiders in- 
cident The Northern Railroad Railroad from Port-au-Prince to 
L'Etang Misunderstanding as to the duration of Sam's power 
His resignation 249 


Legislative elections Affray at Cap-Haitien A. Firmin at Gon- 
aives The Markomania incident The blowing up of the Crete- 
d-Pierrot by Killick Nord Alexis elected President on the 21st 
of December, 1902 The "Consolidation" scandal 252 



Limits of Haiti Area Mountains and rivers Adjacent islands 
Population Government Divisions of the territory into De- 
partments, arrondissements, communes, and rural sections Fi- 
nancial organization; the national debt Academic organiza- 
tion; public instruction Judiciary organization Religious or- 
ganization 257 


Climate of Haiti Sanitary condition The absence of poisonous 
.insects Fauna Flora: fruit-trees; vegetables Fertility of the 
land . 272 

10 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 


Customs and manners of the people; their hospitality Marriage 
and divorce The Haitian woman The Haitians are not lazy 
They entertain no race prejudice Advantages which foreigners 
enjoy; their safety Naturalization Right to hold real es- 
tate 281 


Commerce of Haiti Her products of the present day compared with 
those at the time of the French domination Haiti at the 
Saint Louis Exposition The various industries Timber and 
cabinet woods Mines 292 


Origin of the calumnies against Haiti Unsympathetic attitude of 
the foreign Powers toward her: Great Britain, Spain, France 
and the United States Even Simon Bolivar forgot the help 
rendered him by Haiti Germany Conditions in Haiti at the 
time of her independence Difference between these conditions 
and those of the United States at the time when they severed 
their relations with Great Britain Civil wars in Haiti as 
compared with those of Germany, Great Britain and France 
Some of the causes of civil strife in Haiti 300 


Corruption Cannibalism Voodooism Papa-loi Superstitions 

False assertion that the Haitians are reverting to savagery. . . . 342 


Port-au-Prince Frontispiece 

Union Club, Cap-Haitien 78 

Slaughter-house, Port-au-Prince .... 96 

Custom-house, Port-au-Prince 108 

Cap-Haitien 112 

Town of Milot, Where Christophe Built "Sans-Souci" 166 
Ruins of the Palace of "Sans-Souci" built by Henri 

Christophe 176 

National Bank of Haiti, Port-au-Prince . . . 240 

Central Market, Port-au-Prince 248 

Northern Station, Port-au-Prince .... 252 

Cathedral of Port-au-Prince 256 

Departments of Exterior Relations, Public Instruction, 

etc., Port-au-Prince 262 

Primary School of the Brothers of Christian Instruc- 
tion, Port-au-Prince 264 

Seminaire College St. Martial, Port-au-Prince . . 266 

Bishop's House, Cap-Haitien . . . . . 270 


Although at a comparatively short distance from the 
United States, Haiti is nevertheless very little known 
in this country, where in most cases books written in 
English by unscrupulous travelers or authors are their 
only source of information. In this manner errors and 
prejudices became rooted in the minds of many Ameri- 
cans, who believe that my fellow-countrymen are 
addicted to all kinds of gross superstitions and are re- 
verting to barbarism instead of progressing in civiliza- 
tion. This rather severe arraignment of my fellow- 
countrymen is founded upon slanders which everybody 
repeats without taking the trouble of examining facts 
in order to ascertain the truth. 

One cannot pass judgment upon a nation at first 
sight. In order to form an impartial appreciation of a 
people one must be acquainted with its origin and cus- 
toms; it is necessary to make a study of the causes 
which have hindered or facilitated its evolution ; and to 
look carefully into the various phases of this evolution ; 
one must even be acquainted with the telluric and clima- 
tological conditions, which exert a certain influence over 
the successive changes of a country. A foreigner who 
spends but a few days in a country cannot be in a posi- 
tion to speak with the accuracy of thorough knowledge 
of the inhabitants of this country; he is likely either to 
repeat all the goss'p gathered fro#i his new-made ac- 


14 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

quaintances or to give rein to his imagination. Those 
who hasten to judge a nation whose history and tem- 
perament they have not taken the trouble to study are 
either guilty of bad faith or ignorance. 

My only aim in putting this book into English is to 
give to the Americans the means of forming an impar- 
tial opinion on Haiti for themselves. Consequently 
this work is divided in two parts. The first part is com- 
posed of the entire history of the island from before 
its discovery by Christopher Columbus up to the elec- 
tion of General Nord Alexis to the Presidency; the 
many horrors of which Haiti was the scene have been 
mentioned as well as the vicissitudes of the fierce strug- 
gle that occurred when its inhabitants sought to con- 
quer their liberty and independence. 

The second part deals with the natural conditions of 
the country, its general organization, the customs and 
manners of the people, and their continued efforts to 
better their condition. I have of course availed myself 
of the opportunity to refute the most current calumnies, 
of which Haiti has of late had a full share. 

In speaking of slavery and of the Haitian war of 
independence I could not avoid recalling some of the 
acts of cruelty committed by the French. I hope that 
no one will think on that account that my intention is 
to revive any ill feeling against France. The Haitians 
have great affection for that country, to which as a rule 
they entrust the instruction of their children. In the 
books, pamphlets, and newspaper articles concerning 
Haiti, it has been the custom to speak of Dessalines and 
of the soldiers of the Haitian war of independence as 
monsters devoid of any human feeling, whilst the 
authors generally remain silent about the crimes of 
Eochambeau and of the French colonists. Any one of 
unbiased opinion who reads the history of Haiti will 
readily perceive that the reprisals of the Haitians had 
been occasioned by the inhuman treatment inflicted on 
them. The facts stated in this book v/ill, I hope, show 
the injustice of the charges brought Against my fellow- 
countrymen, who have labored earnestly and at the cost 

Foreword 15 

of much sacrifice of life to found a nation, whilst 
abolishing forever the iniquitous institution of slavery. 
The Haitians claim with pride the honor of having been 
the first ones to put an end to the barbarous system 
which, abasing human beings to the level of beasts, had 
made man the property of man. The wrath they have 
incurred and the ill-will they have met with have been' 
occasioned in many instances solely by the grudge of the 
partisans of slavery and the spite of the French colo- 
nists or their descendants who had ceased to find in 
Saint-Domingue a source of wealth more or less hon- 
estly acquired. 

By mentioning in this book some facts observed in 
the United States my intention is not to criticise or to 
make any comparisons. My only aim is, on one hand, 
to refute some unjust charges made against my coun- 
try, and on the other to show that Haiti has not the 
monopoly of superstitions and superstitious practices 
which exist everywhere, in the United States as well 
ac in Europe. However, if I have unwittingly given 
the least umbrage to the American people, I earnestly 
hope that a wrong motive will not be ascribed to my 
words; they may rest assured that, in remembrance 
of the kind hospitality they have shown me, I shall al- 
ways do my utmost to avoid hurting their feelings in 
the slightest degree. They are truth-lovers, therefore 
I can afford to speak to them in a frank and open 

In saying what I think to be the truth I am of the 
opinion that I can benefit the United States as well as 
my country; for two nations need to know each other 
well in order to enjoy mutual respect and esteem. 
Through prejudice or lack of information the Ameri- 
cans neglect Haiti, where their capital and their energy 
might find profitable investment; and others take ad- 
vantage of their abstention. When they become better 
informed they will be in a position to have their share 
of the profits which their competitors alone are now 
harvesting. Cordial relations, free from ulterior de- 
sign and prejudice, cannot fail to give full confidence 

16 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

to both nations; and this reciprocal confidence will be 
beneficial to all concerned. I would feel more than re- 
warded if my book could contribute toward establish- 
ing such a confidence by giving to the American people 
a fair idea of the Haitians ! 

, It gives me great pleasure to express my profound 
gratitude to Miss Louise Bourke for having undertaken 
the revising of the English text of this work; I also 
heartily thank Mr. P. Thoby, who helped me in my 
search for documents; and the employes of the State 
Department as well as those of the Library of Congress 
who so graciously placed at my disposal the books and 
manuscripts I desired to consult. 

Washington, December, 1906. 




Quisqueya or Haiti 1 Geographical position The First Inhabitants : their 
manners, religion and customs Divisions of the territory. 

Between 17 55' and 20 north latitude, and between 
71 and 77 west longitude from the meridian of Paris, 
lies the island which in the United States is often called 
"the mysterious Haiti." 2 

Before the fifteenth century its inhabitants, number- 
ing about one million, used to be relatively happy : the 
Old World was unaware even of their existence. 

They were very tawny, rather small in stature, with 
long, black, and smooth hair. Simple in their manners, 
more indolent than active, they were contented with 
little; moreover, their wants were not very great. 

The men and the girls wore no clothing; the women 
only had around their waists a cloth reaching to their 
knees. 3 They supported themselves by fishing, hunting, 
and by raising corn and vegetables of an easy culture ; 
from their cotton they made nets, hammocks, etc. ; they 
took great pleasure in smoking the dried leaves of the 
tobacco plant. Polygamy was practiced. 

Through the coarse ceremonies of their religion can 
be traced the idea of the immortality of the soul and the 
existence of a Supreme Being, whose mother, Mamona, 

1 Pronounce: A-e-t (a as in alone). 

* According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Haiti somewhat resem- 
bles a turtle, its eastern projection forming the head, and the two 
western peninsulas the hinder limbs of the animal. 

3 Placide Justin, Histoire d'Haiti. 


20 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

was especially worshipped. In the life to come the 
good would be rewarded; and in their Paradise they 
would meet once more their relatives, their friends, 
and principally many women. 4 They held sacred a 
cavern 5 whence, according to their belief, the Sun and 
Moon escaped and went to shine in Heaven. Every 
year they celebrated in that grotto a kind of public 
feast; the "Cacique" 6 or one of the notables headed 
the procession of men and women marching to the 
place. The ceremony began with the offerings that 
the priests or "butios" 7 presented to the gods or 
Zemes, 8 whilst the women danced and sang the praises 
of the deities. Afterward prayers for the salvation 
and prosperity of the people were said. Then the 
"butios" distributed among the heads of the families 
pieces of cake, which they preserved with great care; 
these consecrated cakes, according to a belief the ves- 
tiges of which can be found even up to the present 
among some civilized nations, had the virtue of ward- 
ing off all dangers and diseases. 

Their gods were strangely typified; they took the 
form of toads, turtles, snakes, alligators, and of hid- 
eous human faces. The "butios" were at once sooth- 
sayers and doctors. By tradition and through per- 
sonal observation they knew the power of many plants ; 
the simples helped them to make cures ; and the art of 
healing increased their prestige. 

The aborigines called their island Quisqueya (big 
land) or Haiti (the hilly land). The authority was di- 
vided between five military chiefs or "caciques," each 
one independent of the others. 9 The weapons of the 

Placide Justin, Histoire d'Haiti, p. 5. 

This cavern, called nowadays "Grotte a Minguet," is in the neigh- 
borhood of Cape-Haiti. 

Pronounce: Ka-sick (a as in alone). 

Pronounce: boo-ci-o. 

Pronounce: Zem-s. 

The five "cacicats" or kingdoms were (a) Le Marien, under the 
command of Guacanagarie, in the North ; its capital was in the neigh- 
borhood of Cape-Haiti; (6) Le Magua, called afterward "Vega Real," 
in the Northeast; the "cacique" was Guarionex; its capital stood where 
the Spaniards built the town of "Concepcion de la Vega"; (c) Le 

The Aborigines 21 

people consisted of clubs, arrows, and wooden spears 
the sharp ends of which were hardened by fire. Often 
they had to protect and defend themselves against the 
attacks of their insular neighbors, the Caribs (Ca- 
raibes), who were cannibals. 

The people enjoyed dancing to the beating of a drum. 
There were no public or private festivities without such 
dancing and singing. On the whole they kind, po- 
lite, and merciful. Their good qualities caused their 
ruin. 10 

Maguana, in the Cibao, acknowledged the authority of Caonabo, who 
resided at San Juan de la Maguana ; ( d } Le Xaragua, commanded by 
Bohechio or Behechio, in the West and South, had as its capital Tagu- 
ana, known to-day as Le"ogane; (e) Higuey, in the East, under the 
authority of Cotubana, who made his residence at Higuey. 

10 Emile Nau, in his work Caciques d'Haiti, gives a good idea of the 
habits of the aborigines. 


Christopher Columbus His arrival in Haiti Behavior of the Spaniards 
toward the aborigines Their cupidity War Caonabo Anacaona 
The Spanish domination Cacique Henry. 

Such were the first inhabitants of Haiti when, on 
August 3, 1492, Columbus left Palos. After a journey 
too well known to be repeated here, his three caravels 
anchored on the 6th of December, 1492, in a pretty bay 
in the northern part of Haiti. In honor of the saint 
whose feast the Catholic Church was celebrating that 
day, the place was called St. Nicholas. 1 The beauty 
of the scenery, the lovely panorama which Columbus 
beheld on arriving, the song of the nightingale, the 
fish, everything reminded him of the country whence 
he started out to the conquest of the New World. 
Therefore he gave the name of Hispanola 2 to the 
island he had just discovered; and believing that he 
was in Asia, he called the inhabitants " Indians. " On 
those unfortunate people the arrival of the Spaniards 
was about to bring endless calamities. And the island 
up to that time so peaceful and quiet was to have no 
more tranquillity ; the land was to be nothing else than 
an everlasting battlefield, where all kinds of horrors 
and atrocities would be perpetrated. Torrents of blood 
would irrigate its fertile soil and a whole race would 
disappear in order to satisfy the cupidity of the new- 
comers. On the 12th of December, in setting up the 
cross on the coast of Haiti, Columbus had no idea that 

1 The place is called to-day Mole Saint-Nicolas. Pronounce: Moll 
Sain Ni-co-la (a as in alone). 

2 Little Spain. Pronounce: Iss-pa-yola (both a's as in alone). 


The Spaniards and the Aborigines 23 

the symbol of redemption was to be the signal of a 
fierce struggle, of a struggle without mercy. 

In fact, after the first impulse of curiosity caused by 
the sight of the large sails, which, like huge birds' 
wings, were carrying the caravels to their shore, the 
natives, prompted by the warnings of instinct, fled and 
got under shelter in the depths of their forests. The 
looks of the white men foreboded no good. But the 
trusting and kind disposition of the aborigines pre- 
vailed over fear. They were quickly won over by the 
cajoleries and the gifts of the Spaniards. Their leader, 
Guacanagaric, 3 not only welcomed Columbus as a 
friend, but also became his ally ; he granted the Admiral 
sufficient land for the building of a fortress. So a 
stronghold, called "The Nativity " in honor of that holy 
day, was erected with the help of the Indians not far 
from the place where the present town of Cap-Haitien * 
is situated. The aborigines themselves had thus forged 
the first link of their own chains. 

Thirty-nine men garrisoned the fortress, and on tke 
4th of January, 1493, Columbus left for Spain. He had 
scarcely set sail when the Spaniards, forgetting the 
simplest rules of prudence, became most unrestrained 
in their manners and committed the worst excesses. Tak- 
ing no account of the generous hospitality and of the 
hearty welcome of Guacanagaric, they inflicted on his 
followers all kinds of ill treatment. They outraged 
women and girls, and despoiled the men of their goods. 
Eager for riches, and thinking only of acquiring gold, 
they seized the metal wherever they could lay their 
hands on it. They trampled OH the chastity and the cus- 
toms of the Indians. Finding no more booty in the 
"cacicat" of Marien, some of them decided to carry 
their depredations to the Maguana, where the auriferous 
mines of the Cibao were located. But Caonabo, the 
"cacique" of Maguana, was not like the passive Gua- 
canagaric. Descending from the fierce tribe of the 

3 Columbus landed in the northern part of the island, in the "cacicat" 
of Marien. 

* Pronounce : Cap A-e-ci-en. 

24 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Caribs, he determined to remain the sole master of his 
"cacicat," which he had conquered by main force. 
Therefore he did not hesitate to cause the invaders to 
be arrested and put to death. And, having a vague 
presentiment of future perils, he determined to rid the 
island of the dangerous newcomers; in consequence he 
invaded the Marien. At the head of a numerous band 
of armed followers he rushed upon the fortress The 
Nativity, which he razed to the ground, after extermi- 
nating all the Spaniards. Henceforth it was to be war 
to the death. 

When, on the 27th of November, 1493, Columbus 
returned to the place where The Nativity was built, he 
*could but deplore the disaster. From Spain he had 
brought with him imposing forces. He settled in the 
eastern part of what is known to-day as Monte Christi; 
and there was built the first town erected by the Span- 
iards in the West Indies. In honor of the Queen of 
Spain this town was called Isabella. 5 

Among Columbus 's new companions there were many 
adventurers whose sole thought was to acquire riches. 
They began searching for gold with a greed second 
only to their contempt for the feelings of the Indians. 
Besides, the latter had to work hard to supply their 
oppressors with cotton, tobacco, and gold dust. They 
were soon compelled to fetch from the bowels of the 
earth that gold which in their indolence they had been 
content to pick up in the sands of the rivers. Their 
^artless souls rose against such unjust oppression. They 
joined the party of Caonabo, 6 who became the leader of 
the opposition to the tyranny of the foreigners. The 
natives fought gallantly. To get rid of his indomitable 
foe, Columbus had to resort to Alonzo Ojeda's perfidy. 
Under the pretext of making peace, they decoyed Cao- 
nabo into an ambush. As a gift from the chief of the 
Spaniards, Ojeda presented him with chains and hand- 
cuffs made of iron polished and glittering like silver. 

5 Pronounce: E-za-bell-e-a. 
* Cacique of Maguana. 

The Spaniards Defeat the Aborigines 25 

The unsuspecting Indian admired the irons, and mis- 
taking them for ornaments he allowed himself to be 
manacled. He was then easily carried to Columbus, 
who kept him prisoner in his own house. Caonabo was 
afterward sent to Spain. 7 

This treacherous act, instead of intimidating the Indi- 
ans, provoked a general uprising. Manicatoex, Cao- 
nabo 's brother, became their leader. Against the band of 
numerous warriors who threatened the town of Isabella, 
Columbus despatched a well-disciplined body of foot- 
soldiers, cavalrymen, gunners, and arbolisters ; twenty- 
five blood-hounds also were added to the army. In the 
struggle the natives fought desperately; but the fire- 
arms of the Spaniards prevailed over their spears and 
clubs. Their forces were annihilated. The cavalry 
harassed the fugitives, many of whom became the prey 
of the ferocious dogs. No quarter was granted, those 
only could escape who were lucky enough to reach the 
shelter of the inaccessible mountains. This victory 
secured the Spanish domination. The Indians agreed 
to pay tribute to them. 

However, the tranquillity which followed these events 
did not last long; more terrible convulsions were in 
store for the unfortunate island. 

The exactions of the Spaniards became unbearable. 
Hoping to get rid of them by starvation, the Indians 
gave up cultivating their lands; they deserted their 
homes, taking shelter in unsearchable forests in the 
mountains, where they lived on roots ; they voluntarily 
endured hardships rather than submit to the treatment 
inflicted on them by the conquerors. 

The Haitian soil was soon to be soaked with Spanish 
blood. In the absence of Columbus, who left for Spain 
in 1496, his companions quarreled and civil war began. 
On all sides bloody scenes were enacted : the Spaniards 

7 Caonabo was sent to Spain in March, 1496. According to E. Robin 
(History of Haiti, p. 14) the ship foundered and the cacique waa 
drowned. But Mr. J. B. Dorsainville (Course of Haitian History, p. 
44) snys that the Indian leader starved himself to death during the 
voyage; for the ship arrived at Cadiz on the llth of June, 1496. How- 
ever, Caonabo never reached Spain. 

26 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

exterminating the Indians; the latter availing them- 
selves of the least opportunity to retaliate; and to 
crown the situation, the Spaniards killing each other. 

On his return to Hispanola, Columbus suppressed 
the dissensions among his followers by establishing, in 
behalf of Eoldan-Jimenes, the leader of the malcon- 
tents, what is known as the "repartimientos" system: 
he granted to Roldan and to his followers a certain 
quantity of land and a sufficient number of Indians to 
cultivate it. In that manner slavery began to appear ; 
and Quisqueya had a new horror to add to the list of 
the calamities with which its unhappy inhabitants were 
already afflicted. 

In 1500 Bobadilla succeeded Columbus; and the "re- 
partimientos" system became worse. The "caciques" 
were compelled to supply every Spaniard with a certain 
number of Indians ; these Indians were made to work 
under the guidance and in behalf of their masters, to 
whose heirs they were transferable. 

Naturally this caused the natives to be still more 
highly displeased. Moved by their complaints the court 
of Spain appointed Nicholas Ovando governor of the 
island ; he landed in Santo Domingo 8 on the 15th of 
April, 1502. 9 

The new governor had a good reputation, which he 
soon belied. It would seem that in reaching Hispanola 
the best-intentioned man laid aside his kind disposition 
to give way to his worst instincts. Thinking only of 
shipping as much gold as possible, in order to convince 
the King of Spain of the merit of his administration, 
Ovando was pitiless to the Indians. These unfortunate 
people, accustomed to the sunshine, were made to live 
in the depths of the earth ; and many of them died from 
starvation and exhaustion. 

From the Canary Islands Pierre d'Atenga brought 

8 In 1496 Barthelemy built on the left bank of the Ozama a town 
which he called New Isabella and which became the headquarters of the 
administration. Destroyed in 1502 by a cyclone, the town was, in 1504, 
reconstructed, at the mouth of the same river, by Ovando, who called it 
Santo Domingo after Columbia's father. 

9 According to Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 32, Ovando arrived 
in Santo Domingo on April 15, 1501. 

Anacaona and Ovando 27 

the sugar-cane to Hispaiiola. This new culture increased 
the burden which was already so heavy for the natives. 

With a view to preventing any uprising on their part 
Ovando decided to destroy the last centres of organ- 
ization where they could gather their forces for a com- 
mon resistance. On his arrival two of the former "caci- 
cats" were still holding their own and recognized the 
authority of two aborigines. 

Anacaona, 10 widow of the gallant Caonabo, governed 
the Xaragua, and the Higuey was ruled by Cotubanama. 
The prestige of the Queen of Xaragua was very great. 
She was a beautiful woman, possessing the art of lull- 
ing away the cares of her people by extemporizing for 
them the naive songs they were so fond of. Like her 
husband, Anacaona was to be a victim of the Spanish 
tyranny. Ovando took umbrage at the moral ascend- 
ency she possessed over the natives. Under the pretext 
of collecting the tribute due to the Court of Spain, he 
left for the Xaragua, escorted by 300 foot soldiers and 
70 cavalrymen. In pursuance of instructions given by 
Anacaona, the people everywhere gave him the most 
friendly welcome. The Queen herself went to meet her 
illustrious visitor, in honor of whom many festivities 
took place. 

But all this confidence did not move the inexorable 
Spaniard. During one of the festivities, at a given signal 
agreed on beforehand, Ovando 's soldiers rushed upon 
the harmless Indians and began a wholesale slaughter. 
They set fire to the village, thus rendering the massacre 
still more horrible. Anacaona, now a prisoner, was 
dragged away to Santo Domingo, where a mock court 
of justice, completing Ovando 's treachery, sentenced 
her to death. Neither her beauty nor her charms could 
excite the compassion of the conquerors, and she was 
hanged. Thereafter Ovando was master of the Xara- 
gua. (1504.) 

But the Higuey was still under the authority of the 

10 Golden flower. Pronounce: An-na-ka-o-na. 

28 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

stalwart Cotubanama. It was an easy matter to find 
a pretext for waging war on him. The last of the 
Haitian ' * caciques " defended his small State with great 
bravery. The struggle was a fierce one. The Spanish 
fury spared neither sex nor age. They massacred the 
natives indiscriminately. Vanquished at last, Cotuba- 
nama was taken as a prisoner to Santo Domingo where, 
like Anacaona, he was hanged. Through his defeat and 
death the Spaniards at last acquired the entire posses- 
sion of Hispanola. 

Ovando was victorious. The Spanish conquest had 
annihilated a whole race. Shipped to Europe and sold 
as slaves, heavily burdened with taxes, over-worked, 
tormented, persecuted, the autochthons had rapidly dis- 
appeared. Many had resorted to suicide to escape from 
the ill treatment inflicted on them; others were de- 
voured by the ferocious dogs ; the greatest number had 
fallen in the bloody wars and bloody massacres. In 
1507, scarcely fifteen years after the arrival of the 
Spaniards, there remained, out of a population number- 
ing about 1,000,000, only 60,000 natives. Four years 
later, in 1511, these 60,000 were reduced to 14,000." 

The cruelty and cupidity of the newcomers had de- 
populated the island. There was in consequence a great 
deficiency of laborers : the prosperity of Hispanola was 
in jeopardy. Ovando, always fruitful in expedients, 
conceived the idea of importing the inhabitants of the 
neighboring islands, pretending that it would be easier 
to convert them to Christianity. Deceived by the gross- 
est artifices, 40,000 of those unfortunate people were 
removed from their homes and became at Hispanola 
the prey of the Spanish avidity. 

The Spaniards soon introduced into the island a new 
element more resisting than the Indians and Caribs: a 
few blacks had been sold in the colony. Pleased with 
their work, the Spaniards held the Africans as indis- 
pensable. The slave-trade which ensued was the cause 
of the downfall of the colonists. Cargoes of human 
flesh ajydunded in Hispanola. Stunned by their brutal 

Justin, Histoire d'Haiti, pp. 40-42. 

Cacique Henry 29 

separation from their families, stupefied by the suffer- 
ings and the fatigues of a long journey, scattered on 
the various plantations, and unable to understand the 
language spoken around them, the new slaves were at 
first necessarily docile and obedient. But, little by little, 
through contact with the survivors of the last Indians, 
they began to be able to exchange ideas among them- 
selves. And the old grievances uniting with the new 
ones served to augment the hatred of the oppressors. 

In 1519 occurred the last uprising of what was left 
of the first inhabitants of the island. Saved almost 
miraculously from the massacre of Anacaona's follow- 
ers in 1504, Henri, a native of Bahoruco, was taken to 
Santo Domingo and brought up in a convent of Domini- 
can friars. Though he became a Christian, he was 
nevertheless a slave. Tired of all the ill treatment 
inflicted on him by his master, incensed by an attempt 
on his wife 's honor, and being unable to obtain justice, 
he fled in 1519; accompanied only by a few Indian 
slaves who swore to die rather than endure again the 
humiliation of their former condition, he took refuge 
in the mountains of Bahoruco. 

This new leader could read and write ; and like some 
of his companions he understood the use of firearms. 
They could therefore successfully hold their own. The 
Spanish pride received blow after blow. Henri's vic- 
tories encouraged all the Indians who could make their 
escape to flock to his camp. 

The black slaves were not long in following the ex- 
ample of their companions in misfortune. They rebelled 
on the very plantation of Diego Columbus, governor of 
the island. They set fire to all the farms they found 
on their way and killed every European they met. But, 
being without a leader and having only a slight knowl- 
edge of the country, they met with rapid defeat. Yet 
many of them were fortunate enough to reach the Ocao 
Mountains, where there lived already some men of their 
race, known as maroons, who had freed themselves from 

The Spaniards failed to subdue Henri either by force 

30 Haiti: Her History aa tier Detractors 

or by deceit. He firmly established his authority in the 
Bahoruco, and his followers became the terror of the 
colonists. It was now his turn to inflict humiliations on 
the conquerors; which he did for more than fourteen 
years. The frequent defeats met by the Spaniards 
decided Charles V, then King of Spain and Emperor 
of Germany, to send a special agent to Hispanola: 
Barrio-Nuevo was intrusted with the mission of restor- 
ing peace. Bearing a letter from the Emperor to Don 
Henri, he had no trouble in persuading the " cacique" 
to lay down his arms. Acting by the advice of Las 
Cases, who was called the "Protector of the Indians, " 
Henri went to Santo Domingo. A solemn treaty of 
peace was made and ratified on both sides. Henri was 
allowed to reside in the village of Boya. Exempt from 
paying tribute, he was to be called "cacique of Haiti" 
and to keep under his command the Indians who were 
permitted to follow him. These, numbering about 4,000, 
the last scions of the aboriginal race, settled at Boya. 
They had at last recovered their liberty. Henceforth 
they would be able to lead a quiet life. 


The French freebooters and buccaneers Their customs Their settle- 
ment at La Tortue (Tortuga Island) Little by little they invade 
HispaSola, now known as Saint-Domingue Continual wars with the 
Spaniards Treaty recognizing the French occupation. 

The treaty signed in 1533 with the "cacique" Henri 
had at last put an end to the hostilities between the 
Indians and Spaniards. For a while there was no 
bloodshed. The relative tranquillity which ensued was 
not taken advantage of. Instead of thriving, the colony 
was on the wane. The incoinpetericy or malversation 
of the various governors hastened the decline. The 
mines were emptied or deserted ; no care was given to 
agriculture. In consequence, through idleness, debauch- 
ery and poverty the colonists were in a piteous con- 
dition. Everything was falling to ruin. The town of 
Santo Domingo alone, where was centred the luxury of 
the administrators, remained prosperous and assumed 
the appearance of great splendor. But its magnificence 
was the cause of serious calamities. In 1586 the English 
admiral, Sir Francis Drake, charged by Queen Eliz- 
abeth to curb the Spanish arrogance, bombarded the 
town, took possession of it, and partly destroyed it by 
fire. After an occupation of a month he agreed to evac- 
uate it in consideration of a ransom of 7,000. 

The arrival of other Europeans in the West Indies 
was to become a source of continual worry to the Span- 
iards. From the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
attracted by the allurements of gain, the French had 
begun making incursions into the New World. Im- 
pressed by the various tales concerning the riches of 
Santo Domingo city, they little by little commenced the 
habit of calling the whole island Saint-Domingue. At 
first they had no idea of conquest. They were satisfied 


32 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

with plundering. In concert with the English they lost 
no opportunity of injuring the Spanish trade. How- 
ever, successive defeats made them feel the necessity 
of having a rallying-point, at least a place where they 
could refit their ships. In 1625 a party of Frenchmen 
under the command of Enembuc, and of Englishmen, 
under the leadership of Warner, took possession of St. 
Christopher Island. Private initiative began thus to 
deprive Spain of its possessions in the West Indies. 

The presence of these dangerous neighbors alarmed 
the Court at Madrid. In 1630 Admiral Frederic de 
Tolede expelled both the English and French from St. 
Christopher. Looking for a safer shelter, they settled 
at Tortuga Island (La Tortue), situated in the northern 
part of Hispanola or Saint-Domingue. Their new pos- 
session, eight leagues long and two leagues wide, be- 
came rapidly the rendezvous of the freebooters who 
swept the Spanish Main. In 1640 the French drove the- 
English from this small island, thus remaining the sole 
masters. That was the starting point of their settle- 
ment in Saint-Domingue. 

At that time the Spanish colony was in full decline. 
Owing to the necessity of preserving themselves from 
the depredations of their terrible foes, the Spaniards 
had almost deserted the coasts and were concentrated 
in the interior of the island. The Frenchmen availed 
themselves of the opportunity to take possession of the 
greatest part of the northern seashore. They had Port 
Margot, 1 and soon founded Port-de-Paix. 2 

These new inhabitants of Saint-Domingue were rough 
men of very coarse manners. They devoted their time 
to hunting wild oxen, the flesh of which they dried and 
smoked over a wood-fire called "boucan"; 3 hence their 
name of buccaneers. But hard pushed by the Spaniards 
they turned their attention to piracy, tinder the name 

1 Pronounce: Por Mar-go. Port Margot is situated in the depart- 
ment of the North, and in the arrondissement of Borgne. 

2 Pronounce: Por-doe-pe. Port-de-Paix is the chief town of the- 
department of the Northwest. 

1 Pronounce: Bou-kan. 

The French Freebooters and Buccaneers 33 

of freebooters they were the terror of the West Indies. 
They had neither wives nor families. They entered 
two by two into a kind of partnership, all of whose 
goods were in common and to be inherited by the sur- 
vivor. In case of a disagreement, which seldom hap- 
pened however, blood alone could bring the quarrel to 
a close. Even in their dress they were wild looking. At 
their belts could always be seen a sabre, besides several 
knives and daggers. Any one of them possessing a 
good gun and twenty -five hunting-dogs considered him- 
self a happy man. Many abandoned their family names 
and assumed pseudonyms, which remained to their 
descendants. Continually exposed to the inclemencies 
of the weather, their lives in constant jeopardy, they 
had as little fear of death as regard for the laws. They 
were fierce and desperate in their bravery ; they roamed 
the seas in their small crafts, and would board fear- 
lessly the largest Spanish ships. Nothing could resist 
the impetuosity of their attacks. The independence of 
their nature tolerated no restraint; and the authority 
of their leaders lasted only so long as fighting was going 
on. Improvident and careless, they w.ould squander in 
a few days the valuable booty they acquired, their lives 
being thus continually spent either in the greatest lux- 
ury or in the utmost poverty. Want therefore excited 
their ardor and aroused their courage. 

D'Ogeron 4 undertook to discipline these unruly 
spirits and to interest them in the welfare of their new 
country. He thought that family ties alone could check 
their wild dispositions and bind them to their homes. 
So he requested that some women be sent from the 
mother country; at first but few arrived. Therefore, 
to prevent any quarrelling, they were awarded to the 
highest bidders ; the less destitute among the freeboot- 
ers were thus able to secure female companions. In 
this manner the first French families were instituted in 

The freebooters were not to be trifled with; they 

4 D'Ogeron was appointed governor of the island by the East Indies 


34 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

were terrible foes. The Spaniards made vain efforts 
to exterminate them. A new and relentless war began ; 
the island once more became a battlefield. The Eng- 
lish thought they had now a good opportunity to take 
possession of the country. A fleet sent by Cromwell 
threatened Santo Domingo in 1655. Fortunately for 
the French the expedition failed and the English pro- 
ceeded to Jamaica, which they seized, thus depriving 
Spain forever of that colony. The struggle at Saint- 
Domingue continued therefore between the French and 
the Spaniards only ; it was a stubborn and bloody con- 
test. The French not only held their own, but even 
managed to gain a surer footing. 

Emboldened by their success they now assumed the 
offensive; they desired the entire possession of the 
island. In their first campaign against Santiago they 
stormed the city, which they afterward abandoned upon 
receiving a ransom (1669). 

At the first opportunity the Spaniards retaliated. 
They invaded Petit-Goave, which they completely de- 
stroyed. In 1691 they took possession of Cap-Fran- 
cais, 5 which they set on fire and whose inhabitants they 
massacred. On leaving the ruined city they took with 
them a great number of women, children, and slaves. 
The French for a while were in a desperate state. Be- 
sides the Spaniards, the English also were threaten- 
ing their settlement. And the black slaves, whose hope 
of liberty was only slumbering, began to cause some 
anxiety. In 1678 Padrejean 6 had roused them to rebel- 
lion. In 1697, in the Quartier-Morin, 7 300 Africans took 
up arms again. 

Fortunately for the French the timely peace of Ris- 
wick put an pnd to the hostilities. By the treaty signed 
in 1697 Louis XIV acquired a clear title to the posses- 
sion of the western part of the island, the limits of 
which were established from Cap-Rose in the north to 
La Beate in the south. 

5 Now named Cap-Haitien. 

6 Padrejean was killed after inflicting heavy losses on the French. 

7 Situated in the Northern "dgpartement" and in the arrondissement 
of Cap-Haitien. 


The French part of Saint-Domingue Its prosperity Its different classes 
of inhabitants; their customs The color prejudice The colonists: 
their divisions; their jealousy of the Europeans Their desire to 
be in command Their contempt for the affranchis (freedmen) 
Their cruelty toward the slaves The maroons. 

By recognizing the French conquest the treaty of 
Eiswick rid the colonists of Saint-Domingue of their 
anxieties arising from the vicinity of the Spaniards. 
The latter even became their allies, the war for the 
succession of the throne of Spain having just con- 
founded the interests of Louis XIV with those of the 
heir of Charles II. 

The eighteenth century began under the happiest 
auspices; quiet once established, Saint-Domingue was 
not long in astonishing the world by its prosperity. 
The ardent tropical heat, however, soon exhausted the 
vigor of the hired Europeans known as "engages," 
whose position resembled that of serfs. The cultiva- 
tion of sugar-cane and of indigo required hardier con- 
stitutions. In consequence the Africans were in favor. 
Nobody hesitated to participate in the slave-trade. As 
many as 30,000 blacks were annually imported. 

In the beginning their position, pitiable as it seemed, 
was less hard to bear. The first colonists, unsociable 
and haughty, had however very simple tastes. Their 
wants up to that time were not numerous and were 
easily satisfied. In the colony there was a scarcity of 
white women, and those who had arrived about the 
beginning of the French occupancy could not be re- 


36 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

garded as models of austere virtue. The fierce free- 
booters and their immediate successors did not consider 
the negresses as unworthy of their attentions. The 
unbounded devotion of the latter often moved the hearts 
of the terrible masters whose companions they had 
become. The children born of such a commerce were 
not entirely neglected by their fathers. There existed 
no color prejudice to complicate the relations of the 
two races. No one had cause to feel shame or humil- 
iation. The appearance of the mulatto, in arousing 
feelings of fatherly love, ameliorated the condition of 
some of the slaves. Mothers and children were often 
freed owing to these sentiments. Unfortunately through 
the riches resulting from the fruitful soil of Saint- 
Domingue these ideas began to suffer a change. Sur- 
rounded by extravagant luxury, the wealthy colonists 
made it the fashion to look down upon the Africans and 
their descendants. And the new families, arrived from 
Europe, exaggerating this disdain, hardly considered 
as human beings those whose color was not white. Bar- 
riers arose; and the odious distinctions between men, 
which the Gospel was supposed to have done away with, 
were more than ever firmly established. 

At the time of its greatest splendor the inhabitants 
of Saint-Domingue were divided into three distinct 
classes: the whites, the ' l aff ranchis ' ' or freedmen, and 
the slaves. To these classes officially admitted, may be 
added a fourth one the maroons. 

Naturally the whites had arrogated all the privileges. 
They were the masters; their color sufficed to confer 
on them all the rights and advantages. However, inter- 
est and prosperity in time divided the predominant 
class, introducing four subdivisions : 1st, civil and mili- 
tary functionaries ; 2nd, the wealthy planters ; 3rd, mer- 
chants; 4th, mechanics, storekeepers and adventurers 
in quest of success. These groups were jealous of one 
another. And those who were neither functionaries nor 
wealthy planters were scornfully called ' ' petits blancs. ' ' 
The latter were envious of the social position of the 
former. Besides, the white natives of Europe consid- 

The Various Classes of Inhabitants 37 

ered themselves far above the Creoles, i. e., those who 
were born in the colony. 

Notwithstanding these distinctions prompted by 
their unbearable vanity, all of them the whites from 
Europe, Creoles, wealthy planters, and "petits blancs" 
made common cause in the matter of taking advan- 
tage of the colonial regime which allowed them to 
trample upon the slaves, and to heap humiliations 
upon the "affrancMs." However, the wealthy plant- 
ers, who formed the aristocracy of the island, could not 
disguise their displeasure at the despotic and military 
government of Saint-Domingue. 

The Governor-General * had usurped supreme power. 
He interfered with everything, even in the administra- 
tion of justice, thus usurping the duties of a special 
agent or "intendant" who was there for that purpose. 
His word was supreme law. 

The wealthy planters thought that the surest way for 
their party to become the ruling power was by shaking 
off his authority. Hence a bitter rivalry, and an under- 
hand war began between them and the Governor-Gen- 

While undermining the position of the agents ap- 
pointed by the King of France, the planters did nothing 
to gain the sympathy of the ' ' petits blancs ' ' ; and their 
contempt for the " affranchis " was too great to allow 
them even to think of them as allies. 

The "affranchis" formed the intermediary class be- 
tween the colonist and the slave, and consisted of the 
blacks and mulattoes who had been able to obtain or to 
buy their freedom. Through personal efforts and hard 
work they began to rise gradually from the low con- 
dition they had occupied from their birth. They ac- 
quired urban and rural property; they appreciated 

1 In speaking of the Governor the inhabitants of the colony were in 
the habit of calling him, by way of abbreviation, "Ge"ne"ral" or "mon 
General" (my general). (Moreau de St. Me"ry.) Hence the custom of 
the country "people in Haiti of calling any one occupying a position 
superior to theirs "Ge"ne"ral." Foreigners hearing this word applied 
indiscriminately to Haitians believed that every one held that military 

38 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

learning ; and their sons, sent to France at great sacri- 
fice to themselves, had often more success at school 
than the children of the colonists. 

The wealth and knowledge they acquired made the 
' l afr" ranchis " feel they were the equals of the whites. 
Therefore they were highly indignant over the preroga- 
tives the latter had assumed at their expense. They 
claimed the exercise of the political rights granted them 
by the Black Code. Circumstances placed them face to 
face with the colonists, who sought to check their am- 
bition by humiliating them. Thus the liberal pro- 
fessions were closed to the ' l aff ranchis ' '; they were 
debarred from learning any kind of trade; they could 
not be silversmiths, for instance. In the army they 
could no longer become officers. At last they were even 
forbidden to go to France (1777) ; and were ordered to 
wear clothes of a material different from the whites. 

And yet those men upon whom the colonists heaped 
humiliation after humiliation were good soldiers. They 
were enlisted in both the militia and the horse-police 
(marechausee) ; and they all understood the use of fire- 
arms. It was into the hands of such men that the 
colonists committed their safety. 

As a means of putting a stop to the ever-increasing 
colonial pride and haughtiness, the women, mulattresses 
and blacks alike, resorted to their native charms. Wives 
or concubines, they availed themselves of whatever 
influence they possessed to secure the freedom of the 
men of their race. Incensed by the preference shown 
to their colored sisters, the white women added the 
weight of their jealousy to the already existing causes 
of conflict. 

The slaves were in a pitiable plight. Not being con- 
sidered as human beings, they were entirely without 
rights that a white man was bound to respect. They 
were treated and sold like cattle, with which their mas- 
ters confounded them in the inventory of their estates. 
They were subjected to the most barbarous punishments. 
According to the Black Code all fugitives were pun- 
ishable by death; it was lawful to mutilate them by 

The Slaves and Maroons 39 

chopping off their legs and their ears. The hounds were 
let loose on them, inflicting the greatest torture by their 
fierce attacks on the unfortunate creatures. Flogging 
was the mildest chastisement inflicted on the slaves. 
The honor of their wives, the chastity of their daughters 
were matters of the slightest consideration to their 

Small wonder it was that the slave was beset with 
one fixed idea to free himself of that odious yoke. 
Throughout his sufferings he never despaired: liberty 
was the one hope of his existence. And when he could 
not buy his freedom he would secure it for himself by 
fleeing; at the first opportunity he would fly for safety 
into the densest forests and the most inaccessible gorges 
of the mount;; i; ; s. When he was successful in effecting 
his escape he became what was called a maroon. 

Hence the maroons were slaves who, at the risk of 
their lives and after undergoing untold hardships, had 
eventually recovered their freedom. Being outlaws 
and hunted like wild animals they had continually to 
be on the lookout. Any place where they could find a 
safe shelter from their pursuers became their domain. 
Should they happen to be caught by their owners they 
knew beforehand that no mercy was to be expected and 
that the most inhuman punishments the colonial imagi- 
nation could invent would be theirs. Consequently, 
when attacked they fought with the fiercest desperation. 
Theirs was a perpetual struggle for existence. It was 
these men, without education or culture, who gathered 
from their confused ideas of human dignity the neces- 
sary energy to wage war on the society which was 
oppressing them so brutally. The first to bid defiance 
to the colonial system, they showed the men of their 
race that hardships, sufferings, even death all were 
preferable to such degrading servitude. They formed 
the vanguard of the future army of liberation. 2 

Such 'were the four classes of men who inhabited 

2 In 1784, after an unsuccessful attempt to subdue by force the 
maroons in hiding in the Bahuruco Mountains, Governor-General Belle- 
combe acknowledged their independence. 

40 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Saint -Domingue; the clashing of whose conflicting as- 
pirations was destined to hurl them one against the 
other. After irrigating the Haitian soil with their 
sweat, " affranchis, " slaves, and maroons firmly united, 
would lavish their blood on it in order to root out for- 
ever the shameful institution of slavery. 


Number of inhabitants of Saint-Domingue Savannah The French 
revolution Efforts of the colonists to take advantage of it The 
affranchis claim their rights The first conflicts Atrocities com- 
mitted by the colonists Vincent Oge" and Chavannes Uprising of 
the slaves The first Civil Commissioners Decree of April 4, 1792. 

In 1789 there were at Saint-Domingue 520,000 inhab- 
itants, 40,000 of whom were white, 28,000 "affranchis," 
and 452,000 slaves. 1 The number of maroons was from 
two to three thousand. Whilst most of the whites led 
corrupt and dissolute lives, the ' ' affranchis, ' ' through 
domestic virtues, were acquiring much wealth; they 
possessed a third of the real estate, and a fourth of the 
personal property of the colony. 2 Yet no regard was 
shown them. Despite the levelling and philanthropic 
philosophy which in Europe was moving the heart of 
the nobility, the colonists became daily more and more 
haughty and overbearing to the men of the black race ; 
they did all in their power to check the hopes which 
these new ideas began to raise in the souls of the sorely 
oppressed slaves. 

Through their influence and intrigues the colonists 
extorted from the weak hands of Louis XVI decisions 
of the most insulting nature against the ' * affranchis. ' 9 
The excess of humiliations heaped on them at last 
moved, even in France, the pity of generous hearts. 

1 These figures are given by Moreau de Saint-Mery. According to B. 
Ardouin (Introduction to the Studies of Haitian History) the population 
of Saint-Domingue in 1789 numbered 40,000 "affranchis" and more than 
600,000 slaves. Ducoeur-Joly, quoted by Placide Justin, p. 144, claims 
that the population consisted of 30,826 whites, 27,584 "affranchis," and 
465,429 slaves. 

3 B. Ardouin, Geography of Haiti, p. 4. 


42 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

t ^ 

La Soeiete des Amis des Noirs" 3 soon extended its 
mighty support to the lawful claims of those who 
hitherto were treated like pariahs. 

The "affranchis" became more and more conscious 
of their importance. In 1779, responding to the call of 
the Comte d'Estaing, 800 blacks and mulattoes 4 left 
their families and their homes, and went to fight side 
by side with the soldiers of George Washington. At 
the siege of Savannah the colored sons of Haiti fear- 
lessly shed their blood for the independence of the 
United States. 5 After fighting for the liberty of others 
was it possible that they would willingly tolerate slav- 
ery for their mothers, their brothers, and their sisters ? 
Could they be content under the arbitrary rule of a 
system which had despoiled them of their rights? 

But, blinded by their prejudice, the wealthy planters 
would not make the slightest concession in their favor. 
They founded in Paris the "Club Massiac," which be- 
came henceforth the centre of action of their coterie. 
Yet at that time the pretensions of the " aff ranchis ' ' 
were very moderate. What was it they were claiming? 
Simply the equality of political rights which was 
granted to them in 1685 by the Black Code. 

By yielding to their requests the colonists would have 
saved their property, and Saint-Domingne might per- 
haps have remained a part of the French territory. 

3 The Society of the Friends of the Blacks. 

4 Among the volunteers from Saint-Domingue were Beauvais, Bigaud, 
Chavannes, Jourdain, Lambert, Christophe, Morne", Villate, Toureaux, 
Cange", Martial Besse, Leveille", Mars Belley, etc. (E. Robin, History 
of Haiti, p. 47.) 

5 "At the siege of Savannah," says Mr. T. G. Steward, quoted by Mr. 
Benito Sylvain at page 102 of his book (Du sort des Indigenes dans lea 
colonies d'exploitation ; Paris, 1901), "the colored militiamen from 
"Saint-Domingue, numbering 800, saved the Franco-American army from 
"total disaster by heroically covering its retreat, which was very near 
"being cut off by Lieutenant-Colonel Maitland." 

However, some years later one of these militiamen, Martial Besse, 
then a French general, was not allowed to land at Charleston (South 
Carolina) without giving bail, on account of his color. The French con- 
sul hnd to interfere in order to secure proper respect for him. (Amer- 
ican Historical Association, 1905, Vol. II, p. 1020, Lettre de Le"tombe, 
consul it Philadelphia, a Delacroix, Ministre des Relations Exte"rieures 
de France.) 

The Colonists and the " Affranchis" 43 

Still they chose to run the greatest risks rather than 
share the administration of the island with men whom 
they considered their inferiors. 

From the convocation of the States General, the 
wealthy planters began to defy the colonial authority, 
thus giving the first example of insubordination. On 
their own responsibility they secretly appointed 
eighteen representatives whom they sent to France. 
On their arrival at Versailles they found the National 
Assembly already organized. This first act of insub- 
ordination was followed by others still more important. 
When the news of the fall of the Bastille reached Saint- 
Domingue, the pretensions of the colonists knew no 
bounds. They elected municipalities and even an 
Assembly, which, assuming the title of " General As- 
sembly of the French part of Saint-Domingue, " met 
at Saint-Marc and arrogated full powers. On the 
28th of May, 1790, this Assembly adopted a decree 
which constituted almost a declaration of independ- 
ence. The attitude and encroachment of this body was 
naturally highly displeasing to the colonial govern- 
ment, which ordered its dissolution and resorted to 
force in order to compel its members to disperse. 6 The 
whites took no pains to conceal from the " aff ranchis ' * 
the discord existing among themselves. 

Excluded from all the assemblies elected at Saint- 
Domingne, the freedmen had never ceased to protest 
against the arbitrary deprivation of their political 
rights. Their representatives in France, among whom 
were Julien Raymond and Vincent Oge, were fighting 
hard to put an end to their humiliating position. 
Through the powerful assistance of the Society "des 
Amis des Noirs," they were received, on the 22d of 
October, 1789, by the National Assembly. Later on the 
"affranchis" offered to France 6,000,000 francs and the 
fifth of their properties in guarantee of the national 
indebtedness. The Assembly was not long in taking up 

6 Many members of the Assembly took shelter on board the Leopard 
(8th of August, 1790). 

44 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the slavery question. Whilst the matter was under dis- 
cussion, Charles de Lameth, one of the wealthy planters, 
spoke, on the 4th of December, in favor of the freedom 
of the blacks and claimed their right to become mem- 
bers of the colonial assemblies. 

The colonists decided that the time had come to check 
the audacity of the ' i aif ranchis, " and as usual they 
resorted to all kinds of atrocities. In the town of Cap- 
Frangais the mulatto Lacombe was hanged, his only 
crime having been that he dared to present a humble 
petition claiming the "Bights of man" (Les Droits de 
1 'homme) . At Petit-Goave, a highly respected old man, 
Fernand de Baudieres, a white, was beheaded. He was 
charged with having drawn up a petition asking, not 
for equality of rights in favor of the "af ranchis, " but 
only for a slight betterment of their condition. At 
Aquin, 7 a mulatto, G. Labadie, seventy years old, simply 
suspected of having in his possession a copy of the 
petition, was attacked by night at his home by the 
whites. Severely wounded, this septuagenarian, 8 a man 
universally esteemed, was tied to the tail of a horse 
and dragged through the streets. At Plaisance, the 
mulatto Atrel, guilty of having accepted a claim upon 
a white man, was killed by a band of infuriated people. 
At Fonds-Parisien 9 the whites set fire to the most 
important sugar refineries of the "aff ranchis " Des- 
mares, Poisson, Benaud. 10 In time to come, the slaves 
who revolted, remembering this merciless destruction 
of property, in their turn reduced to ashes the rich 
plantations of the colonists. 

The French spared not even the children. At Petite- 

7 A town in the southern part of Haiti. 

8 Concerning Labadie, Brissot, in a letter to Barnave, says: "One 
"can say to the whites that there are in Saint-Domingue well informed 
"mulattoes who have never left the island. I can quote for instance Mr. 
"Labadie, an honorable old man, who owes his wealth to his work and 
"his intelligence. Astronomy, physics, ancient and modern history, were 
"all familiar to Mr. Labadie, at a time when not one of the whites in 
"the colony knew the A, B, C of these sciences." (B. Ardouin Studies 
on the History of Haiti, Vol. I, p. 198.) 

* Situated in the Western "dgpartement" of Haiti. 

u B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. I, p. 117. 

Vincent Oge and Chavanne 45 

Eiviere de PArtibonite' a party of 25 whites, after 
searching in vain for a mulatto, ended by killing his 
two children; in the same locality they murdered a 
father and his two sons. 11 A black f reedman was, with- 
out the least provocation, put to death by a party of 
whites; whilst at Cap-Franc,ais there took place a 
wholesale slaughter of the " affranchis " 12 by the colo- 
nists. Such are the atrocities with which the wealthy 
planters started the French revolution in Saint-Do- 
mingue. By and by both * ' a If ranchis ' 'and slaves retali- 
ated by taking revenge of all the horrible crimes of 
which they had been the victims. Many foreign writers 
unfriendly toward Haiti make mention only of the re- 
prisals; but they intentionally omit all allusion to the 
frequent revolting crimes which had caused them. 

By a decree of March 8, 1790, the National Assem- 
bly had, however, indicated the powers vested in the 
colonial assemblies of the French possessions. And, 
according to article 4 of the Instructions adopted on the 
28th of the same month, all persons 25 years old, own- 
ing real estate or domiciled in the parish for two years 
and paying taxes, were authorized to take part in the 
election of those assemblies. The ' ' aff ranchis ' ' pos- 
sessed the full requirements, and therefore imagined 
that they would at last be able to exercise their political 
rights. Their illusions did not last long. The colonists 
of Saint-Domingue did not consider as persons men of 
the black race; they regarded them as things. In con- 
sequence they were not allowed to vote. 

Foreseeing the decision of the wealthy planters, Vin- 
cent Oge, one of the commissioners of the " affranchis, " 
decided to return to Saint-Domingue in order to demand 
the fair application of the Decree and the Instructions 
of March, 1790. He assumed the pseudonym of Pois- 
sac ; and in spite of all the hindrances placed in his way 
he succeeded in leaving France. He arrived at Cap- 
Frangais in the evening of October 16, 1790, and pro- 
ceeded forthwith to Dondon, 13 his native place. As soon 

11 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, p. 119. 

12 Ibid., p. 120. 

13 Situated in the Northern "departement" of Haiti. 

46 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

as his arrival became known the colonists took the 
necessaiy steps to secure his arrest. From Dondon 
Oge went to Grande-Biviere 14 to the house of Jean- 
Baptiste Chavanne. 15 Of a practical mind, Chavanne 
was firmly convinced that nothing would be obtained 
from the whites by persuasion only. He therefore 
advised an immediate uprising of the slaves. Oge 
deemed this plan too radical. In consequence, on Octo- 
ber 21, he wrote to Count Peinier, then Governor of the 
island, saying that he had come to secure the applica- 
tion of the Decree of March, 1790, and that, in order 
to put an end to an unjust and absurd prejudice, he 
would, in case of need, repel force by force. As a result 
of this step, and in spite of his threat, a price 16 was set 
upon his head, and 800 soldiers were despatched against 
him. Oge had only 250 followers. The first encounter 
was favorable to him. But new forces sent from Cap- 
Franc,ais defeated his small army. He succeeded, with 
Chavanne and a few companions, in reaching the Span- 
ish part of the island. The Governor, Don Joachim 
Garcia, had the cruelty to give them up to the govern- 
ment of Saint-Domingue. After a so-called trial, Oge 
and Chavanne, to whom even the assistance of a lawyer 
was denied, were sentenced "whilst alive to have their 
"arms, legs, thighs and spines broken; and afterward 
"to be placed on a wheel, their faces toward Heaven, 
"and there to stay as long as it would please God to 
"preserve their lives; and when dead, their heads were 
"to be cut off and exposed on poles, Vincent Oge's on 
"the highway leading to Dondon, and Chavanne 's on 
"the road to La Grande Eiviere, opposite the estate of 
"Poisson." This barbarous sentence was executed in 
all its horror on February 25, 1791. The northern pro- 
vincial assembly gathered together in state to witness 
this inhuman punishment. Oge and Chavanne, hacked 

14 Situated in the Northern "departement" of Haiti. 

15 Chavanne was among those who fought at Savannah for the inde- 
pendence of the United States. 

16 A reward of $4,000 was promised to any one who would capture 

The Colonists Murder Mauduit 47 

to death, bore their sufferings stoically. For many 
months following, their unfortunate companions were 
hunted and when caught were hanged. The method 
employed for quelling the insurrection was savage and 
merciless. But the revenge soon to be taken equalled 
in merciJessness -the acts which provoked it. Before 
the end of 1791 the colonists were to begin to expiate 
their crimes. 

Eemaining still haughty and full of pride they im- 
agined that the martyrdom of Oge and Chavanne would 
so intimidate the "affranehis" that they would not 
dare to renew the struggle. As a matter of fact, after 
Oge's defeat, the free blacks and mulattoes of the South, 
who, under the leadership of Andre Eigaud, had gath- 
ered on the plantation of Prou, willingly laid down 
their arms. But this proved to be only a truce. The 
colored men wanted time in which to form and to 
mature their plans. Oge's fate made it clear to them 
that by force alone they would conquer the power of 
exercising the political rights which they had vainly 
endeavored to acquire peacefully. 

Tranquilized by their recent victory and the apparent 
submission of the " affranchis, " the wealthy planters 
began to renew their intrigues against the colonial gov- 
ernment. Two battalions, sent from France with a 
view to helping to maintain order in Saint-Domingue, 
arrived at Port-au-Prince on March 2, 1791. The 
friends of the former Colonial Assembly of Saint-Marc, 
which had been severely arraigned by the National 
Assembly in a resolution adopted on October 12, 1790, 
won over the soldiers to their cause. The latter landed 
in Port-au-Prince in disobedience to the orders given 
them by the Governor-General, Mr. de Blanchelande. 
The city was in open rebellion. The prison was stormed. 
Andre Eigaud, Pinchinat, and some other " affranchis" 
who were then in jail were set free. Mr. de Blanche- 
lande left hastily for Cap-Francais. The colonists mur- 
dered Colonel Mauduit, whose fidelity to the colonial 
government had displeased them; his body was muti- 
lated and his head, stuck on the end of a pole, was 

48 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

carried through the streets of Port-au-Prince. They 
usurped the authority and organized a municipality 
which they called the Western Provincial Assembly. 

Whilst the whites were creating this disturbance of 
the peace at Saint-Domingue, the National Assembly, 
uneasy concerning the vengeance of the blacks which 
would most likely follow the inhuman punishment of 
Oge and Chavanne, agreed that the time had come for 
granting some concessions to the ' i affranchis. " There- 
fore on May 15, 1791, a decree was adopted stating that 
free-born colored men would henceforth "be eligible to 
the provincial assemblies. This news upon reaching 
Saint-Domingue at the end of June, 1791, provoked 
grea.t excitement. The i ' afT ranchis, ' ' thinking once 
more that at last they had acquired the rights which they 
had been claiming with so much perseverance, showed 
the wildest enthusiasm ; but the whites, whose indigna- 
tion knew no bounds, protested vigorously against this 
step ; they even went so far as to implore the protection 
of the English. And pretending that the decree of May 
15 had not been officially notified to the Governor of the 
island, they hastened to elect a new Colonial Assembly 
with power to regulate the political condition of the 

The blacks and mulattoes, regarding this action as a 
challenge, decided to resort to arms. Having gained 
wisdom from Oge's misfortune the "affranchis" this 
time did not trust to chance. 

On August 7, 1791, they held a meeting in the church 
of Mirebalais 17 and appointed a committee of forty 
members, of which Pierre Pinchinat ie was elected pres- 
ident. Whilst this political council was striving to 
obtain from Mr. de Blanchelande the fair application 
of the decree of May 15, the colored men of Port- 

17 Fifteen miles from Port-au-Prince. 

18 Born on July 12, 1746, Pinchinat was brought up in France. 
Garan de Coulon says of him: "In his new position he showed, besides 
"his commendable patriotism, wisdom and knowledge, in contradiction 
"of the false impressions which the whites tried to make in France as to 
"the ignorance and incapacity of the colored men." ( B. Ardouin, Studies 
on Haitian History, Vol. I, p. 179.) 

The Uprising of the Slaves 49 

au-Prince, secretly assembled on the plantation of 
Louise Rabuteau, 18 decided on their military organiza- 
tion (August 21). Beauvais 20 was appointed leader of 
the insurrection ; and it was resolved that the uprising 
should take place on the 26th of August. 

There were already symptoms of an alarmingly dan- 
gerous nature affecting the domination of the colonists ; 
the slaves who, up to that time, had been seemingly 
obedient and resigned, began to show signs of their 
intention of shaking off the yoke. In June and July 
insurrections took place at Ciil-de-Sac, 21 at Vases, 22 and 
at Mont-Rouis. 23 The whites had recourse to their 
usual methods: they tried to intimidate the rebels by 
inflicting horrible punishments on them. Men were 
quartered alive; and so great a number was hanged 
that it was sometimes difficult to find enough execution- 

At that time there appeared before the public a man 
who was to shape the destinies of his race and have a 
great influence on the future of Saint-Domingue. Tous- 
saint-Breda, better known under the name of Louver- 
ture, acting in connivance with the followers of the 
Governor of the island, prepared a general uprising of 
the slaves. Clever and perspicacious, he assumed at 
the outset a very modest part. He did not endeavor to 
obtain the command ; his friend Jean-Francois was pro- 
claimed the leader; Biassou was next in command; to 
Boukmann and Jeannot had been intrusted the mission 
of giving the signal of rebellion. This matter settled, 
there remained but to find a way of influencing all the 
slaves. These were told that the King of France and 
the National Assembly had granted them three holidays 
a week and had abolished flogging as a means of pun- 
ishment; but that the colonists refused to obey the 

19 Situated in the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. 

20 Beauvais was one of the militiamen who fought at Savannah. He 
was educated in France. 

21 North of Port-au-Prince. 

22 Tn the arrondissement of Port-au-Prince. 

23 In the arrondissement of Saint-Marc. 

24 Plaeide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 205. 

50 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

decree. The slaves, however, after their many years of 
submission, were naturally cautious; they were afraid 
of being defeated. Boukmann boldly informed them 
that soldiers were coming from France to second their 
revendications. And in order to give them full con- 
fidence in themselves he performed an imposing cere- 
mony at ' 'bois Caiman" on August 14, on the plantation 
of Lenormand de Mezy. On their knees, Boukmann 
and the conspirators, in the presence of a priestess, 
took solemn oaths on the reeking entrails of a wild-boar, 
Boukmann swearing that he would lead the rebellion, 
and the others to follow and obey their chief. 

Eight days after this "oath of blood," on the night 
of October 22, the slaves of the Turpin plantation, 
headed by Boukmann, rose to a man and gave the signal 
of the struggle for liberty. The slaves of the neighbor- 
ing plantations hastened to respond to the call of their 
comrades. The grievances which bad been accumu- 
lating for centuries found vent at last. In their turn 
the masters would be made to suffer the tortures which 
they had long taken pleasure in inflicting on the unfor- 
tunate blacks. 25 In their first paroxysm of anger and 

23 In a pamphlet printed in 1814 ("The Colonial System Disclosed" 
"Le systeme colonial devoile"), Baron de Vastey mentions the follow- 
ing inhuman punishments inflicted on the slaves by their masters: Pon- 
cet mutilated his slaves; he killed his own illegitimate daughter by 
pouring boiling wax in her ears (p. 48). Corbierre buried his slaves 
alive (p. 41). Chapuiset, incensed by the loss of one of his mules, 
caused the keeper to be put alive in the interior of the dead animal ; man 
and beast were then buried (p. 45). At Grande-Riviere, Jouaneau 
nailed one of his slaves to the walls by the ears; the ears were then cut 
off with a razor and roasted, and the victim was compelled to eat them 
(p. 45). At Marmelade, De Cockburn, a Knight of Saint-Louis, buried 
his slaves up to the neck and used their heads as a game of ten pins 
(p. 46). At Ennery, Michau threw his slaves whilst alive into hot 
ovens. In the Artibonite, Desdunes burned more than forty-five blacks 
alive, men, women and children. Jarosay, in order to have only dumb 
servants, cut out their tongues. Baudry, honorary member of the Supe- 
rior Council of Port-au-Prince, at Bellevue flogged his confectioner to 
death for having been unsuccessful in the making of some preserves (p. 
52). Madame Ducoudrai gave from two to three hundred lashes to her 
slaves; and hot sealing-wax was afterward poured on their lacerated 
flesh (p. 54). Madame Charette put iron masks over her slaves' faces 
and left them to starve to death (p. 55). At Cavaillon, Lartigue caused 
his servant Joseph to be quartered alive (p. 57 ). Guilgaud, Naud, Boca- 

Jean Francois and Boukmann 51 

revenge the rebels spared neither persons nor things. 
Armed with pikes, axes, knives, spears, torch in hand, 
-they destroyed and exterminated everything that 
came in their way. Fire and death marked their pass- 
age. Jeanjaot, 20 self-appointed avenger of Oge and Cha- 
vanne, was merciless. In less than eight days 200 sugar 
refineries and ^ 600 coffee plantations were reduced to 
ashes ; the plain of the North was one immense ceme- 

Jean-Francois, who had assumed the title of general- 
issimo and grand-admiral of France, led his followers 
to the very entrance of Cap-Francois. On November 
14, however, they were defeated; Boukmann was made 
prisoner and beheaded; his body was then burnt and 
his head, stuck on the end of a pole, was exposed in the 
centre of the Place d'Armes of Cap-Frangais, with a 
sign bearing the words: "Head of Boukmann, chief of 
the rebels." The colonists gave no quarter. All the 
prisoners were at once put to death. Two wheels on 
which they were tied and their bones broken, and five 
gallows were kept constantly busy. 27 

Whilst these events were taking place in the North, on 
August 26, at the Diegue plantation, 245 the ' l aff ranchis, " 
in pursuance of the plan adopted on the Rabuteau plan- 

lin, tied their slaves to trees and left them there to die from exposure 
(p. 59). 

!0 In order to put a stop to the terrible reprisals of Jeannot, Jean- 
Frangois had him shot. But no white man was punished on account of 
the cruelties inflicted by the colonists on the blacks and mulattoes. 

27 Rabau (Resume de 1'histoire de Saint-Domingue, p. 77), quoted by 
Mr. Benito Sylvain (loc. cit. p. 91), says: "Some planters buried the 
"blacks up to their shoulders, and with pincers forced them to open 
"their mouths and to swallow boiling syrup. Others had their prisoners 
"sawed between two boards. I stop; my pen cannot describe such dread- 
"ful scenes." A black man, called Bartolo, who at the risk of his life 
had taken his master to Cap-Francais for safety, was sentenced to death 
for having participated in the uprising; his denunciator, Mangin, was 
the very colonist whose life he had saved. "The whites," says Colonel 
Malenfant, "considered every black man as an enemy, and increased in 
"that way the number of rebels; for they massacred indiscriminately all 
"the slaves they could lay their hands on, even those who were peaceful 
"and had not deserted their plantations." (Benito Sylvain, Du sort des 
Indig&nes, etc. (p. 92.) 

28 Situated in the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. 

52 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

tation, took up arms and declared themselves in revolt, 
with Beauvais at their head. The first encounter took 
place at the Neret plantation. The whites were de- 
feated; they fled in disorder. From Port-au-Prince 
troops and artillery were then despatched. A bloody 
battle was fought on the Pernier plantation. The whites 
were again defeated, and fled, abandoning their guns, 
which fell into the hands of the "affranchis. " Beauvais 
then marched with his army to Trou-Caiman, which 
was fortified. 

These tAvo defeats made it clear to the whites that on 
the battlefield at least the blacks and mulattoes were 
not their inferiors. Genuinely alarmed by the simul- 
taneous uprising of the slaves and the "affranchis," 
the wealthy planters thought that the time had come to 
sever their relations with France. They sought Eng- 
land's protection and sent to Jamaica for help. The 
English did not deem that things were ripe for action; 
in consequence they refused to intervene. Left to them- 
selves, the wealthy planters of Port-au-Prince, in fear 
of the devastation which had befallen the plain of the 
North, made up their minds to come to an agreement 
with the colored men. On October 23, a treaty of peace 
was signed at the Damiens plantation. By this concordat 
it was agreed that the i i affranchis ' ' would be admitted, 
on a footing of perfect equality with the whites, in all 
the assemblies, even in the Colonial Assembly; the 
sentence against Oge and his companions would be held 
in execration and the memory of these martyrs rehabil- 
itated; a solemn mass would be celebrated in all the 
churches of the Western " departement " for these vic- 
tims, and proper indemnity paid to their widows and 

When, in pursuance of the treaty of Damiens, the 
army of colored men entered Port-au-Prince on Octo- 
ber 24, Beauvais, its general, and Caradeux, the most 
aggressive of the planters of Saint-Domingue and com- 
mander-in-chief of the militia of the Western l ' departe- 
ment, " were to be seen marching along arm in arm. 

In the Artibonite the whites had also signed, on Sep- 

Beauvais and " AffrancUs" Leave Port-au-Prince 53 

tember 22, a concordat with the colored men of Saint- 
Marc who had taken up amis under the leadership of 

Everywhere the blacks and mulattoes were victori- 
ous. They believed that they had at last acquired their 
political rights. 

Whilst the " affranchis " were deluding themselves 
with the brightest hopes, their enemies in France did 
not remain inactive. Their intrigues were carried on 
with such success that on September 24, 1791, the Con- 
stituent Assembly adopted a decree stating that "all 
"laws concerning the position of persons without their 
"freedom, and the state of free colored men and blacks, 
"as well as the regulations for the execution of such 
"laws, would be passed by the now existing and the 
"future Colonial Assemblies. * * * " 

This untimely decree put an end to all the advantages 
which the " affranchis " had just secured by main force. 
Henceforth their fate depended on the Colonial Assem- 
bly, which was in session at Cap-Franc.ais since August 
9 ; on that very assembly whose arrogance and hostility 
toward the black race were well-known facts. 

As soon as the colonists of Port-au-Prince became 
aware of this decree they did not fail to find a pretext 
for refusing to ratify the treaty of Damiens. On the 
morning of November 21 a black man by the name of 
Scapin, a drummer in Beauvais 's army, had a quarrel 
with a white soldier ; for this he was flogged and after- 
ward hanged by the whites. Valme, a colored lieuten- 
ant, lost no time in avenging Scapin's death by killing 
a white artilleryman. This was sufficient cause to re- 
kindle the strife. Both sides took up arms again. After 
a bloody fight, Beauvais, at the head of his army, 
marched to La Croix-des-Bouquets. Port-au-Prince was 
on fire. The whites availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity afforded by the disorder and confusion which 
ensued, to massacre all the "affrauchis" of whatever 
age or sex which they met on their way. More than 
2,000 mulattresses 20 were put to death. A white man 

29 Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 219. 

54 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

called Larousse killed Madame Beaulieu, 30 a colored 
woman who was in an advanced state of pregnancy ; he 
opened her abdomen, tore out the child, and threw it 
into the fire. 

The bJacks and mulattoes were in a great state of 
indignation over these atrocities. Their one desire was 
for vengeance. Andre Kigaud, who had left for the 
South, w r as not long in returning at the head of a strong 
army, which he marched as far as Martissant, 31 where 
he encamped. On the other side, Beauvais besieged 
Port-au-Prince on the north and on the east. The water 
supply was cut off. The whole southern portion of the 
island was in arms. 

At Trou Coffin in the neighborhood of Leogane, a 
Spanish mulatto known as ' ' Eomaine-la-Prophetesse ' ' 
had gathered a large band of followers. He pretended 
that he had had frequent apparitions of the Blessed 
Virgin, and in this way he acquired a great amount of 
influence over his companions. 

In the North the slaves were still in arms, their over- 
tures for peace having been contemptuously rejected 
by the whites. 

Such was the situation of the colony when, on Novem- 
ber 28, 1791, the first Civil Commissioners, Mirbeck, 
Bourne, and Saint-Leger, arrived at Cap-Francais. 
They had been instructed to restore peace in Saint- 
Domlngue and to enforce the enactment of the Decree 
of September 24. They tried in vain to restore peace 
in the island. The arrogant Colonial Assembly of Cap- 
Frangais, to which the Decree of September 24 had 
given special powers, thwarted all their good inten- 
tions. The " aff ranch is ' ' knew only loo well the futility 
of expecting any concessions on the part of the plant- 
ers; they decided to support the Civil Commissioners, 
hoping that their assistance would secure for them the 
recognition of their political rights. On the arrival of 
Saint-Leger at Port-au-Prince (January, 1792), the 

80 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, p. 282. 

31 In the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, to the south. 

32 Romaine the soothsayer. 

The " Affrancliis" Defeat the Colonists 55 

leaders of the colored army which was besieging the 
town immediately requested an interview with him. 
They showed the greatest deference to the agent of the 
metropolis. Complying with his request they allowed 
the city to be re victualed. And in order to entirely win 
him over, they agreed even to raise the siege: they 
accordingly returned to La Croix-des-Bouquets. 

The whites of Port-au-Prince, highly displeased with 
Saint-Leger on account of his good disposition toward 
the colored men, refused to assist him in the repression 
of the crimes which the followers of " Roumaine-la- 
Prophetesse" were committing in the plain of Leogane. 
The ' i afTranchis ' ' very cleverly profited by this .oppor- 
tunity to make themselves useful : Beauvais and Pinchi- 
nat placed a body of 100 soldiers at the disposal of the 
Civil Commissioner. 

Whilst Saint-Leger was at Leogane endeavoring to 
restore harmony and concord between the colored men 
and the whites, the planters of Port-au-Prince tried to 
surprise the army of the ' ' aff ranchis ' ' quartered at La 
Croix-des-Bouquets. Being warned in time of the ap- 
proach of the troops despatched against them, Beauvais 
and his companions retreated into the mountains of 
Grand-Bois and Pensez-y-Bien. 33 Incensed by the per- 
fidy of the whites, the ' i aff ranchis, ? ' who up to that 
time had been very moderate, resorted to radical meas- 
ures : they roused the slaves of the Cul-de-Sac plain to 
rebellion. Headed by Hyacinthe, 34 an intelligent and 
gallant black, these slaves attacked the colonists at La- 
Croix-des-Bouquets, defeated them and pursued them 
as far as the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, which 
was again besieged (April, 1792). 

In the South the struggle still continued between the 
"affranchis" and the whites; the latter, in order to rid 
themselves of their foes, called upon their slaves to arm 
themselves in order to render them assistance. 

33 Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 234. 

34 Hyacinthe believed that an ox-tail which he always carried in his 
hand had the power of preserving him from bullets ; he was regarded as 

56 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

In the North the slaves who had broken into rebellion 
tried in vain to make peace. Toussaint, who was not 
yet known by the name of Louver ture, had given the 
first proof of his perspicacity. Sent to Cap-Frangais 
under a Hag of truce he was not long in finding out that 
the Civil Commissioners possessed in reality no power, 
and that the Colonial Assembly was the supreme au- 
thority. Through his advice all parleys were put an 
end to. 

Exposed to the anger of the wealthy planters, hin- 
dered by their limited powers and foreseeing grave 
dangers for the colony, the Civil Commissioners decided 
to return to France. On April 1, 1792, Mirbeck left 
Cap-Franc.ais ; on the 3rd of the same month Saint- 
Leger sailed from Saint-Marc. Bourne, however, re- 
mained in Saint-Domingue. 

Whilst the foregoing events were taking place in the 
island of Saint-Domingue, the Constituent Assembly in 
France had been replaced by the Legislative Assembly. 
The liberal and generous ideas of the "Girondins" were 
destined to have a decided influence on the future of 
the "affranchis." The latter won their first victory 
at the beginning of December. A decree adopted on 
the 7th of the same month forbade the use, against the 
Colored men, of the soldiers sent out to the colony. 
Shortly after this the Legislative Assembly granted 
to the "affranchis" the equality of political rights for 
the possession of which so much blood had been shed in 
Saint Domingue. On March 28, 1792, a decree, ap- 
proved by the King on April 4, was enacted stating that 
henceforth free blacks and mulattoes were to have the 
same political rights as the white colonists; and that, 
in consequence, they were entitled to participate in the 
election of the assemblies, to which they were also 
eligible. Another decree, passed on the 15th and ap- 
proved on the 22d of June, vested special powers in 
the Civil Commissioners: instead of being dependent 
on the Colonial Assembly they were authorized to dis- 
solve that body as well as the other assemblies which 

Army of the "Affranchis" Occupy Port-au-Prince 57 

were made use of by the colonists so as to undermine 
the authority of the agents of the mother country. 

The Decree of March 28 (better known as the Decree 
of April 4) was received at Saint-Domingue on May 28. 
Bourne, wLose powers had been greatly increased, 
hastened to have it enrolled by the Colonial Assembly 
of Cap-Frangais. With the cooperation of Governor 
de Bianchelande he decided to subdue the colonists of 
Port-au-Prince. The " affranchis " gladly tendered 
their assistance. The colored men of Saint-Marc es- 
corted the Civil Commissioner to La Croix-des-Bouquets 
(June 20) . Soon after Beauvais and Rigaud reoccupied 
Port-au-Prince (July 5). The slaves of La Croix-des- 
Bouquets, PArcahaye, and the Cul-de-Sac plain resumed 
their work. Freedom, however, was granted to 144 of 
them upon their agreeing to serve for five years in the 
gendarmery and to help in maintaining order on the 

Whilst Roume was doing his utmost to restore peace 
at Port-au-Prince, Governor de Bianchelande had gone 
to Jeremie, accompanied by Andre Rigaud. The whites 
of La Grand 'Anse had flatly refused to accept the 
Decree of April 4. After defeating the colored men, 
many of the prisoners taken were put to death ; the rest 
were kept in chains on prison-ships in the harbor of 
Jeremie; among these were even old men, women, and 
children. The most that Bianchelande could obtain for 
them was that they be sent to Cap-Frangais. Satisfied 
with this relative success he left for Aux Cayes, where 
he failed in his campaign against the rebellious slaves 
intrenched at Platons. Disheartened by his defeat he 
went back to Cap-Frangais. Andre Rigaud succeeded 
in pacifying the rebellious slaves by freeing 700 of 

Success had at last crowned the efforts of the "af- 
franchis"; by force of arms, blacks and mulattoes had 
acquired the exercise of their political rights. In the 
West and in the South more than 1,000 slaves had 
obtained their freedom. The first blow had been struck 
at the colonial system ! 


Arrival of the new Civil Commissioners, Sonthonax, Polve*rel and Ailaud 
Application of the Decree of April 4, 1792 The Intermediary 
Committee Resistance of the colonists Fighting at Port-au-Prince 
and Cap-Franc,ais The English land in Saint-Domingue The Span- 
iards conquer a portion of the French territory General freedom is 
granted to the slaves The colored men are in power. 

Sonthonax, Polverel, and Ailaud, the new Civil Com- 
missioners appointed by France, arrived at Cap-Fran- 
gais on September 18, 1792. They were accompanied 
by 6,000 soldiers and by General d'Esparbes, the new 
Governor- General of the island. 

The "affranchis," who had already gathered impos- 
ing forces, were well prepared to protect and defend 
by force of arms the rights granted to them by the 
Decree of April 4, 1792. Their cause was henceforth 
inseparable from that of the French Revolution. Their 
assistance was therefore pledged beforehand to the new 
agents of the mother country. 

The condition of the island at this time was not reas- 
suring. In the North the colonists were inflicting pun- 
ishments of the severest kind on the slaves taken 
prisoners, without succeeding in quelling the rebellion. 
In the West and in the South the whites and the 
6 i affranchis ' ' were carefully watching each other: 
symptoms of unrest were rampant. Owing to the want 
of security resulting, agriculture was neglected and 
many colonists had left the country. 

The Civil Commissioners had hardly become settled 
when news of the momentous events of August 10 
reached Saint-Domingue. The arrest and deposing of 


The "Affranchis" Exercise Their Political Rights 59 

Louis XVI furnished the colonists with a pretext for 
renewing the struggle. The Colonial Assembly tried 
to stir up the people with a view of getting rid of 
Sonthonax, Polverel, and Ailaud. These latter frus- 
trated the plan by taking energetic steps : by an order 
on October 1.2 they dissolved the Assembly of Cap- 
Frangais and all the other popular assemblies. In place 
of the Colonial Assembly they organized what was 
called the "Commission intermediaire " (Intermediary 
Committee), consisting of twelve members: six whites 
and six colored men. Thus for the first time the repre- 
sentatives of the black race sat, in a political body, by 
the side of the arrogant colonists who formerly had had 
naught but contempt for them. Pinchinat, Jacques 
Borno, Louis Boisrond, Frangois Raymond, Castaing, 
and Latortue were the first :i aff ranchis " officially ad- 
mitted to the honor of participating in the administra- 
tion of the colony. The colored men did not content 
themselves with belonging simply to the Intermediary 
Committee, they took a large part in the organization 
of the municipalities; they even held public offices. 
Civil and political equality was henceforth an accom- 
plished fact. But much blood was still to be shed; and 
the black race was to struggle heroically and success- 
fully to preserve forever an advantage for the winning 
of which so many lives had been sacrificed. 

The pride of the colonists suffered greatly ; it seemed 
impossible for them to accept such a situation. At Cap- 
Frangais they plotted a conspiracy, in which even the 
new Governor-General, d'Esparbes, took part. The 
Civil Commissioners were able to prevent disturbances 
only by resorting to extraordinary measures. Assured 
of the devotedness of the colored men, they proceeded 
without hesitation to arrest General d'Esparbes and 
forty white officers, all of whom were taken on board 
and kept as prisoners in the harbor of Cap-Frangais. 
General Eochambeau became acting Governor-General. 
For a while the firm attitude of the Civil Commission- 
ers preserved peace. They thought that they could 
now safely look after the welfare of the various prov- 

60 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

inces. Polverel left for the West and Ailaud for the 
South. Sonthonax remained at Cap-Frangais with 
the Intermediary Committee. Instead of going to Aux 
Caves, Ailaud, alarmed by the existing state of tilings, 
abandoned his post and returned to France. Sontho- 
nax therefore went South in his place. In January, 
1793, he had barely finished expelling from Platons the 
rebellious slaves of the plain of Cayes, when grave 
events compelled him to leave the South. Fighting had 
already taken place in the streets of Cap-Frangais 
(December 2, 1792) : a body of white soldiers had re- 
fused to acknowledge the authority of a colored officer 
appointed to command -them; they mutinied. A few 
colonists and the sailors of the men-of-war hastened to 
side with the white soldiers. They attacked the bat- 
talion of colored men, who, after a fierce defense, were 
compelled to yield to the superior forces of their oppo- 
nents ; they withdrew to ITaut-du-Cap, where they took 
possession of the artillery. On his arrival at Cap- 
Frangais, Sonthonax arrested and embarked the most 
important f actionists. The colored soldiers agreed then 
to return to Cap-Frangais; they were welcomed with 
great honor: the Civil Commissioner, the acting Gov- 
ernor, the Intennediary Committee, and the municipal- 
ity all went to meet them. This reception irritated the 
colonists of Cap-Frangais, and more especially those 
of Port-au-Prince. The latter, in order to avenge what 
they considered as a humiliation put upon the white 
race, plotted the expulsion of the Civil Commissioners 
and the extermination of the colored men when the 
agents of France would be no longer in the island to 
protect them. 

For a while they forgot their own differences and 
united firmly against their common enemy. In their 
turn they succeeded in stirring up against the colored 
men the slaves of "Fond-Parisien" and of the Cul-de- 
Sac plain. The revolt broke out on January 23, 1793. 
Thirty-three plantations belonging to colored men were 
reduced to ashes. Emboldened by their success the 
wealthy planters of Port-au-Prince, headed by Auguste 

Beauvais Chief of the Militia 61 

Borel, arrested G eneral Lasalle, then acting Governor. 
Eochainbeau bad been sent to Martinique. General 
Lasalle succeeded in making his escape; he went to 
Saint-Marc, where Sonthonax had already arrived; 
Polverel soon joined them. The colored men hastened 
to render to the Civil Commissioners all the assistance 
in their power. A strong army marched against Port- 
au-Prince. After a hard and desperate straggle the 
town surrendered. Beauvais was appointed commander- 
in-chief of the militia of the West; and a body of regu- 
lar troops, "the Legion of Equality," was organized, 
with the mulatto Antoine Chanlatte as its colonel. 

Their authority once more established in Port-au- 
Prince, Polverel and Sonthonax tried to subdue La 
Grand 'Anse. For this purpose they despatched a dele- 
gation accompanied by 1200 soldiers under the com- 
mand of Andre Eigaud. The colonists of that portion 
of Saint-Dorningue had gradually rid themselves of the 
control of the agents appointed by France; they had 
elected an Administrative Council at Jeremie, which 
voted even taxes. They had armed their slaves and 
placed at their head a black man by the name of Jean 
Kina. Aided by them they had succeeded in expelling 
from their "departement" all the "offranchis," blacks 
and mulattoes. The army of the colonists was in- 
trenched at Desrivaux. Andre Eigaud attacked it on 
June 19, 1793. He was completely defeated. After 
their victory the whites of La Grand 'Anse transformed 
their Administrative Council into a Council of Safety 
and Execution (Conseil de Surete et d 'Execution), 
which they vested with extraordinary powers. 

In the mean time, the greatest excitement was prevail- 
ing once more at Cap-Franc,ais. The Governor of the 
island, General Galbaud, had espoused the interests of 
the colonists. Upon the arrival of Polverel and Son- 
thonax in that town, all the inhabitants were plotting 
against them. But having with them a battalion of 
colored men with Antoine Chanlatte in command, they 
felt that they were sufficiently powerful to order Gal- 
baud to immediately leave the island and sail for 

62 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

France (June 13). The Governor raised a rebellion 
among the crew of the men-of-war; and on June 20 he 
landed at Cap-Frangais at the head of 3,000 men. An- 
toine Chanlatte, gallantly supported by Jean-Baptiste 
Bellejr, 1 a free black, lost no time in going to the help 
of the Commissioners. A bloody struggle occurred in 
the streets of Cap-Franc,ais. In the end, however, 
Polverel and Sonthonax were compelled to abandon the 
town, which was left to the mercy of Galbaud's sailors. 
On the 2.1st of June they retreated to Camp-Breda. 
Their situation seemed hopeless. That very day they 
issued a decree promising full freedom to all the slaves 
who would take up arms for the cause of the French 
"Republic, promising also that they would be considered 
the equals of the whites and would enjoy all the rights 
belonging to the French citizens. As soon as this 
decree became known to them, the followers of Pierrot, 
Macaya, and Goa, who were fighting on their own be- 
half, hastened to place themselves at the disposal of 
the representatives of the French Kepublic. With a 
firm determination to earn their freedom, these slaves 
fiercely attacked the forces of Galbaud; owing to their 
assistance Cap-Frangais was stormed on June 23. The 
sailors had sacked and partly destroyed the unfortunate 
town by fire. The ill-fated island of Saint-Domingue 
continued thus to be devastated by fire and sword. 

Instead of improving, the situation of the Civil Com- 
missioners daily grew worse. In February France was 
again at war with Great Britain; hostilities soon fol- 
lowed with Spain. The representatives of France and 
Spain at Saint-Domingue were both instructed by their 
respective governments to spare no pains, to resort 
even to the revolted slaves, in order to conquer the 
territory of the other party. The Governor of the Span- 
ish portion of the island was already carrying out these 
instructions. He had won over Jean-Francois, Biassou, 
and Toussaint Louverture, whom he loaded with favors 
and honors. Jean-Frangois was appointed lieutenant- 

1 Jean-Baptiste Belley was later on elected member of the French 
National Convention. 

The English Occupy Jeremie 63 

general of the forces of the King of Spain; Toussaint 
Louverture became major-general (marechal-de-camp). 
"For the first time black slaves were to be seen be- 
" decked with ribbons, crosses and other insignia of 

Encouraged by the rewards granted to them, pleased 
with the equality of treatment existing between the 
white Spaniards and themselves, the blacks fought val- 
iantly. By their victories the French portion of Saint- 
Domingne was in jeopardy. After Galbaud's defeat, 
many of the white officers, indignant at the ever-increas- 
ing influence of the colored men, had begun to betray 
the cause of France. One after the other, Ouanaminthe, 
the important camp of La Tannerie, and the Lesec 
camp were turned over to the Spaniards. The victori- 
ous followers of Jean-Francois, Baissou, and Toussaint 
Louverture had taken possession of almost the whole 
northern province. 

In the South, the colonists of the " Grand 'Anse, " 
availing themselves of the defeat of Andre Eigaud, had 
again sought the protection of the English. As soon 
as peace with France was at an end, the representatives 
of these proud and haughty planters had hastened to 
submit to the English Government plans for the occu- 
pation of Saint-Domingue (February 25, 1793). On 
September 3, 1793, Venault de Charrailly, acting on 
behalf of the colonists, and Adam Williamson, repre- 
senting Great Britain, signed at St. lago de la, Vega 3 
the agreement which was destined to put the country 
into the hands of France's enemies. And on Septem- 
ber 19 the English soldiers, under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Whitelocke, landed at Jeremie ; cries 
of "Long live King George!" "Long live the Eng- 
lish ! ' ' were heard on all sides. There were thus French- 
men who, blinded by their hatred of the colored men, 
preferred to betray their country and to give up to its 
foes a portion of its territory, rather than submit to 

2 Life of Toussaint-Louverture by Dubroca, p. 9. 

3 Formerly the capital of Jamaica, and now called Spanish Town. 

64 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the necessity of admitting equality of political rights 
granted to the free blacks and mulattoes. 

On September 22 the English, without striking a 
blow, occupied also Mole Saint-Nicolas. They were 
soon in possession of L'Aroahaie, Leogane, Saint-Marc,, 
and of the whole province of La Grand ' Anse. 

It looked as if France was about to lose possession 
of Saint-Domingue. In the North the only important 
places where the French authority was still acknowl- 
edged were Fort-Dauphin, Cap-Francais, and Port-de- 
Paix, where General Laveaux, the acting Governor, 
resided. Yet the Civil Commissioners had not remained 
inactive whilst these events were taking place. In June 
they had tried without success to alienate Jean-Fran- 
cois, 4 Biassou, and Toussaint Louverture from the 
Spanish cause. In July Polverel left for the West, 
where hostile manifestations ' against France were 
threatened. Yvon over by the Spaniards, two brothers 
named Guyambois, blacks who had gained their free- 
dom, were planning, first to place three chiefs at the 
head of the colony Jean Guyambois, Jean-Francois, 
and Biassou; secondly, to proclaim the freedom of all 
the slaves ; and third, to share the land among the for- 
mer slaves. 5 A Frenchman, the Marquis d'Espinville, 
in connivance with the Spanish Governor, encouraged 
these schemes. Polverel frustrated the plot by arrest- 
ing the two Guyambois and the principal accomplices. 
However, great excitement prevailed among the slaves 
when news of this project became known. It was feared 
that they would be completely won over to the Spanish 
cause through the promise of freedom and of the par- 
tition of the land. Thus the concession made by the 
Decree of June 21, which granted freedom alone to 
those slaves who would fight for the French Republic, 

4 Jean-Francois remained true to Spain. In 1802 he was living at 
Cadiz with the rank and salary of a lieutenant-general in the army of 
the King of Spain. "He had a large retinue," says Dubroca; "ten black 
"officers acted as his aides-de-camp." (Life of Toussaint Louverture, 
note 2.) 

5 These men, devoid of any intellectual culture, were laying down the 
principles of the future independence of Haiti. 

Liberal Measures in Behalf of the Slaves 65 

lost a great deal of its importance. Therefore it be- 
came necessary to take more liberal measures. On 
August 21 Polverel ordered that all persons found 
guilty of specified crimes would forfeit their movable 
and landed property. And on August 27 he issued a 
decree stating first that the Africans or their descend- 
ants who would remain on or return to the plantations 
considered vacant would become free and would enjoy 
all the rights exercised by the French citizens, provided 
they agreed to work on the said plantations ; secondly, 
that all the vacant plantations of the West would belong 
in common to those inhabitants of the province who had 
borne arms for the French and to the cultivators of 
those plantations; thirdly, that (first) all the rebellious 
blacks who would reinstate or help to reinstate the 
Republic in the possession of the territory occupied by 
its enemies, all those who would swear allegiance to the 
Republic and fight for it, (secondly) all the Spaniards, 
all the revolted Africans, either maroons or independ- 
ent, who would facilitate the conquest of the Spanish 
portion of the island all these would benefit by the 
partition that would be made of the vacant plantations ; 
and, fourthly, that all real estate belonging to the 
Spanish Government, to the nobles, to the friars and 
priests would be distributed among the warriors and 

Polverel boldly asserted the principle of the dispos- 
session of the colonists in behalf of the slaves ; yet he 
abstained from saying the words so eagerly desired by 
them general freedom. However, circumstances had 
made such a step unavoidable. In the North important 
events were occurring daily. On August 25 a white 
man, Gr. H. Vergniaud, seneschal at Cap-Francais, had 
presented a petition to Sonthonax in which the full 
measure of justice was requested. The situation was 
very critical; the assistance of the blacks was indis- 
pensable in order to check the progress of the Span- 
iards. Sonthonax hesitated no longer; he proclaimed 
general freedom. His decree of August 29 restored at 
last to human dignity thousands of men who for cen- 

66 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

turies had bent beneath the shameful yoke of slavery. 
Article 12 of this decree ordered that a third of the 
products of every plantation be divided among the cul- 

Surprised by the radical measures taken by Sontho- 
;nax, Polverel was at first uncertain as to what course 
he should pursue. But the impatience of the slaves, the 
growing dangers which threatened the colony, soon 
decided him to adopt his colleague 's views. 

Thinking that an imposing ceremony should accom- 
pany such a step he ordered a general gathering at the 
Place d'Annes" in Port-au-Prince of all the citizens, 
white and colored ; and on September 21, 1793, the an- 
niversary of the establishment of the French Republic, 
he publicly declared, at the "autel de la Patrie," that 
slavery was abolished in all the communes of the West. 
In their enthusiasm many slave-owners signed their 
adherence to this great act of social reparation, on reg- 
isters previously prepared for that purpose. Two days 
after, the name of Port-au-Prince was changed to Port- 
.Republicain, 7 "in order that the inhabitants be kept 
" continually in mind of the obligations which the 
" u French revolution imposed on them." 

On October 6, 1793, Polverel, then at Cayes, freed the 
slaves of the South. Thus the coalition of the wealthy 
planters of Saint-Domingue with the English and the 
^Spaniards had the effect of hastening the abolition of 
J the very institution of slavery which it was their inten- 
tion to preserve and maintain in the colony had their 
efforts been crowned with success. 

After two long years of struggle and of suffering the 
blacks eventually were delivered forever from this bar- 
barous and inhuman system. In Saint-Domingue men 
would no longer be the property of men. The revolu- 
tion was complete. It remained but for the logic of 
^events to accomplish the rest. 

8 Known at the present day as Place Potion. 

7 In 1804 the town regained the name of Port-au-Prince, but became 
once again Port-Re"publicain from 1843 to 1845, since which year the 
.capital of the Republic has retained the name of Port-au-Prince. 

The Colored Men are in Power 67 

In the mean time, the Civil Commissioners were be- 
stowing the highest offices on colored men, the white 
officers having proved untrustworthy; after the execu- 
tion of Louis XVI they had not scrupled to give up 
their forces to the Spaniards. In PolverePs absence, 
Pinchinat was invested with all the civil powers in the 
West. Montbrun was Commander-in-chief of the prov- 
ince; Antoine Chanlatte had the military posts under 
his authority ; Beauvais was in command at Mirebalais 
and La Croix-des-Bouquets ; Greffin at Leogane; Bru- 
nache at Petit-Goave; Faubert at Baynet; Doyon at 
L 'Anse-a-Veau, etc. Andre Eigaud was commander- 
in-chief of the South. At the end of 1793 the taking of 
possession of power by the colored men was an accom- 
plished fact. And they were about to justify the trust 
which France had placed in them by bravely defending 
her territory against foreign invaders. 


The English occupy Port-au-Prince Polve*rel and Sonthonax try to 
cause disunion among the colored men They leave Saint-Domingue 
Toussaint Louverture deserts the Spanish cause and joins the 
French Andre Rigaud expels the English from Le"ogane The treaty 
of Bale The English attack Leogane Toussaint Louverture goes to 
the help of General Laveaux imprisoned at Cap-Frangais by Villate 
Arrival of the new Civil Commission Sonthonax Toussaint Louver- 
ture, Commander-in-Chief of the Army He"douville The English 
abandon Saint-Domingue Hedouville causes enmity between Tous- 
saint Louverture and Rigaud Civil war between Toussaint and 
Rigaud Rigaud is defeated and compelled to leave the island. 

At the beginning of 1794 the English were in posses- 
sion of Arcahaie, Leogane, Mole-Saint-Nicolas, Jere- 
mie, and of the whole province of La Grand 'Anse. In 
the North the Spaniards occupied Gros-Morne, Plais- 
ance, Lacul, Limbe, Port-Margot, Borgne, Terre-Neuve, 
etc. On December 6, 1793, Toussaint Louverture, who 
was fighting for Spain, became master of Gonaives. 
General Laveaux, appointed acting Governor-General 
by Sonthonax, was at Port-de-Paix ; and the mulatto 
Villate held the highest military command at Cap- 
Frangais. On leaving the latter place for Port-au- 
Prince, the Civil Commissioner transferred his powers 
to the mulatto Pere. Thus a Governor-General, a mili- 
tary commander and a civil delegate were all three in 
command at a time when circumstances called for unity 
of action. 

Sonthonax left Cap-Franc.ais in a staite of great in- 
dignation at the defections which were daily increasing 
the number of France's enemies. The wealthy planters 
and the European officers espoused the Spanish cause 
they did not scruple even to join the followers of Jean- 
Frangois, Biassou, and Toussaint Louverture. The 


The Civil Commissioners Distrust the Colored Men 69 

very men who a few years previous had had naught but 
the utmost contempt for the slaves were now helping 
these very slaves to wage war on their own country. 
Some colored men such as Savary, at Saint-Marc, and 
Jean-Baptiste Lapointe at L'Arcahaie, following the 
example given them by the whites, in their turn be- 
trayed the trust placed in them. Their conduct angered 
Sonthonax to such a degree that he began to distrust 
indiscriminately all the colored men. Then began the 
unfortunate policy of division which was destined to 
bring about disastrous consequences, the bad effects of 
which it has been so difficult to root out in Haiti. 

In July, 1793, Polverel and Sonthonax had written 
to the mulattoes, 1 trying to incite them against the 
whites and cautioning them to be on their guard con- 
cerning the general freedom of the slaves. However, 
it so happened that events had made this dreaded gen- 
eral freedom an accomplished fact. Therefore those 
desirous of exploiting either the mulattoes or the blacks 
had to resort to the divide et impera maxim. In con- 
sequence nothing was spared to excite the mutual 
jealousy of the men of the black race and to sow dis- 
cord among them. 

In the mean time, Sonthonax, on his arrival at Port- 
au-Prince, had ordered the disbanding of the militia. 
He set free Guyambois, who had been imprisoned by 
Polverel for having been the leader in the conspiracy 
which was destined to place Saint-Domingue under the 
authority of a. triumvirate consisting of himself, Jean- 
Frangois, and Biassou. Through Guyambois, Sontho- 
nax entered into relations with Halaou, a black chief, 
who, in order to preserve his influence over his follow- 
ers, pretended to be in communication with Heaven 
through a white cock which was his inseparable com- 
panion. The Civil Commissioner invited Halaou to 
Port-au-Prince, where a banquet was given in his honor 
at the Executive Mansion. A report that the death 
of Beauvais, who was at La Croix-des-Bouquets, was 

1 Letter to Duvigneau dated July 17, 1793. (B. Ardouin, Studies 
of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 208.) 

70 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

decided upon, began to be noised abroad. Upon leaving 
Port-au-Prince the black leader unfortunately went to 
La Croix-des-Bouquets ; this step served to confirm the 
rumor which had been set afloat. In consequence, Pin- 
china t and Montbrun made up their minds to do away 
with him ; and Marc Borno undertook to carry out the 
criminal project. He started at once for La Croix-des- 
Bouquets, where, on his arrival, he ordered a sergeant 
to kill Halaou. A bloody fight ensued, in which the fol- 
lowers of the latter were defeated. This murder was 
provoked by the instigation wrongly or rightly at- 
tributed to Sonthonax, who did nothing to conceal his 
distrust of the colored men. He soon appointed as 
commandant of * l the place ' ' of Port-au-Prince the white 
General Desfourneaux, who, having been arrested by 
Polverel 's order, and tried by a court martial presided 
over by Montbrun, harbored a bitter grudge against 
this mulatto officer. Montbrun was the highest mili- 
tary authority at Port-au-Prince. The appointment 
of this new officer was not to his liking. His dis- 
pleasure increased, when, contrary to hierarchic disci- 
pline, Desfourneaux was directly authorized by Son- 
thonax to supply a regiment with new soldiers. The 
commandant of the place availed himself of the oppor- 
tunity to enlist and arm all the whites, whose hostility 
toward the colored men was a recognized fact. The 
latter, blacks and mulattoes, who formed the "Legion 
of Equality ' ' under the command of Montbrun, became 
uneasy. A conflict was thus made inevitable ; it oc- 
curred during the night of March 17, 1794. Montbrun 's 
soldiers attacked and defeated Desfourneaux 's. The 
streets of Port-au-Prince were again stained with blood 
at a time when the union of all its inhabitants was of 
absolute necessity to its successful defense. 

At the beginning of January, 1794, an English 
squadron, under the command of Commodore John 
Ford, had appeared in the harbor. The energetic re- 
fusal of Sonthonax to surrender the city had impressed 
the English ; they withdrew without making any attack. 
But they were not long in returning with stronger 

The English Occupy Port-au-Prince 71 

forces. On May 30 their fleet was again in the harbor. 
The landing forces, with General White at their head, 
were reinforced by the French counter-revolutionists 
under the command of Baron de Montalembert, H. de 
Jumecourt, and Lapointe. Against this army of about 
3,000 men Port-au-Prince could not oppose more than 
1,100 soldiers. The English occupied the city on June 
4. Thereupon the Civil Commissioners 2 retreated to 
Jacmel, when on June 8 the corvette L'Esperance ar- 
rived from France. Captain Chambon notified them of 
the decree of impeachment adopted against them by the 
Convention on July 16, 1793. The Commissioners lost 
no time in sailing, leaving the defense of the colony to 
the care of Laveaux in the North and of Rigaud in the 

Before leaving Jacmel, Polverel wrote to Rigaud on 
June 11, denormcing Montbrun as a traitor. Yet the 
Civil Commissioners took no steps to have the traitor 
court-martialed ; instead of this he continued to exercise 
his powers as Governor of the West. Thus to the 
mulatto Rigaud fell the task of arresting and dismiss- 
ing the mulatto Montbrun, 3 which served but to foster 
distrust and jealousy. 

After the departure of the Civil Commissioners two 
military chiefs were in command in the colony : Laveaux 
and Rigaud. A great portion of the territory was occu- 
pied by the English and the Spaniards. 

At this period the outlook was a gloomy one for 
France, which seemed rapidly to be losing hold of her 
colony. At this juncture a man destined to be the most 

2 Since April 9 Polverel, who was previously at Cayes, had been in 
Port-au-Prince with Sonthonax. 

3 Even before the conflict of March 18, when Sonthonax was com- 
pelled to embark his protege" Desfourneaux, the Civil Commissioner had 
a great dislike for Montbrun. So he charged the latter with having 
given up Port-au-Prince to the English. However, Montbrun had fought 
gallantly at Fort Bizoton, where he was wounded. Notwithstanding 
this, Rigaud caused Montbrun to be arrested and sent to France; after 
four years' imprisonment he was summoned to appear before a court 
martial at Nantes and was acquitted of the accusations brought against 
him. He served in the French army and was appointed general. He- 
died at Bordeaux in 1831. 

72 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

celebrated representative of the black race turned the 
scales by the weight of his influence and of his sword : 
Toussaint Louverture 4 deserted the Spanish cause and 
took up that of France. The prestige of his name suf- 
ficed to expel the Spaniards from Gonaives Marmelade, 
Plaisance, Gros-Mome, d'Ennery, Dondon, and Limbe. 
The famous name of this great man should not be 
passed over without a few words as to his life and 
character. Born on the Breda plantation 5 at Haut du 
Cap, Toussaint spent the first fifty years of his life in 
slavery; "and," says Placide Justin, "this humble con- 
dition did not prevent him from reaching the pinnacle 
"of military honors and from rising, not only above the 
"men of his own race, but above the haughty whites, 
"who were compelled to acknowledge his superiority 
"and wisdom. " 

4 It is said that Toussaint adopted the name of Louverture after 
the storming of Dondon when Polverel had been heard saying, "Get homme 
"fait ouverture partout" ("This man makes an opening everywhere"). 
However, the widow of Sonthonax, who knew Toussaint when he was 
still a slave, says that he was called Louverture before the uprising of 
the slaves ; that his nickname had been given to him on the Bre"da plan- 
tation on account of his having lost his front teeth. If such were the 
case, why then did Toussaint sign his name as "Toussaint Bre"da" in 
the first days of the rebellion ? We have sought the reason of this change 
of name; and one of the companions of Toussaint, Paul Aly, told us 
that Toussaint assumed the name of Louverture because he was the first 
to receive the mission of preparing the uprising of the slaves in the 
North. (B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 226.) 

8 B. Ardouin gives May, 1743, as Toussaint's birthday. According 
to E. Robin (History of Haiti, p. 71), Toussaint was born in 1745; 
Placide Justin (History of Haiti, p. 277) is of the same opinion as 
Robin. But Dubroca (Life of Toussaint Louverture, p. 3) says that 
Toussaint was born in 1743, whilst Gragnon-Lacoste (Life of Toussaint 
Louverture) affirms that the right date of his birth was May 20, 1746. 

8 History of Haiti, p. 277. 

It would be well to quote here Wendell Phillips's interesting account 
of Toussaint Louverture: 

"If I were to tell you the story of Napoleon, I should take it from 
"the lips of Frenchmen, who find no language rich enough to paint the 
"great captain of the nineteenth century. Were I to tell you the story 
"of Washington, I should take it from your hearts you, who think no 
"marble white enough to carve the name of the Father of his country. 
"But I am ,to tell you the story of a negro, Toussaint Louverture, who 
"has left hardly one written line. I am to glean it from the reluctant 
"testimony of his enemies, men who despised him because he was a negro 
"and a slave, hated him because he had beaten them in battle. 

Toussaint Louverture Joins France's Cause 73 

He began life as a herdsman, during which period he 
occupied his leisure hours in learning to read and write, 
and in studying the medicinal plants of the country. He 
afterward became coachman of Bayou de Libertat, then 
the manager of the Breda plantation. Toussaint soon 
won the confidence of his master. Through his knowl- 
edge he already had great influence over the men of his 
race. It was owing to this that he was so instrumental 
in bringing about the uprising of the slaves in 1791. 
But he was wise enough not to assume at the outset a 
prominent part. In this manner he could not be charged 
with the responsibility of any of the numerous incendi- 
ary fires and murders which accompanied the first great 
manifestation of the slaves; on the contrary he pro- 
tected Mr. de Libertat and his family, and exerted all 
the means in his power to find a safe shelter for them 
until he could facilitate their departure from Saint- 
Domingue. When success loomed in the future, Tous- 
saint joined the followers of Biassou, whose secretary 
he became; he had assumed the title of " Doctor of the 
King's Armies." This title he changed, however, in 

"Cromwell manufactured his own army. Napoleon, at the ago of 27, 
"was placed at the head of the best troops Europe ever saw. Cromwell 
"never saw an army till he was forty; this man never saw a soldier till 
"he was fifty. Cromwell manufactured his own army out of what? 
"Englishmen, the best blood in Europe. Out of the middle class of 
"Englishmen, the best blood of the island. And with it he conquered 
"what? Englishmen, their equals. This man manufactured his army 
"out of what? Out of what you call the despicable race of negroes, 
"debased, demoralized by two hundred years of slavery, one hundred 
"thousand of them imported into the island within four years, unable 
"to speak a dialect intelligible even to each other. Yet out of this 
"mixed, and, as you say, despicable mass he forged a thunder-bolt and 
"hurled it at what ? At the proudest blood in Europe, the Spaniard, and 
"sent him home conquered; at the most warlike blood in Europe, the 
"French, and put them under his feet ; at the pluckiest blood in Europe, 
"the English, and they skulked home to Jamaica. Now if Cromwell 
"was a general, at least this man was a soldier. 


"Some doubt the courage of the negro. Go to Hayti, and stand on 
"those fifty thousand graves of the best soldiers France ever had, and 
"ask them what they think of the negro's sword. 

"I would call him Napoleon, but Napoleon made his way to empire 
"over broken oaths and through a sea of blood. This man never broke 
"his word. I would call him Cromwell, but Cromwell was only a soldier, 

74 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

June, 1793, and styled himself "General of the King's 
Army. ' ' He followed Jean-Frangois and Biassou when 
they espoused the Spanish cause. But they became 
jealous of his success at the head of the army he had 
organized; and Biassou affected to treat his former 
secretary as if he were still his subordinate. Relying 
on his influence over his companions and profiting 
by the prestige resulting from Ms victories over the 
French, Toussaint threw off the control exercised over 
him by his former chiefs and declared that he would 
henceforth receive orders from no one but the repre- 
sentatives of the King of Spain. The conflict became 
so acute that his soldiers attacked Biassou 's. The latter 
sent a petition to the Governor of the Spanish portion 
of Saint-Domingue in which the French emigrants who 
were at Fort Dauphin denounced Toussaint Louverture 
as a murderer and a traitor; they even requested that 
he should be put to death. Don Cabrera 7 went so far as 
to arrest his whole family, including his nephew Moise. 
The arrest of his relatives showed Toussaint that, in 
spite of the great services he had rendered them, the 
Spaniards were inclined to believe that the charges 
brought against him were not without foundation. At 
any moment he might be dismissed, imprisoned, and 
put to death. These considerations perhaps largely 
influenced him in deciding to join the cause of France ; 
but they were assuredly not the only reasons which 
determined his decision; the general freedom granted 
to the slaves, the political rights which blacks and 
mulattoes enjoyed under the French and which were 

"and the state he founded went down with him into his grave. I would 
"call him Washington, but the great Virginian held slaves. This man 
"risked his empire rather than permit the slave-trade in the humblest 
"village of his dominions. You think me a fanatic, for you read history, 
"not with your eyes but with your prejudices. But fifty years hence, 
"when Truth gets a hearing, the Muse of history will put Phocion for 
"the Greek, Brutus for the Roman, Hampden for the English, LaFayette 
"for France, choose Washington as the bright consummate flower of our 
"earlier civilization, then, dipping her pen in the sunlight, will write 
"in the clear blue, above them all, the name of the soldier, the states- 
"man, the martyr, Toussaint Louverture." 

7 Spanish commander-in-chief of the South and West. 

The English Try to Bribe Rig and 75 

still denied them by the Spaniards, had also their effect 
in influencing him. Be it as it may, on the 4th of May, 
1794, the French flag was again hoisted at Gonaives: 
Toussaint Louverture had abandoned the Spaniards. 
This defection was in itself a revolution. It was des- 
tined to settle the fate of a whole race. However, it 
was France that for the time being was to profit by it 

Unsuccessful in his attack against Saint Marc where 
Major Brisbane was in command, Toussaint Louver- 
ture made up for his defeat by taking possession of Les 
Verettes, le Pont de 1 'Ester, and La Petite-Riviere ; he 
expelled the Spaniards from Saint Raphael, Saint 
Michel, Hinche, and Dondon. 

Whilst Toussaint was reconquering for France the 
portion of her territory formerly occupied by her ene- 
mies, Andre Rigaud, on the night of October 5, 1794, 
attacked and entered Leogane; he also occupied "Fort 
Qa-Ira" and "PAcul" in spite of the energetic resist- 
ance made by the English. On December 29 the latter, 
under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bradford, were 
again defeated by Rigaud in his attack on Tiburon. 
Cast down by this blow, Bradford committed suicide. 

Beauvais also had been active in expelling from Sal- 
trou the English and the French emigrants who were 
threatening Jacmel. Owing to Laveaux, whose firmness 
of attitude at Port-de-Paix had checked the English, to 
Villate who defended Cap-Francais against the attacks 
by land and sea of the combined forces of the Spaniards 
and the English, to Toussaint Louverture who recon- 
quered almost the whole Northern province, to Rigaud 
who retook Leogane and kept nearly the whole South- 
ern province under his authority, the year 1794 which 
had dawned so disastrously for France drew to a close 
with the foreign invaders having but a gloomy outlook 
before them. 

Therefore the English, who seemed to believe that 
all means were fair in war, did not hesitate to resort 
to corruption. They attempted to win over Rigaud to 
them by offering him a bribe of 3,000,000 francs. 8 The 

8 Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 274. 

76 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

colored officer rejected with scorn this shameful pro- 
posal. A similar attempt at bribery was made on 
Laveaux, to whom only 50,000 francs were offered. Did 
the English consider the honor of a white less valuable 
than that of a colored man? The Governor of Saint- 
Domingue resented the affront; in his indignation he 
challenged Colonel Whitelock, who had made the pro- 
posal, to a duel, to which the latter paid no heed. The 
English were guilty of a still graver offense. Having 
captured seventy soldiers of the Southern Legion, they 
sent them to Jamaica, where, by order of Adam Will- 
iamson, Governor of the Island, the captives were im- 
prisoned, chained by the neck ; and in spite of the fact 
that they were prisoners of war, they were publicly 
sold as slaves. Yet Eigaud and his officers were kind in 
their treatment of 400 sailors of the Sivitchoold that 
had been captured at Cayes. 10 

Following the advice of the French colonists, the 
English restored slavery and established the supremacy 
of the whites throughout the territory they occupied. 
Nevertheless, they had among their followers mulattpes 
and black leaders like Jean Kina and Hyacinthe. Being 
thus warned of the fate in store for them, should the 
English be successful, and tranquilized by the Decree 
of February 4, 1794, by which the National Convention 
confirmed the general freedom granted by Sonthonax 
and Polverel and abolished slavery in all the French 
colonies, 11 the colored men began to plot on behalf of 
France. Their conspiracy was discovered at Saint 
Marc and L'Arcahaie, and they were mercilessly put to 
death. Elsewhere, however, their defection favored 
Toussaint's designs. 

In February, 1795, Major Brisbane, who was in com- 
mand at Saint-Marc, attacked the forces of Toussaint 
Louverture; the English officer was defeated and se- 
verely wounded. In his dealings with the prisoners 

Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 274. 

10 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 446. 

11 In spite of this decree of the Convention, slavery existed in the 
French colonies until it was definitely abolished in 1848. 

Louverture, Eigaud, etc., Appointed Brig. -Generals 11 

made by him Toussaint acted with great caution. He 
would not shoot the French colonists and emigrants, 
but' would send them to Laveaux, who had to take the 
responsibility of putting them to death. In this way he 
began to befriend the whites. 

Throughout all the time that war was being waged, 
Toussaint never allowed the cultivation of the land to 
be neglected. With money raised from the products of 
the soil he was able to buy arms and ammunition from 
the United States. 

Eigaud in the South, and Beauvais in the West, 
also encouraged agriculture; Cayes and Jacmel could 
in this way entertain an active commercial intercourse 
with the United States. 

The officers to whose care was intrusted the defense 
of Saint-Domingue had only their own resources upon 
which to rely. France was in so critical a condition 
that there was no probability of her sending any help 
to the colony, which was even without any news from 
the mother country. The English, on the other hand, 
received reinforcements in April, 1795. Considerably 
strengthened by the assistance of the Spaniards and 
the arrival of the new soldiers, they extended their 
authority to Mirebalais, Las Cahobas, and Bam'ca. Be- 
fore long, however, they were destined to be deprived 
of the support of their allies. On July 22, 1795, the 
Treaty of Bale was signed and Spain gave up the 
whole Spanish portion of Saint-Domingue to France. 

At about the same time, on July 23, the National 
Convention adopted a decree stating that the army of 
Saint-Domingue had well deserved of the country, and 
appointing Laveaux major-general and Villate, Tous- 
saint Louverture, Beauvais, and Eigaud brigadier-gen- 
erals. This good news was brought to Saint-Domingue 
by the sloop of war Venus, which anchored at Cap- 
FranQais the 14th of October, 1795. Laveaux, who up 
to that time had been residing at Port-de-Paix, returned 
to Cap-Frangais, which Villate had so valiantly de- 
fended against the English and the Spaniards. Taking 
advantage of the Treaty of Bale, the Governor of Saint- 

78 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Doiningne demanded the restitution of the whole por- 
tion of the French territory occupied by the Span- 
iards ; he insisted upon having Jean-Frangois sent out 
of the country. On January 4, 1796, the black leader 
left Fort Dauphin for Havana. He died in Spain, 
where he had kept his rank of lieutenant-general. 

The English, however, thought that Jean-Frangois 's 
followers might be useful to them. To win them over 
to their cause they had recourse to a black man named 
Titus, whom they supplied with money and arms. Obey- 
ing Laveaux 's orders Villate attacked and stormed the 
camp organized by Titus. The latter was killed and his 
followers dispersed. 

In spite of the services rendered to France by Villate, 
Laveaux never trusted him. From Port-de-Paix, where 
he resided, he used to watch every movement of the mil- 
itary commander of Cap-Franc.ais. 

As a matter of fact, Laveaux was displeased at his 
being kept in the background. As Governor of Saint- 
Domingue he had now but the native troops to rely on 
for maintaining his authority; and these he believed 
more devoted to the officers of their own color than to 
him. The European officers, the colonists, the royalists, 
the reactionists had no scruple at going over to the 
Spaniards and the English. It was not possible to 
intrust to them the mission of defending the colony. 
France had thus to resort to the colored men, who con- 
stituted the majority of the first f reedmen ; they rose 
then to the foremost rank by mere force of circum- 
stances. Through their own fault the whites had lost 
their preeminence. Bigaud had all the power in the 
South, Beauvais in the West, and Villate at Cap-Fran- 
gais. The two first fully acknowledged Laveaux 's au- 
thority; they never failed to keep him aware of their 
doings. Their devotion to France could not be ques- 
tioned; they acted bravely in defense of her territory 
against the English. Villate alone was at variance with 
the Governor of Samt-Domingue. Nevertheless, the 
latter deemed it fit to hold all the mulattoes responsible 
for his quarrel with his subordinate at Cap-Frangais. 

Laveaux Imprisoned at Cap 79 

Laveaux pompously charged them with plotting to 
make Saint-Domingue an independent State, in order 
to be alone in command ; he took umbrage at their grow- 
ing influence, of which France, however, was deriving 
the greatest benefit. Such was the frame of mind he 
was in when Toussaint Louverture deserted the Span- 
ish cause. 

Clever and perspicacious, Toussaint at once saw the 
way in which to turn the mistrust of Laveaux to his 
own advantage. The latter became a mere puppet in 
his hands. Beneath his affected mildness was hidden 
an energetic will ; his ambition knew no bounds. Every- 
thing must yield before him. Woe to those who dared 
to stand in his way. Conscious of his superiority over 
Laveaux, whose narrow-mindedness he was not long in 
finding out, he proposed to carry out his own interests, 
under the pretext of accomplishing the Governor 's de- 
signs. The Agents of France sought to cripple the 
power of the mulattoes who had given offense to them, 
thinking that once deprived of their natural allies the 
blacks easily could be taken back to the deserted plan- 

Toussaint Louverture's intention was to help to re- 
duce the influence of the mulattoes, but in his own behalf 
and at the expense of those who thought to use him as 
a tool which they would afterward throw aside. The 
black man was to prove more clever and a better tac- 
tician than the white. The time for action was nearing. 

The inhabitants of Cap-Frangais, displeased with the 
administration of the Governor, rebelled on March 20, 
1796. Laveaux was arrested and imprisoned. The 
municipality of Cap-Frangais hastened to adopt a de- 
cree investing Villate with the Governorship. This 
officer, instead of doing his duty by repressing the riot, 
accepted the office conferred on him by the municipal- 
ity; thus becoming an accomplice in the attack made 
upon his official superior. The black Colonels Leveille 
and Pierre-Michel protested against such an action. 
The latter through the medium of Henri Christophe, 
then a captain, wrote to the municipality demanding 

80 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the release of Laveaux. He gathered at Fort Belair 
the black officers Pierrot, Barthelemy, Flaville, etc. 
Toussaint Louverture intervened energetically on be- 
half of the Governor. He threatened to lead an attack 
on Cap-Frangais if Laveaux were not immediately set 
free. Such an attitude decided the municipality to re- 
consider its action. On March 22 Laveaux was set at 
liberty and Villate withdrew to La Martelliere camp. 
The Governor, however, did not consider himself in 
safety at Cap-Frangais ; accordingly he went to Petite- 
Anse, where soon new riots occurred. On March 28 
Toussaint came to his help. Two days later the blacks 
at Cap-Francais took up arms ; they had been told that 
Laveaux intended to reestablish slavery. Toussaint 
Louverture restored order ; he became henceforth indis- 
pensable and was master of the situation. Entirely 
discredited, Laveaux was no longer able to maintain his 
authority except with the support of his former pro- 
tege: he appointed Toussaint Lieutenant-Governor. 
Toussaint was turning to his advantage the mistakes 
and passions of all. 

Whilst Villate was committing the fault of partici- 
pating in the arrest of the representative of France, 
Eigaud and his followers were valiantly defending the 
tricolor flag. 

Great Britain had sent heavy reinforcements to Saint- 
Domingue. In command of over 3,000 men, General 
Bowyer and Admiral Parker left Port-au-Prince on 
March 20, 1796 ; on the 21st the combined land and sea 
forces attacked Leogane. Alexandre Petion, who was 
at that time a major in the army, was in command of 
Fort Qa-Ira; he compelled the English fleet to with- 
draw. Eenaud Desruisseaux successfully repelled the 
two assaults made upon Leogane. The English hast- 
ened to return to Port-au-Prince when they heard that 
Beauvais, from Jacmel, and Eigaud, from Cayes, were 
moving with the greatest haste to aid in defending the 

In the mean time the Directory had been authorized, 
by an act adopted on January 24, 1796, to send five 

The Deportation of Villate 81 

Agents to Saint-Domingue. Koume, Sonthonax, 12 Ju- 
]ien Raymond, Giraud, and Leblanc were appointed. 
Roume was to reside at Santo Domingo. Pie arrived 
there on April 8, 1796 ; and his four colleagues landed 
at Cap-Francais on May 12. The new Agents were 
accompanied by Major-General Rochainbeau, in com- 
mand of the Spanish portion of the island, Major-Gen- 
eral Desfourneaux, and Brigadier-Generals Martial 
Besse, A. Chanlatte, Beclot, and Lesuire. 

The day after their arrival the Agents ordered Vil- 
late to appear before them. He therefore returned 
to Cap-Frangais, where he was given an enthusiastic 
welcome by the inhabitants. Displeased with this 
friendly attitude toward his opponent, Laveaux, at the 
head of a detachment, charged the crowd: 45 women 
were wounded. 

Villate was at first sent back to his camp; but after- 
ward he was sentenced to be deported and outlawed. 
To avoid bloodshed he left on the frigate Meduse for 
France, where he was tried and acquitted. 

When Sonthonax left for France in 1794 he already 
bore feelings of enmity against the mulattoes ; he came 
back to Saint-Domingue with the determination to exert 
every means in his power to destroy their influence. He 
found it comparatively easy to carry out his plan ; for 
Laveaux had the same design. There wa,s in conse- 
quence nothing else to do but to continue the policy 
already adopted, and the object of which was to use the 
blacks against the mulattoes in order to restore to the 
whites the supremacy which they had lost; afterward 
the blacks would be dealt with. 

At the time when the peace of Bale made it possible 
to undertake an energetic campaign against the Eng- 
lish, the agents of France spent their time in sowing and 
fostering discord everywhere, instead of trying to unite 
all those who were willing to defend the cause of the 
mother country. 

Soon after appointing Toussaint Louverture major- 

12 On his arrival in France Sonthonax was tried and acquitted of the 
charges brought against him. 

82 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

general they sent a delegation of three members, Rey, 
Leborgne and Keverseau, to the South for the purpose 
of controlling the administration of that province ; they 
decided to cause the arrest of Pinchinat, who was uni- 
versally esteemed and whose influence was feared by 
Sonthonax. This delegation arrived at Cayes on June 
23, 1796, increased by the addition of Desfoumeaux in 
the capacity of General Inspector of the troops of the 
South and the West. It was this same General Des- 
fourneaux whose intrigues had provoked an armed con- 
flict in Port-au-Prince on March 17, 1794. Having suf- 
fered defeat at the hands of the mulatto Month-run, he 
was, like Sonthonax and Laveaux, unfriendly toward 
the colored men. Another of the delegates, Rey, having 
been implicated in an attempt to murder Andre Rigaud 
in 1793, had been compelled to flee from Caves. And 
this was the man who had been sent there as the official 
superior of this general. In this manner Sonthonax 
and his colleagues plainly showed how slightly they 
minded wounding the feelings of Andre Rigaud, who, 
however, had been the one to drive away the English 
from Leogane and Tiburon, who had kept order and 
discipline in the whole Southern province, and whose 
devotion to France could not be questioned. Rigaud 's 
crime consisted in the confidence reposed in him by both 
blacks and mulattoes, and, in consequence, his influence 
over them. They charged him with striving for the 
independence of Saint-Dorningue and with keeping out 
the whites from public offices. Yet at Cayes on the 
arrival of the delegates two white Frenchmen occupied 
the position of Orderer (ordonnateur) and Controller 
of the Treasury, and they were so successful in their 
management of the finances that the Southern province 
was able to subsist on its own resources. On account of 
their devotion to Andre Rigaud, however, they were 
dismissed and replaced by mere tools of the Agents. 
The squandering of the people's money began. The 
order for the arrest of Pinchinat increased the discon- 
tent of the inhabitants. But he could not be found, for 

Unsuccessful Campaign Against the English 83 

on July 17 he had left Cayes, taking shelter in the Bara- 
deres Mountains. 

In order to establish their authority more firmly the 
Delegates were eager to win a few victories over the 
English. In consequence they instructed Bigaud to 
storm the fortified place of "Irois" and Desfourneaux 
was ordered to attack the Davezac camp. On the 7th 
of August Eigaud assaulted Irois but failed in his at- 
tack; he retreated to Tiburon. On his side Desfour- 
neaux, who was accompanied by the Delegates, was 
equally unsuccessful in his attempt at storming the 
Eaimond camp ; he had to withdraw to the Perrin camp. 
This double defeat in thwarting the plans of the Dele- 
gates so irritated them that they were unable to con- 
ceal their disappointment. In their report 13 they said 
that ' ' they could maintain their authority only by fight- 
ing the English. A victory together with the kind 
"treatment they intended to extend to the vanquished 
"were to lead them from the South to the North. The 
"colony would be saved and the Frenchmen would be 
"once more its masters. " 

The blacks and mulattoes were not then considered 
as Frenchmen. According to the Delegates the whites 
alone were capable of being the masters of Saint- 
Domingue. In case of success their intention therefore 
was to come to an understanding with the colonists of 
the Grand 'Anse, who were known to entertain the 
greatest hostility toward the members of the black 
race. The Agents of France who were at Cap-Fran- 
gais had already issued an amnesty in favor of the 
emigrants and colonists who would join the French 

After their defeat the delegates returned to Cayes 
(August 18, 1796). They dismissed the "Commandant 
of the Arrondissement," Augustin Eigaud, the brother 
of General Andre Eigaud, and replaced him by Beau- 
vais. Their idea in taking this step was that such an 
appointment could not fail to create bad feeling be- 

11 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. Ill, p. 251. 

84 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

tween Andre Eigaud and Beauvais, who were both 
brigadier-generals ; they expected that the latter would 
show much reluctance in obeying the former's orders: 
consequently rivalry and conflict, they imagined, would 
surely ensue between the two mulatto generals. Their 
forces being thus weakened by division, General Des- 
fourneaux would be justified in putting them aside and 
in assuming the command of the Southern province. 
The scheme failed owing to too great haste in bringing 
about the desired result. The Commandant of Arron- 
dissement of Saint-Louis, the mulatto Lefranc, seem- 
ing to stand in their way, the delegates decided to get 
rid of him. He therefore was ordered to proceed to 
Caves where, on his arrival, Desfourneaux caused him 
to be arrested. Whilst being taken on board L'Afri- 
caine, he succeeded in making his escape and fled to 
the Fort La Tourterelle, where he fell in with the sol- 
diers of the regiment which had been formerly under 
his command. Andre Eigaud was at that time at 
Tiburon. In the fight which ensued Desfourneaux 7 s 
soldiers were defeated. In the plain of Cayes, on the 
night of August 28, Augustin Eigaud stirred up an 
insurrection among the blacks whom the emissaries of 
the delegates were provoking against the mulattoes. A 
few whites were murdered. Desfourneaux and Eey, 
alarmed by the popular movement, hurriedly left Cayes. 
Leborgne and Keverseau, who remained at their post, 
sent immediately for Andre Eigaud, whose assistance 
Lefranc and Augustin had also sought. On the arrival 
of the colored general (August 31) special powers were 
conferred on him by the delegates. For the purpose of 
restoring order they were obliged to have recourse to 
the very man whose influence they had sought to an- 

Quiet speedily prevailed. And the measures taken 
by Eigaud were so efficacious that the captains of the 
American ships in the harbor of Cayes extended their 
thanks to him for the protection he offered them. 

After having adopted and pursued in a still worse 
degree the policy followed by Laveaux in setting the 

Toussaint Sends Laveaux Off Saint Domingue 85 

blacks against tlie mulattoes, Sonthonax and his col- 
leagues tried to cast upon Toussaint the responsibility 
of the discord which they had fomented. In their 
report to the Directory of the events which occurred 
in Saint-Domingue they wrote the following: "Some 
"of the black generals remained faithful. They res- 
"cued General Laveaux by force. Two opposite fac- 
* * tions were the outcome of the disturbance : the blacks 
"and the mulattoes. General Toussaint increased the 
"confusion and instigated the blacks to the severest 
"measures against the colored men. He provoked the 
"conflict and inspired hatred in the heart of both 
"parties/' 14 

Toussaint Louverture was nevertheless appointed 
commandant of the Western province. 

General Eochambeau, who stopped at Cap-Frangais 
on his way to Santo Domingo, did not approve of all 
the doings of the Agents ; the corruption of the officials 
was what he censured most severely. He was sum- 
marily dismissed by Sonthonax and sent back to 

While all these intrigues were taking place, the pres- 
ence of the English seemed to have been entirely for- 
gotten. As a matter of fact they made no effort to avail 
themselves of the division existing among their op- 

On June 14, 1796, the Spaniards evacuated Fort 
Dauphin, which Laveaux occupied; its name was 
changed to Fort Liberte, which it still retains. 

Eochambeau having been deported, there remained 
but three major-generals in the colony : Laveaux, Com- 
mander-in-Chief ; Desfourneaux, and Toussaint Lou- 
verture. Should Laveaux also be sent off the island, 
Toussaint would in all probability succeed him, Des- 
fourneaux being already in disfavor. And if only the 
same could be done to Sonthonax, then would the black 
general have before him the possibility of attaining the 
position of highest authority. To obtain this result, 

14 B. Ardouin, loc. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 274. 

86 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Toussaint resorted to a clever device. For the election 
of the Deputies to the French Legislative Assembly the 
Agents had summoned to Cap-Frangais one electoral 
college only. Up to that time each of the three prov- 
inces, North, South and West, had had its electoral 
assembly. By ordering the electoral college to meet 
at Cap-Frangais the Agents thought that it would be 
a very simple matter to secure the election of men 
devoted to their party. But they were wrong in their 
calculations. From Gonaives, where he resided, Tous- 
saint Louverture was able, through the intermediary 
of Henri Christophe, a member of the electoral college, 
to rule the elections ; he managed to secure the election 
of Sonthonax and Laveaux, whose removal from Saint- 
Domingue was indispensable to the realization of his 
plans. With much delight at having been elected, La- 
veaux sailed for France on October 19, 1796. Sontho- 
nax, surprised and highly flattered by the honor con- 
ferred on him, saw at first in his election but a new 
token of the devotion of Toussaint Louverture and of 
the blacks in general. However, he did not seem to be 
anxious to leave Saint-Domingue, where he was exer- 
cising an absolute dictatorship. His colleague, Giraud, 
disgusted by all the intrigues which were going on in 
the island, returned to France. He was soon followed 
by Leblanc, who sailed on the frigate La Semillante, 
after having quarrelled with Sonthonax, whom he 
charged with having tried to poison him : which proves 
how small was the trust reposed in Sonthonax by his 

The Agency of the Directory was then reduced to 
two members: Sonthonax and Julien Raymond, the 
latter but a negligible quantity. At the end of Novem- 
ber, 1796, the news reached Cap-Frangais that the rank 
of major-general conferred on Toussaint had been rati- 
fied. At the same time the Directory sent to the new 
major-general a sword and pistol of honor. 

Sonthonax, convinced that these demonstrations of 
his good will had entirely won over Toussaint Louver- 
ture, expected that the latter would be henceforth his 

Rupture Between Sontlwnax and Rigaud 87 

tool. Eelying on his assistance he adopted, on Decem- 
ber 13, 1796, a decree ordering the trial of Andre 
Rigaud by the Directory and the Legislative Assembly. 
Without dismissing this general, the decree aimed at 
curtailing his authority. A. Chanlatte, Beauvais, and 
Martial Besse were respectively appointed command- 
ants of the arrondissements of Jacmel, Leogane, and 
Saint-Louis. All of these officers were mulattoes; 
therefore it was believed that they would become inter- 
ested in the downfall of Andre Eigaud, whilst the latter 
would distrust them: hence would arise fresh discord 
and the weakening of the power of this class of men. 
Sonthonax 's scheme was a clever one. The Agency 
declared besides that it would no longer correspond 
with Andre Eigaud. To the decree laying the whole 
Southern province under an interdict the municipality 
of Cayes responded by authorizing Eigaud to continue 
in office. And popular manifestations at Jacmel and 
Saint-Louis prevented Chanlatte and Martial Besse 
from entering upon their new duties. 

The rupture between Sonthonax and Eigaud was 
complete. It was no difficult matter for Toussaint 
Louverture to profit by the existing state of things. 
Being on bad terms with the mulattoes, Sonthonax 
depended now entirely on him. Toussaint had sided 
with Laveaux against Villate, because at that time the 
latter was in his way. But just now he desired to have 
the support or, at any rate, the neutrality of all classes 
in order to attain his goal. Therefore it was that 
though in opposition to Sonthonax 's wish he was favor- 
able in his reception of Eigaud 's overtures. The 
friendly relations which resulted between the black 
and mulatto generals caused grave apprehensions to 
Sonthonax. It was evident that his enemies were not 
Toussaint 's ; and it did not seem as though Eigaud was 
jealous of the black man who, by his rank of major- 
general, had become his official superior. In the opinion 
of the Agent of the Directory, the intimate union of 
those two men both all-powerful, one in the South, 
the other in the North and the West could only be 

88 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

fraught with great danger for the authority of France. 
Consequently, no means were to be spared in order to 
divide them and to provoke bitter enmity against each 
other, which could only end in strife. 

For the time being, Toussaint, by gaining Rigaud's 
favor, isolated Sonthonax entirely. He also took the 
precaution of surrounding himself with officers on 
whose fidelity he could rely. 

J. J. Dessalines was in command at Saint Michel, 
Moise at Dondon, Clervaux at Gonaives, Henri Chris- 
tophe at Petite-Riviere. 

Sonthonax did not even take the trouble of keeping 
on good terms with General Desfourneaux, whose sup- 
port, however, might prove useful to him. The latter 
had displeased him, therefore he decided to get rid of 
him. To bring about this result he had recourse to 
Toussaint, who had the greatest interest in the removal 
of the only officer of equal rank with him. The black 
.general arrived at Cap-Franc,ais on the 15th of May, 
1797 ; at night Desfourneaux was arrested and carried 
on board. Henceforth Toussaint was the only major- 
general residing in the colony. On the 3d of May Son- 
thonax appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the Army 
; of Saint-Domingue. 

Yet Toussaint had not helped to annihilate Villate's 
influence in the North: neither had he succeeded in 
turning Laveaux out of Saint-Domingue, with the idea 
Of becoming subordinate to Sonthonax. Invested with 
the highest military authority, his ambition was to suc- 
ceed Sonthonax as he had already succeeded Laveaux. 
Meanwhile, he felt the necessity of increasing his pres- 
tige ; so he started on a campaign against the English. 
He was successful in expelling them from Verettes and 
Mirebalais, but he failed in his attack against Saint- 

In the South, Rigaud, true to France in spite of the 
decree adopted by Sonthonax, had also renewed hostili- 
ties against the English. He could not storm Les Irois. 
but he succeeded in destroying Dalmarie. The English 
tried once more to win him over to their cause. Writing 

Sonthonax Leaves Saint Domingue 89 

to him through Lapointe, they endeavored to speculate 
upon his supposed jealousy of Toussaint Louverture 
on account of his being appointed Commander-in- Chief 
of the army. In his reply Kigaud asserted his devotion 
to France and defended Toussaint. ' * I must, ' ' said he, 
* l repress your insolence and your insulting tone toward 
"the French General Toussaint Louverture. You have 
' i no right to speak of him as a coward, since you do not 
' ' dare to encounter him ; or as a slave, because a French 
"Republican cannot be a slave. His black skin makes 
"no difference between him and his fellow-citizens 
"under a constitution which does not bestow dignities 
"according to one's color. " 15 

In spite of Sonthonax 's intrigues, Toussaint and 
Kigaud were then still united. The Commander-in- 
Chief deemed it time for the realization of his plans. 
After his defeat before Saint-Marc, his soldiers, who 
were quite destitute, became somewhat unmanageable. 
He availed himself of this opportunity to complain of 
the destitution to which his army had been reduced. 

Sonthonax felt that all the responsibility for the suf- 
ferings endured by the soldiers was cast upon him. 
Yet he was unable to remedy the ill effects of the bad 
management of the finances. In the mean time, he had 
ordered the arrest of General Pierre-Michel. This ar- 
rest, preceded by the arrest of Eochambeau and Des- 
fourneaux, without mentioning the attempt to dismiss 
Eigaud, made it clear to Toussaint that Sonthonax was 
not over-scrupulous in getting rid of those who stood 
in his way or who could no longer be of use to him. 
Sooner or later his turn would come. Besides, should 
an intelligent administration not soon find the means of 
providing for their wants, the soldiers, it was to be 
feared, would rebel. Toussaint was conscious of the 
power he possessed and he was confident of being able 
so successfully to manage the finances as to bring back 
the former easy circumstances. 

On August 15, 1797, he suddenly appeared at Cap- 

15 Letter of General Eigaud to J. B. Lapointe. July 17, 1797. (B. 
Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. Ill, p. 320.) 

90 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Frangais. On the 20th he reviewed the troops and 
secured the good will of the officers. He went after- 
ward to Sonthonax. Accosting the Agent with the 
greatest -deference he handed him a letter inviting him, 
in the interest of the colony, to go to France and take 
his seat in the Legislative Assembly. Such a request 
was equivalent to an order. Sonthonax tried to resist. 
But he had by his own fault lost the sympathy of those 
whose assistance might have been of use to him. He 
had not an influential man, not a competent officer to 
help him in opposing Toussaint. The latter, noticing 
the inclination of the Agent to adopt an attitude of 
firmness, withdrew to Petite Anse, where Henri Chris- 
tophe was in command. At night on August 23 he fired 
the alarm-gun. Sonthonax understood the warning and 
decided to sail. He gave way to Toussaint by leaving 
Cap-Frangais on August 25, 1797. The Commander- 
in-Chief despatched Colonel Vincent to France with the 
mission of explaining his conduct to the Directory, and 
he charged Sonthonax with having attempted to induce 
him to proclaim the independence of Saint-Domingue, 
making use in this way of the same method to which the 
Agent had resorted against Kigaud. Moreover, Tous- 
saint believed that the French Government would 
surely be indulgent to him if he succeeded in expelling 
the English from the colony. In consequence he re- 
organized his army, and announced his intention of 
marching against the invaders. Alexandre Petion 
stormed the fortifications of La Coupe 16 built by the 
English, compelling the latter to retreat to Port-au- 
Prince, ftigaud, in compliance with Toussaint 's order, 
attacked and took possession of Camp Thomas, not far 
from Pestel. The campaign was then resumed in the 
West and in the South. 

The Directory now began to be uneasy as to the extent 
of Toussaint 's. ambition. But, until the conclusion of 
peace would allow of their sending sufficient forces to 
help in restoring the supremacy of the whites, they 

" Known at the present day as Pe"tionville, a summer-resort in the 
neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. 

Entrance of Louverture at Port-au-Prince 91 

thought it advisable to be careful in their dealings with 
the black general. Without openly blaming his actions 
toward Sonthonax, the Directory sent out General 
Hedouville to Saint-Domingue. The new Agent arrived 
at Cap-Frangais on April 20, 1798. His reception was 
not enthusiastic on the part of the Commander-in- Chief, 
whose desire was to be supreme in command ; for this 
reason he had sent Laveaux and Sonthonax away from 
the colony. Therefore, it was against all his specula- 
tions to be relegated to the second rank just at a time 
when the success of his campaign against the English 
left no doubt as to their early expulsion from the island. 

In fact, it so happened that a few days after Hedou- 
ville 's arrival, General Maitland, who was in command 
of the English forces and whose resources were quite 
exhausted, wrote to Toussaint Louverture offering to 
evacuate Port-au-Prince, Arcahaie, and Saint-Marc. 
The Commander-in-Chief of the army of Saint-Do- 
mingue took possession of Saint-Marc on May 8, 1798, 
of 1 'Arcahaie on May 12, and of La Croix-des-Bouquets 
on the 14th. On the 15th he made a triumphal entrance 
into Port-au-Prince. "The colonists gave him a gor- 
geous reception. The priests went to meet him with 
"the banners of the church unfurled. They carried 
"the cross and the canopy, as it was the custom at 
"the reception of the Governors-General of Saint- 
"Domingue. Magnificently dressed white women 
' * showered flowers on him. Some colonists even pros- 
trated themselves before him." 17 

White women, who not long ago had regarded the 
Africans and their descendants with the utmost con- 
tempt, were throwing flowers to a former slave ! The 
proud colonists were a,t the feet of a black man ! 

Toussaint Louverture had become the protector of 
the former wealthy planters of Saint-Domingue. Fore- 
seeing the assistance they might be to him he spared 
nothing in order to secure their good will. Most of the 
colonists and the emigrants were in the English army. 

17 B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. Ill, p. 420. 

92 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

In direct disobedience to the instructions of the repre- 
sentatives of the Directory he granted amnesty to them. 
From the pulpit he promised them forgiveness; for 
Toussaint was in the habit of making his speeches or 
his important declarations from the pulpit of the 
church. The priests gave him their support and he 
caused public worship to be observed. Whilst in France 
religion was being persecuted, in Saint-Domingue the 
Commander-in- Chief had opened the churches, and 
after every victory he would be present at a Te Deuni 
in thanksgiving. He rapidly became influential among 
the whites, to the detriment of Hedouville 's prestige. 
The latter, through obedience to the instructions re- 
ceived from the Directory, appeared to be merciless; 
he was obliged to put into execution laws enacted 
against the emigrants, whilst Toussaint was sheltering 
not only those who were already in Saint-Domingue 
but also those who continued to arrive in the island. 

If the Commander-in-Chief did his utmost to embar- 
rass Hedouville, the latter had no regard for the feel- 
ings of the man who was already master of the colony. 
The young officers recently arrived from France were 
allowed to make improper remarks concerning the black 
General ; they ridiculed his garb, his religious tenden- 
cies. Hedouville boasted that he had the power to dis- 
miss Toussaint from his rank of Commander-in-Chief 
of the army. The report of all this boasting and ma- 
licious criticism angered Toussaint, who already was 
not too well disposed toward the Agent of the Direc- 

Matters soon came to a climax. Eigaud, who still 
gladly obeyed Toussaint 's orders, went to Port-au- 
Prince in July, 1798, in order to confer with the Com- 
mander-in-Chief about a plan of a campaign against 
Jeremie. The Southern General had defeated the Eng- 
lish at Cavaillon and Tiburon. Toussaint and Eigaud 
left together for Cap-Francais, where Hedouville, 
pleased at having the opportunity of mortifying Tous- 
saint and of exciting his jealousy, gave a most flattering 
welcome .to the mulatto General. True to the policy of 

The English Leave Saint-Domingue 93 

the French Government advocating division and dis- 
cord, the Agent of the Directory managed in this way 
to sow in the hearts of two gallant officers seeds of 
hatred which would cause the soil of Saint-Domingue 
to be once more stained with blood. 

However, Toussaint continued in the performance 
of his duty. He was successful in his negotiations for 
the evacuation of Jeremie, of which place Rigaud took 
possession on August 20, 1798. Through his special 
agent, Huin, the Commander-in-Chief signed with 
Colonel Harcourt, the representative of General Mait- 
land, a convention for the abandonment of Mole, the 
last place then occupied by the English (August 16). 
Almost at the same time (August 18) Dalton, Hedou- 
ville's agent at Mole, had come to an agreement with 
Colonel Stewart for the evacuation of the same place. 
General Maitland discarded the last agreement and 
Hedouville's agent was even kept for a while on the 
Abergavenny, then in the harbor of Mole. 18 Anxious 
to separate from France the man who was omnipotent 
in Saint-Domingue, the English were exceedingly defer- 
ential toward Toussaint. And when, on October 2, 
1798, he took possession of Mole, he was received with 
much state. General Maitland presented him with valu- 
able guns and a bronze culverin. The English General 
went so far as to suggest that Toussaint should pro- 
claim himself King, promising the assistance of the 
fleet to protect him in case of need, provided that Great 
Britain be granted the exclusive privilege of trading 
with the island. Toussaint 's sound common sense put 
him on his guard against such a proposal. He refused 
the crown but deemed it wise to maintain good relations 
with those he had just expelled from the country. 

So, after a partial occupation of five years, the Eng- 
lish were compelled to quit Saint-Domingue. The 
island was forever lost to them. 

The expulsion of the English was unquestionably due 
to the successful effort of Toussaint Louverture in the 

18 B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. Ill, p. 470. 

94 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

North and in the West, and of Eigaud in the South. 
The native soldiers, blacks and mulattoes, had had to 
bear the whole burden of the defense of the colony, the 
mother country being at that time unable to lend any 
assistance. As a reward to these brave officers and sol- 
diers, France would soon arm brother against brother 
by enkindling a criminal war; she would allow Tous- 
saint to crush Eigaud, and would overthrow Toussaint 
herself ; she would even endeavor to restore slavery in 

Meanwhile, Hedouville could not conceal his dis- 
pleasure at Toussaint 's actions. On September 5, 1798, 
he wrote to the Commander-in-Chief as follows: "I 
' ' would congratulate you about the reception given you 
"by General Maitland, were I not convinced that you 
"are the dupe of his perfidy; you dared to write to me 
"that you have more confidence in him than in me. 
"What is the meaning of the great number of emigrants 
"who flock to our shores on English cartel-ships'? You 
"would do well to remember the orders and instmc- 
"tions I transmitted to you, and you may rest assured 
"that I intend that they shall be obeyed." 19 At the 
same time the Agent of the Directory declared void the 
amnesty which had been granted at Port-au-Prince to 
the emigrants by Toussaint ; he also blamed the munici- 
pality for having officially attended a religious cere- 
mony. However, in a proclamation on October 10, 1798, 
in which he recalled the success achieved against the 
English, the Commander-in-Chief ordered what fol- 
lows: "Morning and evening prayers be said by the 
"soldiers and that the generals would cause a Te Deum 
"to be celebrated to return thanks to God for the suc- 
"cess of the army and for the return to the colony of 
1 ' thousands of emigrants. ' ' 20 

Whilst Toussaint Louverture was offering thanks- 
giving for the return to the colony of thousands of emi- 
grants, Hedouville, on October 14, renewed his order 
prohibiting the admission into Saint-Domingue of these 

10 B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. Ill, p. 470. 
20 Ibid., p. 496. 

Hedouville Divides Toussaint and Eigaud 95 

same emigrants. The conflict between the two generals 
was assuming an alarming aspect. Several officers 
under Toussaint 's command had already begun to dis- 
regard Hedouville 's authority. Dessalines, who was 
Commandant of the Arrondissement of Saint-Marc, had 
flatly refused to carry out one of his orders. Moise, 
Commandant of the Arrondissement of Fort Libert e, 
assumed such a threatening attitude that the repre- 
sentative of the French Government decided to dis- 
miss him. But Toussaint Louverture's nephew, who 
was fully aware of his uncle's intentions, warned the 
people to be prepared for all contingencies. 

Hedouville, still believing that he could assert his 
authority, invested Manigat, a justice of the peace at 
Fort Liberte, with all the civil and military powers. In 
order to prevent any disturbance of the peace the 
magistrate ordered the disarmament of the Fifth Regi- 
ment. A bloody fight ensued; and Moise, fearing to 
be arrested, fled to the country, where he set to work to 
stir up the people (October 16, 1798). A band of armed 
peasants marched to Cap-Franc, ais, where they were 
joined by Dessalines. Like Sonthonax, Hedouville was 
then compelled to leave Saint-Domingue. He sailed on 
October 23, 1798, on the frigate La Bravoure. In a 
proclamation issued the day before he had censured 
Toussaint Louverture's behavior in very strong terms. 
And, in order to divide the blanks and mulattoes, he had 
authorized Eigaud to defy the authority of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Army. On October 22 he wrote 
as follows to the Commandant of the Southern prov- 
ince: "Compelled to quit the colony through the am- 
bition and perfidy of General Toussaint Louverture, 
"who has sold himself to the English, the emigrants, 
"and the Americans, and has violated his most solemn 
"oaths, I release you entirely from the authority in- 
" trusted to Mm as a Commander-in-Chief, and I entreat 
"you to assume the command of the Southern Departe- 
"ment as designated in the law of Brumaire 4th 

* * * 21 

B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. Ill, p. 311. 

96 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

After the sailing of the representative of France, 
Toussaint went to Cap-Franc,ais, where, in accordance 
with his habits, he ordered the singing of the Te Deum. 
He set in motion all the communes of the colony; and 
they sent to him numerous addresses protesting against 
Hedouville's behavior. He gave over all these addresses 
to Gaze, whom he despatched to France to explain to 
the Directory the recent occurrences in Saint-Domingue. 
And in order to disclaim the appearance of all preten- 
sions to independence, he hastened to ask Bourne, who 
was at Santo Domingo, to come and reside in the French 
portion of the island. Meanwhile, he did not conceal his 
resentment at Hedouville's letter to Bigaud. He quite 
naturally believed that the Commandant of the South- 
ern province was in full sympathy with the Agent of 
France. This started a bitter exchange of letters 
between the two principal military authorities of the 
colony. Conceit and false pride played a large part 
in aggravating the disagreement between the two gen- 

Eigaud enjoyed great prestige in the South. Released 
by Hedouville's order from all obedience to Toussaint, 
and thus rendered somewhat independent, there was a 
possibility of his becoming a dangerous rival. To main- 
tain his authority it would be necessary for Toussaint 
completely to cripple the power of the only man who 
could successfully resist him. Therefore he lost no 
time in beginning to discredit him. 

Such was the situation when, on January 12, 1799, 
Eoume arrived at Port-au-Prince. After concerting 
with Toussaint Louverture he called a meeting of Ei- 
gaud, Beauvais, and Laplume. At this meeting, which 
took place at Port-au-Prince, Eoume requested Eigaud 
to resign his position of Commander-in-Chief of the 
Southern province and to relinquish Petit-Goave and 
Grand-Goave to Laplume, who was already in command 
of the Arrondissement of Leogane. By accepting such 
a proposal Eigaud 's authority would have been reduced 
to nothing practically. So he tendered a full resigna- 
tion of all his authority; and having been elected 

Rigaiid Tenders His Resignation 97 

Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, lie asked Bourne 
to allow him to go to France and take his seat in that 

The departure of Eigaud would have removed many 
difficulties; it would have satisfied Toussaint 's am- 
bition for the time being ; all power would be his in the 
colony. All cause of conflict between the natives of 
Saint-Domingue would thus have disappeared. Know- 
ing as he did the misunderstanding which, since Hedou- 
ville's letter, existed between Toussaint and Rigaud, 
Eoume was in duty bound to accept the latter 's resigna- 
tion. However, he refused it. The policy of France 
aimed at that time to divide the blacks and the mulattoes 
in order to be able to restore the supremacy of the 
whites by subduing each of them individually. Eoume, 
who was cognizant of the ulterior designs of the Direc- 
tory, was determined to do his utmost to provoke and 
keep up the mistrust existing between the two parties. 
He persisted in refusing to accept the resignation which 
Eigaud again made to him, and he succeeded in deciding 
him not only to remain in Saint-Domingue but also 
caused a weakening of his authority by transferring the 
command of Grand-Goave and Petit-Goave to Laplume. 
This arrangement did not meet with Toussaint Louver- 
ture's full approval, as it still left his rival with a great 
deal of influence, whereas it was his wish to get him out 
of the colony. To bring about this end, he determined 
to avail himself of the first opportunity to make a rup- 
ture inevitable. As the consequence of a riot which 
occurred at Corail, thirty of the malcontents, twenty- 
nine of whom were black and one white, were impris- 
oned in the jail of Jeremie ; they died from asphyxiation. 
Whilst this was taking place Eigaud was at Petit- 
Goave, on his way to Cayes. Upon learning of this 
unfortunate occurrence Toussaint Louverture, then in 
Port-au-Prince (February 21, 1799), treated it as a 
matter of the greatest importance. The drummers 
went through the streets beating "La Generate"; the 
whole population was summoned to the cathedral. From 
the pulpit Toussaint denounced Eigaud as the enemy 

98 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

of the blacks and af terward wrote him a most insulting 

Eoume purposely held aloof and allowed the quarrel 
to grow more bitter. Since February 25 he had left for 
Cap-Francais ; but he continued to keep up a cordial 
correspondence with the Commandant of the Southern 
province. However, he suddenly issued a proclamation 
in which he denounced Rigaud as a man whose ambition 
was a menace to the established governmental author- 
ity. Nevertheless, Eoume did not dismiss him, neither 
did he inflict on him any disciplinary measure. Instead 
of this he requested Toussaint Louverture to call the 
insubordinate to order, thus attaining his end in cre- 
ating a civil war. 

Rigaud found himself in a sad dilemma: he had to 
choose between fighting or fleeing from Saint-Do- 
mingue. He accepted the former alternative incited by 
his hasty temper, the recollection of his past services 
to France and the authority intrusted to him, which he 
-considered his duty to exercise. Toussaint proceeded 
-with his usual caution in preparing for the unavoidable 
struggle by taking such measures as to insure him suc- 
'Cess. He gave special thought to the supplies of his 
army, provisions being somewhat scarce. For this 
reason lie entered into direct relations with John 
Adams, then the President of the United States, who 
appointed Edward Stevens Consul-General at Saint- 
Domingue. Toussaint 's negotiations with England and 
the United States resulted in a similar commercial 
arrangement with both countries, to which Roume gave 
Ms approval in April, 1799. The two powers pledged 
their assistance to the black General. In consequence 
General Maitland 22 advised his agents to give their 

22 On board H. M. S. Camilla, of 1'Arcahaie, General Maitland ad- 
dressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Grant, who had been recently appointed 
British Agent in the island of Saint-Domingue, a letter of instructions 
from which I reproduce the following extract: "I do not apprehend 
"that there can be the smallest danger arriving to Jamaica if Toussaint 
"gains the superiority; and so long as this island (Saint-Domingue) is 
"in its present state (that is, of actual warfare) it is equally clear that 
"it is perfectly safe. One great object therefore of your duty here will 

English and Americans Side with Louverture 99 

unreserved support to Toussaint and to do their utmost 
to prevent a reconciliation between the latter and 
Rigaud, whilst President Adams placed under an in- 
terdict all the southern ports of Saint-Domingue, and 
by a proclamation of June 26, 1799, prohibited their 
entrance to all American ships, thus depriving Rigaud 
of the means of getting provisions and war material. 23 
He even went so far as to place American men-of-war 
at the disposal of Toussaint, so much was he won over 
to the latter 's cause. 

The conflict brought about by the intrigues of the 
Agents of France broke out at last. At night on the 
17th of June, 1799, Rigaud 's soldiers who were quar- 
tered at Pont-de-Miragoane attacked and stormed the 

"be to endeavor to keep it in one of these two situations as far as you 
"can, that is, to prevent any amicable arrangement taking place between 
"Rigaud and Toussaint, of which indeed I see no possible chance; and 
"should Toussaint gain the superiority you must exert yourself to the 
"utmost to hinder him from receiving anything like an agent on the 
"part of the Directory. The present will be displaced long before your 
"arrival. * * * You are to endeavor by every means in your power 
"to keep Toussaint in supreme authority in the island and to enter into 
"any fair views of his that may have this obvious tendency." 

23 Letter of Toussaint Louverture to John Adams, President of the 
United States, dated Port-de-Paix, August 14, 1799. Extract: "Mr. 
"Edward Stevens has communicated to me your letter concerning the 
"measures adopted in your proclamation. * Of all the coercive 

"means at my disposal I can make use only of those which this country 
"offers to me in order to repress the criminal audacity of the rebellious 
"Rigaud and of his followers; but other means more powerful are want- 
ing. Without a navy, the pirates of the South, who infest our coasts, 
"plunder and murder Frenchmen and foreigners whom they meet on 
"their way. * * * With their barges they reinforce the rebellious 
"towns of the North without my being able to go in pursuit of these 
"pirates. It is to put an end to their piracy that, whilst my land forces 
"will endeavor to crush them, I beg of you, full of confidence in your 
"fairness and your principles of justice, to let me have the assistance 
"of some men-of-war. By granting my request you will have the glory 
"to have helped, you and your nation, in repressing a rebellion odious 
"to all the governments of the world. It is of very little importance 
"that in your proclamation you have prohibited the ships of your nation 
"from going to the ports of Saint-Domingue, except to Cap-Francais and 
"Port Republicain; such a measure will be of no avail if you have not 
"some strong way to cause it to be respected. By granting my request 
"for a few men-of-war, you repress a rebellion which all the governments 
"have interest in repressing, while you secure the execution of the will 
"of your own Government." 

100 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

fort of Petit-Goave. Bloodshed had started; men were 
about to kill their own brothers, and all to the greatest 
satisfaction of the colonists, who saw visions of recon- 
quering their former influence through this great sacri- 
fice of human life. Toussaint displayed his usual activ- 
ity. After repressing a rebellion at Mole Saint-Nicolas 
he centred his efforts against Jacmel, which was being 
besieged by General Dessalines, Commander-in-Chief 
of the forces in the South. The few ships used in the 
blockade of the town were inadequate to prevent the 
landing of supplies of provisions sent to the besieged 
town. Toussaint then claimed the promised assistance 
of President John Adams, as a result of which a brig 
and a frigate of the United States Navy cruised before 
Jacmel and chased away the small crafts which were 
endeavoring to revictual the town. 

The besieged people of Jacmel had been successively 
deserted by their leaders Beauvais 24 and Birot ; how- 
ever, they kept up a valiant defense under the command 
of Petion, who at the eleventh hour had come to their 
help. Being unable any longer to resist the famine and 
the consequent diseases arising from it, they evacuated 
the town on March 10, 1800. The fall of Jacmel was 
the beginning of the overthrow of Rigaud. In spite of 
their great bravery his soldiers could not check the 
steady advance of Toussaint 's more powerful army. 
On July 28, 1800, Dessalines was at a distance of only 
three leagues from Cayes, the port of which was block- 
aded by two frigates and two schooners of the United 
States Navy. Rigaud 's cause was irretrievably lost. 
Flight was the only course open to him ; consequently, 
he left Caves and sailed from Tiburon on July 29, 1800, 
on a Danish ship bound for Saint Thomas. 25 

24 Beauvais, whom the "affranchis" of the Difcgue camp had appointed 
their leader, was unfit to hold the first rank. Always ready to obey 
the Agents of France, he was greatly disturbed by the proclamation of 
Roume branding him with the name of a rebel. In order to avoid the 
necessity of fighting Toussaint Louverture he fled from Jacmel, of which 
arrondissement he was commander. The ship on which he set sail for 
France sank and he was drowned. 

28 From Saint Thomas, Rigaud went to Guadeloupe, whence he sailed 

Toussaint Gets Rid of Rigaud 101 

^ The 1st of August, 1800, Toussaint Louverture ar- 
rived at Cayes. According to his custom he went to 
the church, where, after the usual Te Deum had been 
chanted, he ascended the pulpit and proclaimed a full 
oblivion of all the happenings of the past. For some 
time to come Saint-Domingue knew no other master. 
Toussaint had supreme command. He had meantime 
unfortunately lost the sympathy and devotion of many 
friends: a fact which he would have bitter cause to 
regret in the short space of two years after his glorious 

for France on October 2 ; on his way he was captured and made prisoner 
by the Americans, who were still lending their assistance to Toussaint. 
He was taken to Saint Christopher and there imprisoned. He did not 
succeed in reaching France until the following year on March 31, 1861. 
(B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. IV, p. 201.) 


Administrative measures taken by Toussaint Louverture Occupation 
of the Spanish portion of the island Meeting of the Central Assem- 
bly Constitution of Saint-Domingue Toussaint Louverture elected 
Governor-General The French expedition The "Crte-a-Pierrot" 
Deportation of Rigaud Surrender of Toussaint Louverture His 
arrest and deportation His death at Fort de Joux. 

Confident of the success of his campaign against 
Bigaud, Toussaint Louverture had no longer any pur- 
pose to serve in treating Bourne with deference. The 
Commander-in- Chief requested the dismissal of Gen- 
eral Kerverseau, then at Santo Domingo, which request 
the Agent refused to grant. Toussaint then called to 
mind that the Treaty of Bale had given the Spanish 
portion of the island to France ; he demanded the au- 
thorization for taking possession of it. Bourne's new 
refusal increased his displeasure. From Port-au-Prince 
he summoned the Agent of the Directory to come and 
confer with him. The latter declined to leave Cap- 
Frangais; at the same time he ordered the expulsion 
of the English emissaries who were in the colony. On 
March 4, 1800, he wrote to Toussaint, instructing him 
to carry out his order. One of these Englisn emissaries, 
Mr. Wrigloworth, was at that time with Toussaint. 
The latter, offended by the tone of the Agent's letter, 
left for Gonaives. His nephew, Moise, and other mili- 
tary commanders began to stir up the country people. 
The rebels marched to Cap-Frangais, where they re- 
quested an interview with Bourne and the municipality, 
threatening to invade the town should they fail to com- 
ply with their request. Bourne went to meet them. The 
peasants demanded that half of the lands of the colo- 
nists being granted to them, they should be allowed 


Toussaint in Supreme Command 103 

to work in their own fcehalf ; and a decree authorizing 
the taking possession of the Spanish portion of the 
island. Upon the refusal of the representative of 
France to accede to these demands, he was unceremoni- 
ously locked up in a poultry-house. They sent for Tous- 
saint, who, however, showed no hurry in taking part in 
the matter. At last he arrived on April 27, 1800. Tak- 
ing advantage of Roume 's sad plight, he extorted from 
him the decree authorizing the occupation of the Spanish 
portion of Saint-Domingue. He intrusted this mission 
to General Age, who failed to carry it out; the strong 
opposition of the Spanish authorities and inhabitants 
compelled him to leave Santo Domingo. 

Until the right time should come for the realization 
of his plans, Toussaint was carrying on the legislation 
without paying the slightest heed to the representative 
of France. He made regulations concerning, 1st, the 
collection by the Treasury of the income yielded by 
lands the owners of which were absent; 2d, the postal 
service; 3d, the administration of the Navy. He took 
strong measures with the view of preventing any dis- 
turbance of public order. He knew by personal experi- 
ence how to stir up the people. It was by means of 
nocturnal dances and ceremonies, which the frightened 
colonists indiscriminately called "vaudoux"; by means 
of these secret meetings it was that conspiracies were 
plotted. To influence the uncultured slaves, the leaders 
had to resort to the supernatural, even going so far as 
making them believe that they were invulnerable. What 
is designated as "vaudoux" might be considered as a 
kind of politico-mystical association which the most 
enlightened among the blacks very cleverly used to 
attain their ends. The resolutions adopted, the watch- 
words were scrupulously obeyed by the members of the 
sect. Toussaint was better aware than any one what 
an easy matter it was to disturb the peace through the 
practice of such an institution; for he was one of the 
instigators of the slaves' uprising and a witness of the 
ceremony at which Boukmann administered "the oath 
of blood " on the entrails of a wild boar. In conse- 

104 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

quence, on January 8, 1800, he issued a decree prohibit- 
ing, under severe penalty, all kinds of nocturnal dances 
and meetings, especiaHy the dance designated as "vau- 
doux." The preambles of this decree show that Tous- 
saint considered "vaudoux" rather as a political sect 
" Fully convinced/ 7 says he, "that the leaders of these 
"dances have but one aim: the disturbance of the peace, 
wishing to put a stop to the innumerable 
"evils resulting from the practice of a doctrine which 
"creates disorder and idleness I order the following: 
"All nocturnal dances and meetings are henceforth pro- 
hibited. * * * M1 

The arrival in the colony of Major-Generals Mitchel, 
Eaymond, and Vincent, sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, 
then first Consul, did not put an end to the encroach- 
ments of Toussaint Louverture. In the Southern prov- 
ince he established four military arrondissements : 
Cayes, Tiburon, Jeremie, and L 'Anse-a-Veau. He ap- 
pointed Dessalines major-general and invested him with 
the command of the Western and Southern provinces ; 
Moise was given the command of the North. By 
decrees he conferred correctional jurisdiction on the 
civil tribunals; he organized courts martial. On Octo- 
ber 12, 1800, he adopted a regulation concerning agri- 
culturethe cultivators were subjected to a severe 
discipline; they were not allowed to leave the planta- 
tions to which they belonged, even should they be able 
to secure better wages elsewhere. He instituted a 
guard of honor in which former noblemen of the colony 
were enlisted. 

1 B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. IV, p. 154. 

The colonists, from whom the slaves carefully concealed their plans, 
could never succeed in getting an accurate knowledge of what "vaudoux" 
was in reality. This secret association was the most powerful weapon 
of the defenseless blacks. They were thus able not only to plot upris- 
ings, but also to warn each other of any dangers which threatened them. 
The secrecy observed by those who took part in "vaudoux" gave rise to 
many legends; and up to the present time foreigners of more or less 
good faith affirm that "vaudoux" is the religion of the majority of the 
Haytians. Those who would care to have full information on the matter 
may read the interesting: book of Mr. Hannibal Price, "Rehabilitatioa 
of the Black Race through the Republic of Haiti." 

Toussaint Relegates Roume to Dondon 105 

The wealthy planters of Saint-Domingue once more 
held office; they were appointed judges; they secured 
good positions in the administration. Therefore they 
were all one in sympathy with Toussaint Louverture. 
And when, on November 25, 1800, he made his tri- 
umphal entrance into Cap-Frangais these men who, 
some years ago in their pride, had shown such contempt 
for the blacks and the mulattoes were again at his feet. 
A white woman compared him to Bonaparte and placed 
on his head a crown of laurel leaves. Toussaint Lou- 
verture acknowledged the compliment by kissing her. 
At the municipality he was called "Hercules," "Alex- 
ander the Great, ' ' etc. 

None of these flatteries could make him forget that 
Roume had defied him by cancelling the decree author- 
izing the occupation of the Spanish portion of Saint- 
Domingue. The day after his arrival at Cap-Franc,ais, 
on November 26, he ordered that the representative of 
France be relegated to Dondon until he should be re- 
called. General Moise was commissioned to carry out 
this order. At this juncture Toussaint began to feel 
uneasy concerning Bonaparte's attitude. Consequently 
he preferred to keep Roume at Saint-Domingue rather 
than send him to France. And in order to prevent the 
first Consul from being informed of the events which 
were taking place in the colony, he decided that in 
future he alone should sign the passports of those who 
wished to go abroad. Any persons who left the island 
without his permission forfeited their properties. 

With a view of increasing his resources, Toussaint 
Louverture repealed by an act of December 12, 1800, 
the taxes on the plantations which were hitherto pay- 
able in natural products of the soil, and ordered that 
all commodities and merchandise exported from or 
imported into the colony be subjected to a duty of 20 
per cent. A tax of 20 per cent was also levied on the 
renting value of all houses, on the value of all articles 
for home consumption. Custom-houses were thus 

However, at the request of the Consul-General of the 

106 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

United States, Mr. Edward Stevens, whose assistance 
had been most valuable to him during the campaign 
against Rigaud, Toussaint, on December 31, reduced 
the import duties to 10 per cent. 

The Decree of December 12 emphasized the attitude 
of independence of the Commander-in-Chief of the 
Army of Saint-Domingue. All merchandise, without 
exception, had to pay the import tax; French goods 
were therefore to be treated as foreign products. With 
his usual perspicacity Toussaint foresaw that Bona- 
parte would not forgive his encroachments as easily as 
the Directory. A conflict was inevitable; for he was 
determined in his resolution not to acknowledge any 
authority superior to his in Saint-Domingue. Not 
wishing to leave any place which would act as a base of 
operations to the forces which would be sent against 
him, he persisted in his idea of occupying the Spanish 
portion of the island. On December 20, 1800, he gave 
notice to Don Joachim Garcia that General Moise had 
been empowered to execute the treaty of Bale by taking 
possession of that portion of the colony which had been 
transferred to France. Without awaiting an answer 
he despatched an army against the Spaniards. Whilst 
Moise invaded the former Spanish territory, by cross- 
ing the Massacre River, Toussaint, on January 4, 1801, 
occupied San Juan de la Maguana. On January 14 he 
had reached the banks of the Nisas near to Bani, where 
a battle was fought in which the Spanish were defeated ; 
yet France and Spain were at peace. Further resist- 
ance on the part of the Spanish was useless. Toussaint 
had the satisfaction of seeing his former chief, Don 
Joachim Garcia, entirely at his mercy. The black Gen- 
eral was destined to humble all those who had thought 
of using him as a tool. On January 21, 1801, a conven- 
tion was signed at Jayna for the surrender of Santo 
Domingo ; and on the 28th Toussaint made a triumphal 
entrance into the town, where the traditional Te Deum 
was sung in the church. 

Toussaint did his utmost to win over the sympathy of 
his new fellow-citizens. In order to increase the trade 

Toussaint Protector of the Whites 107 

he reduced the import duties to 6 per cent; he ordered 
the cultivation of sugar-cane, coffee, cotton, cocoa; he 
repaired and bettered the highways, which the Spanish 
had kept in very bad condition. 

The organization of the newly acquired territory did 
not prevent him from giving his attention to the general 
administration of the island. On January 9 he decreed 
stamp and registry dues ; on January 10 he established 
license taxes. On February 11 he instituted a company 
of gendarmerie for every one of the communes of the 
colony. This gendarmerie had the special mission of 
supervising the cultivators. 

Whilst imposing the severest discipline on the men 
of his race, Toussaint did his best to gain the sympathy 
of the colonists, thinking by so doing to lull France's 
suspicions. Therefore he facilitated the return to Saint- 
Domingue of the wealthy planters who had thought it 
best to leave the island ; all properties were restored to 
their former owners, and he bestowed his entire pro- 
tection on the whites. He firmly believed that by his 
kindness he had secured their gratitude. In this he was 
mistaken and his reasoning proved groundless. The 
colonists were simply taking advantage of the situation. 
They coaxed and flattered Toussaint Louverture, but in 
reality they felt humiliated to have to bow down before 
a black man, before one of those slaves whom they had 
been hitherto accustomed to regard as no better than 
animals. So for the time being they endured the situ- 
ation until the right moment should arrive to make the 
change they desired ; and meanwhile they were highly 
pleased with a system so beneficial to them. And they 
thought that the time was fast approaching for the 
realization of their long-standing wish to be the legisla- 
tors of the colony. Toussaint knew that his rights were 
precarious; an order of the first Consul might at any 
moment deprive him of his exalted position. There- 
fore he felt the necessity of obtaining the support of 
the people with a view of justifying his usurpation of 

Both sides were then in full accord as to disregard- 

108 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

ing France 's prerogatives. In consequence, by a procla- 
mation of February 5, 1801, Toussaint Louverture 
ordered the meeting at Port-Republicain (Port-au- 
Prince) of a Central Assembly consisting of ten mem- 

After the elections had taken place he arrived in the 
town, where he was accorded a most flattering welcome ; 
the streets through which he passed were strewn with 
flowers ; bells were rung and cannon tired in his honor, 
lie conferred with the Deputies and afterward returned 
to Cap-Frangais in order not to be charged with influ- 
encing the decisions of the Assembly. 2 

Whilst the body assembled on March 22, 1801, after 
electing Borgella as its chairman, was occupied in pre- 
paring the Constitution, Toussaint, with his usual activ- 
ity, continued, at Cap-Frangais, to legislate in the inter- 
est of the colony. By a Decree of May 8 he reduced to 
6 per cent the duties on biscuits, flour, salt, provisions, 
and building timber; he adopted a uniform tariff for 
the custom-houses. By an act of May 9 he prohibited 
gambling ; civil or military officials found in a gambling- 
house were to be dismissed and sentenced to one 
month's imprisonment; private citizens were liable to 
four months ' imprisonment with hard labor. 

The Constitution 3 intended to be observed in Saint- 
Domingue was adopted on the 9th of May, 1801. Tous- 
saint Louverture was appointed Governor-General for 
life, with the right to choose his successor. He was 
empowered to fill all vacancies in civil and military 
offices, and held chief command in the Army. The Gov- 
ernor was authorized to submit to the Assembly the 
drafts of laws pertaining to the colony. After Tous- 
saint 's death the term of office for the Governors was 
to be five years ; and in case of death or resignation of 

1 The Central Assembly consisted of Bernard Borgella and Lacour 
as members for the West; Etienne Viart and Julien Raymond for the 
South; Collet and Gaston Noge"re" for the South; Juan Mancebo and 
Francisco Morillas for Engano; Carlos Roxas and Andre Munoz for 

1 Louis-Joseph Janvier, The Constitutions of Haiti. 

The Constitution of 1801 109 

a Governor, the General highest in rank was to exercise 
the power until the election of a new Governor. 

In this manner the Governor of Saint-Dorningue no 
longer owed his authority to France, but to the people 
of the colony. The mother country had also lost the 
right of appointing to public offices and of enacting 
laws for this dependency of hers. After investing Tous- 
saint with all the prerogatives which could satisfy his 
ambition, the colonists bethought themselves of their 
interests. The cultivators were then prohibited from 
leaving their plantations ; and it was decided that labor- 
ers would be imported to restore and promote agricul- 
ture. However, slavery was abolished forever. 

Civil and criminal courts and a Supreme Court (Tri- 
bunal de Cassation) were organized; but courts martial 
were authorized to act in all cases of robbery, murder, 
incendiarism, conspiracies, etc. The Roman Catholic 
religion was proclaimed the religion of the State; and 
divorce was prohibited. 

To fill up the measure, the Assembly authorized the 
Governor to put the Constitution in execution without 
awaiting the approval of the French Government. 

Toussaint lost no time in complying with the will of 
the people of Saint-Domingue. On the Place d'Armes 
of Cap-Frangais the Constitution was proclaimed with 
great pomp on the 8th of July, 1801 ; it was afterward 
printed and made public in the whole colony. Tous- 
saint was at the topmost pinnacle of greatness. He 
sincerely believed that from that time forward he was 
the legal and legitimate chief of Saint-Domingue, 
France having only a nominal protectorate on the 

Some of his lieutenants, however, could not help fear- 
ing the probable consequences of so bold a step. Des- 
salines thought that Toussaint was too much under the 
influence of the colonists, and that he was not cautious 
enough in his actions. But he observed great circum- 
spection in his criticism, not caring to get into disfavor 
with the new Governor-General. Moise, believing that 
the ties of blood and his oft-proven fidelity made him 

110 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

safe against his uncle 's distrust and suspicion, was less 
guarded in his speech. He objected principally to the 
severity of the treatment to which the cultivators were 
subjected ; he tried to ameliorate their condition ; which 
attitude was displeasing to the colonists. The wealthy 
planters were of the opinion that the Governor's 
nephew was setting a bad example. Therefore they 
resolved to cause his downfall. Yet it was unnecessary 
for any one to try to provoke discontent among the 
laborers ; of themselves they found out that there was 
but little betterment in their present condition. Though 
they were told that they were no longer slaves, they 
had, however, to endure the tyranny of the military 
chiefs, who, like the former overseers, compelled them 
to work hard on the plantations of their former mas- 
ters. As a consequence of their discontent they thought 
of resorting to the method by which they had once be- 
fore thrown off the yoke of servitude : they took up 
arms. Larnour Derance, at the head of the blacks from 
Bahoruco, succeeded in taking possession of Marigot. 
But he was soon compelled to evacuate the place and 
to take shelter in the mountains. 

In the Northern province, where Moise was in com- 
mand, there was also much discontent among the blacks. 
In the plain of Limbe many laborers revolted and, after 
murdering about 300 whites, marched on Cap-Frangais. 
The colonists, incensed at Moise 's leniency, charged 
him with being an accomplice if not the leader of the 
rebels. He was in consequence arrested and sentenced 
by a court martial to be put to death. He was shot on 
November 29, 1801. 

Toussaint, whilst engaged in restoring peace and 
order in Saint-Domingue, was somewhat apprehensive 
as to the decision of Bonaparte concerning the Consti- 
tution he had adopted. This document he sent to the 
French Government through the intermediary of 
Colonel Vincent. There existed in the mind of the 
agent of the Governor of Saint -Domingue not the least 
doubt as to the way in which the first Consul would 
regard this matter. Bonaparte, victorious and master 

Quiet Reigns at Saint-Domingue 111 

of France, saw nothing to prevent his taking advantage 
of this opportunity to check Toussaint 's ambition. 

In the mean time, the new Governor-General was 
organizing the colony. At his suggestion the Central 
Assembly enacted many useful laws. Toussaint 
achieved success where various Agents of France had 
known but failure of their plans ; under his energetic 
and vigorous government prosperity had reappeared 
in the island. Scrupulous to a degree as to the manage- 
ment of public funds, he insisted upon the strictest 
probity from all those into whose charge was committed 
the money of the colony. Agriculture was flourishing ; * 
justice was being administered by competent men. 

yuiet reigned at last after all the agitations which 
since 1791 had been dyeing the soil of Saint-Domingue 
with blood. But this peace, so earnestly desired, was 
destined to be of short duration; fresh storms were 
gathering over the unfortunate island. 

Bonaparte, the arbitrary ruler of France, could never 
permit the continuance of Toussaint 's encroachments; 
he wa,s preparing to crush the black man who had dared 
to usurp France's prerogatives. To crown the Machia- 
vellian politics of the Directory, he was planning, not 
only the annihilation of the influence of the blacks, but 
also the restoration of slavery. The various Agents of 
France had done their utmost to instigate the blacks 
against the mulattoes. The latter were now to be 
used to subdue Toussaint and his followers, with the 
ulterior design, in case of success, of deporting them 
all. Such at least was the advice given by General Ker- 

Peace with Great Britain was scarcely concluded when 
a formidable expedition was organized against Saint- 

4 From 1800 to 1801 the products of the island were the following: 
refined sugar, 16,540 Ibs.; brown sugar, 18,518,572; coffee, 43,220,270; 
cotton, 2,480,340; indigo, 804; cocoa, 648,518; logwood, 6,768,634; mo- 
lasses, 99,419. In 1790, before the beginning of the troubles which 
ruined Saint-Domingue, the total products of the island were: refined 
sugar, 70,000,000 Ibs.; brown sugar, 93,000,000; coffee, 68,000,000; 
cotton, 6,000,000; indigo, 1,000,000; cocoa, 150,000; molasses, 30,000. 
(B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. IV, p. 400.) 

112 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Domingue. On December 14, 1801, five squadrons 
simultaneously left Brest, Lorient, Kochefort, Toulon, 
and Cadiz. Forty-five thousand of the best soldiers of 
France were embarked on forty ships, twenty-seven 
frigates and seventeen corvettes. Bonaparte appointed 
his brother-in-law, General Leclerc, chief of the expe- 
dition and Captain- General of Saint-Domingue. Thir- 
teen major-generals and twenty-seven brigadier-gen- 
erals were to assist the new Governor in destroying 
Toussaint 's authority. Andre Kigaud and his compan- 
ions Petion, Leveille, Birot, etc., who, after their defeat 
in the South, had fled to France were sent back to Saint- 
Domingue with the invading army. In spite of the 
strength of these forces Bonaparte condescended to the 
use of stratagems in order to more easily get rid of the 
black general. Toussaint's two sons, Placide 5 and 
Isaac, were in France. With many messages of advice, 
to which were joined various warnings for their father, 
he ordered them to go to Saint-Domingue with their 
teacher, Coisnon. Appointed sub-lieutenants by the 
first Consul, Placide and Isaac were sent for the pur- 
pose of endeavoring to persuade their father to acknowl- 
edge France's authority. 

On January 29, 1802, the French fleet arrived at 
Samana Bay, whilst Toussaint Louverture was at Santo 

General Kerverseau was despatched to the latter 
place, whilst Leclerc sailed for Cap-Frangais. General 
iRochambeau was instructed to occupy Fort Liberte; 
and General Boudet was to take possession of Port-au- 

On the 1st of February, 1802, Leclerc 's squadron 
arrived at Cap-Frangais, where Henri Christophe was 
in command. The latter went at once to Fort Picolet, 
and without any hesitation he opened fire on one of the 
vessels which was trying to enter the harbor. Neither 
the demands, the promises of favor made by an aide-de- 

5 Placide was Seraphin's son. When Toussaint married the mother, 
he adopted her child. 

Christophe Sets Fire to Cap-Fran$ais 113 

camp sent by Leclerc, nor the entreaties of the munici- 
pality, represented by Cesar Telemaque, a black man, 
who begged him to spare to Cap-Frangais the horrors of 
a battle, succeeded in moving Christophe, who remained 
firm in his resolution not to allow the landing of the 
French army before receiving instructions from Tous- 
saint Louverture, his official superior. It was only on 
the 3d he consented to authorize a deputation to go and 
ask Leclerc for a sufficient delay to enable him to com- 
municate with Toussaint. On Leclerc 's refusal to grant 
the request, Christophe made his final preparations for 
the inevitable struggle; on the 4th he instructed the 
soldiers to compel the inhabitants to leave the town. 
At that very moment Kochambeau was taking posses- 
sion of Fort Liberte, which was able to show but little 
resistance. .All the native soldiers who fell into the 
hands of the French General were put to death. The 
struggle began thus with an act of savagery which could 
not fail to provoke reprisals. 

On the night of February 4 Christophe heard of what 
had occurred at Fort Liberte. He immediately gave 
orders to set fire to Cap-Frangais, which he was unable 
to defend against the superior forces of the French. 
Setting the example, he himself applied a torch to his 
richly furnished house. Early in the morning of the 
5th Christophe abandoned the town and withdrew to 
Haut-du-Cap. Leclerc was then able to land; he found 
the town in ashes. General Hardy, whose troops had 
been disembarked at L ' Acul-du-Limbe, stormed, on his 
way to Cap-Francais, a fortification located at Riviere 
Salee. Following Rochambeau's example he put to 
death the unfortunate native soldiers taken prisoners, 
and who, in resisting, had but obeyed orders from their 
superiors. Decidedly, the French were bent on waging 
a war of extermination. 

General Boudet occupied Port-au-Prince on Febru- 
ary 5. On that day Toussaint, who, on receiving the 
news of the arrival of the French fleet, had left Santo 
Domingo in great haste, arrived at Grand Boucan, 
whence he witnessed the burning of Cap-Frangais. He 

114 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

was soon joined by Christophe, to whom he gave in- 
structions. In proceeding to d'Hericourt he fell in 
with the troops under the command of General Hardy; 
they fired at his escort. Toussaint 's horse was wounded 
and he was compelled to make his escape on foot across 
the ^fields. 

There was great delight among the colonists at the 
arrival of the French army; even the priests, upon 
whom Toussaint had heaped favors, immediately aban- 
doned his cause. The black General saw then the mis- 
take he had made in counting upon the gratitude and 
the fidelity of the whites. 

After taking possession of the smoking ruins of Cap- 
Frangais, Leclerc tried to win over Toussaint. With 
that end in view he sent Placide and Isaac, accompanied 
by their teacher Coisnon, to Ennery where Madame 
Louverture was living. Informed of the arrival of his 
sons, Toussaint hastened to go and see them ; they had 
been away six years. Nevertheless, he could allow him- 
self but two hours for the affectionate welcoming of 
the children from whom he had been so long parted. 
After receiving the letter addressed to him by Bona- 
parte he returned to Gonaives, and from there he wrote 
to Leclerc. Placide and Isaac brought him the answer 
of the Captain-General, who promised to appoint him 
his first assistant should he at once acknowledge )iis 
authority. Toussaint rejected this proposal and made 
up his mind to fight ; however, he refrained from influ- 
encing his sons' decision; he left them absolutely free 
to act as they thought best. Placide, the adopted son, 
espoused his cause, whilst his own son, Isaac, declared 
that he would never take up arms against France. 

Threats and promises having failed to produce any 
effect, Leclerc, on February 17,1802, outlawed Toussaint 
and Henri Christophe. The campaign was immediately 
opened. Imposing forces marched against Gonaives, 
with the expectation that there Toussaint would be sur- 
rounded and captured ; but he had had time to leave the 
town and withdraw to Ennery. On the 24th of Febru- 
ary the French occupied Gonaives, which had been 

The Fight at La Ravine-d-Couleuvres 115 

burned to the ground by General Vernet upon his being 
forced to evacuate the town. 6 

The day before at La Bavine-a-Couleuvres Tous- 
saint had encountered Rochambeau's army, which was 
trying to cut off his communications with the town. 
The fight was a fierce one. Picking up a gun the black 
General fought side by side with his soldiers. His 
example stimulated the courage of his guard and 
Itochambeau was repelled. 

After this success Toussaint started for Saint Marc; 
but the news was brought to him that this town had 
just been set on fire and evacuated by Dessalines. The 
latter, who had arrived too late to prevent Port-au- 
Prince from falling into the possession of the French, 
was doing his utmost to check their advance. 

On his side Maurepas was making a gallant stand at 
Port-de-Paix. Compelled to yield to the superior forces 
of the enemy he set fire to the town and retreated to 
the Fort des Trois-Pavillons. Encamped in this post 
he opposed a stubborn resistance to the troops of Gen- 
eral Humbert, whose various attacks were repelled. 
But at last Maurepas was compelled to surrender ; and 
Leclerc maintained him in his capacity of Commandant 
of the arrondissement of Port-de-Paix. 

Toussaint, who>se courage had been in no way dimin- 
ished by the reverses with which he had met nor by the 
defection of some of his officers, 7 established his head- 
quarters on the Couriotte plantation. He ordered Des- 
salines to assume the command of the fort of La Crete- 
a-Pierrot, 8 which he had previously provided with all 
means of defense. In the mean time, Miagny with La- 

8 The chiefs of the native army were instructed to set fire to all 
places that they were unable to defend. The tactics adopted consisted 
of depriving the French of any shelter and of leaving them as much as 
possible exposed to the scorching heat of the Antilles. 

7 General Laplume, Commandant of the arrondissement of Cayes, 
had hastened to acknowledge the authority of Leclerc, and the whole 
Southern province had followed his example. 

8 The fort of La Crgte-a-Pierrot is located on the right bank of the 
Artibonite River and at the southwest of La Petite RiviSre. 

116 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

martiniere 9 as his first assistant, occupied the fort, 
which the French troops under the command of General 
Debelle tried to storm on the night of March 4, 1802. 
They were repelled and the French General was severely 
wounded. In order to avenge this defeat Leclerc, as- 
sisted by General Dugua, Boudet, and Pamphile de 
Lacroix, marched against the fort. But Dessalines had 
had time to arrive and to assume the command of La 
Crete-a-Pierrot. On the morning of March 11, 1802, an 
attack was made on the fortress by some of the best 
soldiers of France. Torch in hand, Dessalines threat- 
ened to blow up the powder rooms and to bury the whole 
garrison under the ruins of the fort should his officers 
and soldiers show the slightest hesitation in the per- 
formance of their duty. The fight was stubborn and 
desperate. The hitherto invincible regiments of France 
were compelled to fall back before the courage and 
valor of their black opponents. Generals Boudet, 
Dugua, and Leclerc were wounded during the attack, 
which ended in the retreat of the French. The latter 
being unable to storm the stronghold, decided to lay 
siege to it. Before the investment could be completed 
Dessalines succeeded in leaving the fort under Magny's 
command with the intention of mustering sufficient 
forces to go to the relief of the besieged. Surrounded 
on all sides, perpetually under fire, and suffering from 
the pangs of hunger and thirst, the native soldiers 
entertained no thought of surrendering; knowing the 
impossibility of longer keeping up the defense of the 
fort entrusted to them, they made up their minds to 
fight their way through the hostile army. At the dead 
of night on March 24 they abandoned La Crete-a- 
Pierrot, and, falling on the left of Bochambeau's divi- 
sion, they made their way by a bayonet charge through 
the lines of the besieging troops. "The retreat/' says 
General Pamphile de Lacroix, "which the Commandant 

9 Lamartiniere died at the end of the year 1802 whilst fighting on 
behalf of France. Despatched to subdue a band of rebels, he fell, in the 
mountains of 1'Arcahaie, in the power of one Jean Charles Courjolles, 
who beheaded him. 

Deportation of Rigaud 117 

"of La Crete-a-Pierrot dared to plan and execute was 
"a brilliant exploit. More than 12,000 men surrounded 
"the place ; he escaped without losing half of his army; 
"leaving but the dead and the wounded." 

Whilst his valiant companions were keeping almost 
the whole French army in check, Toussaint Louverture 
did not remain inactive. He had retaken possession of 
Saint Michel, Saint Raphael, Dondon, and Marmelade. 
After pursuing a French regiment as far as Hinche 
he returned to the plain of Gonaives ; he was threaten- 
ing the rear of General Pamphile de Lacroix's division 
at the very moment when Magny and Lamartiniere were 
escaping from La Crete-a-Pierrot. The evacuation of 
this stronghold, together with the surrender of Maure- 
pas, aggravated greatly the position of Toussaint Lou- 
verture. He withdrew to Les Cahos, where Dessalines 
and his valiant officers shortly joined him. 

As soon as Leclerc saw prospect of success he began 
to put into action the plans of the first Consul, who 
wished to crush Toussaint in order to restore the 
supremacy of the whites ; in consequence, not only the 
power of the blacks, but that of the mulattoes as well, 
would have to be annihilated. Among the latter was 
Andre Rigaud, who, by the prestige of his name, might 
profit by the downfall of his former victor; it became 
therefore of the utmost necessity to remove him from 
the colony. On his arrival at Saint-Domingue the late 
Commandant of the Southern province had written to 
General Laplume, at that time Commandant of the 
arrondissement of Cayes, claiming his house, of which 
this General had taken possession. This correspondence 
became a pretext for Leclerc to decide upon Rigaud 's 
deportation. The Captain-General and Chief of the 
colony, Bonaparte's brother-in-law, might openly have 
taken this step; but he preferred to have recourse to 
deceit. Being at Saint Marc he summoned to that place 
Toussaint 's former opponent, who he ordered to ac- 
company him into the Southern province. Without the 

10 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. V, p. 111. 

118 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

slightest feeling of distrust Rigaud went on board the 
Cornelie. This frigate made for Cap-Frangais, whilst 
La Guerriere, which Leclerc had boarded, sailed for 
Port-au-Prince. Upon the inquiry of Rigaud the Com- 
mandant of the Cornelie notified him that he was a pris- 
oner and demanded his sword. Replying to this only 
by a gesture of contempt, the former Commandant of 
the Southern province hurled into the sea the sword 
which had so faithfully defended Saint-Dorningue 
against the English. 11 

The ill-advised measure of which Rigaud was the 
victim at once made clear to the eyes of the nmlattoes 
the true aim of Leclerc 's expedition; this inexpedient 
action was in consequence destined to strengthen their 
union with the blacks, whose avowed leader, Tous saint 
Louverture, was, in his turn, about to fall a victim to 
the French reactionists. 

Meanwhile, Leclerc was enjoying good fortune in his 
undertaking. After some parleys cleverly managed he 
brought about the surrender of Christophe. After this 
fresh blow Toussaint Louverture could resist no longer. 
The late Governor of Saint-Domingue was forced at 
last to acknowledge France's authority. On the 6th of 
May, 1802, he went to Cap-Frangais, where cannon 
were fired in his honor from the forts and the men-of- 
war. Leclerc gave him a most flattering welcome. At 
La Marmelade, on the 8th of May, Toussaint bid fare- 
well to his guard and withdrew to Descahaux, one of 
his plantations in the Commune of Ennery, where he 
devoted himself to agriculture. His downfall was the 
consequence of his attitude toward the men of his race. 
He had no longer the influence over them which he had 
formerly exercised. The blacks who he believed were 
devoted to him had been alienated by the severity he 
displayed against them to the benefit of the wealthy 
planters. The soldiers fought indeed very gallantly; 
but the people had not the enthusiasm which inspires 

11 Disembarked at Brest on the 22d of May, 1802, Rigaud was 
relegated at Poitiers and Montpellier; he was afterward arrested and 
locked up at Fort de Joux. 

Arrest of Toussaint Louverture 119 

heroic deeds. The fame of his name could not make up 
for the sympathies he had lost. 

However, even as matters stood, Toussaint, though 
disarmed and defenseless, was still a cause of anxiety 
to Leclerc. On this account the Captain-General did 
his utmost to invite the great man whom he had van- 
quished to commit some act which would justify his 
arrest. French soldiers quartered at Ennery daily 
plundered his plantation. Ever cautious, Toussaint 
contented himself with making complaints about the 
depredations. But no notice was taken of his griev- 
ances ; in consequence, he left Descahaux and withdrew 
to Beaumont, where persecutions followed him. Tired 
of the espionage and petty annoyance to which he was 
subjected, Toussaint wrote to Leclerc that he would be 
compelled to take shelter on one of his "hattes" 
(ranches) of the Spanish portion of the island. For 
fear he should escape from the military posts which 
surrounded him, the Captain-General decided to hasten 
the execution of his plans. In consequence he ordered 
General Brunet, who was in command at Gonaives, to 
arrest Toussaint; at the same time he wrote to the 
latter as follows : 12 

"Headquarters of Cap-Frangais, 

"Prairial 16th year X of the Republic [5 June 1802]. 
6 i The Commander-in-Chief to General Toussaint, 

1 ' Since you persist, citizen General, in believing that 
"the great number of soldiers quartered at Ennery 
1 ' cause fear among the cultivators of that parish, I have 
"commissioned General Brunet to concert with you 
"as to the stationing of these soldiers, some beyond 
"Gonaives and others at Plaisance. You must warn 
"the cultivators that this measure once taken, I 
"will cause those who desert their plantations and take 
"to the mountains to be arrested and punished. As 
' ' soon as this order has been carried out, let me know 
"the result, because should peaceful means fail I will 
"have resort to military measures. LECLERC " 

12 The letters of Leclerc and Brunet to Toussaint can be found in 
Vol. V, pp. 174, 175 of B. Ardouin's Studies on Haitian History. 

120 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Surpassing his chief 's perfidy, General Brunet, on 
June 7, addressed the following letter to Toussaint : 

"Here is the time for you, citizen General, to make 
"known to the Commander-in-Chief that those who are 
"trying to give him false ideas concerning your good 
"faith are vile slanderers, and that your only aim is to 
"restore order and quiet in the parish where you are 
* ' living. You must assist me in securing free communi- 
' ' cation on the highway leading to Cap-Frangais ; since 
"yesterday this highway has become unsafe, three per- 
"sons have been murdered between Ennery and Cap- 
"Frangais by a band of about fifty ruffians. Send to 
"these bloodthirsty men trustworthy and well-paid 
4 i emissaries ; the money will be refunded to you. 

"There are, my dear General, some arrangements I 
*' would like to make with you, but which cannot be 
"settled by mail; a conference of one hour will bring 
"the matter to a close. Were I not so exhausted by 
"stress of business, I would to-day have brought my 
"" answer to you; but I am unable to go out; come; if 
"you have recovered your health, let it be to-morrow. 
""One must never delay ehen one can do good. You 
"will not find in my country home all the attractions I 
"would like to gather there in order to welcome you; 
"but you will find in my house the sincerity of an 
*" honest man [galant homme], whose best wishes are 
"for the prosperity of the colony and your own happi- 

"If Madame Toussaint, whose acquaintance I would 
"like to make, could accompany you, I would be very 
"glad. If she want horses I will send her mine. 

"I will say again, General, you will never find a more 
"sincere friend than I. Have confidence in the Captain- 
" General, and friendship for those who are his subordi- 
"nates, and you will enjoy peace. 

1 i Cordially yours, 

" BRUNET. " 

"P. S. Your servant, who is going to Port-au- 

Arrest of Toussaint Louverture 121 

"Prince, was here this morning; he left with his pass 
' ' in order. " 13 

Toussaint had had many warnings. Some friends 
who had remained true to him had informed him of 
Leclerc 's intentions and had entreated him to leave 
Beaumont. The black General refused to believe that 
French officers could dishonor their calling by such base 
deceit. Leclerc had promised to forget the past. Bru- 
net had just written to him that he was his sincere 
friend and that he would find in his house l ' the sincerity 
of an honest man." Toussaint was unwilling to cast 
the least doubt on the word of two majo<r-generals. 
Furthermore, it seemed incredible to him that they 
would invite his wife to come and witness his arrest; 
for Brunet in his letter had offered to send his own 
horses for Madame Toussaint should she wish to accom- 
pany her husband. On the other hand should Toussaint 
fail to respond to Brunet 's call and flee from Beau- 
mont, it would seem as though he were guilty of some 
offense. As a consequence, Leclerc would at once seize 
the opportunity to go in pursuit of him with all the 
forces of the colony. 

As Foon, therefore, as he had received the letters of 
the two French Generals, Toussaint left for the Georges 
plantation, 14 where General Brunet was stationed. In 
his memorial to the first Consul he states the odious 
outrage of which he fell the victim 15 in the following 
words : "At eight o'clock p. m. (June 7, 1802) I arrived 
"at General Brunet 's. Having been conducted to his 
" bedroom I told him that his and General Leclerc 's 
"letter inviting me to confer with him had reached me, 
"and that I came for that purpose ; that it was not pos- 
1 ' sible for me to comply with his wish as to my wife 's 
"accompanying me, as being purely domestic in her 
1 1 tastes she sees no company. * * * I also told him 
"that feeling somewhat unwell I would be obliged to 

13 This servant, Mars Plaisir, had been placed under arrest. Brunet 
was telling a deliberate lie. 

14 The Georges plantation is one league distant from Gonaives. 
19 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. V, p. 181. 

122 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"make but a short stay with him, therefore asked him 
"to settle as soon as possible the matters upon which 
"we were to confer in order to allow me to return home. 
"I communicated to him General Leclerc's letter. After 
"reading this letter he (General Brunet) told me that 
"he had not yet received any instructions concerning 
"the object mentioned in it; he afterward apologized 
"for being compelled to leave me alone for a while, 
"and calling an officer, whom he instructed to remain in 
"my presence, he went out. He had scarcely left the 
"room when an aide-de-camp of General Leclerc, ac- 
"companied by a number of soldiers, entered; they 
"surrounded me, took hold of me, bound me like a 
"criminal, and carried me on board the frigate La 
"Creole. I invoked General Brunet 's word and his 
"promises to me, but all in vain ; I never saw him again. 
"He was probably ashamed to face me and the well- 
" deserved reproaches which he knew I would address 

A French general had disgraced himself with the 
guilt of such an abominably felonious attack. A 
European officer had not hesitated to degrade his rank 
by treacherously seizing the unarmed opponent to whom 
he was holding out his hand as a " sincere friend. ' ' Yet 
the whites contended that they possessed all the moral 
virtues and that the blacks had but vices which made 
them unworthy of enjoying the rights granted to man- 

Toussaint Louverture had rendered France the inap- 
preciable service of maintaining her authority at Saint- 
Domingne by expelling the Spaniards and the English 
from the colony. The reward he received from France 
was to be "bound like a criminal." His very family 
was not spared. European officers at the head of 400 
soldiers invaded his wife's house and violently drove 
her away. The property was plundered. Madame 
Toussaint, her son Isaac, and her niece were arrested 
and sent on board the frigate La Guerriere. Even his 
little son, eleven years old, 16 who was being educated 

16 Saint Jean, who died at Agen, France, on January 8, 1804. 

Tons saint Louverture Imprisoned at Fort de Joux 123 

at Cap-Frangais, was taken from his teacher and em- 
barked. Mars Plaisir, the faithful servant, and Placide 
Louverture were also taken on board La Guerriere. 

Immediately after his arrest, on the night of June 7, 
Toussaint was taken on board La Creole, which was 
then in the harbor of G-onaives. In sight of Cap-Fran- 
gais he was transhipped to the Heros. It was after 
boarding this ship that Toussaint uttered the following 
prophetic words : * ' By my overthrow the trunk of the 
' ' tree of negro liberty at Saint-Domingue is laid low 
"but only the trunk; it will shoot out again from the 
"roots, for they are many and deep." 

Although he arrived at Brest on July 12, 1802, he 
only left the ship on August 13. He was straightway 
conducted to Fort de Joux and imprisoned in a damp 
cell. His servant, Mars Plaisir, was the only one al- 
lowed to accompany him. In this way he found himself 
deprived of the company of his wife, his children, of all 
those whose presence might have contributed to temper 
the bitterness of his captivity. His family was rele- 
gated to Bayonne. Many and varied sufferings were 
inflicted on the great martyr. He was kept exposed to 
the cold of the Jura, to> the severity of a climate to 
which he was not accustomed. 

Toussaint arrived at Brest in a state of the greatest 
destitution. At Fort de Joux they did all in their 
power to humiliate the vanquished General, of whom 
they were still in great fear, by sending him shoes 
already worn out, and tatters and rags for clothes. 
Shivering and starving, Toussaint was moreover com- 
pelled to cook for himself the scanty rations allowed 
to him ; for they had deprived him of the one companion 
with whom he could talk freely, his servant, Mars Plai- 
sir, who had been placed in chains and transferred to 
the prison at Nantes. 

This inhuman treatment was being inflicted on a man 
who had not been sentenced by any court of justice and 
to whom no one had even made known the crime for 
which he was suffering such cruel penalty. The despot- 
ism of the first Consul took pleasure in thus tormenting 

124 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

one whom the fortune of war had betrayed. The day 
was coming when Napoleon would expiate Bonaparte's 
cruelty, and the Emperor, feared by all Europe, in his 
turn be taken from those dear to him; then he would 
know in all its intensity the awfulness of a slow agony 
on a solitary island. 

Death proved more charitable than men and put an 
end at last to all the petty annoyances, the humiliations 
and sufferings, physical and mental, which the late 
Governor of Saint-Domingue was heroically enduring. 
On the 27th of April, 1803, Toussaint Louverture was 
found sitting by the fireplace, his hands resting on his 
knees, his head bent down slightly to the right: the 
greatest of all the blacks had ceased to exist! Even 
death did not appease the wrath of his torturers. His 
corpse was thrown into a common grave ; so that at the 
present day it would be impossible for France to find 
out his remains in order to give them back to Haiti. 

To Toussaint Louverture ir does not belong the dis- 

17 In one of his Thanksgiving sermons, Rev. Frank De Witt Talmage 
gives the following account of the service rendered the United States 
by Toussaint Louverture: 

"The next great geographical expansion to which I would call your 
"attention is the Louisiana Purchase. The indirect cause of this pur- 
"chase is almost unknown to the majority of American citizens. And, 
"in order to give the historical setting to this transaction, I shall first 
"introduce to you as strange and weird a personality as George Rogers 
"Clark. This man is not a white man, but a full-blooded negro. He is 
"not living in France or Spain or in the United States, but in the island 
"of St. Domingo. And yet this negro, this ex-slave, named Toussaint 
"Louverture, whom Napoleon betrayed by false promises and brutally 
"starved to death in the French dungeon of Joux, had as much to do 
"with the Louisiana Purchase as Robert Livingston or Thomas Jeffer- 
"son the President. Here it was in the days of Robespierre and Marat 
"and Danton, led on by this modern Spartacus called Toussaint Louver- 
"ture, that the slaves of that island rose in their might and fought for 
"the honor of their manhood and womanhood and won their independ- 
"ence, and called their brave leader, Toussaint Louverture, their national 
"chief. That was in 1801. * * * Then came the treaty of Amiens 
"of 1802. * * * The 'Little Corporal' said to himself, ; I must have 
"something to fight. I must keep my soldiers employed.' So he looked 
"over the map and said, 'Here is Saint-Domingue. I will reconquer it, 
"and again enslave its negroes.' The flower of the French army set sail 
"for this far-off island. * * * Toussaint Louverture is treacher- 
"ously betrayed and carried to France a prisoner, but his lieutenants 

Toussaint Louverture's Lesson to His Country 125 

tinction of being the liberator of his people from the 
yoke of the French dominion. But he was the pre- 
cursor ; he imbued the men of his race with great hopes 
and high ambition ; he taught them, by his own example, 
that power was accessible to those who knew how to 
fight and be victorious. At the very moment when he 
was breathing his last, blacks and mulattoes whom his 
misfortunes had forever firmly united were engaged in 
a desperate struggle with a view of reaching the goal 
the road to which he had pointed out to them at the cost 
of his life and liberty. 

"of war continued his patriotic work. These disciples of the Washington 
"of this Southern island, noble and brave, aided by the pestilence and 
"disease which fought for them, drove the French troops, step by step, 
"until, within a few months, six-sevenths of all the unprincipled French 
"invaders were dead. * * * Napoleon, the Great Napoleon, the 
"mighty conqueror Napoleon, who had his dreams of making the rich 
"territory of Louisiana the brightest star in his royal diadem, said: 'If 
" 'a few negroes in far-off Saint-Domingue can destroy my legions, I 
"'cannot hold Louisiana in case of war. I must sell right away.' 
" * * * Thus, all of Indian Territory, all of Kansas and Nebraska 
"and Iowa and Wyoming and Montana and the Dakotas and most of 
"Colorado and Minnesota and all of Washington and Oregon States, 
"came to us as the indirect work of a despised negro. Praise, if you 
"will, the work of a Robert Livingston or a Jefferson, but to-day let us 
"not forget our debt to Toussaint Louverture, who was indirectly the 
"means of America's expansion by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803." 
(Christian Herald, New York City, November 28, 1906.) 


Reactionary measures The natives unite under the leadership of Des- 
salines The war of Independence Death of Leclerc Rochambeau 
Atrocities committed by the French Capois-la-Mort Expulsion of 
the French. 

The deportation of Tous saint Louverture following 
Andre Eigaud *s, opened the eyes of the natives. Blacks 
and nralattoes all realized now that only a close and 
firm union could save them from the fate in store for 
them. There was no longer any possible doubt as to 
the aim of the mission intrusted to General Leclerc: 
white supremacy was to be restored and the power of 
the natives annihilated. The first Consul, elated with 
his success in Europe, anticipated an easy victory in 
Saint-Domingue. He did not take the least trouble to 
conceal his plans : the French Government went to the 
extent of adopting a law maintaining slavery and the 
slave-trade. At Guadeloupe Vice- Admiral Lacrosse 
had immediately restored this barbarous institution. 
These reactionary measures served to alarm the former 
slaves of Saint-Domingue who had achieved their lib- 
erty by force of arms. General Leclerc made no effort 
to dispel their anxiety ; for to him it seemed to be the 
easiest of tasks for the invincible soldiers who had sub- 
dued Europe to crush such unworthy opponents as he 
deemed the blacks to be. In consequence, he proceeded 
deliberately in taking the measures by which to carry 
out the great schemes of the first Consul. The possible 
humiliations of the natives mattered little. Above all 
it was necessary to place them once again beneath their 
former yoke. The Captain-General began by annulling 
the military grades conferred by Toussaint Louverture; 


Leclerc Disarms the Peasants 127 

he afterward distributed the native troops among the 
various regiments arrived from France ; and he ordered 
the disarmament of all the cultivators. Upon his sum- 
mons, a Colonial Council met at Cap-Francais. The 
colonists who were in this body, with no restraining 
influence over them, went so far as to request the resto- 
ration of slavery in the presence of Christophe, who 
shouted in reply to their demand : "If there is no lib- 
erty, there will be no colony ! ' ' Leclerc thought that the 
surest way to keep the natives on the plantations was 
to prevent them from acquiring real estate ; to this end 
he instructed the public notaries not to authorize any 
sale of land of less than fifty "carreaux." The culti- 
vators were prohibited to marry women who were not 
on the plantations to which they belonged; and they 
were not permitted to go from one place to another 
without a permit ("cartes de surete"). The gendarm- 
erie had the right to sabre all those who were found 
without these "cartes de surete. " To crown the situ- 
ation, Bonaparte adopted, on the 2d of July, 1802, a 
decree forbidding the blacks and mulattoes to set foot 
on the territory of France. 

These blundering tactics exasperated the indigenes. 
General Leclerc did not scruple to hang and to drown 
the imprudent persons who voiced their complaints too 
loudly. The disarmament principally caused the great- 
est discontent. The cultivators felt that, by taking 
from them the arms they had used for the defense of 
the colony against the English and the Spanish, the 
French were depriving them of the surest means of pro- 
tecting their liberty. In consequence they were unwill- 
ing to obey General Leclerc 's orders. Dessalines, 
Petion, Christophe, etc., were determined not to miss 
this opportunity to prepare the people for the antici- 
pated struggle by showing them that they would hence- 
forth be at the mercy of those who thought of restoring 
slavery. In consequence they were very active in carry- 
ing out the mission intrusted to them. Thus the quan- 
tity of confiscated rifles so pleased the Captain- General 
that he left for Tortuga Island, feeling sure of having 

128 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

secured peace. The apparent devotion of the native 
officers tended to increase his illusions. As a matter of 
fact the situation was very critical. Yellow fever had 
made its appearance. The disease was mowing down 
officers and soldiers indiscriminately. Generals Debelle 
and Hardy were among the first to succumb to its 
effects ; the hospitals were filled to overflowing. 

At Plaisance a black man, Sylla., who had never been 
subdued, was enlisting new followers. In the West 
Lamour Derance, who through fetichism knew how to 
rouse his companions, was threatening Leogane and 
even Petit-Goave. In the South there were disturb- 
ances at Baraderes, Saint-Louis, and Torbeck. 

Leclerc had no sooner left Tortuga to return to Cap- 
Frangais than the blacks rebelled and set fire to the 
plantations. All these uprisings, though isolated and 
without cohesion, were nevertheless evidences that 
great discontent existed among the natives ; this unrest 
was the prologue of the great drama which was in 
preparation. Insurrection was smouldering in all 
hearts. For the success of the audacious step which 
had been planned it was above all necessary to secure 
an authorized leader and to bring under control the 
unmanageable energy of the various bands of insur- 
gents who were fighting on their own account: this in 
itself was a difficult task at a time when the bravery 
and the jealous independence of all were so quick at 
resenting the slightest restraint. The leader of the 
future war of independence was already determined 
on it was Dessalines, whose heroic defence of the 
Crete-a-Pierrot, his military rank, and his unquestion- 
able courage designated him for the first place. All 
that remained was to induce the chiefs of the different 
insurgent bands to recognize his authority. To attain 
this end, two men, Petion and Geffrard, devoted their 
energy and tact. 

However, Charles Belair took upon himself to play 
the part of liberator. In August, 1802, incited by his 
wife, the stern and fearless Sannite, he took up arms in 
the mountains of Verrettes, styling himself "Com- 

Understanding Between Dessalines and Petion 129 

mander-in-Chief of the Indigenes." The disturbance 
reached the mountains of PArcahaie. Charles Belair's 
uprising was untimely; and his pretensions to the 
supreme command were detrimental to the cause of 
liberation. It became thus a necessity to subdue him. 
Dessalines and Petion set out against him. These two 
men were very influential ; since Toussaint Louverture's 
deportation, the former had been considered as the 
leader of the blacks, and Petion, since the exile of 
Rigaud, was regarded as the leader of the mulattoes. 
They met at Plaisance. Leclerc's ill-advised methods of 
procedure had served to unite the two officers who, while 
fiercely fighting against each other in 1800, had each 
learned to esteem the other 's courage. The bad feel- 
ings of the past gave place to the great hopes they had 
in the success of the struggle they were planning. These 
two former opponents shook hands and their reconcili- 
ation decided the independence of Haiti. At Plaisance, 
Petion not only recognized Dessalines 's authority, but 
also admitted that he was the only man who could suc- 
ceed in expelling the French from the island. They 
were not long in reaching an agreement and in deciding 
on the plan of the campaign. They had now but to wait 
for a favorable opportunity to begin hostilities. 

In the mean time war was to be waged against the 
unfortunate natives who had anticipated the time fixed 
for the deliverance of the country. The followers of 
Sans-Souci were compelled to take shelter in the depths 
of the forests. Charles Belair was defeated and his 
wife, Sannite, fell into the hands of the French ; in the 
hope of saving her life, he voluntarily gave himself 
up; but his chivalrous action did not move his unmerci- 
ful victors. Less than six hours after their arrival at 
Cap-Frangais man and wife were handed over to a court 
martial which, on the 5th of October, sentenced them 
to death; they were executed the same day. Sannite 
died bravely; considering the attempt to blindfold her 
as an insult to her courage she boldly presented ner 
breast to receive the fatal shot. 

Their momentary defeat had not depressed the in- 

130 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

surgents. Sans-Souei rallied his followers and again 
assumed the offensive. He even compelled Petion and 
Christophe to retreat. Charles Belair's friends gath- 
ered their forces in the mountains of I'Arcahaie. The 
French General Pageot, who was sent after them, failed 
in his mission; he was obliged to return to Port-au- 
Prince. Numerous bands of rebels threatened Jacmel 
and Leogane. Rochambeau, accompanied by the French 
Generals Pageot and Lavalette, undertook to subdue 
them. His arrival at Jacmel was signalized by a horrible 
crime : by his orders, about 100 natives, who were only 
suspected of having little zeal for France, were thrown 
into the hold of a man-of-war, the hatchways of which 
were tightly closed; the men were then suffocated by 
the fumes of the ignited sulphur, their corpses being 
afterward thrown into the sea. 

These atrocities did not have the desired effect of 
intimidating the people ; on the contrary, they became 
daily more and more aggressive. Lamour Derance, 
whose authority was acknowledged by such leaders as 
Larose, Sanglaou, etc., distributed his warriors about 
the mountains of Port-au-Prince and in the plains of 
Cul-de-Sac and Leogane. 

In the North the French Generals Brunet and Boyer, 
notwithstanding the assistance of the black General 
Maurepas, did not succeed in subduing the rebels. In 
order to terrify the country-people, Brunet, then in the 
parish of Gros-Morne, caused some unoffending peas- 
ants to be hanged. This uncalled-for act of barbarity 
was speedily avenged by Capois. Deserting the cause 
of France he took possession of Port-de-Paix, where 
he put to death all the whites with the exception of the 
women and children. 

Little by little as the struggle progressed it seemed 
to assume a more horrible aspect. Rochambeau and 
his lieutenants doubled the executions, until it became 
impossible to estimate the number of those who were 
hanged, drowned, or asphyxiated. A mulattress, Hen- 
riette Saint-Marc, simply suspected of being in conniv- 
ance with the rebels, was hanged in the market-place of 

Petion Abandons the Cause of France 131 

Port-au-Prince ; that evening Rochambeau gave a ball, 
notably in celebration of his exploit against a woman. 
The slightest suspicion was enough to send blacks and 
mulattoes who incurred it to the gallows. 1 These acts 
of violence opened their eyes to the fact that their only 
chance of safety lay in immediately taking side with 
the men of their race who were fighting France. All 
the Northern province at once rose up in arms. 

Under the pretext of renewing his declaration of 
devotion and faithfulness to Leclerc, Dessalines sud- 
denly appeared at Cap-Frangais ; in reality he came to 
confer with Petion, who was at that time at Haut du 
Cap with Clervaux. Whilst awaiting reinforcements 
Leclerc was compelled to resort to the native soldiers in 
order to quell the insurrection. For this purpose he 
was obliged to act as though he placed entire confidence 
in Dessalines, who nevertheless remained undeceived by 
the welcome given to him. He hastened to return to 

In the mean time, Clervaux had been imprudent 
enough to say that he would not hesitate to join the 
insurrection were he sure that the French intended re- 
storing slavery at Saint-Domingue. To prevent the 
arrest and the possible execution of his companion 
Petion decided to precipitate matters. Late on the 
night of October 13, 1802, he deserted the cause of 
France ; after spiking the cannon he left Haut-du-Cap 
and withdrew on the Dericourt plantation, followed by 
the troops under his command. In winning him over 
the insurrectionists made a valuable acquisition. But 

1 "The executions," says Pamphile de Lacroix, "taking place daily, 
"new defections were of daily occurrence. The proof that there was 
"abuse in the executions can be found in the fact that the more that 
"took place, the less the rebels seemed to be scared. The blacks showed 
"on the gallows the same courage with which the martyrs of the early 
"ages faced death." (B. Ardouin, Vol. V, p. 278.) 

"Shooting, hanging, and, what is still more horrible, drowning, deci- 
"mated the indigenes, who were condemned on mere denunciations which 
"were often of very slight foundation. These cruelties, unworthy of the 
"French, were vainly multiplied; they served only to provoke terrible 
"hatred against us and to give new followers to the cause of the rebels." 
(Gastonnet des Fosses, La perte d'une colonie, p. 328.) 

132 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the dauntless spirit needed to inspire them and the 
strong hand capable of energetically delivering the de- 
cisive blows were still missing. Clei-vaux had followed 
Petion; Christophe was about to join them. Still the 
combined gallantry of these brave soldiers did not suf- 
fice : it was the sword and the unfailing courage of Des- 
salines which were indispensable in the mighty task of 
freeing the island forever of the oppression of the 
French domination. 

At the very outset Petion 's position demanded the 
display of much caution and tact. The followers of 
Petit Noel Prieur, against whom he had not long ago 
been fighting, assumed a threatening attitude; he had 
not only to appease them, but also to try and get them 
to set aside their grievances against Christophe. Giving 
them himself the example of conformity to discipline 
and abnegation, Petion, who up to that time had held 
the rank of adjutant-general, yielded the command of 
the insurrection which he had provoked to Clervaux, 
who was a brigadier-general. 

On the 15th of October, 1802, the native troops which 
had deserted France 's cause stormed Haut-du-Cap. 
There the French committed a crime so appalling that 
of itself it would have been sufficient to justify all the 
excesses of the natives. On learning of Petion 's defec- 
tion Leclerc had immediately ordered 1,200 native sol- 
diers to be disarmed and embarked on the men-of-war 
at that time in the harbor of Cap-Frangais. These 
unfortunate prisoners were massacred at the first news 
of the storming of Haut-du-Cap, thek bodies being one 
after the other hurled into the sea, Twelve hundred vic- 
tims at one stroke ! Was not such a merciless act 
enough to fill the hearts of the men of their race with 
wrath ! Nicolas Geffrard, who was in hiding at Cap- 
Frangais, availed himself of the confusion resulting 
from the fight at Haut-du-Cap to escape and join 
Petion. The future leader of the war in the Southern 
province wa,s thus on hand. 

Whilst these occurrences were taking place in the 
vicinity of Cap-Frangais, Dessalines had been at work 

Dessalines in Arms Against France 133 

in the interest of the cause. He went to Plaisance and 
Gros Morne, where he conferred with Magny and Paul 
Prompt, already at the head of many followers. In the 
neighborhood of Gonaives he afterward held an inter- 
view with General Vernet, Commandant of the arron- 
dissement. Leaving Gonaives he proceeded to Petite 
Biviere, where Cottereau had already secretly gathered 
together a great number of cultivators. 

On entering Petite Eiviere, on October 17, 1802, he 
was warned by Saget that the Commandant of the 
place was commissioned to arrest him. Nevertheless, 
Dessalines committed the imprudence of accepting an 
invitation to breakfast at Father Videau's, the rector 
of the parish, in whose house French soldiers had been 
concealed. But an old woman, a servant of the rector, 
saved the life of the future liberator of Haiti in warn- 
ing him by a stealthy gesture that they were about to 
tie him down. With the swiftness of a flash of light- 
ning, the black General rushed from the house, sprang 
into the saddle and galloped at full speed to the Place 
d'Armes, where he fired two shots with his pistols. 
Cottereau and his followers understood the signal and 
fell upon Petite Riviere. The die was thus cast, and 
from that hour the insurrection had its acknowledged 
leader. Dessalines lost no time in taking possession of 
the fort of La Crete-a-Pierrot, where he found arms 
and ammunition of which he was sorely in need. This 
success provoked a new crime on the part of the 
French: General Quentin, at Saint Marc, caused a 
whole battalion of native troops to be massacred ; here 
occurred another wholesale slaughter. These atrocities 
inflamed the spirit of the natives. Colonel Gabart at- 
tacked Gonaives with so much vigor that the French 
were compelled to evacuate the town. Dessalines was 
less successful against Saint-Marc, which he failed to 
storm. This defeat convinced him of the necessity of 
organizing his troops. After establishing his headquar- 
ters in the Artibonite province, this illiterate man, who 
could barely sign his name, astonished even his oppo- 
nents by the energy and the audacity of his combina- 

134 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

tions. Within a comparatively short time he got up a 
regular army. And what were these soldiers? Men 
who had just been freed from slavery peasants, most 
of whom had never handled a gun ! But he succeeded 
in transforming these ignorant and ineffective forces 
into invincible legions. 

His army was scantily clothed and fed he had 
neither the means nor the time to organize a commis- 
sariat. Arms and ammunition had often to be taken 
from the enemy. The tatterdemalions who made up his 
army soon commanded the respect of the haughty 
Frenchmen whom they were defeating at every turn. 
In facing death the blacks were decidedly not inferior 
in courage to the whites. 

Leclerc was greatly surprised to see those whom he 
still affected to despise, to see those whom he still con- 
sidered like " serpents and tigers to be destroyed, " fast 
becoming lions bent on devouring his army. He was 
soon compelled to center his forces at Cap-Fran^ais. 
His disappointment was inconceivable. Instead of the 
splendid success he expected to achieve, he found him- 
self facing a humiliating defeat. This embarrassing 
situation had a bad effect on his health. On October 
22 he became ill, and on the 2d of November, 1802, he 
had ceased to exist. His funeral-knell was also the 
death-knell of the French domination. 

Toussaint Louverture had been deported only five 
months since, and yet his prediction was becoming veri- 
fied : the powerful branches of the tree of liberty were 
strangling those who had tried to uproot it. 

After Leclerc 's death, Eochambeau assumed the post 
of Captain-General. The colonists were overjoyed; at 
last they had as their leader a man of so unscrupulous 
a conscience that the shedding of the blood ^ of the 
natives would be unlimited the man who had inaugu- 
rated the system of execution by asphyxiation in the 
hold of the men-of-war. The struggle was already a 
fierce one; henceforth it was to be of the most savage, 
barbarous kind. 

The new Captain-General arrived at Cap-Fran^ais 

Death of Maurepas 135 

on the 17th of November, 1802, and he at once began 
committing the acts of cruelty for which he was famed. 
General Maurepas, whom Brunet had arrested at Port- 
de-Pabc, had been, together with his whole family, 
transferred to the man-of-war Le Duguay-Trouin, at 
that time in the harbor of Cap-Frangais. Colonel Ban- 
din and a regiment of native troops were also embarked 
on the same ship. By Rochambeau 's order all these 
unfortunate people were thrown into the sea and 
drowned. 2 

At that time it sufficed to be black or mulatto to be 
suspected of sympathizing with the insurgents, and, in 
consequence, to be mercilessly murdered. Yet the 
French were among the first to call Dessalines a mon- 
ster when he retaliated by killing the whites. If it were 
possible to excuse such excesses, must not one make 
allowances for the uncultured men who were fighting 
in order to shake off an odious yoke? The French were 
supposed to represent progress and civilization ; should 
they not be the ones to give the example of respect of 
human life and of the rules of war? If Dessalines is 
called a monster, what epithet then does Kochambean 
deserve, he whose victims cannot be numbered! 

At first good fortune seemed to favor the new 
Captain-General. Reinforcements had just arrived 
from France; he availed himself of this opportunity 

2 Here is the opinion of a Frenchman, Mr. Gastonnet des Fosses, 
about Maurepas's death (La perte d'une colonie, Paris, A. Faivre, 
e"diteur, 1893; p. 334): "Two black Generals, Laplume and Maurepas, 
'were faithful to us and we could trust them. Maurepas was under 
'the authority of General Brunet, who was in command at Port-de- 
'Paix. For some time he was wrongly suspecting him of treason and of 
'being in relations with the insurgents. In consequence, when he was 
'instructed to evacuate Port-de-Paix and to retreat to Cap-Franeais, he 
'arrested Maurepas and several colored officers, whom he brought with 
'him to Cap-Francais. General Leclerc had just died and Dauze, the 
'Colonial Prefect, was in command until the arrival of Rochambeau. 
'He was of the opinion of sending Maurepas and his companions to 
'France. On the 17th of November Rochambeau landed at Cap-Fran- 
'gais, and, by his order, the fate of the prisoners was quickly settled. 
'Maurepas, his family and his companions, were embarked on Le Duguay 
'Trouin; and at night these unfortunate people were cast into the sea. 
'This was murder; and it is sad to notice that its perpetrators were 

136 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

to assume the offensive. Generals Clauzel and Lava- 
lette were ordered to storm Fort Liberte, which with 
strong forces under their command they attacked on 
the 1st of December, 1802. Toussaint Brave, who was 
in command, gallantly defended the post as long as he 
was able, and when at last he was compelled to evacu- 
ate the town he set fire to it in order to leave the French 
naught but its smouldering ruins. 

Probably finding the help of the brave soldiers whom 
France was sending to the island at a great sacrifice not 
sufficient for quelling the insurrection, Rochambeau 
decided to resort to auxiliaries, his equals assuredly in 
ferocity. General de Noailles was sent to Havana, in- 
structed with the important mission of buying blood- 
hounds to aid in the destruction of the blacks. In order 
to excite the appetite of his new assistants, the son of 
a field-marshal had the inspirations of a Nero. A post 
was set up in the centre of a circle where the seats were 
occupied by Rochambeau, the officers of his staff, and 
many colonists and their wives. And this was the per- 
formance that they witnessed. Hungry blood-hounds 
sprang into the arena; tied to the post could then be 
seen a young black servant of the French General 
Pierre Boyer. The beasts seemed to shrink from their 
horrible task. In order to invite them to it General 
Pierre Boyer drew his sword and with one stroke dis- 
emboweled his unfortunate servant ; then catching hold 
of one of the dogs he forced its mouth into the pal- 
pitating entrails of the victim; and the appalling feast 
began amidst the applause of the spectators and the 
sounds of the military band; a live man was torn to 
pieces by the blood-thirsty animals ! 3 What are the 
reprisals made by the blacks when compared with such 
revolting cruelty? 

But the hounds were not more successful than the 
soldiers of Marengo; they failed to subdue the natives. 

3 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. V, p. 392. 

"Rochambeau went so far as to import from Cuba hounds especially 
"trained for the hunting of the blacks. At the beginning of the nineteenth 
"century he renewed the horrors committed in the sixteenth century by 
"the Spanish conquerors." (Gastonnet des Fosses, loc. cit., p. 338.) 

Dessalines Commander-in-Chief 137 

Thinking that Leclerc's death would have discouraged 
the French army, Petion, Christophe, and Clervaux 
tried to storm Cap-Frangais at night on the 7th of 
November, 1802. But they were defeated and a lack 
of ammunition compelled them to abandon the forti- 
fications they occupied in the vicinity of the town. 

Petion thought that the time had come to unify the 
command, as a conflict between the various leaders would 
have been detrimental to the cause of independence. Be- 
sides, the forces were scattered without any cohesion. 
In the Northern province Sans-Souci was endeavoring 
to assert his authority as Commander-in-Chief, and he 
was supreme in power from Borgne to the mountains 
of Fort Liberte. In the West Lamour Derance had 
tinder his command: Larose at 1'Arcahaie; Cange in 
the neighborhood of Leogane; Metellus, Adam, Ger- 
main Frere, and Caradeux in the vicinity of Port-au- 
Prince; Magloire Ambroise, Lacroix in the mountains 
of Jacmel. For Petion, Christophe, and Clervaux the 
only legitimate authority was that of Dessalines ; this 
was fully acknowledged in the Artibonite province; 
and it was strictly necessary to have it accepted by all. 

In consequence, after his failure in the attack on 
Cap-Francais Petion went to Petite Biviere, where he 
met Dessalines ; there they came to a thorough under- 

Proclaimed Commander-in-Chief of the native army, 
Dessalines appointed Petion Brigadier-General. Chris- 
tophe and Clerveaux were of great assistance to him in 
helping to bring under his authority the followers of 
the other leaders, who, although acting independently 
of one another, were bravely fighting against the French 
soldiers. Lamour Derance tried to storm Jacmel and 
Leogane but failed in the attempt. The follower^ of 
Germain Frere and Caradeux succeeded in occupying 
Turgeau, from which place Port-au-Prince gets her 
water supply; they were, however, soon compelled to 

At the end of 1802 the island was divided thus : The 

138 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

French occupied the whole former Spanish portion ; in 
the North they had Cap-Frangais, Mole, Fort Liberte, 
and Tortuga Island, the rest of the province being in 
the possession of the natives. The whole Artibonite 
province, with the exception of Saint-Marc, was under 
the authority of Dessalines. In the West, Port-au- 
Prince, Mirebalais, Croix-des-Bouquets, Grand-Goave, 
Petit-Goave, Leogane, and Jacmel were still under 
French domination; as was also the whole Southern 

However, the Southern province had begun to be dis- 
turbed. In order to prevent more disturbance, the 
French resorted to their usual system : the executions. 
At L'Anse-a-Veau many people were drowned. At 
Cayes blacks and mulattoes who were merely suspected 
of not having much sympathy for France were at once 
hanged or drowned. These crimes incensed the natives ; 
and a black man, Joseph Darmagnac, took up arms in 
the town of Cayes. He was defeated and with the rest 
of his followers was put to death. The French availed 
themselves of Darmagnac 's affray to gratify their ven- 
geance. Twenty-two native officers who were impris- 
oned on board the frigate Clorinde in the harbor of 
Saint-Louis were all thrown into the sea and drowned. 
AP usual these cruelties, instead of demoralizing the 
blacks, made them more eager to retaliate. 

Geffrard had succeeded in penetrating into the 
Southern province. He hastened to organize the forces 
at his disposal. After occupying Miragoane he stormed 
Anse-a-Veau on the 16th of January, 1803. At the 
same time Gilles Benech, at the head of about 2,000 
peasants, took possession of Tiburon. Uprisings took 
place at Port-Salut and at Camp Perin in the plain of 
Cayes; all the leaders acknowledged the authority of 
Ferou, who was at that time Commandant of the arron- 
dissement of Coteaux. Intrenched at "Morne-Fendu" 
and at Marauduc the natives defeated the French who 
had tried to dislodge them from their positions. This 
success provoked the insurrection of the whole plain 
of Cayes. 

War of Independence 139 

Yet Geff rard had met with some reverses. Defeated 
by the French he was compelled to evacuate Anse-a- 
Veau and Miragoane and to take shelter in the mount- 
ains, where he reorganized his forces. However, he 
was soon able once more to assume the offensive; and 
on the 5th of March, 1803, he was in the plain of Cayes, 
where he met Ferou. He immediately set about obtain- 
ing the acknowledgment of the authority of Dessalines 
as Commander-in-Chief. Unity of command prevailed 
thus in the Southern province without any trouble. It 
was soon established also in the North and in the West. 

From Artibonite Dessalines proceeded to Port-de- 
Paix, where his authority was acknowledged without 
demur by Capois whom he appointed brigadier-general. 
Remain and Yayou were still under Sans-Souci 's com- 
mand. Dessalines appointed both brigadier-generals 
and placed the former at the head of the arrondisse- 
ment of Limbe and the latter in command of Grande- 
Riviere. In order to win over Sans-Souci 's last remain- 
ing officers he conferred the rank of colonel on Petit 
Noel Prieur, who became Commandant of the Place of 
Dondon belonging to the arrondissement which was 
under Christophers authority. After this Dessalines 
went up into the mountains of Grande-Riviere, where 
he met Sans-Souci, who, being deprived of the help of 
his principal followers, was compelled to acknowledge 
the authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the native 

Having settled all things to his satisfaction, Dessa- 
lines returned to the Artibonite. But Christophe had 
not forgotten his old quarrel with Sans-Souci. Consid- 
ering the moment propitious for ridding himself of his 
enemy, he invited him to an interview on the Grandpre 
plantation, and there murdered him. Petit Noel and 
his followers rose up at once in order to avenge the 
death of their former leader. Christophe was com- 
pelled to flee; and Paul Louverture, 4 who endeavored 
to pacify Sans-Souci 's avengers, was beheaded by them. 
Dessalines arrived with a strong body of soldiers and 

4 The brother of Toussaint Louverture. 

140 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

dispersed Petit Noel's followers. Henceforth his au- 
thority was securely established in the North. In the 
West Lamour Derance still remained in open defiance, 
but every means was employed in the hope of subduing 

In the mean time, Petion, Christophe, Clervaux, and 
Vernet were appointed by Dessalines major-generals, 
thus completing the organization of his army. The 
whole French portion of the island was now devastated 
by fire and sword. 

In the North, Rochambeau, profiting by the reinforce- 
ments he had just received from France, despatched 
General Clauzel against Port-de-Paix, which Capois 
was forced to evacuate. But the fearless black General 
redeemed his defeat by storming the Petit-Fort, where 
he captured the ammunition of which he was in great 
need. Capois, surnamed Capois-la-Mort by reason of 
his indomitable courage, now conceived one of those 
plans the temerity of which alone illustrates the spirit 
of the soldiers of the war of independence. He decided 
to attack Tortuga Island. But how to reach this island 
without ships was the difficult problem. For this lack 
he made up by building a raft consisting merely of 
planks held together with lianes. On the night of Feb- 
ruary 18, 1803, 150 soldiers under the command of 
Vincent Louis were huddled together on this frail 
means of transport in tow of two row-boats. They fell 
unexpectedly on the garrison of Tortuga and for a 
while seemed to be the conquerors. But the French, 
who soon got over their surprise, rallied, and owing to 
their superior forces defeated Vincent Louis, who suc- 
ceeded in making his escape with some of his com- 
panions. The unfortunate blacks who were taken 
prisoners were tortured to death in expiation of the 
audacious attempt. 

This failure did not discourage the untiring energy 
of Capois. On April 12, 1803, he stormed Port-de- 
Paix, and soon after Vincent Louis on his raft was 
again on his way to Tortuga. He succeeded this time 

War of Independence 141 

in taking possession of the island, which the French 
never recovered. 

In the vicinity of Cap-Franc.ais the struggle was very 
fierce. Eomain tried twice to storm the town, but 
failed. On his side Toussaint-Brave captured and then 
lost Fort-Liberte. 

In the South one event was succeeding the other with 
great rapidity. After establishing his headquarters at 
Gerard, Geffrard pushed on with his military oper- 
ations. Nothing could stop the enthusiasm of the 
people. In every encounter the French were routed. 
The insurgents occupied successively Anse-a-Veau, 
Miragoane, Petit-Trou, Saint-Michel, Aquin, Saint- 
Louis, Cavaillon ; all the coast line up to Tiburon was 
in their power. 

In order more easily to suppress the insurrection in 
the South, Eochambeau took up his abode at Port-au- 
Prince. Instead of gaining new laurels he daily de- 
based himself with new crimes. By his order Madame 
Paul Louverture and her son Jean-Pierre Louverture 
were drowned in the harbor of Cap-Franc,ais. The 
executioners spared neither age nor sex. 6 Sixteen 
native officers were left on an islet where they were tied 
to the trees ; defenseless against the stings of all kinds 
of insects they suffered the slow and terrible agony of 
starving to death. 6 

On his arrival at Port-au-Prince (March 20, 1803) 
Eochambeau heard that Petit-Goave had just fallen in 
Lamarre's power and that Leogane was threatened by 
Cange. The troops he despatched succeeded in ridding 
Leogane of the enemies who surrounded it. But Gen- 
eral Neterwood failed at Petit-Goave. In trying to 
storm the fort where Lamarre was intrenched the 
French General fell mortally wounded and his soldiers 
fled in great disorder. 

The natives were steadily gaining ground. Petion 

5 A black woman who was about to be executed with her two daugh- 
ters, raised their courage with the following words : "My children, death 
"will exempt you from bringing forth slaves." 

8 B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. V, p. 393. 

142 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

was holding his own at L'Arcahaie, where he had estab- 
lished his headquarters. In the beginning of June, 1803, 
Dessalines had stormed Mirebalais ; and his arrny, like 
an irresistible torrent, broke into the plain of Cul-de- 
Sac, which was devastated by fire. Port-au-Prince 
was, in consequence, in great straits as to procuring 
needed provisions. These successes were gained in 
spite of the reinforcements which from time to time 
Prance was sending to Saint-Domingue. And the rup- 
ture of the peace of Amiens came in time to strengthen 
the cause of the natives. In May, 1803, France was 
again at war with England ; therefore the French forces 
in Saint-Domingue could no longer rely on the least 
help from the mother country; and in addition to this 
yellow fever reappeared : the last flicker of the French 
dominion was about to be extinguished. 7 

When in July, 1803, the first English men-of-war 
began to harass the French ships on the coasts of Saint- 
Domingue, Dessalines saw his opportunity to deliver 
the decisive blow. But Lamour Derance still refused to 
acknowledge his authority; he had assumed an inde- 
pendence detrimental to the uniformity of the military 
operations. Colonel Philippe Guerrier was therefore 
instructed to arrest him. Lamour Derance, invited to 
come and inspect the Colonel's regiment, accepted the 
invitation confidently, relying on his influence, and was 
thus caught in the trap into which his credulity led him. 
Once among Guerrier 's soldiers he was arrested with- 
out any trouble ; he was afterward sent on the Marchand 

7 The flag whose folds would henceforth protect the right to freedom 
and liberty of a whole race, which centuries of oppression were unable 
to suppress, was adopted toward the month of May, 1803. Revolution- 
ary France had raised the tricolored flag which, for the natives of Saint- 
Domingue, mennt the union of the whites, the blacks, and the mulattoes. 
Dessalines had kept the three colors of France; and many were led to 
believe that he had no intention of separating from the mother country. 
To assert the idea of independence the Commander-in-Chief, by Potion's 
advice, suppressed the white portion of the flag and kept only the blue 
and the red. Henceforth, in the mind of every native the exclusion of 
the white from the flag meant also the expulsion of the white French- 
men from the island, which was to remain in the sole possession of the 
blacks and mulattoes. 

War of Independence 143 

plantation, where he died soon after. Henceforth the 
native army had but one chief Dessalines. There was 
no longer any hindrance in its way. 

Dessalines, who in the mean time had left for the 
South, proceeded to organize the forces of that prov- 
ince; it was put under the command of Geffrard, who 
was promoted to the rank of major-general. Germ, 
Jean-Louis-Francois, Coco Herne, and Ferou were re- 
spectively appointed Commandants of the arrondisse- 
ments of Anse-a-Veau, Aquin, Cayes, and Jeremie. 

Dessalines chose for his secretary Boisrond-Tonnerre, 
the future author of the Act of Independence. 

Without losing time the Commander-in-Chief re- 
turned to the Western province. The French had just 
lost Leogane, which Cange had stormed. From Leogane 
Dessalines marched to Jacmel, the siege of which he 
organized ; he then proceeded to Petit-Goave, and from 
there returned to Cul-de-Sac. On his passage he had 
created four new regiments. Untiring in his activity, 
he possessed entire control of everything and missed no 
opportunity to further the success of his cause. He held 
friendly intercourse with the officers of the British 
men-of-war which were blockading various ports of 
Saint-Domingue ; in this way he was able to procure 
arms and ammunition, always scarce in the camp of the 

Whilst Dessalines was everywhere communicating 
Ms ardor and his faith to all around him, Rochambeau 
had returned to Cap-Frangais, where he centred his 
forces in view of the decisive struggle. At that time 
the French army numbered 18,000 men, including of- 
ficers and privates. To avenge its reverses, the chief 
continued to commit incredible atrocities. Placide 
Justin 8 gives the following account of an encounter 
which took place at PAcul: "The attack began with 
"great fury; and for a while the blacks retreated; but 
"they soon assumed the offensive and repelled the 
"enemy, who retreated with heavy losses ; at night they 

Histoire d'Haiti (Paris, 1826), p. 399. 

144 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"were masters of the battlefield. During the day the 
"French had taken about 1,500 prisoners in the camp 
"of the blacks. The French General ordered that the 
"unfortunate native soldiers be at once put to death. 
"A great number of the victims of this cruelty did not 
"die immediately; they were left in a mutilated state 
"too horrible to be described. Their agonizing cries 
* l and groans broke the silence of the night ; they could 
"be heard at a great distance. 7 ' 8 

Rochambeau's cruelty became so revolting that two 
of his companions, the French Generals Clauzel and 
Thouvenot, thought of securing "the person of this 
"madman and of sending him to Europe in order to rid 
"the colony of his presence. " 10 But the Captain-Gen- 
eral discovered the conspiracy, the authors of which 

' Here is the statement made by Marcus Rainsford, late Captain of 
the Third West India Regiment (An Historical Account of the Black 
Empire of Hayti; London, 1805), of the affair of L'Acul (pp. 336-338) : 

"Rochambeau began the attack with impetuosity, and the blacks for 
"a short time gave way, but on his endeavoring to push the advantage, 
"they repulsed him with loss, when the day closed. In penetrating the 
"black line the French had secured a number of prisoners, and on them 
"they determined to wreak the vengeance of which they were disap- 
pointed in the battle. Whether this determination arose from an idea 
"that the part of the French wing which had been cut off were already 
"absolutely sacrificed, or from the mistaken policy of extermination, 
"cannot here be determined, but the unhappy victims were, without the 
"smallest consideration for their own men who were prisoners in the 
"black camp, immediately put to death. As they were not carefully 
"exterminated, many were left in a mutilated state during the whole of 
"the night, whose moans and shrieks were heard at a distance around 
"the spot sufficiently loud to excite a sensation of horror throughout 
"the country. The black commander, when acquainted with the case, 
"although the maxim of the benevolent Toussaint, not to retaliate, had 
"been hitherto followed up, could no longer forbear; he immediately 
"caused a number of gibbets to be formed, selected the officers whom he 
"had taken, and supplying the deficiency with privates, had them tied 
"up in every direction by break of day, in sight of the French camp, 
"who dared not to interfere. The blacks then sallied forth with the 
"most astonishing vigor and regularity, raised the very camp, threw 
"the whole line in disorder, and drove the French army close to the 
"walls of Cap-Franeais. Such was the retaliation produced by this 
"sanguinary measure; a retaliation the justice of which, however it is 
"lamented, cannot be called in question." 

James Franklin (The Present State of Haiti: London, 1828) con- 
firms Rainsford's statement. 

10 Gastonnet des Fosses, La perte d'une colonie, p. 339. 

War of Independence 145 

were arrested and deported. However, his tyranny and 
the woeful plight of the island made the colonists so 
uneasy that they began to flee from Saint-Domingue. 
' 'It was," says Gastonnet des Fosses, 11 "a general 
"signal of dispersing; the colony looked like a ship 
" about to founder." 

Under the heavy blows of the natives the ship was 
foundering in reality. In the South, Ferou, assisted 
by Colonel Bazile, was sweeping away the French posts 
in his victorious march against Jeremie. The French 
General Fressinet, who was in command, was unable 
to defend the town, which he evacuated on the 4th of 
August, 1803, Ferou at once taking possession of it. 
The bi-colored flag bearing its proud motto, "Liberty 
or death," floated over the arrogant city of the over- 
bearing colonists of Grand 'Anse. Cayes, the only im- 
portant town of the Southern province still in the power 
of the French, was being besieged by Geffrard. 

Dessalines, who seemed to be ubiquitous, so great was 
his activity, had gone from Cul-de-Sac to Petite Riviere 
where he instructed Gabart to storm Saint-Marc. The 
arrival of the natives before the town coincided with the 
presence in the harbor of an English frigate. The gar- 
rison, already starved out, was in the last stage of 
exhaustion. In consequence, the French General 
d 'Henin, who was in command, did not deem it wise to 
wait for an attack. He hastened to sign a capitulation 
with the captain of the English frigate and, on the 4th 
of September, 1803, he evacuated the town, which 
Gabart immediately occupied. Dessalines, who was at 
that time at Port-de-Paix, left in haste for Saint-Mare. 

On the 9th of September, Toussaint-Brave took pos- 
session of Fort-Liberte, which the French had also 

On September 17 Cange and Magloire Ambroise, who 
were besieging Jacmel, occupied the town in pursuance 
of an armistice concluded with the French General 
Pageot, who retired with his army to Santo Domingo. 

11 Gastonnet des Fosses, La perte d'une colonie, p. 340. 

146 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Dessalines decided then to assume a vigorous offens- 
ive against Port-au-Prince, at which place the French 
authorities were at odds; to which was added the 
further disadvantage of the starving condition of the 
inhabitants owing to the great scarcity of food. The 
Commander-in-Chief made his last preparations at 
Petite Riviere, and started forth on September 15 with 
Generals Petion and Gabart as principal lieutenants. 
After successfully engaging in a series of skirmishes, 
Dessalines took possession of La Croix-des-Bouquets ; 
and on the 23d of September he established his head- 
quarters at Turgeau, at the very entrance of Port-au- 
Prince, which was being besieged by Petion on one side 
and by Gabart on the other. Cange was investing the 
fort of Bizoton, which the French garrison was com- 
pelled to evacuate on the 2d of October. The artillery, 
under Petion 's command, then commenced the bom- 
bardment of the city. The French General Lavalette 
was soon at the end of his resources and obliged to 
capitulate. On the 5th of October he sent one of his 
aides-de-camp to Dessalines 's headquarters, where an 
agreement was speedily arrived at. According to the 
convention the French soldiers were allowed to leave 
the island ; hence, on the 8th of October, 1803, they were 
embarked on the French men-of-war at that time in the 
harbor. On the following day Dessalines made his 
triumphal entrance into Port-au-Prince. 

In the North the French had in their power only Cap- 
Frangais and Mole St. Nicolas; and but Cayes alone 
in the South. And this last-named town was almost 
lost to them. Closely surrounded by Geffrard and 
blockaded by the English, the town was incapable of 
great resistance. Therefore, General Brunet, who was 
in command, signed the capitulation with the English, 
and on the 17th of October, 1803, Geffrard took posses- 
sion of Cayes. In the South, as in the West, there was 
no longer any vestige of the French domination. 

In order to become the sole master of Saint-Domingue 
it now remained but for Dessalines to storm Cap-Fran- 

is, in which place Eochambeau had established quite 

Dessalines Attacks Rochambeau at Cap 147 

a reign of terror. The Captain-General did not spare 
even his own countrymen. The blood of a Frenchman 
was the last stain upon his hands. "In order to get 
1 'money," says Gastonnet des Fosses, 12 "he ordered the 
"inhabitants to contribute to a forced loan. Eight 
" European merchants were taxed 30,000 francs each; 
"one of them, Fedon, being unable to pay his share, 
"was arrested and shot by the order of the Captain- 
" General. This was in reality a murder. By his cruel- 
"ties Eochambeau had incensed the inhabitants so that 
"he could not now rely on their help." 

Nevertheless, he was getting ready for an energetic 
defense. But his plans were frustrated by Dessalines 's 
prompt action. The Commander-in-Chief of the army 
of the indigenes did not waste time in celebrating his 
victory. As soon as he was master of Port-au-Prince 
he began his preparations for the last and decisive 
struggle. After instructing his generals to centre their 
troops at Carrefour Limbe, Dessalines left Port-au- 
Prince on the 21st of October, 1803. When he reached 
the vicinity of Cap-Frangais he found himself at the 
head of an army of 20,000 men, well disciplined and 
inured to the hardships of war. The plan of attack was 
cleverly prepared and carried out. The approaches of 
Cap-Frangais were defended by forts established at 
Breda, Champain, Pierre-Michel, and by Vertieres Hill, 
where a blockhouse sheltered the French infantry. 

Dessalines perceived at a glance the mistake made by 
Eochambeau in neglecting to occupy the important 
position of Gharri er, which he at once instructed Capois 
to take possession of. This place could not be reached 
without facing the hostile fire of both the infantry and 
the artillery. On the morning of November 18 the 
columns moved forward, seemingly unmindful of the 
bullets and cannon shots which were mowing down their 
ranks. Eochambeau in person, surrounded by his guard 
of honor consisting of artillery and infantry, was in 
command at Vertieres ; he was, in consequence, exposed 

13 La perte d'une colonie, p. 344. 

148 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

to the fierce attacks of Capois. Both sides fought with 
desperate bravery. The native generals, incited by 
Dessalines 's presence and also by the goal they wished 
to reach, were often seen during the bloody struggle 
fighting gun in hand side by side with their soldiers. 
As to Capois, he compelled the applause even of 
Eochambeau; driven off by the relentless fire of the 
enemy, his army unceasingly returned to the charge, 
stimulated by the audacity with which its leader was 
defying death. Horse and rider rolled on the ground 
as a cannon ball hit the General's charger; but with 
lightning rapidity Capois extricated himself, and sword 
in hand he once more rushed back to his place at the 
head of his soldiers. Amidst the hurrahs of the French 
troops Eochambeau gave order for the firing to cease, 
and a cavalryman proceeded toward the amazed natives. 
"Captain-General Eochambeau, " said he, "congratu- 
lates the General who has just covered himself with so 
much glory. ' ' 

The messenger withdrew and the fight was resumed, 
until in the afternoon a torrential rain put an end to the 
battle. Both sides lost heavily. But the consequences 
of this encounter were of the greatest importance to 
the natives : they acquired possession of a country. 

Eochambeau hastened to return to Cap-Frangais, tne 
exterior fortifications of which were partly evacuated. 
On the same night, November 18, he sent a flag of truce 
to Dessalines ; and on the 19th the following capitulation 
was agreed upon : 

"This day, the 27th Brumaire, of the 12th year (19 
"November, 1803), the Adjutant Commandant Duvey- 
"rier, having received full power from General 
"Eochambeau, Commander-in-Chief of the French 
1 ' army, to treat for the surrender of the town of Cape, 
"and Jean- Jacques Dessalines, General of the native 
' 1 army, have agreed on the following articles, viz. : 

"I. The town of the Cape (Cap-Frangais) and the 
"forts dependent thereon shall be given up in ten days, 
"reckoning from to-morrow, the 28th of Brumaire, to 
"General-in-Chief Dessalines. 

Articles of the Capitulation Agreed Upon 149 

"II. The military stores which are now in the ar- 
"senals, the arms and the artillery of the town and 
"forts, shall be left in their present condition. 

"III. All the ships of war and other vessels which 
"shall be judged necessary by General Rochambeau 
"for the removal of the troops and inhabitants, and for 
"the evacuation of the place, shall be free to depart on 
"the day appointed. 

"IV. All the officers, military and civil, and the 
"troops composing the garrison of the Cape, shall leave 
"the town with all the honors of war, carrying with 
"them their arms and all the private property belong- 
ing to their demi-brigades. 

' i V. The sick and wounded who shall not be in a con- 
' ' dition to embark shall be taken care of in the hospitals 
' ' until their recovery. They are specially recommended 
"to the humanity of General Dessalines. 

"VI. General Dessalines in giving the assurance of 
"his protection to the inhabitants who shall remain in 
"the town, calls at the same time upon the justice of 
"General Rochambeau to set at liberty all the natives 
' ' of the country, whatever may be their color, who under 
"no pretext of right should be constrained to embark 
"with the French army. 

"VII. The troops of both armies shall remain in 
"their respective positions until the tenth day after the 
"signature hereof, which is the day fixed on for the 
"evacuation of the Cape. 

"VIII. General Kochambeau will send, as a hostage 
"for the observance of the present stipulation, the 
"Adjutant-General Urbain Devaux, in exchange for 
"whom General Dessalines will send an officer of the 
"same rank. 

' l Two copies of this Convention are hereby executed 
"in strict faith, at the headquarters of 'Haut-du-Cap' 
"on the day, month, and year aforesaid. 

( * ( Signed ) DESSALINES. DUVEYKIER. ' ' 

"The articles of capitulation, accepted by General 

150 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Dessalines, are, ' ' says Marcus Rainsf ord 13 * ' an instance 
"of forbearance and magnanimity of which there are 
"not many examples in the annals of ancient and 
"modern history/' 

Commodore Loring, in command of the English 
squadron which at that time was cruising in the vicin- 
ity of Cap-Frangais, requested Dessalines to send him 
some pilots in order to allow him to enter the port. But 
the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the indigenes, 
being unaware of the intentions of the English, refused 
to grant the request. Nevertheless, Eochambeau 14 at 
last consented to become their prisoner of war, together 
with the whole French garrison. 

On the 29th of November, 1803, Dessalines took pos- 
session of Cap-Francais, which was usually called the 
Cape; and on December 4 Colonel Pourcely entered 
Mole, which was evacuated by General de Noailles. 

Saint-Domingue was thus entirely lost to France. 
After a year of heroic efforts the natives were at last 
masters of a land literally soaked with their blood. The 
bicolored flag, the emblem of liberty, now floated over 
the whole French portion of the island. 

James Franklin 15 speaks as follows of the people 
who had just conquered their country: "It would be 
"wrong not to express in proper terms the admiration 
"called forth by the resistance which the blacks made 
"whenever they were hard pressed by the French 
"troops. They at times displayed a great deal of hero- 
"ism and unshaken courage. Standing on the dead 
"bodies of their comrades, they were often seen fight- 
"ing man to man with the French. * * * At the 
"evacuation of the island the negro troops were in a 
* ' state of discipline but little inferior to the French, and 
"in point of courage equal. Looking at them in other 

18 An historical account of the Black Empire of Hayti, p. 341. 

14 Son of Count Rochambeau, whose statue adorns Lafayette Square 
in Washington, Donatien de Rochambeau, made prisoner by the English, 
was sent to England, where he remained until 1811. Exchanged at that 
time he served in the French army in Germany and died, in 1813, at the 
battle of Leipsic. 

35 The present State of Haiti. London, 1828; p. 170, 171. 

Bravery of Haitian Troops 151 

* * respects, and taking into consideration that they were 
"men who before, nay even at that time, were in the 
"grossest state of ignorance and moral degradation, 
"our astonishment is excited when we find that in the 
"moment of rage and revenge they often refrained 
"from acts of cruelty and torture, whilst their insati- 
"able enemies were committing the most shocking bar- 


Proclamation of independence Saint-Domingue becomes Haiti Dessa- 
lines, the first ruler of Haiti (January 1, 1804-October 17, 1806) 
Intrigues of the English Military organization of Haiti Discon- 
tent provoked by Dessalines's administration His death. 

The struggle for supremacy had cost the lives of over 
50,000 Frenchmen. 1 pessalines desired to notify France 
by a solemn declaration that a new State had replaced 
her former colony. By a happy inspiration he chose 
for the proclamation of the Independence of Haiti the 
very spot on which had been enacted the treacherous 
'deportation of Toussaint Louverture. Toward the end 
of December, 1803, he went to Gonaives, at which place 
he had given instructions to the generals of his army 
to assemble. On the 1st of January, 1804, they all met 
together on the Place d'Armes and swore to abjure for- 
ever allegiance to France, to die rather than to live 
under her domination. The oath was met by the ring- 
ing cheers of a people mad with joy. Enthusiasm 
reached its highest pitch when Boisrond Tonnerre, Sec- 
retary to the Commander-in-Chief, read out Haiti's 
certificate of birth, consisting of the following words : 

"On this the first day of January, 1804, the Com- 
" mander-in-Chief of the army of the indigenes, accom- 
"panied by the Generals of the army assembled for the 
*' purpose of taking the measures destined to secure 
"the happiness of the country; 

1 Gastonnet des Fosses. La perte d'une colonie, p. 34. 


Act of Independence 153 

" After informing the Generals of his true intentions 
' * to give forever to the natives of Haiti a stable govern- 
' ' ment, which he had previously done in a speech which 
61 aimed at acquainting the foreign Powers with the 
"resolution to make the country independent and to 
" enjoy the liberty acquired with the blood of the people 
"of the island; and after taking the opinion of all 

"Requested the Generals to swear to abjure forever 
"allegiance to France, to die rather than to live under 
"her domination, and to fight to the last for the preser- 
"vation of their independence. 

"The Generals imbued with these sacred principles, 
"after proclaiming in a loud voice their unanimous 
* ' adhesion to the resolution of independence, swore for 
"all their posterity and to the world to abjure forever 
"allegiance to France, and to die rather than to live 
"under her domination. 

"Done at Gonaives on the 1st of January, 1804, and 
* ' on the first day of the Independence of Haiti. 

"(Signed) Dessalines, Commander-in-Chief ; Chris- 
tophe, Petion, Clervaux, Geffrard, Vernet, Gabart, 
Major-Generals; P. Romain, E. Germ, F. Capois, 
Daut, Jean-Louis Frangois, Ferou, Cange, L. Ba- 
zelais, Magloire-Ambroise, J. J. Herne, Toussaint- 
Brave, Yayou, Brigadier-Generals; Bonnet, F. 
Papalier, Morelly, Chevalier, Marion, Adjutant- 
Generals; Magny, Roux, Chiefs of Brigades; 
Chareron, B. Loret, Quenez, Macajoux, Dupuy, 
Car bonne, Diaquoi aine, Raphael, Malet, Derenon- 
court, Officers of the Army; and Boisrond Ton- 
nerre, Secretary. ' ' 

In order to efface the last vestige of an abhorred 
domination, the very name of Saint-Domingue was 
changed. The island assumed once again the name 
given to her by her first inhabitants and henceforth was 
known as Haiti. 

That the young State conferred absolute power on its 
liberator is testified by the following act : 

154 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"In the name of the people of Haiti: 

"We, Generals and Chiefs of the army of the island 
"of Haiti, thankful for the benefits received from the 
" Commander-in-Chief Jean- Jacques Dessalines, the 
"protector of the liberty which we are enjoying; 

"In the name of Liberty, Independence and of the 
"people he has made happy, 

"Proclaim him Governor-General of Haiti for life. 
"We swear entire obedience to the laws he shall deem 
"fit to make, his authority being the only one we ac- 
" knowledge. We authorize him to make peace and 
"war, and to appoint his successor. 

"Done at the headquarters of Gonaives this 1st of 
"January, 1804, and the first day of the Independence 
"of Haiti. " 

"(Signed) Gabart, P. Bomain, J. J. Herne, Cappis, 
Christophe, Geffrard, E. Gerin, Vernet, Petion, 
Clervaux, Jean-Louis Francois, Cange, Ferou, 
Yayou, Toussaint-Brave, Mkgloire-Ambroise, L. 
Bazelais, Daut." 

The dictatorial power intrusted to Dessalines was 
the natural sequel of events. The generals who had 
just led the people to victory considered themselves to 
be the legitimate representatives of the country. Ac- 
cording to their views, their most pressing duty was the 
immediate organization of a government capable of 
defending their newly acquired conquest. At the head 
of such a strong government they naturally placed their 
Commander-in-Chief. Not all the elation at their suc- 
cess, great though it was, could make them forget that 
they were to be prepared for all contingencies should 
France choose to renew the struggle. The Spanish por- 
tion of the island was still in her possession ; she had 
thus a convenient basis for her military operation. In 
consequence the Haitians clung to their military organ- 
ization. Instead of a Commander-in-Chief they had at 
their head a Governor-General, merely a change of title. 

Petion, Christophe, and Geffrard were respectively 
appointed Commandants of the Western, Northern, and 

Great Britain Tries to Obtain a Quasi-Protectorate 155 

Southern departements ; Gabart was given command 
of the Artibonite. They were all animated by the one 
thought to be ready for an energetic defense in case of 
an attack by their f ormer opponents. The soldiers were 
constantly kept on the alert. Profiting by the experi- 
ence acquired on the battlefields, they began fortifying 
all the valleys and the summits of hills and mountains 
where it would be easy for them to stand their ground 
against an enemy superior in forces. 2 Every citizen 
was compelled to join the army. 

The municipal and judicial powers were all in the 
hands of the military authorities: Haiti was an im- 
mense military camp. 

The task of the new Government was a difficult one. 
Everything had to be organized. Rochambeau's crimes 
had so much incensed the natives that the Frenchmen 
who had not accompanied the remainder of their army 
had been put to death. All functionaries of the Gov- 
ernment and administration had to be created, from 
policemen to statesmen. In reality there were many 
worthy and gallant officers and brave soldiers; but 
experts in civil administration were scarce. Notwith- 
standing the absence of special knowledge on this sub- 
ject, the natives to a man were determined to preserve 
the independence of the country they had just con- 
quered. Dessalines courageously set to work. He be- 
gan by rejecting the insidious overtures made by Great 
Britain. This power, whose advances to Toussaint 
Louverture had not met with success, believed that 
these people, whose existence seemed to be so preca- 
rious, would be more than happy to have its protection. 
In consequence the Governor of Jamaica lost no time 
in despatching Edward Corbed to Haiti with the object 
of obtaining the exclusive right to the commerce of the 

2 Christophe undertook the building of Laferrire, which later on 
became the Citadelle Henry; Pe"tion built Fort Jacques and Fort Alex- 
andre. In the South Geffrard erected the Fort des Platons. Forts 
Campain, Cap Rouge, Bonnet Carre", Marfranc, Desbois, etc., were built 
in the mountains around Le"ogane, Jacmel, Anse-a-Veau, Aquin, and 
Je"remie, etc. 

156 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

island and a quasi-protectorate. The request was de- 
nied ; and Admiral Duckworth, angered by the failure 
of his scheme, threatened to capture the Haitian guard- 
ships. In the event of this Dessalines declared that he 
would at once prevent the English merchant ships from 
entering the ports of the island. This threat produced 
the desired effect; for just at that time the United 
States frigate Connecticut was at Gonaives and on 
board there was an agent sent to renew with Dessalines 
the commercial relations which had formerly been car- 
ried on with Tous saint Louverture. The Governor- 
General of Haiti was thus turning all his efforts 
toward safeguarding the dignity and the interests of 
his country. 

In accepting the title of Emperor he was not 
prompted by mere foolish vanity. The Agents sent 
by France to Saint-Domingue had been known as Gov- 
ernors-General ; the continued use of this title might 
therefore leave the impression that the Haitians were 
still dependent on the former mother country; thus it 
was thought proper to adopt another name more suited 
to the chief of a sovereign State. Bonaparte had just 
been proclaimed Emperor of the French. This seemed 
to be a particularly fit occasion to affirm once again the 
independence of the country. Accordingly Dessalines 
decided to assume the same title with which the ruler of 
France had been invested. In September, 1804, the 
army acclaimed him Emperor of Haiti. This new ap- 
pellation added nothing to the dictatorial power with 
which he was already clothed. And Dessalines gave 
the best evidence of his great common sense by refusing 
to create a nobility. He avoided establishing any dis- 
crimination of rank; he even refused to allow any 
special privileges to be conferred upon his children: 
the equality of all citizens was to be the prevailing 
feature of the new State. 

In becoming Jacques, first Emperor of Haiti, Dessa- 
lines did not lose sight of the necessity of making pro- 
vision for the future good and tranquillity. The French 
were still in possession of the Spanish portion of the 

Dessalines Invades the Spanish Portion 157 

island. On the 5th of January, 1805, General Ferrand, 
who was in command of this portion of the country, 
ordered a sudden attack upon the Haitians, among 
whom only those under 14 years of age were to be taken 
prisoners, the others being destined evidently to be 
massacred ; the boys and the girls under 10 years were 
to be sold and kept on the plantations of the colony; 
whilst those between the ages of 12 and 14 years were 
to be sold and deported. 

To avenge this barbarous decree, Dessalines, at the 
head of 25,000 soldiers, invaded the Spanish territory. 
He started on February 16, and on the 6th of March 
his army, victorious in every encounter, began to lay 
siege to Santo Domingo, which would undoubtedly 
have fallen before him had not a French squadron ap- 
peared with reinforcements on March 27. Fearing the 
possibility of French troops being landed on the coasts 
of Haiti during his absence, Dessalines was obliged to 
raise the siege and to evacuate the whole of the Spanish 
portion. His apprehensions were happily unfounded: 
the French had made no hostile demonstrations against 
Haiti. Nevertheless, Dessalines took all precautionary 
measures. He availed himself of the opportunity to 
organize his Empire. On the 20th of May, 1805, the 
first Haitian Constitution was proclaimed. Slavery was 
forever abolished. Dessalines, whose surroundings and 
early training had not been such as would tend to fit him 
to act the part of law-maker, proved to be an able one. 
He enacted a military penal code, laws concerning ille- 
gitimate children and divorce and a law establishing 
the courts and their jurisdiction. By decrees he settled 
the respective limits of the military divisions of the 
territory ; he opened some ports to commerce with for- 
eign countries; he regulated the coasting trade and 
established import and export taxes. 

Notwithstanding all his excellent good qualities, he 
was a man with whom it was hard to agree. Above all, 
Dessalines was a man of action, and he owed his success 
to his untiring energy and to the use of force. Slave, 
soldier, or general, he accepted or enjoined discipline: 

158 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

he was accustomed to obey or to be obeyed. He was 
thus naturally led to consider as the best method of 
government that passive obedience which, as a mili- 
tary chief, he used to exact from his subordinates. 
This system succeeded in the struggle with the French ; 
why then should it fail when applied to the adminis- 
tration? Of a hasty and petulant temper the new 
ruler of Haiti was as quick in forming a decision as 
in its execution; in consequence, he did not tolerate 
any discussion of his orders. Hence he ruled the State 
as he was wont to command his soldiers as an absolute 
master. As a matter of fact, his rule was not far 
removed from the despotism of the French. The vari- 
ous Governors-General never had shown any respect 
for civil or political liberty. They relied upon the army 
and knew no restraint. To their minds the rights of 
the people were of no account. Having from his earli- 
est years lived in such an atmosphere it was hardly 
possible to expect to find in Dessalines a liberal-minded 
ruler. And the purely rudimentary knowledge of his 
subordinates made them incapable of tempering the 
dictatorial power intrusted to him. A few of his eco- 
nomic and financial combinations were of necessity 
imperfect. In course of time these mistakes might have 
been remedied; and civil as well as political liberty 
would have prevailed. But Dessalines J s contemporaries 
were very hasty men ; his lieutenants took umbrage at 
the very tyranny they had contributed to create; and 
as the news spread that the most important amongst 
them were about to be arrested, they plotted a con- 
spiracy. The discontent which some of the adminis- 
trative measures had provoked among the people was 
taken full advantage of. The insurrection broke out 
on the 8th of October in the neighborhood of Port-Salut 
in the Southern Department. The insurgents acknowl- 
edged Henri Christophe, who was then Commander-in- 
Chief of the Army, as their leader. Petion joined the 
revolt and caused the defection of the troops under 
his command. Port-au-Prince ceased accordingly to 
acknowledge Dessalines 's authority. The Emperor, 

Death of Dessalines 159 

unaware of these events, had left Marchand, his capital, 
on October 15, en route for the South, where he was 
going to reestablish peace and order. On his way sol- 
diers had been set by the conspirators ; without the least 
suspicion of the trap set for him, he continued his 
way in full confidence, paying no heed to the warning 
which Colonel Leger, one of his aides-de-camp, gave 
him, as he was approaching Pont Rouge, at a short 
distance from Port-au-Prince, on the 17th of October, 
1806. He did not realize the danger until he was com- 
pletely surrounded on all sides. He tried to defend 
himself; but Garat, a young soldier, fired; Dessalines 's 
horse fell to the ground. Charlotin Marcadieu, one of 
his aides-de-camp, hastened to his assistance. Just at 
that moment a volley of musketry was fired and Dessa- 
lines ceased to exist. Thus expired the liberator of 
Haiti, a victim of the sad customs of his time and of 
the very cause of liberty of which he had been the suc- 
cessful defender. 


Henri Christophe, Chief of the Provisional Government Alexandra 
Potion Convocation of a Constituent Assembly Constitution of 1806 
Christophe marches against Port-au-Prince He is elected President 
of Haiti (December 28, 1806) Civil war The Senate dismisses 
Christophe, who at Cap is elected President of the State of Haiti 
(February 17, 1807) The Senate at Port-au-Prince elects Petion 
President of Haiti for four years (March 9, 1807) Christophe 
assumes the title of King of Haiti (March, 1811) French intrigues 
against the independence of Haiti Pe"tion and Simon Bolivar 
Potion re-elected President March 9, 1811, and March 9, 1815 
Elected President for life on October 9, 1816; died on the 29th of 
March, 1818. 

The cries of 1 1 Liberty forever ! " " Down with tyran- 
ny!" were heard on all sides as Dessalines fell dead. 
In the Western and Southern provinces, where the 
insurrection had inflamed the people's minds, the Em- 
peror's death provoked a strong reaction against the 
political regime he had established. The discipline of 
the army felt the effect of this reaction; soldiers de- 
serted their regiments. And the citizens seemed to 
think that there was no longer any restraint to their 
will. There was but little show of authority and it 
looked as though' license had replaced Dessalines 's 
absolutism. This state of affairs was far from being 
satisfying to Christophe, who had become Chief of the 
Provisional Government. In reality he had the same 
ideas as Dessalines concerning the prerogatives of a 
ruler. Moreover, the insurrection had not had time to 

1 Formerly Cap-Francais. Was known whilst Christophe was King 
as Cap-Henri ; and now is called Cap-Haitien. 


Christophe and Petion 161 

enter the Northern province, which was under his com- 
mand; thus he was able to maintain the severe disci- 
pline which he had established there. Like his former 
chief, Christophe thought that for the time being abso- 
lute power was the only system possible in Haiti. 
Therefore, he intended to pursue the same plan of 
action which Dessalines had instituted. In consequence 
he was distrustful of the new ideas current in the West- 
ern and Southern provinces, where they were discuss- 
ing the advisability of restricting the powers of the 
ruler of the country and of taking precautions against 
a possible restoration of tyranny. Fixing his sus- 
picions upon the originators of this movement he cau- 
tiously remained with his army at Cap. 

Alexandre Petion was undoubtedly the leading spirit 
among the generals who were planning to limit the 
authority of the ruler of Haiti. Great was the contrast 
between the two men whom coming events were going 
to set at enmity one against the other. 

Petion 's 2 father was a white Frenchman by the name 
of Sabes ; he owed to the accident of his birth the ad- 
vantage of a cultivated mind. Of a sickly constitution 
he was phlegmatic and easy-tempered; his tastes were 
simple and he was known for his kindness and his 

Christophe, 3 born and raised in slavery, was very 
little inclined to pity. Of a tall and muscular build, 
with bright and intelligent eyes as his most striking 
feature, he seemed the very embodiment of force. One 
of his defects was the love of ostentation ; when he was 
a French general his home at Cap-FranQais was cele- 
brated for its luxurious richness, and his mode of enter- 
tainment was pompous. He was of a sanguine and 

2 Potion was born in Port-au-Prince on the 2d of April, 1770. A 
free man by birth, he studied mathematics, and became one of the best 
artillerymen of his time; he was also a competent silversmith. 

3 Christophe was born in the island of San-Christopher in 1769. 
According to Listant Pradine (Lois et Actes, 1807, p. 199) he was 
born at Grenada on the 6th of October, 1767. Christophe was still a 
slave when the events which led to the abolition of slavery took place 
in Saint-Domingue. 

162 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

passionate nature, chafing easily under the slightest 

Petion was often actuated by his heart, whilst Chris- 
tophe rarely allowed himself to be thus ruled. The 
former trusted the people, in the welfare of whom he 
was deeply interested ; he contemplated granting them 
wise liberties and thought that it would be possible to 
instil into them a liking for work by making them the 
owners of the land they had watered with their blood. 
Christophe had very little faith in the improvement of 
the people through the enjoyment of liberty; he was 
convinced that an iron hand would more easily and 
more quickly compel the people to work. Two men of 
such vastly different natures could not possibly have 
"the same political ideas. It was no wonder then that 
^whilst Petion was thinking of establishing a republican 
form of government, Christophe, if he were not inclined 
to the maintenance of the monarchy, wished at least to 
create a strong and forcible executive power. On ac- 
count of this difference of opinion the two Generals 
were already at odds when on November 3, 1806, Chris- 
tophe, in his capacity of Chief of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment, summoned the citizens in order to elect a 
Constituent Assembly which was to meet at Port-au- 
Prince on the 30th of the same month. In the province 
of the North and in the Artibonite, which were under 
'Christophers direct influence, there were more parishes 
than 'in the West and in the South. The Chief of the 
-Provisional Government was therefore sure of having 
in the Assembly a majority willing to support him. In 
consequence, he caused a draft of a constitution suitable 
to his ideas to be prepared. 

To counteract Christophers plans Petion authorized 
the election of Deputies in many small towns in the 
Western and Southern departments, which had hitherto 
never been represented. He himself became a member 
of the Constituent Assembly, the majority of which he 
had now secured ; and in his turn he prepared the draft 
of a constitution. 

By increasing the number of the members of the 

The Constitution of 1806 163 

Assembly, Petion had unquestionably disregarded the 
authority of the Chief of the Provisional Government. 
The latter was not disposed to suffer any such infringe- 
ment of his prerogatives and when, on the 18th of 
December, 1806, the Assembly met in the church at 
Port-au-Prince, the breach between the two Generals 
was complete. The Deputies from the Northern and 
Artibonite provinces at once protested against the pres- 
ence of those whom they considered as unlawfully 
elected. But no notice was taken of their protest. A 
committee, of which Petion was appointed the chair- 
man, was commissioned to draw up and to submit to 
the Assembly the draft of the Constitution. 

In a proclamation of December 24 Christ ophe openly 
declared many of the most important members of the 
Assembly to be rebels; he then prepared to march 
against Port-a,u-Prince. Yet on the 27th of December 
Petion submitted the report of the committee to the 
Assembly and that same day the Constitution was 
adopted. Immediately the Deputies from the Northern 
and Artibonite provinces despatched to Christophe a 
written protest against the ' ' so-called Constitution, the 
"consequence of intrigue and malevolence, and against 
"all that may follow until the dissolution of the As- 

The Constitution of 1806 established a republican 
form of government ; as an evidence of the distrust then 
existing against Christophe, exaggerated precautions 
were taken against the Chief of the Executive Power, 
whose authority was greatly curtailed. All the powers 
were centred in one body, the Senate, which had the 
entire possession of all executive, legislative, and mili- 
tary functions. The Senate alone had the right to ap- 
point the civil and military functionaries, to determine 
their duties and the place of their residence; it had the 
direction of the foreign affairs and was, in consequence, 
authorized to draw up all treaties ; it had the initiative 
ini the matter of laws and legislative measures; it 
assumed also the privileges of a Supreme Court. The 
President of the Republic, elected for four years, was 

164 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

simply invested with the care of proclaiming the acts 
adopted by the Senate and of taking the necessary 
steps for their execution; and although he was the 
Commander-in- Chief of the Army he was not allowed 
to confer any title or rank. 

Believing that in this manner it had put an effectual 
stop to any tendency toward despotism, the Constituent 
Assembly, on the 28th of December, 1806, elected Chris- 
tophe President of Haiti ; the same day the twenty-four 
members of the Senate were also elected. 

Nevertheless, Christophe, who had not received any 
notification of his election, continued on his march 
against Port-au-Prince at the head of a formidable 

The Senate met on the 31st of December, and re- 
garded Christophe 's soldiers, who were then at PArca- 
haie, as enemies. 

However, according to the new 1 Constitution, the 
President-elect was granted fifteen days in which to 
take the oath of the office. Before the expiration of 
this time he could not, in the absence of any overt 
action on his part, be considered as having declined the 
office or being in rebellion against the Constitution, a 
copy of which they had not even thought of sending 
him. Yet when Christophers soldiers reached Sibert 
on the 15th of January, 1807, they encountered the army 
of the Western and Southern provinces under the com- 
mand of Petion. A fierce battle ensued. Petion was 
utterly defeated and would have been killed but for 
the devotedness of one of his aides-de-camp, Coutilien 
Coustard, who. noticing the danger in which his chief 
stood, seized the hat adorned with gold lace usually 
worn by Petion and placed it on his own head. He was 
thus mistaken for his General and killed. 

Following up his success Christophe besieged Port- 
au-Prince. But after various ineffectual attacks on this 
town he returned to the Northern province. An Assem- 
bly which assumed the title of "Assembly of the man- 
datories of the people" met at Cap, and on the 17th of 
February, 1807, adopted a Constitution which, contrary 

Christophe President and King 165 

to the one voted at Port-au-Prince on the 27th of Decem- 
ber, 1806, gave full power to the Chief of the Executive 

The Government of Haiti, called now the State of 
Haiti, consisted of a President, Generalissimo of the 
land and sea forces, and of a Council of State of nine 
members appointed by the President. The President, 
who was elected for life, had the right of choosing his 
successor. According to this Constitution Henri Chris- 
tophe was on the 17th of February elected President 
and Generalissimo of the land and sea forces of the 
State of Haiti. But on the 27th of January, 1807, the 
Senate at Port-au-Prince had declared Christophe to 
be an outlaw and deprived him of all his civil and mili- 
tary powers. On the 9th of March Alexandre Petion, 
then a Senator, was elected President of the Eepublic 
of Haiti for four years. The country was then beneath 
the sway of two rulers with two separate governments : 
the State of Haiti consisting of the Northern and Arti- 
bonite departments, and the Eepublic of Haiti com- 
posed of the Western and Southern departments. The 
forces and resources of each were about equal. 

Christophe made desperate efforts to subdue Petion. 
In 1.812 he failed in a last attempt to take possession of 
Port-au-Prince and returning to Cap he left his oppo- 
nent alone. They both preserved their respective 
positions and by ceasing their attacks each one was 
able to look after the interests of the portion of the 
territory under his command. 

Christophe had himself proclaimed King of Haiti in 
March, 1811, and assumed the name of Henri I. Con- 
trary to the principles of Dessalines, whose desire was 
for the equality of all classes, he created a nobility and 
established a strict etiquette at his Court. As supreme 
ruler, free from the opposition of a deliberative assem- 
bly, he governed according to his will and fancy, keep- 
ing each one in his place by force of severe discipline. 
Personal safety and peace were the results of the order 
which existed throughout the land ; thus agriculture and 
trade flourished and prospered. Christophe endeavored 

166 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

to maintain friendly relations with both Great Britain 
and the United States, and did his utmost to propagate 
public instruction. The portion of the country under 
his command was therefore prosperous, although there 
existed a feeling of discontent among the people. 

Petion, who was of a kind nature and easy tempered, 
was hampered besides by the Constitution to the adop- 
tion of which he had largely contributed ; he was thus 
unable to proceed in his administration with the same 
vigor displayed by his competitor. In more or less 
open opposition with the Senate, which finally ad- 
journed sine die, he had to contend with many plots. 
Goman, in the vicinity of Jeremie, further harassed him 
by keeping up a guerilla warfare. And in 1810 General 
Andre Eigaud, 4 who had returned from France, became 
Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Department, es- 
tablishing an administration independent of the Presi- 
dent's control. Petion's authority was thus restricted 
to the Western Department. This secession occurred 
without any bloodshed, and ended peacefully after 
Eigaud 's death, when the Southern Department ac- 
knowledged once more the authority of the President 
of the Eepublic (1812). 

Owing to the unfavorable influences of these disturb- 
ances, agriculture suffered much neglect. However, 
Petion's kindness to the peasants won over all their 
sympathies ; and he gained their entire confidence and 
devotion when, through liberal grants and frequent 
sales of land, he transformed those who had been until 
then but simple tillers of the soil into landowners. By 
establishing this system of small estates Petion bound 
up the interests of the people to that of the Eepublic, 
thereby gaining their support for the maintenance of 
the national independence. To public instruction he 
gave likewise his earnest attention ; among other schools 

* Andre" Rigaud was born at Cayes on the 17th of January, 1761; 
his father was a Frenchman and his mother a negress named Rose 
Bossey. He was one of the colored militiamen who fought at Savannah 
for the independence of the United States. He died at Cayes on the 17th 
of September, 1811. 


Intrigues of France Against Haiti 167 

he founded was the "Lycee" at Port-au-Prince, which 
still bears his name. Imbued with a sense of the neces- 
sity of having the independence acknowledged by the 
great Powers he strove to display abroad the country 's 
flag. Ships flying the Haitian colors were despatched 
to England and the United States, where they were 
made welcome; foreign commercial intercourse was 
thus secured. Great Britain even forgot that she had 
forbidden her colonies in the West Indies to have any 
dealings with Haiti. Being at war with the United 
States she was scarcely able to supply Jamaica with 
provisions; the island would therefore have suffered 
from famine were it not for the help gladly given by 
Haiti. % 

Under the administrations of both Christophe and 
Petion prosperity reappeared. But anxiety caused by 
France's attitude soon paralyzed their efforts. Louis 
XVIII had succeeded Napoleon I ; and the new monarch 
thought that it would be easy to reconquer Haiti. With 
this object, at the end of June, 1814, he despatched to 
Haiti three agents: Dauxion Lavaysse, Dravermann, 
and Franco de Medina. At that time France did not 
possess an inch of territory in her former colony; for 
the inhabitants of the Spanish portion had taken up 
arms and in 1809 once again bowed to the authority of 
Spain. However, among the papers of Franco de 
Medina, whom Christophe had caused to be arrested 
and tried under the charge of being a spy, were discov- 
ered the secret instructions given by the French Gov- 
ernment, which revealed the intention of the Bourbons, 
not only to send an army to recover Haiti, but also* to 
reestablish slavery in the island. The feeling provoked 
by these instructions was intense. Christophe and Pe- 
tion ? s one thought was to have all in readiness for the 
national defense. Arms, ammunition, and all the neces- 
sary provisions were accumulated in the mountains, 
in the places most difficult of access, where Haitian 
strategy would be able to wear out the European troops. 
The expenses were considerable; but the people stoic- 
ally endured every discomfort and displayed the great- 

168 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

est enthusiasm to defend, with their lives if need be, the 
liberty of the soil, of which they meant to remain the 
sole masters. 

Napoleon's escape from Elba occurred just in time 
to thwart the plans of Louis XVIII. Yet upon the 
return of the Bourbons to power they once again took 
up the idea of retaking Haiti. In July, 1816, Lieuten- 
ant-General Viscount of Fontanges, the Councillor of 
State Esmangart, and Captain du Petit Thouars of the 
French Navy were appointed the King's Commission- 
ers at Saint-Domingue. But they failed in their pur- 
pose, and the resistance offered them by both Chris- 
tophe and Petion left to them no other course of action 
but to return to France ; consequently they sailed from 
Port-au-Prince on the 12th of November, 1816. 5 On 
the same day Petion issued a proclamation to the people 
which read as follows: "Our rights are sacred; they 
"have their source in nature which created all men 
"equal. We will defend our rights against all those 
' ' who will dare to think of subduing us. Our aggressors 
"will find on this island ashes mingled with blood, bul- 
"lets and an avengeful climate. Authority rests on 
"your will ; and your will is to be free and independent. 
"You will be so or we will give to the world the awful 
"spectacle of burying ourselves under the ruins of our 
"country rather than submit again to servitude, even 
"in its mildest form. 

Christophe also issued a proclamation on the 20th of 
November, in the following terms : "We will negotiate 
"with the French Government on equal footing, from 
"Power to Power, from Sovereign to Sovereign. No 
"negotiation will be entered upon with that country 
"unless the independence of the kingdom of Haiti, 
"political as well as commercial, be previously recog- 

5 On their arrival in France they tried to make believe that their 
failure was caused by the intrigues of Great Britain and the United 
States. In their report they charge the two countries with slandering 
France and making her odious to an ignorant people and with main- 
taining Petion's distrust- by continually telling him that France's only 
design was to place him and his whole race once more under the yoke 
of slavery. (B. Ardouin, Vol. VIII, p. 257.) 

Petion and Simon Bolivar 169 

"nized. * * * Neither the French flag nor any 
''Frenchman will be allowed to enter any port of the 
" kingdom until the French Government positively 
"recognizes the independence of Haiti. * * * " 

The firm and explicit attitude of the two rulers put 
an end to France 's last illusions. The only thing to 
subdue Haiti would be the use of greater force than it 
would be possible for her to cope with. Once more the 
Haitians prepared themselves for the attack which 
seemed to be imminent. 

Notwithstanding the anxiety caused by such a con- 
tingency, Haiti did not forget what she considered her 
duty toward those who were fighting to free themselves 
from European domination. She gave a hearty wel- 
come to Simon Bolivar, Commodore Aury, and the 
many Venezuelan families whom the successes of the 
Spaniards had compelled to leave their country. At 
the end of December, 1815, Bolivar arrived at Cayes, in 
which port were anchored, on January 6, 1816, ten men- 
of-war commanded by Commodore Aury, who had been 
forced to evacuate Carthagena. The embarrassed cir- 
cumstances in which the Republic found itself did not 
prevent Petion from extending all the help he could to 
the sailors and the Venezuelan families, who, owing to 
their hasty flight, were in the greatest state of indigence. 
He was most kind to Bolivar, requesting only in return 
for the unselfish assistance given to the latter 's cause, 
that slavery be abolished. Bolivar 6 promised to pro- 
claim " general freedom in Venezuela province and all 
"other provinces which he should succeed in winning 
' ' over to the cause of independence. ' ' He received from 
the President of Haiti 4,000 rifles, powder, cartridges, 
all kinds of provisions, even a printing-press. Petion 
did not content himself with furnishing these articles; 

8 Bolivar endeavored to be true to his word. He freed his own slaves 
numbering about 1,500 and, on the 6th of July, 1816, granted general 
freedom. But such a measure met with the strongest opposition. In 
1821 a gradual freedom was proclaimed; it was only in 1854 that the 
last slaves were freed owing to the influence of General Monagas, the 
President of the Republic of Venezuela. 

170 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

he was peace-maker between Bolivar and his two com- 
panions, General Bermudes and Commodore Aury, who 
had quarrelled, thus dispelling for the time being the 
misunderstanding which was about to set them at vari- 
ance. Haitians were authorized to join in the expe- 
dition. In the following letter written on the 8th of 
February, Bolivar expressed his intense gratitude to 
Petion: 7 

"Mr. PRESIDENT: I am overwhelmed with your 
"favors. In everything you are magnanimous and 
"kind. We have almost completed our preparations 
* l and in a fortnight we may perhaps be ready to start ; 
"I am only awaiting your last favors. Through Mr. 
"Inginac, your worthy Secretary, I take the liberty to 
"make a new request. In my proclamation to the in- 
" habitants of Venezuela and in the decrees I have to 
"issue concerning the freedom of the slaves, I do not 
"know if I am allowed to express the feelings of my 
"heart toward Your Excellency and to leave to pos- 
terity an everlasting token of your philanthropy. I 
"do not know, I say, if I must declare that you are the 
"author of our liberty. I beg Your Excellency to let 
"me know his will on the matter. * * * 

Petion refused to be designated as the author of the 
independence of Venezuela and made the following 
answer to Bolivar : 


"February 18, 1816, the 13th year of the Independence. 

"GENERAL: Your kind letter of the 8th instant 
"reached me yesterday. You know my regard for the 
"cause you are defending and for yourself; you must 
"then be convinced how great is my desire to see free- 
"dom granted to all those who are still under the yoke 
"of slavery; but out of deference for a power which 
"has not yet openly declared itself an enemy of the 
"Republic, I am compelled to ask you not to mention 

7 Expedition de Bolivar par k Secateur Marion aine", p. 42 (Decem- 
ber, 1849). 

. . 

Petion and Simon Bolivar 171 

my name in any of your documents ; and for this pur- 
pose I reckon on the sentiments which characterize 

After leaving Cayes 9 on the 10th of April, 1816, 
Bolivar landed at Carupano on May 31. Defeated on 
the 10th of July by the Spanish General Morales, he 
fled again to Haiti. Petion once more gave him his 
sympathy and assistance, furnishing him with large 
supplies of arms, ammunition, etc. On the 26th of 
December, 1816, Bolivar left Haiti and this time suc- 
ceeded in ridding his country of Spanish domination. 
He expressed his gratitude once more in the following 
letter which he wrote before embarking, to General 
Marion, Commandant of the arrondissement of Cayes : 

1 i PORT-AU-PRINCE, December 4, 1816. 
1 1 GENERAL : On the point of starting with a view to 
' ' return to my country and strengthen its independence, 
i 1 1 feel that it would be ungrateful of me were I to miss 
"this opportunity of thanking you for all your kindness 
"to my countrymen. If men are bound by the favors 
' ' they have received, be sure, General, that my country- 
"men and myself will forever love the Haitian people 
1 1 and the worthy rulers who make them happy. * * ' ' 1& 

Petion was successively reelected President on the 
9th of March, 1811, and on the 9th of March, 1815. 

On the 2d of June, 1816, the Constitution of 1806 
was modified. The authority was divided between the 
Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary Powers. 
A Supreme Court (Tribunal de Cassation) was created; 
and henceforth the Legislative body was to consist of 
a Senate and a House of Commons. The President of 
Haiti, elected for life by the Senate, had the right to 
appoint all the civil and military functionaries and also 
to direct the exterior relations. 

8 Expedition de Bolivar par le Se"nateur Marion aine", p. 43 (Decem- 
ber, 1849). 

9 The capital of the Southern Department. 

10 And a few years later Bolivar refrained from inviting Haiti to the 
Congress of Panama! 

172 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

In pursuance of this Constitution, Petion was elected 
President for life on the 9th of October, 1816. But he 
did not long survive this last election. On the 22d of 
March he had an attack of fever, to which he succumbed 
on the 29th of March, 1818, in spite of all the efforts 
that were made to restore him to health. 


Jean-Pierre Boyer, President of Haiti for life (March 30, 1818-March 
13, 1843) Pacification of "La Grand 'Anse" Death of Henri Chris- 
tophe (October 8, 1820) His kingdom made part of the Republic 
The inhabitants of the Spanish portion of the island expel the Span- 
iards They acknowledge the authority of the President of Haiti 
(January 19, 1822) The Haitian flag floats over the whole island 
Hostility of the Great Powers toward Haiti: the United States 
and Great Britain recognize the independence of Mexico, Colombia, 
etc., but refrain from recognizing the independence of Haiti The 
Haitians abolish the preferential tariff hitherto granted to Great 
Britain Haiti and France at odds over the question of the recog- 
nition of the Haitian independence Preparations for war in Haiti 
France strives to acquire a protectorate over Haiti Promulga- 
tion of the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Penal 
Code, and Code of Criminal Instruction Charles X grants the 
Haitians their independence His ordinance and its effects Loan 
in France and paper money, consequences of the ordinance Nego- 
tiations with France for the conclusion of a treaty destined to destroy 
the bad effects of the ordinance of Charles X Negotiations with the 
Pope Treaty of 1838 by which France recognizes Haitian independ- 
ence Treaties with Great Britain and France for the abolition of the 
slave-trade The discontent provoked by the Ordinance of Charles X 
affects President Boyer's popularity Reforms indispensable after 
the conclusion of the treaty of 1838 The opposition takes advantage 
of Boyer's inaction Charles He"rard, surnamed Riviere, takes up 
arms at Praslin (January 27, 1843) Boyer resigns (March 13, 
1843) and sails on the English sloop-of-war Scylla. 

The death of Alexandre Petion, the founder of the 
Republic, was a source of profound and unanimous re- 
gret. No other President has ever had such a hold on 
his fellow-citizens* affections. The people, who cher- 
ished him dearly, remained true to the form of govern- 
ment he had established. The day after, on the 30th of 
March, 1818, the Senate met and elected Jean-Pierre 
Boyer, President for life. Even this choice was a 


174 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

homage to the memory of the departed ruler ; for Boyer 
had been the " spoiled child" of Petion and the com- 
mander of his body-guard. 

The new President was well informed for a man of 
his time. Of an upright and extremely thrifty nature, 
the first thing to receive his attention after his election 
was the finances, which were in a bad condition owing 
to the extreme generosity of his predecessor. He under- 
took also to restore peace and security in the Grand- 
'Anse, which since January, 1807, Goman had been 
harassing. At the beginning of 1819 Boyer despatched 
a strong body of men against Goman, who was com- 
pletely defeated, and killed while trying to make his 
escape. This portion of the territory once pacified the 
President sought to restore unity in the Government of 
the country. 

Petion 's wise and kind policy had already provoked 
many defections among Christophers followers. Mon- 
archy was indeed a very heavy burden to the inhab- 
itants of the Northern and Artibonite provinces, whilst 
under the Republic the people enjoyed more liberty. 
Comparisons were all in favor of the latter form of 
government, and, in order to maintain his authority, 
Christophe had to resort more and more to violence. 
He was aware of the fact that a struggle between his 
troops and the republican soldiers would be detrimental 
to his cause. In consequence he was anxious to prevent 
being attacked by Boyer, who was more aggressive than 
Petion. He found an obliging agent in the English 
Admiral Homer Popham. The latter went to Port-au- 
Prince in April, 1820, and did his utmost to induce the 
President to leave King Henri alone. Sir Homer was 
principally pleading the cause of the English commerce, 
which enjoyed great privileges in Christophe 's domin- 
ion. However, he failed in his purpose, for Boyer re- 
fused to commit himself by any promise. The President 
had full knowledge of the fact that the people in the 
North and the Artibonite were in a great state of dis- 
content and would avail themselves of the first oppor- 
tunity of shaking off the yoke. 

Death of Henri Christophe 175 

As long as he was able to rouse his soldiers by the 
magic of his daring bravery, Christophe had still the 
possibility of maintaining his authority. But disease, 
on which he had not reckoned, made him impotent. On 
the 15th of April, 1820, whilst hearing mass in the 
church of Limonade, he fell heavily to the floor. The 
man before whom his fellow-citizens were made to bow 
their heads was laid low by a stroke of apoplexy. How- 
ever, he did not die from this stroke, but he remained 

Locked up in his palace of " Sans-Souci, " unable to 
ride on horseback as before, Christophe had no longer 
any means of stimulating the devotion of his followers. 
In consequence, on the 2d of October, 1820, Saint-Marc 
joined the cause of the Eepublic and asked the assist- 
ance of President JBoyer. That was the signal for a 
general defection. On October 6 the Governor of 
Cap, General Richard, followed Saint-Marc's example. 
Christophe imagined that he could reduce even nature 
to submission; he resorted to a most extraordinary 
medication in order to regain the energy of which his 
poor paralyzed limbs were deprived : for over an hour 
he was vigorously rubbed with a mixture of rum and 
pepper (piment). In spite of this powerful stimulant, 
his strength failed at the very moment when he tried 
to mount his horse in order to lead his army. But with 
a stern determination not to give in he caused himself 
to be carried in a chair and placed in front of his palace, 
where, on the 8th of October, 1820, he reviewed his 
body-guard and intrusted them with the mission of sub- 
duing Cap. This body-guard, on whose faithfulness no 
doubt had ever been cast, was no sooner out of his 
presence than it went over to the insurrection, crying 
out, "Vive la liberte!" That same night Christophe 
had retired to his room, where the news of this defec- 
tion reached him. He at once summoned his wife and 
his children, whom he loaded with tokens of his affection. 
After dismissing them, he ordered his servants to bring 
him fresh water, and after a bath he put on a spotless 
white suit. He then seized one of his pistols, pointed it 

176 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

at his heart, and pulled the trigger. On hearing the 
report of the shot the whole household rushed to his 
room ; Henri Christophe was but a corpse x and royalty 
had ceased to exist. 

President Boyer neglected none of the means which 
might bring under his rule that portion of territory 
hitherto under Christophe's authority. On October 
16 he was at Saint-Marc; on the 21st he arrived at 
Gonaives, and on the 26th of October, 1820, he entered 
Cap, 2 where the former subjects of Henri I decided to 
become part of the Republic. In this manner the seces- 
sion with its possibilities of grave consequences for the 
future of the country came happily to an end. 

The union of all the Haitians was complete. Boyer 
was thus enabled to undertake the realization of the 
plan of Dessalines, who thought that Haiti should have 
no other limits than "those laid out for her by nature 
and the sea." After the expulsion of the French in 
1809 the inhabitants of the eastern portion of the island 
had again acknowledged Spain's authority. 

1 On the same night, October 8, Christophe's corpse was brought to 
the citadel of Laferriere, where it was covered with lime. Built on the 
summit of Bonnet-a-1'Evgque, at an altitude of 3,000 feet, this citadel is 
the best testimonial of Christophe's genius. Up to the present day its 
splendid ruins are the admiration of the foreigners who visit them. A 
Frenchman ( Edgar-La-Selve La Republique d'Haiti, p. 27), who was 
rather unfriendly to Haiti, could not help speaking as follows of this 
stronghold: "Nowhere in France, England, or in the United States, 
"have I seen anything more imposing. The citadel of La Ferrifcre is 
"truly a marvellous thing." The man who conceived and caused such a 
work to be constructed was certainly wonderful. Born and bred beneath 
the brutalizing system of slavery, Henri Christophe proved himself to 
be tactician, legislator, and statesman. His faults were the results of a 
system of government from which he had suffered greatly. Fond of 
progress, he thought that he could force it on his countrymen regardless 
of the time wanted for the evolution. In consequence he resorted to 
methods which made him unpopular. Thus one thinks only of the vio- 
lence of his temper and his harsh measures, forgetting the results 
arrived at. Owing to the worthiness of his intentions, to the impulse 
given by him to agriculture, and to the prosperity which his kingdom 
enjoyed, Christophe is deserving of impartial appreciation; foreigners 
are unfortunately too eager to ruthlessly condemn him. 

a After the declaration of Independence Cap-Frangais became Cap; 
whilst Christophe was King the town was called Cap-Henri; but on 
joining the Republic it was given the name of Cap-Haitien, by which 
it has been since called. 

The Whole Island Under Boyer's Authority 177 

The vicinity of this Power had always made the 
Haitians uneasy ; they were in consequence determined 
to embrace the first opportunity to get rid of it. Whilst 
at Cap-Haitien, Boyer had many interviews with secret 
agents sent by the inhabitants of the Spanish portion 
of the island. He in turn despatched to them trust- 
worthy emissaries with the mission of directly prepar- 
ing the way for the union of the whole country under 
one government. However, Nunez de Caceres, one of 
the leaders of the uprising then being prepared against 
Spain, thought that it would be more advantageous to 
establish an independent State and to form with Haiti 
nothing more than an offensive and defensive alliance; 
according to his idea the new State was to become one 
of the Colombian Confederation. Boyer lost no time in 
taking the necessary measures for the frustration of this 
plan. Before Caceres had had time to give the signal 
for the insurrection, Monte-Christi and Laxavon hoisted 
the Haitian flag (November 15, 1821). On the night of 
November 30 and on December 1 Caceres and his fol- 
lowers took possession of the most important posts in 
the town of Santo Domingo ; and the Spanish Governor, 
Pascal Real, unable to uphold Spain 's authority, left 
the place on the 5th of December. Still believing in the 
possibility of carrying out his idea of independence, 
Caceres hoisted the Colombian flag and proclaimed the 
establishment of the Dominican Republic. But the 
public mind had already been won over to the cause of 
Haiti, the flag of which was floating over such import- 
ant towns as Puerto-Plata, Macoris, Banica, Azua, etc. 
In support of these friendly demonstrations President 
Boyer, on the 16th of January, 1822, left Port-au-Prince 
at the head of 14,000 soldiers for Santo Domingo. The 
inhabitants of the former Spanish territory welcomed 
the President of Haiti and his army with the greatest 
enthusiasm. Nunez de Caceres was unable to resist the 
trend of public opinion. Yielding to the wish of his 
fellow-citizens he hoisted the Haitian flag at Santo 
Domingo on the 19th of January, 1822. And on the 
9th of February President Boyer entered the town, 

178 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

loudly cheered by the inhabitants. Without bloodshed 
both the former French and Spanish portions of the 
island became united and threw in their destinies one 
with the other; and for twenty-two years the Haitian 
flag floated over the whole island of Haiti. 

However, a few French colonists at Samana were 
striving to prevent this peaceful union. They still were 
slave-owners. At the first demonstrations on behalf of 
Haiti they had hastened to ask for the protection of 
the Governor of Martinique. In consequence a French 
squadron was despatched to Samana, which they found, 
upon arriving, already in possession of the Haitians. 
The firm attitude assumed by the new occupants com- 
pelled the French to withdraw. In this way was slavery 
abolished throughout the whole island. 

After organizing the administration and taking such 
measures as were necessitated by the circumstances, 
Boyer left Santo Domingo on March 10, and on the 6th 
of May, 1822, he was at Port-au-Prince. 

Territorial unity having now become an accomplished 
fact, it remained for Haiti to strive to put an end to her 
misunderstanding with France. It was impossible to 
make the most of the riches of the island so long as 
there was the probability of an attack from the former 
mother country. Complete security could only be ob- 
tained through the recognition of Haitian independence 
by France. It was thought that Great Britain would 
gladly help in bringing about this result. In conse- 
quence, Petion and Christophe unhesitatingly granted 
special privileges to British commerce. Boyer adopted 
the same policy. Whilst all foreign products had to 
pay an import duty of 12 per cent, those from Great 
Britain paid only 7 per cent ; and when these products 
were imported by Haitian ships, the duty was further 
reduced to 5 per cent. Great Britain profited by these 
advantages but did not show the least inclination to 
lend assistance to Haiti. On the contrary, in the treaty 
additional to the Paris treaty, Great Britain promised 
not to counteract any of the means to which France 
might resort in order to " recover Saint-Domingue and 

Attitude of Great Britain and the United States 179 

to subdue the inhabitants of that colony." And as it 
would be perhaps necessary to almost exterminate "the 
inhabitants of the colony" in order to subdue them, 
Great Britain, though requesting the abolition of the 
slave-trade, forgot for a while her philanthropic prin- 
ciples and authorized France to continue this barbarous 
trade for five years, as it would probably be the only 
way of repeopling the depopulated island. In spite of 
this attitude, greatly out of keeping with the com- 
mercial privileges which had been granted her, the 
Haitians had still the hope that Great Britain could be 
induced to recognize their independence and to help 
them to obtain the same recognition from France. But 
they were rudely disillusioned when, in 1823, Great 
Britain recognized the independence of Mexico, Colom- 
bia, etc., and refrained from recognizing theirs. They 
knew finally that they could not expect any assistance 
from this Power. In consequence, in 1825, they abol- 
ished all the privileges by which the British were profit- 
ing and ordered that henceforth the import tax of 12 
per cent would be indiscriminately levied on all foreign 

As to the United States, Haiti had not even thought 
of having recourse to their intervention. In that coun- 
try the partisans of slavery were at that time omnipo- 
tent. They naturally could not help bearing ill-will 
against the former slaves, who had not only created a 
sovereign State, but who had even dared to transform 
their territory into an asylum of freedom and liberty 
for the unfortunate human beings who, on account of 
their color, were elsewhere subjected to a shameful 
yoke. President Boyer had even sent an agent to New 
York to encourage the men of the black race to emigrate 
to Haiti. No wonder then was it that the United States 
recognized the independence of Colombia, etc., and 
ignored that of Haiti. 

Thus the young Kepublic, at the very beginning of its 
existence, found itself isolated and compelled to face 
the power of France without the sympathy of a single 
nation. But Haiti, with a sense of her responsibility, 

180 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

remained undaunted and spared nothing in order to 
preserve her autonomy. French commerce was suffer- 
ing no less than that of Haiti, owing to the bad feeling 
existing between the two countries. On both sides the 
necessity of coming to some kind of an agreement was 
felt. Still, France could not yet make up her mind to 
accept as an accomplished fact the loss of her colony. 
In 1821, after the failure of the agents sent to Petion, 
she once again entertained the idea of forcibly estab- 
lishing a protectorate over Haiti ; with that end in view 
Mr. Dupetit Thouars was despatched to Haiti. Boyer, 
like his predecessor, flatly refused to take such a propo- 
sal into consideration. This evidently did not have the 
effect of discouraging France, as in 1823 another 
agent, Mr. Liot, was sent to Port-au-Prince. His in- 
structions were to try to induce President Boyer to 
take the initiative in the negotiations for the acknowl- 
edgment of the independence of his country. In May 
the President of Haiti charged the French General, 
Jacques Boye, who had given many proofs of his friend- 
ship to the Haitians, to enter into a parley with France. 
The French Government commissioned Mr. Esmangart 
to confer with the Haitian envoy. The two agents 
opened the negotiations at Brussels on the 16th of 
August, 1823. The Haitian plenipotentiary requested 
the full recognition of the independence of the Republic 
and, in return, offered freedom from all import duties, 
during the next five years, on all French products ; and 
at the conclusion of that time the duties on French 
products were to be only one-half of the amount levied 
on all other foreign products. Mr. Esmangart refused 
to recognize the full independence of Haiti ; he put an 
end to the parleys and left Brussels on the 22d of 
August. This last display of France's ill will produced 
a very bad impression in Haiti. On the 6th of January, 
1824,' President Boyer issued a proclamation ordering 
various energetic measures relative to the defense of 
the Haitian territory. Arms and ammunition were 
stored in the interior of the island, in all places which 
could serve as the basis of military operations. Once 

Negotiations ivith France 181 

more the country was preparing for war. The inhab- 
itants were still in a state of great agitation when Mr. 
Laujon, the new agent of France, arrived in Haiti and 
requested President Boyer to take up the negotiations 
once more. Accordingly, two Haitian agents, Mr. 
Kouanez and Senator Larose, were again sent to 
France. They left Haiti on the 1st of May, 1824, and 
arrived at Havre on the 14th of June. The Haitian 
plenipotentiaries were at first taken to Saint-Germain, 
and afterward to Strasbourg, where they met Mr. 
Esmangart, the French agent. Upon their declaring 
that the negotiations could not be successfully carried 
on at so great a distance from Paris, the conferences 
were transferred to Meaux. The Haitian envoys kept 
their patience throughout all these changes and finally 
succeeded in arranging that the parleys be held in 
Paris. They were instructed to secure the recognition 
of the independence of Haiti, and in return to agree to 
the payment of an indemnity to the former colonists; 
the French products, however, were to enjoy no greater 
privileges than those granted to the more favored 
nations; and Haitian products were not to pay higher 
duties in France than importations from the French 

As soon as Larose and Rouanez had made known the 
views of their Government, the French agent raised a 
grave question. He contended that the King of France 
having in 1814 reconveyed the Spanish portion of the 
island to Spain was empowered to negotiate only for 
the French portion of Saint-Domingue. Since 1822 
there existed neither a French nor a Spanish portion: 
the Republic of Haiti was in peaceful possession of the 
whole island. In consequence, the Haitian envoys re- 
fused to take into consideration any such discrimination 
and threatened to break up the parleys. They were 
then invited to confer directly with Marquis de Cler- 
mont-Tonnerre, the Minister of War and of the colonies. 
In an interview with him on the 31st of July they were 
astounded to learn that the King of France, whilst will- 
ing to recognize the independence of Haiti, intended, 

182 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

however, to retain the right to manage the foreign rela- 
tions of the Eepublic. They energetically protested 
against such a pretension, and considering it useless to 
prolong the negotiations, they left France on the 15th 
of August. Their arrival in Haiti created great excite- 
ment. President Boyer at once acquainted the people 
with France's intention of forcing a protectorate upon 
them ; he informed the Senate of the failure of his pleni- 
potentiaries and summoned the most important among 
the generals of the Haitian army to Port-au-Prince. 
War appeared to be inevitable. Once more the neces- 
sary measures were taken in order to enable the country 
to repel a foreign invasion. 

Whilst resorting to the precautions rendered neces- 
sary by circumstances, President Boyer did not neglect 
to complete the organization of the Republic. A Civil 
Code, a Code of Civil Procedure, a Commercial Code, 
a Penal Code, and a Code of Criminal Instruction were 
successively enacted and proclaimed. The whole coun- 
try was thus under the same laws. 

Whilst the Haitians, in spite of the ill will shown 
them abroad, were striving to consolidate their govern- 
ment, France harassed them still further by a humili- 
ation in the guise of a favor. This was the act of 
Charles X, who bestowed on them as a charity the 
recognition of their independence. Without their con- 
sent, regardless of their desire in the matter, and with- 
out taking the slightest notice of the arduous negoti- 
ations which had been hitherto carried on, the haughty 
Bourbon signed, on the 17th of April, 1825, the follow- 
ing ordinance: 

"Charles, by the grace of God, King of France and 

"Wishing to attend to the interest of French Com- 
"merce, to the misfortunes of the former colonists of 
" Saint-Domingue and to the precarious condition of 
' l the present inhabitants of the island ; 

1 1 We have ordered and order the following : 

"Art. I. The ports of the French part of Saint-Do- 
' i mingue shall be open to the commerce of all nations. 

Ordinance of Charles X 183 

"The duties levied in these ports either on ships or 
" merchandise at the times of their entry or departure 
"shall be equal and uniform for all nations except for 
"the French flag, on behalf of which these duties are to 
"be reduced to half the amount. 

' ' Art. II. The present inhabitants of the French part 
"of Saint-Domingue shall pay at the Caisse des Depots 
"et Consignations of France, in five annual instal- 
"ments, the first one due on the 31st of December, 1825, 
"the sum of one hundred and fifty millions of francs, 
"in order to compensate the former colonists who may 
"claim an indemnity. 

"Art. III. Under these conditions we grant, by the 
"present Ordinance, to the present inhabitants of the 
"French part of Saint-Domingue the full independ- 
"ence of their Government. 

"And the present Ordinance shall be sealed with the 
"great seal. 

"Done at Paris in the Palace of Tuileries, this 17th 
"of April A. D. 1825, and the first of our reign. 


"By the King: The Peer of France, Minister-Secre- 
' ' tary of State for the Navy and the colonies. 


Baron Mackau, a captain in the French Navy, was 
intrusted with the mission of submitting the ordinance 
to the approval of the President of Haiti. He left on 
the 4th of May, 1825, and arrived at Port-au-Prince on 
the third of July on the frigate La Circe, accompanied 
by two other men-of-war. Soon after there arrived 
also several squadrons under the command of Admirals 
Jurien de la Graviere and Grivel, who had been in- 
structed to cruise in Haitian waters. This display of 
forces served to create the impression that France was 
willing to renew hostilities should the ordinance of the 
King be rejected. 

Did President Boyer shrink from the responsibility 
of provoking war, or did he consider it wiser to remove 
the most important cause of conflict with France so as 

184 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

to be able henceforth to devote his whole efforts to the 
improvement of his country! After four days of hesi- 
tation he finally accepted, on the 4th of July, the ordi- 
nance, which the Senate approved on the llth. When 
the exact wording of the ordinance became known, a 
shudder of indignation ran through the whole country. 
The old warriors took offense at the very thought of 
their independence being granted to them after their 
having fought so hard to gain it for themselves. The 
people were highly incensed at the lordly tone adopted 
by the King of France, as well as at the heavy burden 
laid upon them. As a result of this step President 
Boyer's popularity was deeply affected. 

Seeing the mistake he had made he set to work to try 
and counteract the ill effects of it. On the 21st of July, 
1825, he despatched three plenipotentiaries to France 
with instructions to negotiate a treaty less offensive to 
the nation's self-respect. It was urgent to come to a 
clear understanding, for France, through a miscon- 
struction of the Ordinance of April, 1825, was paying 
lialf of the duties, not only on her products imported to 
Haiti, but also on those exported from the island: in 
-consequence there was an important decrease in the 
revenues at the very moment when Haiti was in sore 
need of money on account of the indemnity which was 
being extorted by France. In order to pay the first 
instalment, viz., 30,000,000 francs, it was necessary to 
resort to a loan, which was floated at Paris in Novem- 
ber, 1825, and yielded 24,000,000 francs, though the 
Bepublic issued bonds for 30,000,000 francs. To make 
up the required sum the country was thus compelled to 
ship 6,000,000 of francs; all the disposable cash was in 
consequence sent to France. In this way the effects 
of payment of the indemnity and of the interest on the 
loan began to be heavily felt. The export of the metal- 
lic currency compelled the Haitian Government to issue 
paper money in September, 1826. The evil consequence 
of the Ordinance of 1825 could not be questioned. No 
wonder was it that the Haitians devoted all their ener- 
gies to have it annulled. However, the plenipotentiaries 

Strained Relations with France 185 

sent to France in 1825 had failed to obtain either a 
reduction in the amount of the indemnity or the de- 
termining of a date for the discontinuance of the priv- 
ilege of the payment of half duty on all the French 
products. On the 31st of October, 1825, they signed a 
commercial convention 3 which the President of Haiti 
refused to approve. 

Instead of improving, the relations between Haiti 
and France grew daily worse. It was impossible for 
Haiti to pay the enormous sum which Charles X had 
forced upon her. There were unavoidable delays in the 
payment of the instalments, which gave rise to endless 
disputes and misunderstandings with France. In 1828 
a Haitian agent, Mr. St. Macary, went to Paris ; he also 
failed in his mission, and returned in 1829 to Haiti, 
where the French Consul-General again took up the 
negotiations. As a result of this a commercial treaty 
and a convention concerning the indemnity were signed 
in April, 1829. These, however, France refused to 
ratify; and Baron Pichon was appointed to carry on 
new negotiations. He arrived at Port-au-Prince in 
1830, and failing to come to an agreement with the 
Haitian plenipotentiaries, he returned to France in 
April. Thus relations between the two countries be- 
came very strained; for the Haitian Government was 
bent on discontinuing the advantage of the payment of 
half duty which the Ordinance of 1825 had granted to 
French commerce. The instalments were irregularly 
paid and the French products were made to pay the 
same taxes levied on the merchandise of all other 
nations. The ordinance of 1825, the cause of so much 
trouble, was thus little by little repudiated by the 

To prevent any complaint on the part of France, 
Boyer, in April, 1830. again sent St. Macary to France. 
The negotiations were being carried on in Paris when 
the revolution of 1830 occurred. The downfall of 
Charles X put an end to the parleys, which were not 

8 J. N. Lger, Recueil de Trails et Conventions d'Haiti, p. 2. 

186 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

resumed until the following year; and on the 2d of 
April, 1831, St. Macary and Pichon signed a com- 
mercial treaty and a convention relating to the indem- 
nity. 4 These two documents, instead of annulling the 
Ordinance of 1825, which the Haitians had firmly de- 
cided to abolish, granted new favors to the French. 
Thus it was that Louis Philippe lost no time in ratify- 
ing them, whilst President Boyer flatly refused to sanc- 
tion them. This refusal so incensed the King of Prance 
that his Consul was immediately withdrawn from Port- 
au-Prince. This time all semblance of friendliness in 
the relations between the two countries was at an end. 
War seemed to be unavoidable. And the people, glad 
at having an opportunity to wipe out the insult placed 
upon them by the Ordinance of 1825, showed the great- 
est enthusiasm. The Haitians were ready to make the 
greatest sacrifices in order to obtain not the concession, 
but the recognition of their independence by a treaty 
voluntarily drawn and agreed upon. 

This independence had been recognized by Great 
Britain, which, in May, 1826, had appointed a Consul- 
General at Port-au-Prince and Consuls and Vice-Con- 
suls in the various ports open to foreign trade. Nether- 
lands, Sweden, Denmark were also in official relations 
with the young Republic. Negotiations were being 
carried on with the Holy See with a view to the settle- 
ment of religious matters. In January, 1834, John 
England, Bishop of Charleston, was sent to Port-au- 
Prince in the capacity of a Legate. The Pope wanted 
to control the church of Haiti without any interference 
from the temporal Power; consequently, he made up 
his mind to appoint a Vicar Apostolic for Haiti. The 
Haitian Government claimed the right to appoint the 
Archbishops and Bishops, reserving to the Pope the 
right of conferring the canonical investiture. Unable 
to come to an understanding, Bishop England left Haiti, 
but returned in May, 1836, and signed a Concordat, 
which he took with him to Rome, hoping to have it rati- 

4 J. N. Leger, Recueil des Traits et Conventions d'Haiti, pp. 7, 11. 

Treaty Signed with France in 1838 187 

fied. Pope Gregory XII refused to approve this treaty, 
and in May, 1837, Bishop England arrived at Port-au- 
Prince with the title of ''Vicar Apostolic, Administra- 
tor of the Church of Haiti. " On the refusal of Presi- 
dent Boyer to receive the Pope's agent in such a 
capacity, Bishop England returned to Charleston, where 
he died soon after. 5 

Although Haiti had been greatly displeased with the 
ordinance of Charles X, she had nevertheless benefited 
by it in obtaining the recognition of her independence 
by Great Britain and some other European Powers. 
The rupture with France, caused by President Boyer y s 
refusal to ratify the treaties of 1831, was very detri- 
mental to the interests of both countries, which were 
therefore eager to come to an understanding. After 
seven years of untiring efforts Haiti succeeded in 
reaching an agreement satisfactory to all concerned. 
Baron E. de Las Cases and C. Baudin, a captain in the 
French Navy, arrived at Port-au-Prince on the 28th of 
January, 1838; they were commissioned by Louis 
Philippe to settle the disagreements existing between 
France and Haiti. On the 31st of January the parleys 
with the Haitian plenipotentiaries were begun, and on 
the 12th of February, 1838, the following treaty, 6 which 

5 In 1842 the negotiations were renewed with the Holy See. Joseph 
Rosati, Bishop of Saint Louis (Mo.), arrived at Port-au-Prince in Janu- 
ary as Papal Legate. On the 17th of February, 1842, he signed with the 
Haitian plenipotentiaries a Concordat which contained the following 
principal stipulations: "The right to appoint the Archbishops and 
"Bishops was vested in the President of Haiti with the reservation of 
"the right of the Pope to grant the canonical investiture; before enter- 
ing upon the duties of their offices they were to take, before the Presi- 
dent, the oath of fidelity and obedience to the Government of the 
"Republic and of doing nothing injurious to its rights or interests. The 
"Bishops were empowered to appoint their Vicars-General, the rectors 
"and parish Vicars, with the reservation of the right of the President 
"of Haiti to approve or reject these appointments, etc." The events 
which occurred in Haiti in 1843 prevented this agreement from being 
taken into consideration. But in 1860 negotiations began again, and on 
the 28th of March the Concordat which still governs the relations of 
Haiti with the Vatican was signed in Rome. (J. N. Leger, Recueil des 
Traites et Conventions de la Rgpublique d'Haiti, p. 59.) 

J. N. Lger, Recueil des Traites et Conventions de la Rgpublique 
d'Haiti, p. 23. 

188 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

was entirely satisfactory to the national amour-propre 

of Haiti, was signed : 

"In the name of the Holy and indivisible Trinity. 

"His Majesty the King of the French and the Presi- 
dent of Haiti, desiring to establish on a solid and last- 
ing basis the friendly relations which ought to exist 
"between France and Haiti, have decided to settle them 
"by a Treaty and for that purpose have appointed the 
"following plenipotentiaries: 

"His Majesty the King of the French: Emmanuel 
"Pons-Dieudonne Baron Las Cases, officer of the Royal 
"order of the Legion of Honor, and Charles Baudin, 
' ' officer of the same Royal order of the Legion of Honor, 
"Captain in the Royal Navy. The President of Haiti: 
"Brigadier-General Joseph Balthazar Inginac, Secre- 
"tary-General; Colonel Marie Elisabeth Eustache Fre- 
"mont, his aide-de-camp; Senators Dominique, Fran- 
"cois Labbe and Alexis Beaubrun Ardouin; and Louis 
"Mesmin Seguy Villevalaix, Chief Clerk of the Secre- 

"Who after having communicated to each other their 
"respective full powers, found in good and due form, 
"have agreed on the following articles: 

"Art. I. His Majesty the King of the French, in his 
"name and in the name of his heirs and successors, 
1 ' recognizes the Republic of Haiti as a free, sovereign, 
"and independent State. 

"Art. II. There shall be inviolable peace and per- 
"petual friendship between France and the Republic 
i i of Haiti, and between the citizens of both States, with- 
"out distinction of persons and places. 

"Art. III. His Majesty the King of the French and 
"the President of the Republic of Haiti intend to sign, 
"as soon as possible and in case of need, a special 
"treaty destined to govern the relations of commerce 
"and navigation between France and Haiti. In the 
"mean time, it is agreed that the Consuls, the citizens 
"and the merchandise or products from one country 
"will in every respect enjoy in the other the treatment 

Abolition of the Slave Trade 189 

"granted or which may be granted to the most favored 
" nation; and this, gratuitously if the concession be 
"gratuitous, or in return for an equivalent compensa- 
tion if the concession be conditional. 

"Art. IV. The present treaty shall be ratified, aoid 
"the ratifications shall be exchanged in Paris within 
"three months, or sooner if possible. 

"In faith whereof we, the undersigned plenipoten- 
"tiaries, have signed the present treaty and have here- 
"unto affixed our seals. 

"Done in Port-au-Prince this 12th day of February 
"in the year of grace 1838. 

"(Signed) Emmanuel Baron de Las Cases, Charles 
"Baudin, B. Inginac, Fremont, Labbe, B. Ardouin, 
"Seguy Villevalaix." 

In a convention signed on the same day, the indem- 
nity to be paid by the Republic of Haiti was reduced to 
sixty millions of francs. 

Having taken the initiative of abolishing slavery > the 
new State could not be indifferent to the measures 
adopted with a view to put an end to the inhuman slave- 
trade. In consequence, in August, 1840, Haiti signed 
with France a treaty 7 in which she gave her adhesion 
to the Conventions of November, 1831, and March, 1833, 
between Great Britain and France, which was destined 
to secure the abolition of the slave-trade. And, in order 
to complete her philanthropic mission, the Republic had 
previously agreed to pay the crews of the English men- 
of-war for the slaves who, after being rescued from the 
hands of the traders in human flesh, would be landed on 
her territory. 8 

Haiti had spent the first thirty-four years of her 
independence in the anxious expectation of an aggres- 
sion from France. After thirty-four years of sacrifices 
and perseverance she at last succeeded in freeing her- 
self of this anxiety. In the mean time, the greatest part 
of her resources had been devoted to armament, the 

7 J. N. Le"ger, Recueil des Traite"s et Conventions d'Haiti, p. 26. 

8 B. Ardouin, Etudes sur THistoire d'Haiti, p. 127. 

190 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

building of fortresses, and the establishment of store- 
houses for arms and ammunition in the inaccessible 
parts of the island. The heavy indemnity requested 
by France had increased the embarrassment caused by 
these comparatively high expenses. The aggravation 
of the bad financial circumstances in which the country 
found itself was not the only result of the ordinance 
of Charles X. The discontent provoked by this incon- 
siderate document was taken advantage of by President 
Boyer 's opponents. The opposition in the House of 
Representatives grew more and more bitter. The Con- 
stitution had conferred on the President alone the right 
to introduce laws. And it was thought that the Chief 
of the Executive Power was abusing his privilege of 
initiative by refraining from submitting to the legisla- 
tive body the measures which were required by circum- 
stances. The opposition, of which Herard Dumesle, the 
Representative from Cayes, was the leader, was resort- 
ing to every available means in order to bring about the 
revision of the Constitution with a view to invest in the 
House the right of introducing laws and to curtail the 
President's prerogatives, which, it was claimed, were 
excessive. On the other hand, a new generation had 
sprung up. From the schools created since the inde- 
pendence had come many young men imbued with ideas 
of liberty and progress, and desirous of participating in 
the affairs of State in order to give the country the 
benefit of their knowledge. Finding the offices in pos- 
session of the old collaborators who, for 25 years, had 
been working with Boyer, these young men were loud 
in their complaints about what they termed the Presi- 
dent 's exclusiveness. The situation had become so 
tense that a catastrophe was imminent. Boyer might 
have prevented this occurring by taking the proper 
measures necessitated by the new state of things, after 
the Treaty of 1838, which gave full security to the 
country's future. Unfortunately, he refrained from 
acting at the right moment. And as a final stroke to a 
situation already very much strained, an earthquake, 
which occurred on the 7th of May, 1842, destroyed Cap- 

Boyer Leaves Haiti 191 

Haitien, Port-de-Paix, Mole Saint-Nicolas, Fort-Liberte 
and several less important places. This catastrophe 
was turned to account by the opponents of Boyer, who 
contended that he had not hastened to give assistance 
to the sufferers. The opposition succeeded in imputing 
to Boyer the reputation of being averse to progress and 
of systematically preventing the improvements which 
the institutions of the country 7 needed. Men's minds 
were agitated by the bitter and animated dispute which 

Such was the state of things when Major Charles 
Herard aine, surnamed Riviere, took up arms on the 
27th of January, 1843, on the Praslin plantation in the 
vicinity of Cayes. The whole Southern Department at 
once sided with him. Boyer, owing to the strong public 
opinion which declared itself against him, was unable 
to repress the insurrection. Realizing the futility of 
his efforts in enforcing his authority, he sent his resig- 
nation to the Senate on the 13th of March, 1843, and 
in the afternoon of the same day he embarked on the 
English sloop of war Scylla which the Consul, Mr. 
Thomas Usher, had graciously placed at his disposal. 9 

Boyer died in Paris on the 9th of July, J850. 


The revolutionists of 1343 Their reforms; the Constitution of 1843 
Charles He"rard aine, surnamed Riviere (December 30, 1843-May 3, 
1844 Loss of the Spanish portion of the island Claims of the 
peasants of the Southern Department Jean-Jacques Acaau The 
period of transition Guerrier (May 3, 1844-April 15, 1845) Pierrot 
(April 16, 1845-March 1, 1846) Riche" (March 1, 1846-February 27, 

The departure of Boyer had the effect of throwing 
the country into a state of political convulsions all the 
more acute, as the various elements which had con- 
tributed to the success of the revolution of 1843 were 
far from having the same tendencies or the same object. 
Those who had taken up arms with the impetuosity of 
youth in the name of liberty, craved for the termination 
of the military regime and for the establishment of a 
civil form of government. The man whom circum- 
stances had placed in the foremost rank was unfortu- 
nately devoid of the qualities which go to the making 
up of a capable leader of a great liberal movement. 
Charles Herard aine, surnamed Riviere, was but a sol- 
dier, and as such was not a sincere partisan of the civil 
regime. On the other hand, great hopes were being 
entertained by the peasants, who had been promised a 
decided betterment of their condition. The new and 
conflicting ideas which were agitating each class of 
people could not fail to cause friction. 

In the mean time, a provisional government had been 
organized at Port-au-Prince (April 4, 1843). Popular 
elections were ordered, and the meeting of the Constitu- 


The Constitution of 1843 193 

ent Assembly was fixed for the 15th of September. 
Municipalities were created and the mayors began to 
exercise powers which hitherto had belonged to the 
military authorities. 

The Constitution, enacted on the 30th of December, 
1843, contained many important innovations. The 
judges were to be elected by the people, instead of being 
appointed by the President; all offenses, either crim- 
inal, political, or by the press, were to be submitted to 
trials by jury. Presidency for life was abolished; the 
term of the Chief of the Executive Power was limited 
to four years ; and no measure could be adopted by the 
President without the countersign of the proper Minis- 
ter. The right to introduce laws was conferred on the 
House of Representatives and on the Senate as well as 
on the President. Matters concerning the communes 
and the arrondis semen ts were in charge of the munici- 
palities and the arrondis sement councils. An estimate 
of the revenues and expenses was to be voted annually; 
a Court of Accounts was instituted. The Army was 
declared a law-abiding body ; and strict measures were 
enacted in view of guaranteeing personal freedom and 
respect of property. 

The Haitians are still governed by most of the stipu- 
lations of the Constitution of 1843. Had it been earn- 
estly carried out from the time it was adopted, it might 
have proved the beginning of a new era for Haiti. 
Charles Herard aine, who was elected President on the 
30th of December, 1843, was unfortunately deficient in 
the competency necessary to facilitate the transition 
from a military to a civil government. "When a member 
of the Provisional Government he had provoked dis- 
content among the inhabitants of the Northern and 
Eastern Departments. He had shown no regard for the 
susceptibility of his fellow-citizens of the former Span- 
ish territory. Besides, the Provisional Government had 
committed the error of decreeing, on the 27th of Sep- 
tember, 1843, the closing to foreign commerce of all the 
ports of this portion of the island. This measure so 
excited the people that they rose in revolt on the 16th 

194 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

of January, 1844, a few days after the new President 
had taken the oath of office. The inhabitants of the 
former Spanish portion seceded from the Haitian Gov- 
ernment and, on the 27th of February, 1844, established 
an independent State which they called the Dominican 
Republic. 1 

Whilst the territorial unity was being destroyed, 
grave complications were threatening the Republic of 
Haiti. In August, 1843, disturbances had already taken 
place in the South. The revolutionists, elated by their 
success, had completely forgotten the promises made to 
the peasants. The latter therefore gathered together 
in the plain of Cayes, with a view of obtaining what was 
due to them. But they were speedily dispersed, and 
their leaders, the Salomons, were sent in exile to Azua, 
an the former Spanish territory. 

Haiti had still many great difficulties to overcome; 
but these were not insuperable. With earnest efforts 
and good will it was still possible to restore security 
by obtaining the confidence of the people. Unfortu- 
nately, Charles Herard aine deemed his sword all-suf- 
ficient in settling the delicate questions which were 
"agitating the country. By openly avowing his antipa- 
thy to the Constitution, which had put a check on his 
'authority, he had incurred the distrust of the liberals, 
?to whom he owed his high dignity, and disturbed the 
peaceful security of those who believed that henceforth 
the laws would be faithfully obeyed by all. The Presi- 
dent had also lost the sympathy of the peasants of the 
Southern Department by not keeping the promises 
made to them. In consequence, both classes of inhab- 
itants, those of the country as well as those of the 
towns, were equally displeased. This situation, already 
fraught with danger, was still more aggravated by con- 
tinual conflict between the civil and military authorities. 

1 In the United States people are in the habit of calling the whole 
Dominican Republic San Domingo. This is incorrect. San Domingo is 
the name of the Capital. The Dominican Republic is the correct desig- 
nation of the country, whose inhabitants are known as Dominicans, and 
not as San Domingans as is often to be seen in American newspapers. 

Discontent Against Charles Herard 195 

The prerogatives of the mayors and the municipalities 
had to some extent restrained the powers hitherto 
vested solely in the military commandants of the arron- 
dissements and communes, who therefore strove to 
regain their former importance ; hence there started 
a struggle with the new civil functionaries created by 
institutions of too recent a date to command the respect 
of all, more especially as the Executive Power was 
giving his hearty support to the military party. The 
President set the bad example of not submitting to the 
civil power ; consequently there existed between him and 
the Constituent Assembly, which but recently elected 
him President, a state of open warfare. 

The popularity of Charles Herard aine was already 
on the wane when, at the head of the Haitian army, he 
undertook to subdue the insurgents of the Spanish por- 
tion of the island. The soldiers bravely performed 
their duty, so that the President entered Azua in the 
first days of April. There was nothing seriously to 
impede the advance of his army upon Santo Domingo. 
The days of the Dominican Republic were numbered, 
had it not been for the events which occurred at that 
moment at Cap-Haitien, Port-au-Prince, and Cayes, 
and which saved its existence. The discontent pro- 
voked by the acts attributable to the inexperience of 
Charles Herard aine broke out simultaneously in vari- 
ous places. In a proclamation of April 25 the inhab- 
itants of Cap-Haitien seceded from his government; 
and a council of state appointed General Guerrier 
President of the Northern Department. On the 3d of 
May, 1844, Port-au-Prince, following Cap-Haitien 's ex- 
ample, acclaimed Guerrier President of the Republic. 
The Southern Department was also in a much agitated 
condition. The peasants of Cayes were bent upon ob- 
taining the fulfillment of the promises made to them. 
On the 27th of March, 1844, they assembled at Camp- 
Perrin and assumed the name of "L'Armee Souf- 
frante" (the army of the sufferers). They chose a 
leader of their own, Jean-Jacques Acaau, who adopted 
the title of "General, Chief of the claims of his fellow- 

196 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

citizens. " This was an absolutely illiterate man, but 
one possessed of that daring and gallantry which fasci- 
nate and arouse the masses. He soon became the prime 
mover of this popular outbreak, and on the 5th of April 
he took possession of the town of Cayes. The griev- 
ances of the country people, which had long been held 
in check, broke forth at last with a violence that terrified 
the inhabitants of the town. The peasants had one aim 
in view: the holding of the land; the means used in 
attaining this end were of minor importance to them. 
Like an impetuous torrent, Acaau's followers bore 
down, wreaking destruction on all who stood in their 
way. They committed many very regrettable excesses. 

Whilst Acaau was enjoying his dictatorship at Cayes, 
the peasants in the Grand 'Anse took up arms with the 
cries of * l Down with the process-servers ! ' ' 2 They suc- 
ceeded in occupying Jeremie and in becoming masters 
of the whole arrondissement of Nippes. Ridiculous as 
the cries of "Down with the process-servers ! " may 
seem, they were nevertheless an evidence of the fixed 
idea of the peasants to remain in possession of their 
fields. Taking advantage of the hard circumstances in 
which they at that time found themselves, certain of the 
city merchants lent them money at usurious rates and, 
through the redemption proviso or by means of mort- 
gage deeds, easily dispossessed them of their proper- 
ties. By serving the judiciary acts the process-server 
foretold the approaching dispossession; hence the 
hatred he incurred. 

Though political in the North and agrarian in the 
South, the agitation which was disturbing the entire 
country had the same object in view: the dismissal of 
Charles Herard aine, whose blunders were accountable 
for all this turmoil. The President was still at Azua 

2 It is noteworthy that the Haitian peasants, who knew nothing 
about the history of England, were manifesting the same aversion 
against the practitioners of law as was shown by the English serfs 
during the riots which took place in 1381 during the reign of Richard II. 
The serfs destroyed every judiciary document they could lay hands on 
and killed many lawyers in London. 

Death of Guerrier 197 

when he heard that the people whose rights he had dis- 
regarded, had, so to speak, dismissed him. He did not 
try to resist their will, but he went to Arcahaie, from 
whence he sailed for Jamaica on the 2d of June, 1844. 3 

General Guerrier, who, on the 3d of May, 1844, be- 
came President of Haiti, was already 87 years old. 
After taking the oath of office on the 9th he devoted his 
efforts to the restoring of peace in the Southern prov- 
ince. As a veteran of the war for independence his 
deficiency in knowledge was counterbalanced by his 
great love for his country. He showed great moderation 
in exercising the dictatorship which circumstances had 
conferred upon him. At a word from him the peasants 
of the Southern Department laid down their arms. 
After restoring peace the government of President 
Guerrier undertook the problem of diffusing public 
instruction; a "Lycee" was created at Cap-Haitien 
and one at Cayes. A Council of State took the place 
of the House of Representatives and of the Senate. 

President Guerrier, owing to his very advanced age, 
was unable to stand the fatigue of his high office; he 
died at Saint-Marc on the 15th of April, 1845. 

The next day the Council of State elected General 
Pierrot President of the Republic. The new Chief of 
the Executive Power was not much younger than his 
predecessor, being 84 years old. His most pressing 
duty was to check the incursions of the Dominicans, 
who were harassing the Haitian troops along the bor- 
ders. There they had elected General Santana Presi- 
dent, and seized every opportunity to attack and annoy 
our soldiers. Their crafts also were making depreda- 
tions on our coasts. 

President Pierrot decided to open a campaign against 
the Dominicans, whom he considered merely as insur- 
gents. The Haitians, however, not being anxious to 
engage upon war with their neighbors, were unwilling 
to support the President's views. Furthermore, he 
had displeased the army by conferring military rank 

1 Charles He"rard aine" died in Jamaica. 

198 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

on the leaders of the peasants of the Southern Depart- 
ment and on many of their followers. And there existed 
also among the inhabitants of the towns of this depart- 
ment a feeling of uneasiness regarding the tendencies 
of Pierrot, who had appointed Acaau, the former ter- 
rorist of Cayes, Commandant of the arrondissement of 
PAnse-a-Veau. Fearing a new Jacquerie the towns- 
men made up their minds to divest Pierrot of his office. 
In consequence, on the 1st of March, 1846, General 
Jean-Baptiste Riche was proclaimed President of the 
Republic at Port-au-Prince. 

On the 24th of March Pierrot resigned and, leaving 
Cap-Haitien, which he had made the capital of the 
country, retired to his plantation "Camp-Louise," 
where he led a quiet and peaceful life. 4 

His affability and good nature had secured for him 
the sympathy of the peasants of the Southern Depart- 
ment. They therefore resented his enforced retirement. 
They had little confidence in the newly elected Presi- 
dent, who had fought against them in 1844. Acaau, 
who was in command of the arrondissement of Nippes, 
gave the signal for resistance. He openly defied Riche 's 
authority and entrenched himself at Fort Saint-Laurent 
at 1 ' Anse-a-Veau. He was defeated and took shelter 
on the Joly plantation, where, to avoid being captured, 
lie blew out his brains with a pistol. 

As soon as the South had been pacified, Riche put an 
end to the dictatorship which had been established since 
1844. The Council of State created by Guerrier was 
transformed into a Senate, which, on the 14th of No- 
vember, 1846, enacted the Constitution of 1816 with 
most of the modifications introduced in 1843. Unfortu- 
nately, presidency for life was restored. But Riche 
did not long enjoy the power intrusted to him. His 
health was not very robust, and was completely under- 
mined by the fatigues of a journey he had undertaken 
into the North of the country. He returned to Port-au- 

* Pierrot died on the 18th of February, 1857. 

Faustin Soulouque 199 

Prince on the 23d of February, 1847, and died on the 
27th of the same month. 

The Council of the Secretaries of State immediately 
assumed the authority; and the Senate met on the 1st 
of March to elect a new President of the Republic. The 
struggle for the Presidency was between two candi- 
dates, Generals Souffrant and Paul. After eight bal- 
lots neither one was able to obtain a majority of votes. 
Both parties remaining obdurate, the Assembly decided 
to choose a man who was not aspiring to the dignity. 
In this way General Faustin Soulouque, who was far 
from expecting such an honor, was elected President of 


Faustin Soulouque (March 1, 1847- January 15, 1859) Campaigns 
against the Dominicans The Empire Intervention of France, Great 
Britain, and the United States on behalf of the Dominicans Navassa 
Gonaives in rebellion Faustin Soulouque leaves Haiti. 

From 1844 to 1847 Haiti had passed through one of 
the most critical epochs of her existence. After organ- 
izing an independent State in February, 1844, the in- 
habitants of the former Spsinish portion of the island 
were committing unceasing acts of hostility on the bor- 
ders, where an army had to be maintained in order to 
keep them in check. The expenses necessary for the 
maintenance of the soldiers were comparatively high; 
moreover, owing to the insecurity resulting from these 
disturbances, industry had been suspended in that part 
of the country. It was therefore urgent to put an end 
to this state of things, either by subduing our former 
fellow-citizens or by comii-g to an understanding with 
them. The unsettled condition in which Haiti herself 
was at that time made the Dominican problem still 
more intricate in dealing with. The hopes which 
Boyer's retirement had given rise to all came to naught. 
The disappointment whi^h this occasioned the peasants 
of the Southern Department had decided them to resort 
to violence; they wanted to free themselves from the 
incumbrance of the Rural Code; they demanded the 
establishment of schools and their share in the posses- 
sion of the land. Hav/ng been successively deceived by 
all, even by their own chosen leaders, they had 


Faustin Soulouque 201 

unable to receive satisfaction. Their apparent submis- 
sion was therefore more assumed than real. 

On the other hand, the liberal ideas of 1843 not hav- 
ing been successful in practical application, the military 
system seemed to many to be the only one able to insure 
peace and order; which idea was naturally much con- 
tested by the partisans of the civil regime. 

When on the 1st of March, 1847, Faustin Soulouque 
was elected President of the Republic, three most press- 
ing duties demanded his attention : He had to conduct 
the guerrilla warfare which was still continuing on the 
Dominican boundary, to appease the Southern peas- 
ants, and to check the growing discontent among the 
townspeople, who were demanding greater freedom. 
No one expected Soulouque to display the tact of a 
statesman ; but, as a soldier, he had strong ideas as to 
order and discipline. Highly flattered at the honor 
conferred upon him he was sincerely desirous of de- 
voting his best efforts to the proper management of 
affairs of State. He tried his utmost to comply with 
the exigencies of the Constitution ; he even went so far 
as to choose his Ministers from the ranks of the oppo- 
sition. His opponents conducted themselves with little 
regard for the President's susceptibility and did not 
hesitate to reproach him with his ignorance. The 
anger this caused Soulouque, whose lack of knowledge 
was well known to those who had elected him, made 
him distrustful. He was in one of these cheerless moods 
when, on the 16th of April, 1848, a riot occurred at 
Port-au-Prince. The disturbance was quickly subdued, 
and Soulouque made use of this opportunity to crush 
all revolutionary tendencies. He wielded authority 
with an iron hand; peasants and townspeople were 
made to understand that armed manifestations would 
be most severely dealt with, which had the effect of 
producing quiet in the land. 

This duty accomplished, Soulouque 's next care was 
to see to the hostilities still in progress with the former 
Spanish territory. In order to stop the incursions of 
the Dominicans he determined to bring them back to 

202 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the authority of the Haitian Government. He opened 
a campaign against them on the 5th of March, 1849. 
The army under his command at first met with success. 
Azua was stormed; once more the way to Santo Do- 
mingo was clear. But the news of discontent existing 
at Port-au-Prince, which reached Soulouque, arrested 
his further progress and caused him to return with the 
army to his capital. He was made to believe that the 
powers vested in him were not sufficient to allow him 
to maintain peace and order whilst engaged in bringing 
the former Spanish portion of the island into submis- 
sion. And the officers of the army were of the opinion 
that the only way to put an end to the existing discord 
and agitation was by conferring absolute power on 
their chief. In consequence they drew up a petition, 
and on the 29th of August, 1849, Soulouque was pro- 
claimed Emperor of Haiti; and on the 18th of April, 
1852, he was crowned, together with his wife, in the 
Cathedral of Port-au-Prince. Under the name of Faus- 
tin I he was henceforth free to rule the country accord- 
ing to his will. Quiet prevailed as the result of this 
change and agriculture became flourishing. 

Emboldened by the sudden retreat of the Haitian 
army, the Dominicans had resumed their depredations. 
Their flotilla went as far as Dame-Marie, which they 
plundered and set on fire. Faustin I decided to start a 
new campaign against them. In 1855 he invaded the 
territory of the Dominican Eepublic. But, owing to 
insufficient preparation, the army was soon in want of 
victuals and ammunition. In spite of the bravery of 
the soldiers the Emperor had once more to give up the 
idea of restoring unity of government in the island. 
After this campaign Great Britain and France inter- 
fered and obtained an armistice on behalf of the Do- 
minicans. Later on these two Powers did their utmost 
to prevent Haiti from availing herself of the oppor- 
tunity of subduing her former citizens. In this they had 
the hearty support of the United States. At that time 
the Americans did not object to enter into an agreement 
with Europe in order to help to terrify Haiti. In the 

Webster Intervenes in Favor of the Dominicans 203 

following instructions to his agent at Port-au-Prince, 
Mr. Webster, then Secretary of State, did not try to 
conceal his intention of provoking an armed interven- 
tion : 1 " The material interests of the three countries 
"( France, Great Britain and the United States)," he 
wrote, "are largely involved in the restoration and 
"preservation of peace between the contending parties 
"in Santo Domingo. France is a creditor of the Gov- 
1 ' eminent of the Emperor Soulouque to a large amount. 
' i She cannot hope for a discharge of her debt when the 
"resources of his country, instead of being developed 
"by pacific pursuits and in part, at least, applied to 
"that purpose, are checked in their growth and wasted 
"in a war with a conterminous state. Great Britain 
"and France are both interested in securing that great 
"additional demand for their productions which must 
"result from the impulse to be expected for industry 
' i in Haiti and the Dominican Republic from a termina- 
tion of the war; and the United States have a similar 
"interest. * * * If the Emperor Soulouque shall 
"insist upon maintaining a belligerent attitude until 
"all his demands shall have been satisfied by the oppo- 
"site party, you will unite with your colleagues in re- 
"monstrating against this course on his part. If the 
"remonstrance shall prove to be unavailing, you will 
' ' signify to the Emperor that you shall s^ve immediate 
"notice to your Government, that the President, with 
"the concurrence of Congress, may adopt such meas- 
"ures, in cooperation with the governments of England 
"and France, as may cause the intervention of the 
"three Powers to be respected." 2 

1 Santo Domingo and the United States, by John Bassett Moore, 
Review of Reviews, March, 1905, p. 298. 

2 "When Mr. Webster wrote these instructions," says Mr. Moore, 
"Great Britain and France had agreed, if the advice of the Powers was 
"not taken immediately, to institute a hostile blockade of the Haitian 
"ports. In this act of war the President of the United States was 
"unable to take part without the authority of Congress, and it was to 
"this fact that Mr. Webster referred when he stated that, in case the 
"Haitian Government should refuse to yield to remonstrance, the Presi- 
dent would lay the matter before Congress, in order that the United 

204 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

This agreement accounts for the attitude of Great 
Britain and France, who neglected none of the means 
in their power to prevent Faustin I from pressing 
Haiti's legitimate claim concerning Navassa Island, of 
which some citizens of the United States had unduly 
taken possession. 3 Yet the representatives of these two 
Powers had been the first to inform the Emperor of the 
seizure of this portion of the Haitian territory by the 

The sufferings endured by the soldiers during the 
campaign of 1855, the losses and sacrifices inflicted on 
the country without compensation or practical result 
provoked great discontent. The responsibility for the 
failure of the undertaking was cast on the Emperor. 
Confidence in him was shaken; however, the Empire 
might yet have been saved by taking wise measures in 
regard to the interests and welfare of the people. But 
the Government, in order to maintain its authority, 
resorted instead to intimidation and violence, which 
method had once proven to be successful. No regard 
was paid to public liberty. Bad financial measures, 
added to a faulty management of the nation's revenues, 
soon aggravated the situation. The Emperor was still 
feared, but his prestige was entirely gone. Those who 
had cause to dread his anger began to plot against him. 
Even his partisans ended by seeking to come to an 
agreement with the enlightened Haitians who were 
endeavoring to obtain more freedom for their fellow- 

Such was the state of affairs when General Fabre 
Geffrard considered that the time had come for the 
overthrow of the man who had, in reality, assumed dic- 
tatorial power. On the night of December 20, 1858, he 
left Port-au-Prince in a small boat, accompanied only 
by his son and two trusty followers, Ernest Boumain 
and Jean-Bart. On the 22d he arrived at Gonaives, 

"States might be enabled to co-operate with the governments of England 
"and France in measures to 'cause the intervention of the three Powers 
" 'to be respected.' " 

1 J. N. Leger, La Politique Ext^rieure d'Haiti, p. 99. 

Faustin Soulouque Sails for Jamaica 205 

where the insurrection broke out. The Republic was 
acclaimed and the Constitution of 1846 was adopted. 
On the 23d of December the Departmental Committee, 
which had been organized, divested Faustin Soulouque 
of his office and appointed Pabre Geffrard President of 
Haiti. Cap-Haitien and the whole Department of Arti- 
bonite joined in the restoration of the Republic. 

Soulouque tried to maintain his authority, but all in 
vain ; the monarchic system was too unpopular to find 
any supporters. On the 12th of January, 1859, General 
Geffrard, at the head of the republican army, had estab- 
lished his headquarters on the Drouillard plantation, 
at a short distance from Port-au-Prince, which he 
entered on the 15th of January without striking a blow. 
In the afternoon of the same day Faustin Soulouque 
embarked on the English frigate Melburn, which took 
him to Jamaica. 4 Monarchy had forever ceased to exist 
in Haiti. 

Soulouque died at Petit-Goave (Haiti), on August C, 1867. 


Fabre Geffrard (December 23, 1858-March 13, 1867) Concordat with 
the Vatican Reforms made by Geffrard: diffusion of public instruc- 
tion; law permitting marriage between foreigners and Haitians 
Attempt to induce the colored people of the United States to go to 
Haiti Geffrard tried to have the whole island neutralized Annex- 
ation of the Dominican Republic by Spain The Rubalcava incident 
Salnave takes up arms at Cap-Haitien The Bulldog incident 
Bombardment of Cap-Haitien by British men-of-war Mr. Seward, 
Secretary of State of the United States, at Port-au-Prince Geffrard 
leaves Haiti. 

Geffrard, appointed President of the Republic on the 
23d of December, 1858, took the oath of office on the 
20th of January, 1859. He entered at once upon new 
negotiations with the Holy See concerning the situation 
of the Catholic clergy in Haiti. The parleys on this 
subject had begun in the first days of the independence 
of the country. The Pope was persistent in his idea of 
sending an Apostolic Prefect to Haiti and, in conse- 
quence, of having the high control of the church ; whilst 
the Haitian rulers insisted upon having the right to 
participate in the appointment of the archbishops and 
bishops. There was such a firm determination on the 
part of the Haitians not to receive an Apostolic Pre- 
fect that the Vatican gave way to them. On the 28th 
of March, 1860, the Concordat which still rules the rela- 
tions of Haiti with the Holy See was signed at Rome. 

Until Geffrard 's advent the foreigners in Haiti, whilst 
enjoying the greatest protection, were subjected to 
many restrictions ; thus they were not allowed to marry 
the natives. On the 18th of October, 1860, a law was 
enacted authorizing such marriages. 

Although Haiti had been holding intercourse with 


Fab re Geffrard 207 

all the civilized Powers, the partisans of slavery in the 
United States continued to bear their old grudge 
against her. But the war of secession brought more 
cordial relations between the two countries, and on 
November 3, 1864, they signed at Port-au-Prince a 
treaty of amity, commerce, navigation, and for the ex- 
tradition of fugitive criminals. 1 

Geffrard did all in his power to assist the men of the 
black race in the United States, who, on account of color 
prejudice, were exposed to cruel humiliations ; he sent 
an agent to New York intrusted with the mission to 
induce them to emigrate to Haiti. But his attempt at 
colonization failed as a similar attempt made by Boyer 
had failed. The immigration idea was unpopular both 
in Haiti and among those who were to benefit by it. 
Therefore it was abandoned. 

Geffrard's government failed also in its endeavors 
to secure the neutralization of the whole island. Still 
his overtures had met with the good will of the principal 
Powers of Europe; but the United States refused to 
participate in a treaty of guarantee ; 2 and Europe did 
not care to act without their support. 

This failure of Haitian diplomacy, unavoidable by 
reason of the policy then followed by the United States, 
was compensated for by the successful carrying out of 
some valuable measures adopted in Haiti. The army was 
reorganized and put upon a solid basis ; discipline was 
strictly observed. Geffrard gave also his best attention 
to the diffusion of public instruction; many primary 
and high schools were established in the country. The 
School of Medicine was reorganized and even a School 
of Music established. And in order to have competent 
teachers and professors the Eepublic sent young Haiti- 
ans to Europe to make or complete their studies at its 

1 J. N. Lger, Recueil des Traitgs et Conventions d'Haiti, p. 84. 

The treaty of the 3d of November, 1864, was denounced in May, 1904, 
and has been replaced partly by a treaty for the extradition of fugitive 
criminals signed at Washington on the 9th of August, 1904. In 1902 
Haiti signed a convention on naturalization with the United States. 

3 J. N. L6ger, La Politique Exterieure d'Haiti, pp. 145-157. 

208 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Literature, which during Geffrard's administration 
had made unusual progress, produced new ideas in the 
minds of the people, who began to aspire to the greater 
security of public liberty. 

At the outset Geffrard had met with grave difficulties. 
The former followers of Soulouque, whom the sudden 
downfall of the Emperor had taken by surprise, began 
at once to try to regain possession of the power. In 
September, 1859, a conspiracy led by General Prophete, 
a member of Faustinas Cabinet, was discovered. 

In 1861 the Haitian Government had a new source of 
anxiety. In March the President of the Dominican 
Republic, betraying the trust placed in him, had trans- 
ferred his country to Spain; once more the eastern 
portion of the island became a Spanish colony. The 
people who desired to remain an independent State 
protested against the President's treacherous act by 
resorting to arms. Spain held Haiti responsible for 
this resistance to her authority. A fleet under Admiral 
Rubalcava's command anchored in July in the harbor 
of Port-au-Prince and threatened to bombard the city. 
The matter was settled without any serious conse- 
quences. But the incident served to show the Haitians 
the danger there was for them to have one of the great 
European Powers as their close neighbor. And when 
in 1863 the Dominicans rose against Spain's authority, 
all the sympathy of the Haitian people was for those 
who were struggling for their independence. In 1865 
the Spaniards were once more compelled to give up a 
colony which had cost them the sacrifice of so much life. 
Haiti might have profited by this opportunity to de- 
mand from the Dominicans at least some guarantee for 
the future. But President Geffrard reckoned too much 
upon their thankfulness, and they soon forgot the help 
that had been given them. In his own country there were 
many restless and disorderly spirits who unceasingly 
absorbed the President's attention. A liberal policy 
might have appeased the people ; but restraint irritated 
them. A new attempt at parliamentary government 
had just failed ; and the President, by a Decree of June 

The Bulldog Incident 209 

8, 1863, had dissolved the House of Representatives. 
On June 19 General Aime Legros and his accomplices 
who had tried to provoke an insurrection were court- 
martialed and sentenced to death. This severity did 
not prevent Major Sylvain Salnave from creating fresh 
disturbances at Cap-Haitien on July 13, 1864. Failing 
in his attempt, he had left Haiti ; but on the 7th of May, 
1865, he suddenly appeared at Ouanaminthe, on the 
Haitian-Dominican borders ; and, accompanied by many 
Dominican sympathizers, he reached Cap-Haitien, of 
which he took possession on the 9th of May. Closely 
surrounded in this town, he nevertheless managed to 
keep at bay all the forces of the Government. In 
August the President left Port-au-Prince and assumed 
the command of the army, whose headquarters were 
established at PAcul, at a distance of four leagues from 

On the 19th of October, 1865, the Jamaica Packet, a 
British merchant ship, appeared in the port of PAcul, 
loaded with arms, ammunition, and victuals for the 
Government's troops. The insurgent steamer Provi- 
dence at once gave chase to the Jamaica Packet, but 
was prevented from capturing the ship by the interven- 
tion of the British man-of-war Bulldog. There ensued 
a heated altercation between the commander of the 
Providence and the commander of the Bulldog, the lat- 
ter being charged with giving his protection to a ship 
in the service of President Geffrard. When this inci- 
dent became known at Cap-Haitien there prevailed a 
very high feeling against the English; and Salnave, 
whose impetuosity knew no bounds, caused some of his 
opponents to be arrested at the British Consulate, where 
they had taken refuge, forbidding at the same time all 
intercourse between the inhabitants of the town and the 
crew of the Bulldog. 

Captain Walker, of the United States man-of-war 
De Soto, made use of every means in his power to avoid 
a conflict. But on the 23d of October, without any 
warning, the commander of the Bulldog opened fire on 
the fortifications of Cap-Haitien. The fire was immedi- 

210 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

ately returned, the insurgents having accepted the fight 
forced on them. The gunners of the Bulldog quickly 
sank the Providence; but the shot of the land battery 
damaged one of the boilers of the English man-of-war, 
which, during the fight, had grounded on a reef. Cap- 
tain Wake, seeing that it was impossible to save his 
ship, blew her up that night at about 9 o 'clock, going 
with the wounded and the members of his crew on board 
the De Soto. 

Following up this incident the British Charge d' Af- 
faires arrived in the harbor of Cap-Haitien on board a 
man-of-war. He failed to obtain the satisfaction he 
asked for ; therefore on the 9th of November the frigate 
Galatea and other British men-of-war bombarded Cap- 
Haitien. 3 

Availing themselves of the excitement reigning in 
the ranks of the insurgents by this aggression of a great 
Power, the government troops attacked and stormed 
the town. The insurrection was thus stamped out. But 
Salnave and his principal allies had had time to fly for 
refuge on board the De Soto. 

Great Britain's action produced a disastrous effect. 
The Haitians as a rule always look askance on the inter- 
ference of foreigners in their affairs. The balls of the 
English cannon had, as it were, deeply wounded the 
national pride. They caused all the good done by 
Geffrard to be forgotten; he completely lost his popu- 
larity, which not even the visit paid him in January, 
1866, by Mr. Seward, Secretary of State of the United 
States/could bring back to him. The favorable impres- 
sion produced by this courtesy was lost sight of, owing 
to the events which occurred one afto* the other at 
Gonaives and Saint-Marc. And to crown the agitation 
of the year 1866, at four o 'clock on the morning of Sep- 
tember 1 12 the arsenal of Port-au-Prince exploded; 
many lives were lost and great damage was done to 

The President became thoroughly disheartened by all 

3 Concerning this incident, refer to Mr. Peck's letter to Mr. Seward, 
December 11, 1865. (Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1867, part II.) 

Geffrard Resigns His Office 211 

these disturbances and catastrophes, which reached a 
climax when his favorite regiment, the ' ' Tirailleurs, " 
mutinied and opened fire on the Executive Mansion 
on the night of February 23, 1867. Entertaining many 
delusions as to the efficiency of the measures he had 
introduced in order to secure the welfare of the coun- 
try, Geffrard became convinced of the deep ingratitude 
of the people proved by their violent opposition. On 
the 13th of March, 1867, he resigned his office and left 
for Jamaica, where he spent the remainder of his life, 
his death occurring on the 31st of December, 1878. 

In restoring the Republic Geffrard had made a great 
mistake in accepting the Presidency for life. Had a 
term been fixed for the duration of his power, his oppo- 
nents would have been more patient, and his adminis- 
tration would have marked the beginning of a new 
epoch for Haiti. Ideas of reform and progress were 
uppermost in the minds of the people. A strong reac- 
tion had followed the downfall of the monarchy. After 
the long period of restraint enforced by Soulouque, the 
Haitians once aroused were not to be easily repressed; 
they wished to secure then and there the reign of lib- 
erty. This ideal of political liberty and freedom of 
thought was to be the cause later on of much unpleasant 
friction and disagreement with the Executive Power, 
always slow in yielding to public opinion. This ac- 
counts for the great number of disturbances which had 
to be suppressed by Geffrard 's government. 


Sylvain Salnave (June 14, 1867-December 19, 1869) Constitution of 
1867 : abolition of the Presidency for life Salnave becomes a dictator 
Resistance of the country Overthrow of Salnave; his trial and 

After Geff rard 's departure the Council of the Secre- 
taries of State became the supreme authority for a time. 
But in April, 1867, Sylvain Salnave arrived in Port-au- 
Prince, where he was given a hearty welcome, and on 
May 2 he became, together with Nissage Saget and 
Victorin Chevallier, a member of the provisional gov- 
ernment which was organized. His adherents were dis- 
pleased at this distribution of power, and under their 
pressure he assumed, on May 4, the title of " Protector 
of the Republic." The attitude of the masses and the 
growing popularity of Salnave began to occasion much 
concern to the liberals, who found themselves once more 
obliged to submit to a military man. This mistrust of 
their new leader boded ill for the tranquillity of the 
Republic. The National Assembly met at Port-au- 
Prince on the 6th of May, 1867, and on the 14th of June 
adopted a Constitution * which abolished the Presidency 
for life, the duration of the authority vested in the Chief 
of the Executive Power being fixed at four years. On 
the same day Salnave was elected President of Haiti. 
He gained the sympathy of the people by his courage 
and his simple tastes. But he was far from being a 

1 The Constitution of 1867 was taken from the Constitution of 1843, 
with the alterations demanded by the existing circumstances. 


Sylvain Salnave 213 

liberal ; so much so in fact that he was soon at odds with 
the legislative body, which thought that the time had 
come to establish the parliamentary system. On the 
llth of October, 1867, the rupture with Congress was 
complete, caused by an interpellation of the Cabinet by 
the House of Representatives concerning the arrest and 
imprisonment of General Leon Montas. About that 
time the peasants had taken up arms at Valliere against 
Salnave; and the General was charged with being the 
instigator, if not the leader, of the uprising. The mem- 
bers of the Cabinet openly accused the House of Rep- 
resentatives of being in connivance with the rebels; 
whereupon the mob invaded the House on the 14th of 
October and drove out the Congressmen. This ill-con- 
sidered act of violence was followed by grave conse- 
quences. In the mean time, the President had left for 
Gonaives with a view of subduing the insurgents at 
Valliere, who had assumed the name of "Cacos." 

By forcibly ejecting the members of the House of 
Representatives, Salnave had suspended the Constitu- 
tion; yet he affected to believe that the opposition he 
met with was due to his limited authority. Accordingly, 
on the 22d of April, 1868, he committed yet another 
blunder by permitting the officers and non-commis- 
sioned officers of his army, whose headquarters were 
at Trou, to form a petition requesting the suspension 
of the Constitution and dictatorship for the head of the 
Executive Power. Thus Salnave reestablished the 
Presidency for life and arrogated unlimited power. 

Nissage Saget, who was at that time Commandant of 
the arrondissemerit of Saint-Marc, took up arms against 
this usurpation. Once more frustrated in the hopes of 
having a government founded on legality and liberty, 
the country reached one of the most critical periods of 
its existence, as the insurrection soon became general. 
Petion Faubert at Leogane, Normil at l'Anse-a-Veau, 
Domingue at Aquin, and Boisrond Canal at Petionville 
and Croix-des-Bouquets, all rose up against the dic- 
tatorship assumed by Salnave, who was being besieged 
at Port-au-Prince. The insurgents from the South had 

214 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

their headquarters at Carrefour, at a distance of three 
leagues from the capital. 

Salnave tried to corne to terms with them ; but failing 
in his attempt, he determined to rely henceforth on his 
energy and valor in maintaining his authority. He had 
the advantage of the unity of command over his oppo- 
nents; for the rebels in the South had numerous lead- 
ers : Domingue, whose headquarters were at Cayes, Nor- 
mil at 1 'Anse-a-Veau, etc. ; whilst in the Artibonite, 
Nissage Saget's authority was fully acknowledged. In 
consequence of a counter-revolution which occurred at 
Leogane and in the mountains of Jacmel, the insurgents 
were compelled to raise the siege of Port-au-Prince on 
the 17th of July, 1868. They now felt the necessity of 
organizing their government; therefore, on September 
19, 1868, Nissage Saget was proclaimed at Saint-Marc 
provisional President, whilst on the 22d of September 
Domingue was acknowledged President of the Meridi- 
anal State, with headquarters at Cayes. 

Salnave 's intrepidity gave him for a while all the 
chances of crushing his foes. He had purchased a 
steamer in the United States to replace the two men-of- 
war, Le 22 Decembre and Le Geffrard, which had gone 
over to the insurgents. The new steamer, which was 
given the name of Alexandre Petion, arrived at Port- 
au-Prince on the 19th of September, 1868. The next 
day Salnave went on board and sailed for Petit-Goave, 
in which harbor the two steamers belonging to the 
rebels were anchored. The Alexandre Petion opened 
fire on Le 22 Decembre, which was sunk; the command- 
ant of the Geffrard blew up his ship so as to prevent 
her being captured. 2 

2 Salnave's ship was under the command of Captain Nickells, an 
American citizen. She entered the port of Petit-Goave flying the Amer- 
ican flag, which was hauled down and replaced by the Haitian colors at 
the moment that she opened fire on Le 22 Decembre. Deceived by this 
abusive use of the colors of a friendly Power, the two steamers of the 
insurgents were taken by surprise and in this manner were easily 

In^October, 1868, Salnave transgressed once again upon international 
law. He was on board the Alexandre Petion, which was bombarding 

Sylvain Salnave 215 

This success made Salnave master of Petit-Goave, 
which town the insurgents were compelled to evacuate. 
In February, 1869, the whole of the Southern Depart- 
ment was once more under his authority, with the ex- 
ception of Jeremie and Cayes, which were closely sur- 
rounded. From Camp-Boudet, where he had established 
his headquarters, he personally directed the siege of 
Cayes, of which eventually he would have taken posses- 
sion had not fortunes of war gone contrary to him in the 
Artibonite. His principal lieutenant, General Victorin 
Chevallier, had been obliged to evacuate Gonaives, 
which was occupied by Saget's troops. On their arrival 
at Port-au-Prince Chevallier 's soldiers created such dis- 
turbances that Salnave had to leave Camp-Boudet hur- 
riedly for the capital, where he arrived on the 1st of 
September, 1869. He had also at that time to fight the 
opposition of the Catholic clergy. On the 28th of June 
he had summarily dismissed Testar du Cosquer, the 
Archbishop of Port-au-Prince ; and had taken the same 
measure against Mr. Guilloux, the Vicar-General, on 
the 16th of October. 

Salnave 's position was getting worse ; one of his most 
faithful followers, General Victorin Chevallier, Secre- 
tary of War, who was in command of the army sur- 
rounding Jacmel, deserted his cause in November and 
joined the insurrection. Salnave now began to reflect 
that he might yet be able to allay the discontent reign- 
ing throughout the country by relinquishing the abso- 
lute power he had usurped. In August, 1869, he ap- 
pointed a Legislative Council. This body met in Novem- 
ber and, reestablishing the Presidency for life assumed 

Je"re"mie, when the American steamer Maratanza entered this harbor. 
Her owners were negotiating with the Haitian Government, which 
desired to purchase her. The diplomatic agent of the United States, 
Mr. G. H. Hollister, was on board, on his way from Port-au-Prince to 
Je"re"mie, there to confer with his Consul as to the best way of protecting 
American interests and citizens. Salnave went on board the Maratanza, 
which he bought at once. The American flag was hauled down and the 
Haitian colors were hoisted. Mr. Hollister was not allowed to land at 
Je>e"mie; and whilst he was still on board, the Maratanza joined in the 
bombardment of the town, in spite of his protest. (Papers relating to 
Foreign Affairs, Washington, 1869; part II, p. 364.) 

216 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

by Salnave, reenacted the Constitution of 1846. But 
it was too late to be of avail and the abolition of the 
dictatorship was powerless in saving the Government; 
for Cap-Haitien and the whole department of the North- 
west had already joined the cause of the insurrection. 
A bold attack on Port-au-Prince at length put an end to 
this deplorable civil war. On the 18th of December, 
1869, Generals Brice and Boisrond-Canal landed at the 
capital at the head of 1,200 soldiers ; in the night they 
had surprised the Government man-of-war La Terreur. 
During the fight which ensued this ship began bombard- 
ing the Executive Mansion ; a shot struck the powder 
magazine, causing it to explode just after Salnave had 
quitted the place. He succeeded in reaching the Do- 
minican territory; but General Cabral, who was in 
sympathy with his opponents, betraying the trust he 
had placed in him, gave him up to the Haitians. On the 
15th of January, 1870, Salnave arrived at Port-au- 
Prince, where he appeared before a court martial. He 
was sentenced to death and shot on the same day at six 
o 'clock in the evening, tied to a pole set up on the smok- 
ing ruins of the Executive Mansion. Since then no 
President has ventured to accept or to assume the 
Presidency for life. 

On the 27th of December, 1869, the following pro- 
visional government was organized: Nissage Saget, 
President; Michel Domingue, Vice-President ; Nord 
Alexis, Dupont junior, and Volmar Laporte, members. 


Nissage Saget (March 19, 1870-May 14, 1874) Redeeming the paper 
money The Batsch incident The Hornet incident The Dominican 
incident The Haitians send a gold medal to Senator Charles Sumner 
At the expiration of his term of office Nissage Saget leaves Port- 
au-Prince for Saint-Marc. 

The National Assembly met at Port-au-Prince on the 
19th of March, 1870, and elected General Nissage Saget 
President of Haiti for a term of four years, expiring on 
the 15th of May, 1874. 

The terrible crisis through which the country had 
just passed had made a deep impression on the people. 
The new President did his utmost to observe the Con- 
stitution of 1867 gained at the cost of so much sacrifice. 
The liberals were in full possession of the authority. 
Unfortunately, they were not circumspect in their con- 
duct, and instead of trying little by little to extend 
public liberty, they endeavored to force a sudden change 
upon the country by introducing the parliamentary sys- 
tem; they tried to subject the Executive Power to the 
legislative body ; and those members of the Cabinet who 
were not in sympathy with the House of Representa- 
tives were compelled to relinquish their offices. Mis- 
understandings with the President ensued. Notwith- 
standing, some useful reforms took place, the most 
important of them being the redeeming of the paper 
money. This measure was authorized by a law enacted 
on the 24th of August, 1872. In order to carry it out, 
a loan was floated in Haiti, whose currency became from 


218 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

that time up to 1883 the silver and gold coins of the 
United States. 

But unexpected events almost occasioned grave inter- 
national complications. During the war between Ger- 
many and France the Haitians openly showed their 
sympathy for the latter country. Germany took excep- 
tion to their attitude, for which they were made to 
expiate as soon as she had crushed France. Under the 
pretext of demanding the payment of 3,000 on behalf 
of two subjects of the German Empire, Captain Batsch, 
of the frigate Vineta, arrived at Port-au-Prince on the 
llth of June, 1872. Without a word of warning he took 
possession of the two Haitian men-of-war, which, not 
expecting such an aggression, were lying at anchor in 
the harbor and unable to make the slightest resistance. 
Indignant at this unjust and most uncalled-for attack, 
the Haitian people, as their national poet * expressed it, 
11 threw the money to the Germans as one would cast a 
bone to a dog. ' ' Captain Batsch took the amount, gave 
back the two men-of-war, and left Port-au-Prince. But 
the resentment caused by his unwarranted action has 
not yet passed away. 

Another grave conflict was provoked by Spain. This 
Power had never missed a single opportunity to humil- 
iate Haiti, which, consequently, was quite indifferent to 
its reverses and misfortunes. Haiti naturally sympa- 
thized with the Cubans who were fighting for their 
independence ; her territory had become an asylum for 
all the unfortunate families who were compelled to fly 
for their safety. At the height of the struggle, the 
Hornet, a small steamer flying the flag of the United 
States, arrived at Port-au-Prince on January, 1871, 
hotly pursued by two Spanish men-of-war. At that 
time the American Navy was not as formidable as in 
1898. The Hornet was charged with being a pirate and 
with having on board contraband of war intended for 
the Cuban insurgents; in consequence the Spaniards 
imperiously demanded that she be given up to them. 

Mr. Oswald Durand. 

President Grant Tries to Annex the Dominicans 219 

The United States Minister immediately interposed, 
declaring that the Hornet was a bona-fide American 
steamer. Therefore, Haiti refused to deliver up the 
ship. She remained firm in her decision in spite of the 
presence of the Spanish men-of-war in the harbor of 
Port-au-Prince and of the open threats of the repre- 
sentative of Spain. The Consul of that country had 
one so far as to address an ultimatum to the Haitian 
ecretary of Foreign Affairs on the 5th of October, 
1871, demanding the delivery of the Hornet within 
twenty-four hours. The dispute was assuming a very 
threatening aspect for Haiti, when the United States 
decided to relieve that country of all further responsi- 
bility in the matter; in consequence, the man-of-war 
Congress was despatched to Port-au-Prince, with in- 
structions to convoy the Hornet either to Baltimore or 
to New York. This steamer eventually left Port-au- 
Prince in January, 1872, her sailing putting an end to 
the controversy between Haiti and Spain. 

Whilst this incident was causing much trouble to the 
Haitian Government, the United States were making 
strong representations concerning the Dominican Re- 
public. President Grant had seen fit to sign a treaty 
for the annexation of that Republic with President 
Baez. As was to be expected, the Dominicans became 
highly incensed at those who were making a traffic of 
their independence, and rose up in arms against the 
government which had betrayed their trust. The two 
leaders of the insurrection, Generals Cabral and Lupe- 
ron, entered a protest against the treaty of annexation. 
Nevertheless, the United States endeavored to hold 
Haiti responsible for the disturbances ; and in January, 
1870, Mr. Bassett, at that time American Minister at 
Port-au-Prince, notified the Haitian Government that 
his country was in negotiations with Baez and requested 
Haiti to refrain or desist from any interference in the 
Dominican affairs. This request the Haitian Govern- 
ment promised to observe; nevertheless, on the 9th of 
February, 1871, the Secretary of State, Mr. Hamilton 
Fish, wrote to his Minister at Port-au-Prince, saying 

220 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

that it would be difficult to lend entire credence to the 
assurances given by Haiti. 2 

The energetic opposition against the treaty of annex- 
ation, led in the United States Senate by the Honorable 
Charles Sumner, made President Grant decide to send 
a Commission to Santo Domingo. Two of the Commis- 
sioners, Senator Wade and Doctor Howe, accompanied 
by Mr. Frederick Douglass, their secretary, arrived at 
Port-au-Prince on the 3d of March, 1871, on board of 
the United States man-of-war Tennessee. On the fol- 
lowing day they were received by the President, and 
the exchange of views which took place between them 
tended to dispel the misunderstanding which was about 
to alter the good relations existing between the two 
countries. At the end of the interview Dr. Howe men- 
tioned that he was a personal friend of Senator Charles 
Sumner, whereupon President Saget warmly shook 
hands with him and told him to transmit that handshake 
to the Senator from Massachusetts as coming from the 
whole Republic of Haiti. 

On the refusal of the United States Senate to approve 
the treaty signed with President Baez, some Haitians 
started a public subscription with the object of present- 
ing Senator Sumner with a gold medal. Owing to his 
office the Senator could not accept the medal, which was 
therefore deposited in the Library of the State House 

2 Mr. Fish to Mr. Bassett. 

"No. 58. "WASHINGTON, February 9, 1871. 

"Sir: * * * The assurances offered to you by the Haitian Gov- 
"ernment as to its disposition to keep wholly neutral in the contest 
"between the Dominican parties, severally headed by Baez and Cabral, 
"do not seem to be expressed in a way to inspire perfect confidence in 
"their sincerity. If it be borne in mind that, for a considerable period, 
"both the Spanish and the French parts of the island of San Domingo 
"were under the sole dominion of Haiti, that it has been the policy of 
"that government not only to oppose the independence of the Spanish 
"part of the island, but to prevent its occupation by a foreign power, 
"the difficulty of lending entire credence to any assurances which that 
"government may give as to its indisposition to interfere in Dominican 
"affairs will be apparent. The protest of the Haitians against the recent 
"attempt of Spain to regain her foothold in that island is fresh in the 
"recollection of the public. * * * (Papers relating to the Foreign 

Relations of the U. S., Washington, 1871, p. 566.) 

The Incident of the Nantasket 221 

at Boston. His portrait was, in pursuance of a law 
enacted in July, 1871, placed in the Haitian House of 
Representatives, and when he died the national flag on 
all public buildings in Haiti hung at half-mast for three 
days in token of regret. 

In 1872 Captain Carpenter of the United States ship 
Nantasket, at that time in the harbor of Cap-Haitien, 
occasioned some concern to the inhabitants of that town. 
On the 19th of April, without a word of explanation to 
the Haitian authorities, a party from the man-of-war 
landed at the Carenage 3 with a howitzer mounted on a 
gun-carriage. A company of the Twenty-seventh Regi- 
ment immediately started out to find out the meaning 
of it, whereupon the Americans reembarked with their 
howitzer and returned to the Nantasket. General Nord 
Alexis, who was at that time in command of the depart- 
ment, wrote at once to the United States Consul at Cap- 
Haitien asking for an explanation; the reply was that 
Captain Carpenter's sole object was to find out the time 
it would take to land and reembark a piece of artillery ; 
proper regrets were expressed to the Haitian Govern- 
ment and the incident was declared closed. 

In spite of these few minor troubles with the foreign 
Powers, peace remained undisturbed, and the term of 
office of the President was nearing its end when he 
found himself in a somewhat embarrassing predica- 
ment. The House of Representatives and the Senate, 
which had met in April, 1874, were to assemble in 
National Assembly in order to elect a new President. 
There were two candidates for the office: Michel Do- 
mingue, Commandant of the Southern Department, sup- 
ported by Nissage Saget and his followers, and Pierre 
Monplaisir Pierre, the candidate of the liberal party. 
In the legislative body the Domingue party was led 
by Septimus Rameau, a representative from Cayes, 
whilst Boyer Bazelais, one of the representatives from 
Port-au-Prince, was at the head of the Monplaisir 
Pierre faction. In the House of Commons the validity 

A suburb of Cap-Haitien. 

222 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

of the election of Boyer Bazelais was hotly contested 
by his opponents, whose motion for unseating him was 
nevertheless not adopted; thereupon they withdrew 
from the House, creating what is called a dissidence. 
For want of quorum the legislative body could not do 
any practical work. In the mean time, the month of 
May began; on the 15th the term of office of Nissage 
Saget was to come to an end. The liberal party tried 
to persuade him to remain in power until his successor 
could be elected. This he emphatically refused to do, 
and on the 14th of May, 1874, he relinquished his high 
office into the hands of the Council of the Secretaries 
of State, having previously appointed Michel Domingue 
Commander-in-Chief of the Haitian Army. On the 
20th of May he left Port-au-Prince for Saint-Marc, 
where he lived up to the time of his death, which oc- 
curred on the 7th of April, 1880. 


Michel Domingue (June 11, 1874-April 15, 1876) The loan of 1875 
Discontent caused by the deaths of Generals Brice and Monplaisir 
Pierre Riot at Port-au-Prince Overthrow of Domingue. 

Upon his being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the 
Haitian Army, General Michel Domingue, who up to 
that time had been Commandant of the Southern De- 
partment, left Cayes for Port-au-Prince, which city he 
entered with a strong body of troops. His opponents 
at once realized the impossibility of holding out against 
his candidacy. Besides, the Council of the Secretaries 
of State, intrusted with the Executive Power, had taken 
such measures as to facilitate his election. Profiting 
by the dissidence which, by want of a quorum, prevented 
the legislative body from holding its meetings, they 
declared the two Houses of Congress divested of their 
functions ; upon which orders were issued for the elec- 
tion of a Constituent Assembly. In this manner the 
Council of the Secretaries of State annulled the Consti- 
tution, from which all their authority proceeded ; a situ- 
ation fraught with danger resulted. However, the elec- 
tions were speedily held ; and on the llth of June, 1874, 
General Michel Domingue was elected President of 
Haiti for a term of 8 years. 

Domingue, above all things, was a soldier; he pos- 
sessed neither the penetration nor the tact of a states- 
man. Therefore he considered it wiser to leave the care 
of the public affairs to Septimus Rameau, one of his 
relatives, whom he had appointed Vice-President of the 


224 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Council of the Secretaries of State by Decree of Sep- 
tember 10, 1874. This made Rameau the true ruler of 
Haiti. The Constitution adopted on the 6th of August, 
1874, was drawn up by him. Unfortunately, he was of 
a dictatorial and domineering nature; his will became 
supreme, whilst Domingue was but a figurehead. 

One of the first acts of Salnave after his election to 
the Presidency was the signing of a treaty with the 
Dominican Republic, which the Haitian Congress re- 
fused to ratify. His object in recognizing the independ- 
ence of the new State was to put an end to the unceasing 
hostilities which were causing so much bloodshed on the 
borders. Septimus Rameau immediately proceeded to 
resume negotiations with General Gonzalez, who was at 
that time President of the Dominican Republic. Gen- 
eral N. Leger, who was then Chief of the Staff of the 
President of Haiti, was despatched to Santo Domingo 
with instructions to make preparations for a new con- 
vention. On his return to Port-au-Prince he was accom- 
panied by the Dominican plenipotentiaries; and on the 
9th of November, 1874, a Treaty of Amity, Commerce, 
and Navigation was agreed upon. 1 Haiti thus accepted 
as an accomplished fact and fully recognized the inde- 
pendence of the Dominican Republic. Since that time 
relations between the two countries have been most 

In the course of the same year, 1874, Haiti signed a 
treaty with Great Britain for the extradition of fugitive 
criminals. 2 

The other measures adopted by Domingue 's Govern- 
ment did not turn out so happily. In 1875 a loan was 
floated in Paris concerning which the Haitian people 
were grossly deceived. Foreign bankers and unscrupu- 
lous agents conspired in defrauding the Republic, which 
was made the debtor for money from which others had 
profited. This scandalous financial transaction did not 
tend to allay the dissatisfaction already existing in 

1 J. N. Lger, Recueil des Trails et Conventions de la Jtepublique 
d'Haiti, pp. 119, 140. 
a Ibid. 

Deaths of Brice and Pierre 225 

Haiti. So to prevent any popular manifestations orders 
were issued on the 15th of May, 1875, for the arrest of 
Generals Brice, Monplaisir Pierre, and Boisrond Canal, 
who were charged with being the leaders of a conspiracy 
against Domingue. Monplaisir Pierre, with gun in 
hand, met the soldiers who were sent to arrest him; he 
made an energetic resistance and in defending the 
entrance to his house was killed in the fight which 
ensued ; Brice, who had also made a brave defense, was 
successful in reaching the Spanish Consulate, where he 
died from the effects of a bullet wound in the thigh. 
Boisrond Canal, who was living on his plantation at 
Freres, a short distance from Petionville, was fortunate 
enough to be able to make his escape before the arrival 
of those who were commissioned to arrest him, and 
sought shelter in the United States Legation, which was 
then situated at Turgeau, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. 
Although the tragic death of Brice and Pierre had 
produced a very bad impression on the minds of the 
people, the Government did nothing to palliate the 
effect of this sad event ; on the contrary, many citizens 
were arbitrarily compelled to flee the country. This 
high-handed proceeding naturally met with resentment ; 
and disturbances at once took place in various parts of 
the Eepublic. The inhabitants of Port-au-Prince were 
already in a great state of excitement, when on the 15th 
of April, 1876, there started a report to the effect that 
the Government was sending abroad the money depos- 
ited in the vaults of the Bank of Haiti. 3 In a trice the 
entire population arose; the agitation at first seemed 
like a riot, but soon attained more formidable propor- 
tions. Septimus Eameau, who was held to blame for 

3 With a view of organizing a State Bank the government had 
entered into an agreement with Mr. Lazare, an American citizen, who 
became unable to fulfill his part of the contract. In consequence of the 
obligation imposed by this contract, the Haitian Government, within 
the stipulated time, had deposited her quota of the capital in the vaults 
of the bank. It was this money which Septimus Rameau was about to 
send to Cayes, the capital of the Southern Department, when the upris- 
ing broke out at Port-au-Prince on the 15th of April. 

226 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the death of Brice and Pierre as well as for the loan 
floated in Paris, was killed in the streets. Domingue 
succeeded in reaching the French Legation, whence he 
took ship for Jamaica. 4 

4 Domingue died at Kingston on June 24, 1877. 


Boisrond Canal (July 17, 1876- July 17, 1879) Misunderstanding with 
France caused by the Domingue loan The Autran incident: dif- 
ficulties with Spain about Cuba The Maunder claim The Lazare 
and Pelletier claims Attitude of the Legislative Power The Presi- 
dent's resignation. 

After Domingue 's departure the Constitution of 
1867 once more came in force. According to this Con- 
stitution Boisrond Canal was elected President of Haiti 
for four years on the 17th of July, 1876. The new ruler 
was beset with innumerable difficulties resulting from 
the financial measures taken by his predecessor. He 
was principally exposed to the ill-will of France, which, 
with a view of imposing a settlement of the loan known 
as the Domingue or the 1875 loan, went so far as to 
refuse to recognize his Government officially. Yet at 
Paris it was a well-known fact that Haiti had not re- 
ceived the amount of money the responsibility for which 
France was trying to force upon her. In Europe and in 
the United States people clamor unceasingly as to the 
alleged corruption and unscrupulousness of Haitian 
statesmen, declaring that without the assistance of for- 
eign Powers they are incapable of honestly managing 
their finances. However, whenever a financial scandal 
occurs in Haiti, among the guilty parties there will 
always be found, either as the inspirers or the accom- 
plices of the misdeed, those very foreigners who loudly 
denounce Haitian corruption whilst claiming for them- 
selves the monopoly of virtue and integrity. 

As it was, the Haitian people, who have never repudi- 


228 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

ated a legitimate debt, flatly refused to accept the re- 
sponsibility for the frauds which had been committed 
in the floating of the Domingue loan, and the National 
Assembly undertook to investigate the matter. This 
important inquiry proved that there could not exist the 
least doubt as to the well-founded attitude assumed by 
Haiti; it was found out that she owed neither the 
58,000,000 of francs which were originally claimed, nor 
the 40,000,000 which France wanted her to acknowledge 
as the amount due. By Decree of July 11, 1877, the 
National Assembly admitted, in the name of the country, 
a debt of 21,000,000 francs, bearing interest at 6 per 
cent per annum. In this manner the Haitian Republic 
incontestably proved her desire to safeguard her inter- 
ests without sacrificing those of her legitimate creditors. 

Consequently, France, which had in the mean time 
been brought to a clear understanding as to the true 
facts of the case, resumed her official relations with 
Haiti by sending in December, 1878, a Minister Pleni- 
potentiary to Port-au-Prince. The cordial intercourse 
which formerly existed between the two nations was 
restored and the Haitians were enabled to come to a 
just and reasonable agreement with the bond-holders. 

Whilst Boisrond Canal's government was in the 
midst of its difficulties with France it was suddenly 
threatened with graver complications with Spain, which, 
being unable to subdue the Cuban insurrection, seemed 
bent on making Haiti her scapegoat. On the 3d of 
December, 1877, the man-of-war Sanchez Barcaiztegui 
anchored in the harbor of Port-au-Prince; her Com- 
mander, Antonio Ferry y Eival, was commissioned to 
make an inquiry as to the legality of the sentence passed 
on one Jose Santisi by the Haitian criminal court. She 
left the port without having caused any trouble. But a 
few days later, on the 14th of December, Commandant 
Jose Maria Autran arrived on the man-of-war Jorge 
Juan, and at once gave rise to a situation fraught with 
much danger. On the 17th he sent an ultimatum to the 
Secretary of Exterior Relations of Haiti allowing 
seventy-two hours for the settlement of the alleged 

The Autran Incident 229 

grievances of Spain. The sentence imposed on Jose 
Santisi l was made a pretext for this haughtily aggress- 
ive attitude; but what in reality annoyed Spain was 
that the unfortunate Cuban refugees found a safe 
asylum on Haitian territory. 2 In his ultimatum 3 Cap- 
tain Autran affected to see an insult to his country in 
the fact that the sentence inflicted on Jose Santisi, a 
Spaniard, having, on account of a technicality, been an- 
nulled by the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation), the 
prisoner had not at once been set free. He at the same 
time, however, declared that Haiti had offended Spain 
in not having enforced a sentence passed upon a Cuban, 
Manuel Fernandez, which had also been declared void 
by the Supreme Court. Jose Santisi and Manuel Fer- 
nandez were both Spanish subjects, Cuba at that time 
not being an independent State; they were therefore 
entitled to the same protection from Spain. The judg- 
ments severally rendered against them having been re- 
versed, they had, according to Haitian laws, to be tried 
again. Nevertheless, Captain Autran did his utmost to 
compel Haiti to discriminate; for, whilst demanding 
that Santisi be immediately set free, he insisted on the 
rigorous execution of the sentence against Fernandez. 
This contradictory demand did not prevent him from 
affirming in his letter to the British Consul at Port-au- 

1 After a trial by jury Jose Santisi was found guilty of arson and 
sentenced to death. He had set fire to the ice factory of Port-au-Prince, 
which was under his management, with a view of defrauding the French 
Insurance Company "Le Globe." This was the man on whose behalf 
Spain was trying to bully Haiti. 

2 "The conduct pursued by the Haitian Government is inconceivable, 
"and I have the assurance that circumstances would never have arrived 
"at the extreme in which they now are if the Cuban insurrection had not 
"existed. Those separatists of the Greater Antilles who do not find in 
"their breasts sufficient breath to meet the charge of the Spanish bay- 
"onets are scattered in the nearest foreign places, with the object of 
"creating at every step international difficulties and to lend aid to those 
"who have risen in arms. * * * But where those sympathies have 
"cast deep roots and caused the perpetration of unheard-of wrongs, has 
"been without dispute in the Republic of Haiti. (Letter 
of Commandant Autran to the British Consul, December 17, 1877. 
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1878, p. 424.) 

8 Le Moniteur, December 22, 1877. 

230 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Prince 4 that his country was l ' the faithful depositary 
and jealous guardian of justice and right. " 

Captain Autran also requested the arraignment of 
those persons who were charged with crying aloud, 
"Down with Spain !" and "Vive Cuba libre!" whilst 
passing before the Spanish Consulate at night; other 
grievances mentioned in the ultimatum were that the 
Spanish flag had been trampled on by unknown persons 
and had also been insulted by one Despeaux. 

Haiti refused to admit the contention of Spain con- 
cerning Santisi and Fernandez and insisted on apply- 
ing the same treatment to both; she denied also all 
responsibility for the alleged cries of defiance heard at 
night before the Spanish Consulate by unknown parties 
and for the non-specified insult to the Spanish flag. 

The diplomatic corps at Port-au-Prince tendered its 
good offices, and on the 19th of December the matter 
was satisfactorily ended by an exchange of salutes 
between the Jose Juan and the Haitian man-of-war 

In his letter of December 17, 1877, to the diplomatic 
corps at Port-au-Prince, Captain Autran had stated 
that the Cuban insurgents enjoyed also great sympathy 
in Jamaica, Nassau, etc. It is worthy of notice that 
Spain refrained not only from sending any ultimatum 
to Great Britain, but did not even venture to make any 
remonstrance to this Power, whilst toward Haiti her 
manner was most offensively overbearing. 

It would seem as though there were an agreement 
among the European Powers to harass the government 
of Boisrond Canal ; for Great Britain now made a claim 
for $682,000 on behalf of Madame Maunder. 5 This 
woman, a Haitian by birth, had been granted the con- 
cession of Tortuga Island. But she failed to pay the 
rent due from 1870 to 1875 ; and the Haitian Govern- 
ment, in order to safeguard the interests of the treas- 
ury, seized the products of the island, and brought suit 
against the grantee with the object of obtaining from 

4 Foreign Relations of the United States, p. 425. 
8 See page 240. 

The Pelletier and Lazare Claims 231 

the courts the cancellation of the contract, this proceed- 
ing being the usual one taken by all creditors against 
their debtors. Great Britain affected to consider this 
as a grave attack upon the interests of one of her sub- 
jects, which caused her in due time to resort to threats 
to extort an indemnity from Haiti. 

Even the United States, whose relations with Haiti 
were at that time most cordial, introduced unjust claims 
against the country, those concerning Lazare and Pelle- 
tier being among the most unreasonable. 8 

In September, 1874, the Government of Domingue 
had granted to A. H. Lazare, an American citizen, the 
privilege of establishing a bank in Haiti. Of the metal- 
lic reserve to the value of $1,500,000, one-third, viz., 
$500,000, was to be furnished by the Haitian Govern- 
ment, and the balance, $1,000,000, by the grantee. It 
was agreed that in case the bank should not be in oper- 
ation a year after the signature of the contract, which 
occurred on the 1st of September, 1874, the concession 
was to be held null and void. On the 1st of September, 
1875, A. H. Lazare was unable to make the deposit of 
the $1,000,000 ; the Haitian Government agreed to wait 
until the 15th of October, notifying him, at the same 
time, that they would consider the concession cancelled 
if on that day he was not ready to fulfil his part of the 
contract. On the 15th of October the Haitian Govern- 
ment deposited in the bank the $500,000, its share in 
the transaction ; but neither Lazare nor his million were 
forthcoming. The concession consequently was declared 
void. Lazare, knowing full well that he had no money 
with which to establish a bank, accepted the accom- 
plished fact. The Haitian Government, with its usual 
benevolence, had the extreme kindness to give him 
$10,000 to cover his traveling expenses and the cost of 
advertisement ; besides which, he was appointed Haitian 
Consul-General in New York. Nevertheless, as soon as 
he heard of the overthrow of Domingue he began in- 
triguing, until the United States Legation at Port-au- 

See pages 237, 239. 

232 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Prince finally introduced in his behalf a claim for 
$500,000, under the pretext that his concession had been 
arbitrarily cancelled. 

Another claim of still more extraordinary nature was 
presented by the same legation. This was founded on 
events that had taken place over eighteen years before. 
One Antonio Pelletier, 7 a Frenchman by birth, who be- 
came a citizen of the United States by naturalization in 
1852, was well known as a slave-trader. In April, 1859, 
his ship, The Ardennes, had been captured at the mouth 
of the Congo Kiver by Cap. Thomas W. Brent of the 
United States man-of-war Marion. This much was 
known of Pelletier when he arrived at Port-au-Prince 
in January, 1861, on the 'schooner Williams flying the 
flag of the United States. A member of the crew in- 
formed the Haitian authorities that the ship was a 
slaver and that the Captain had come with the intention 
of kidnapping about 150 people on the coast of Haiti, 
with the object of selling them in Cuba. A few days 
before Pelletier had tried to engage 50 men and some 
women at Port-au-Prince, under the pretext of taking 
on a cargo of guano at Navassa Island. The Haitian 
police at once proceeded to make a thorough search on 
board the Williams, where arms, ammunition, many 
handcuffs, and barrels of water were found. These 
articles at that time were the necessary accompaniment 
of the slave-trade. The ship, however, was not seized ; 
she was allowed to sail for New Orleans, the Haitian 
Government causing her to be convoyed for a while by 
the man-of-war Le Geffrard. As soon as the Williams 
was left alone she changed her course, and returning 
to Haiti cruised for five days along the north coast, and 
finally entered Fort-Liberte, a small port closed to 
foreign commerce, on the 31st of March, 1861. This 
time she was flying the French flag. Her name was no 
longer Williams, but Guillaume Tell, and Pelletier also 
had changed his name to Jules Letellier. His plan was 
to get a sufficient number of the inhabitants on board 

1 The American and Haitian Claims Commission, Washington, 1885. 

Boisrond Canal: Pelletier Claim 233 

and carry them off to be sold. Under the pretext that 
his ship needed some repairs he entered into relations 
with the authorities of the town for engaging some 
workmen, and then announced that there would be a 
dance given on board the Guillaume Tell. Alarmed by 
the audacity of his captain, a member of the crew, one 
Miranda, deserted the ship and denounced the whole 
plot to the Haitian authorities. The French Consul at 
Cap-Haitien proceeded forthwith to Fort-Liberte, and 
at once found out that Jules Letellier was no other than 
Antonio Pelletier, and that the ship was not the Guill- 
aume Tell from Havre, as her captain had reported, but 
the same Williams which some time previous had set 
sail from Port-au-Prince for New Orleans ; and that she 
had no right to fly the French flag. The Haitian authori- 
ties caused the ship to be seized, and Antonio Pelletier 
with his accomplices was delivered up to justice. On the 
30th of August, 1861, he was sentenced to death by the 
Criminal Court of Port-au-Prince, but the sentence was 
reversed by the Supreme Court on the 14th of October ; 
Pelletier was again tried by the Criminal Court of Cap- 
Haitien, which sentenced him to imprisonment for five 
years. Pelletier was serving his term of imprisonment 
in the jail at Port-au-Prince when he became ill in 1863. 
Out of humanity the Haitian Government authorized 
his transfer to a hospital. He profited by this oppor- 
tunity to make his escape and flee to Jamaica. 

The action of the Haitian Government met with the 
full approval of the representatives of the foreign 
Powers then accredited at Port-au-Prince. Mr. Lewis, 
who was the Commercial Agent of the United States 
in Haiti in 1861, personally requested that Pelletier 
should not be set free. In his report of the 13th of 
April, 1861, to Mr. Seward, at that time Secretary of 
State, Mr. G. Eustis Hubbard, Commercial Agent of the 
United States at Cap-Haitien, expressed the following 
opinion : "I have no doubt that the intention of Cap- 
"tain Pelletier was to induce a number of Haitians to 
"go on board of his vessel, under contract or otherwise, 
"and then make his escape with them and sell them 

234 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

1 1 into slavery. Indeed, my own doubts about 

"the legality of the vessel's proceedings were so great 
"that, had she escaped from Fort-Liberte, I should at 
"once have written to Saint-Thomas, Aspinwall and 
"Havana, requesting the American Consuls of those 
"places to lay the facts before the commander of any 
"foreign man-of-war in port, so that the vessel might 
"have been apprehended and her real intention dis- 
" covered." 8 

Nevertheless, eighteen years later, in February, 1879 r 
Mr. Langston, then United States Minister at Port-au- 
Prince, introduced a claim on Pelletier's behalf; in the 
name of this pirate he did his utmost to extort from the 
Haitian people the trifling amount of $2,466,480. 

The foreign Powers seemed bent upon causing embar- 
rassments to the government of Boisrond Canal, which: 
was showing in every way the greatest respect for the 
law. The two Houses of Congress exercised a rigid 
control of the finances, and the public expenses were 
reduced to the strictest necessities. Public works 
also received much attention. Mr. Borrott, an Amer- 
ican citizen, obtained the concession for the building 
of a railroad and tramway at Port-au-Prince; the 
construction of canals was undertaken and pipes were 
laid for supplying water to private houses; contracts 
for the building of wharves and bridges were also 
signed. Haitians and foreigners alike enjoyed complete 
freedom. Yet throughout Boisrond Canal's adminis- 
tration there was continued trouble arising from all 
kinds of pretensions on the part of the foreign legations 
at Port-au-Prince, as well as from party strife. The 
opposition in the legislative body aimed at absorbing 
the prerogatives of the Executive Power. The rivalry 
in Congress during 1879 between the National and Lib- 
eral parties, both of which were contending for the 
supremacy, made the situation still more delicate. On 
the 30th of June, 1879, a disturbance occurred in the 

8 The American and Haitian Claims Commission, Claim of Antonio- 
Pelletier (Washington, 1885), p. 1103. 

Boisrond Canal Resigns His Office 235 

House of Representatives, followed by a riot at Port- 
au-Prince, in which Mr. Boyer Bazelais, the leader of 
the Liberal party, took the chief part. The Government 
succeeded in restoring order. But feeling that he had 
lost the confidence of the Nationals and the Liberals 
alike after having unsuccessfully tried to play the part 
of peace-maker between them, President Boisrond 
Canal 9 resigned on the 17th of July, 1879. 

9 Boisrond Canal died at Port-au-Prince on the 6th of March, 1905, 
at the age of 73 years. 


Lysius Salomon (October 23, 1879-August 10, 1888) Insurrection at 
Miragoane Misunderstanding with the Catholic clergy Various for- 
eign claims: Lazare, Pelletier, Maunder (continued) The Domingue 
loan Bank of Haiti Financial scandal Universal Postal Union 
Telegraph Agricultural exposition Re-election of Salomon Dis- 
content at Cap-Haitien Salomon leaves Haiti. 

After the resignation of Boisrond Canal the Consti- 
tution of 1867 was modified, and on the 23d of October, 
1879, Lysius Salomon was elected President of Haiti for 
seven years. This term has, since that time, been 
adopted ; the term of four years having too frequently 
been the occasion of dangerous agitation. 

The new President was of a decidedly remarkable 
personality. He had previously held important offices. 
He had been Haitian Minister to France, after which 
he continued for a long time to live abroad, devoting 
much of his leisure to study. The struggle between the 
two parties was at an important juncture when he came 
into power; but he took hold of the authority with a 
firm hand. The Liberal party, which had met with a 
severe defeat, was doing its utmost to regain its former 
influence. Their leader, Boyer Bazelais, who had taken 
refuge in Kingston, was plotting, without any interfer- 
ence on the part of the British Government, against 
Salomon. On the 27th of March, 1883, Bazelais arrived 
at Miragoane on board an American steamer The 
Tropic, where he started an insurrection. This rebel- 
lion was suppressed, but at great cost to Haiti, which 


Salomon: Misunderstanding with Catholic Clergy 237 

besides the expenses which the actual strife necessi- 
tated, had to pay heavy indemnities to foreigners who 
had sustained damages more or less important in Port- 
au-Prince and in other towns. 

On being informed of the part taken in the insurrec- 
tion by an American steamship the United States had 
hastened to accord Haiti the satisfaction she requested. 
The captain and the crew of The Tropic were tried at 
Philadelphia and sentenced for violation of the neutral- 
ity law. 

At the very beginning of his administration Salomon 
was called upon to settle a serious difference existing 
between the civil and religious authorities. During the 
first years of their independence the Haitians had pro- 
claimed freedom of cults and established civil marriage, 
and according to the laws still in force the ministers of 
all creeds were forbidden to celebrate any marriage 
without requesting the presentation of the certificate of 
the civil marriage. Little by little the Catholic clergy 
had come to disregard this requirement entirely, con- 
tending finally that they had the right to perform re- 
ligious marriages without taking any notice of the civil 
ceremony. The legislative body took up the matter and 
a resolution was passed by the House of Represent- 
atives requesting the President to denounce the Con- 
cordat signed with the Holy See in 1860. Salomon was 
taking the necessary steps in carrying out this decision, 
when the priests gave in to the law. Since then there 
has been no further friction between them and the civil 

These internal difficulties were not the only ones with 
which Salomon had to contend. Like his predecessor, 
he had to deal with numerous claims from foreign 
Powers. The United States were still persisting in 
claiming an indemnity on behalf of Pelletier and La- 
zare. 1 In order to put an end to this prolonged discus- 
sion the Haitian Government at last agreed to submit 
the two cases to arbitration. In pursuance of a pro- 

1 For the particulars of these two claims, see pages 231, 232. 

.238 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

tocol 2 signed on the 28th of May, 1884, by Mr. Preston, 
Minister of Haiti, and Mr. Frelinghuysen, Secretary of 
State of the United States, Mr. William Strong, a late 
Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was ap- 
pointed sole arbiter. The award rendered on the 13th 
of June, 1885, was of a most astounding nature. The 
Eepublic of Haiti was condemned to pay to A. H. 
Lazare $117,500 with interest at 6 per cent per annum 
from the 1st of November, 1875, and to the pirate Pelle- 
tier $57,200. On this occasion the Department of State 
gave manifest evidence of the sentiment of equity and 
justice which places the United States so high in the 
esteem of weaker nations. Haiti naturally complained 
of this extraordinary award and appealed to the Secre- 
tary of State, proving beyond doubt that Lazare had 
neither the money nor the credit wherewith to organize 
the bank. As to Pelletier, his crime was so evident that 
Mr. Seward, who was at that time Secretary of State, 
had refused most decidedly to act in his behalf; in his 
letter of November 30, 1863, to the United States Com- 
missioner at Port-au-Prince, he thus expressed his 
opinion of the matter: 3 "His ( Pelletier ? s) conduct in 
"Haiti and on its coast is conceived to have afforded 
4 ' the reasonable ground of suspicion against him on the 
"part of the authorities of that Eepublic which led to 
"his arrest, trial, and conviction in regular course of 
"law, with which result it is not deemed expedient to 
"interfere." And Mr. Gorham Eustis Hubbard, 4 who 
was United States Commercial Agent at Cap-Haitien 
in 1861, had made the following declaration when he 
was summoned by the arbiter on the 22d of February, 
1885 : "It has always been my belief from that day to 
"this that the Haitian Government ought to have ex- 
"ecuted the man as a pirate and confiscated his vessel 
* ' and property beyond redemption. ' ' 5 

2 The American and Haitian Claims Commission, Claim of A. H. 
Lazare, p. 1. 

3 Foreign Relations of the United States, 1888, p. 594. 

4 See Mr. Hubbard's letter of April 13, 1861, to Mr. Seward. Claim 
of Antonio Pelletier, p. 1099. 

5 Hubbard's deposition, Claim of Antonio Pelletier, p. 1120. 

Salomon: Pelletier and Lazare Claims 239 

In June, 1874, the United States Senate had refused 
to take into consideration the petition of Antonio Pelle- 
tier. In 1868 and in 1878 the House of Representatives 
had also refused to make any recommendation to the 
State Department concerning the case. Upon its atten- 
tion being called to all these facts by the Haitian Lega- 
tion at Washington the Department of State, without 
the least hesitation, put aside the two awards and 
exempted Haiti from paying indemnity either to Pelle- 
tier or Lazare. The reasons stated in a memorial 6 of 
the 20th of January, 1887, presented by Mr. T. F. 
Bayard, then Secretary of State, do honor to the great 
Eepublic of North America. The following are his 
words concerning Pelletier: "This claim, I do now 
"assert, is one which, from its character, no civilized 
* ' Government can press. * * * I do not hesitate to 
"say that, in my judgment, the claim of Pelletier is one 
"which this Government should not press on Haiti, 
"either by persuasion or by force, and I come to this 
"conclusion, first because Haiti had jurisdiction to in- 
dict on him the very punishment of which he com- 
" plains, such punishment being in no way excessive in 
"view of the heinousness of the offense, and secondly, 
"because his cause is of itself so saturated with tur- 
pitude and infamy that on it no action, judicial or 
"diplomatic, can be based. " 

The following opinions expressed by Mr. Bayard con- 
cerning Lazare will be read with pleasure by all those 
who place faith in the justice and the strict sense of 
duty of the United States : "Essential as it is that the 
"intercourse between nations should be marked by the 
"highest honor as well as honesty, the moment that the 
"Government of the United States discovers that a 
"claim it makes on a foreign Government cannot be 
"honorably and honestly pressed, that moment, no mat- 
"ter what may be the period of the procedure, that 
"claim should be dropped. " 

Whilst the United States was thus giving proof of its 

* Foreign Relations of the United States, 1888, p. 593. 

240 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

respect for the rights of a weaker nation, Great Britain 
was resorting to threats in order to compel Haiti to pay 
an indemnity to the Maunders. 7 

This claim might easily have been referred to arbi- 
tration ; for the Haitian Government contended that the 
grantee had not paid the rent agreed upon, whilst the 
Maunders declared that they had sustained heavy losses 
the case being thus a mere matter of accounts to be 
settled and damages to be estimated. But Great Britain 
arbitrarily determined upon the amount to be paid, and 
in March, 1887, the man-of-war Canada, with a special 
Commissioner on board, anchored in the harbor of Port- 
au-Prince, demanding an immediate settlement. In 
order to secure peace Haiti had to agree to pay the sum 
of $32,000. 

Foreigners never cease criticising the management of 
Haitian finances, without seeking the reason for the 
impoverished state of the exchequer. The frequent 
assaults made upon the Haitian treasury by one or other 
of the great Powers have in a large measure contributed 
to a deficit in the budgets and to the straitened circum- 
stances in which the country has many a time found 

However, Salomon did not allow these various dif- 
ficulties to prevent him from taking some useful meas- 
ures. He started at once to enter into direct negoti- 
ations with the holders of the bonds of the Domingue 
loan. 8 An agreement was speedily arrived at, and since 
then the interest has been regularly paid. By the year 
1922 this loan will have been entirely redeemed. 

Convinced as to the integrity of the Haitians, French 
capitalists undertook to establish a State Bank in Haiti. 
This bank, which is called Banque Nationale d 'Haiti, 
was established in 1881 ; it is intrusted with the mission 
of collecting the revenues and meeting all the expenses 
of the Kepublic. Unfortunately, this institution did not 
give" the example of strict probity and careful man- 

7 The Maunders claim. See page 230. 

8 See pages 224, 227. 

I I 

Reelection of Salomon and Discontent Following 241 

agement which was expected from it by the Haitians. 
Scarcely four years had elapsed from its organization 
when a scandal broke out: orders already paid were 
again put into circulation; a criminal prosecution en- 
sued which resulted in the conviction of a Frenchman 
and an Englishman, who were both sentenced to three 
years ' imprisonment. Several years later, in 1904, the 
same bank was again implicated in a conspiracy to de- 
fraud the Haitian people ; and the director, the chief of 
its branch offices, the sub-director, and the head of the 
department of bills and acceptances two Frenchmen 
and two Germans were found guilty and sentenced to 
hard labor. Foreigners in Haiti have decidedly not 
given the example of strict probity to which they lay 
claim. It is worthy of note that in this last scandal not 
one of the Haitians employed in the bank was impli- 
cated in the frauds. Although Haiti's expectations in 
this establishment have not yet been completely ful- 
filled, still with proper management it may prove of 
great good to the country. 

Besides the National Bank, Salomon gave also to 
Haiti her first submarine telegraph, and in 1880 ob- 
tained her admission to the Universal Postal Union. 
He caused a national exposition of all the agricultural 
products of the Eepublic to be held at Port-au-Prince. 
The Law School was organized by him on a practical 
basis, so that now it is no longer necessary for Haitians 
to go to Paris in order to study law. 

Salomon's term as President was to have expired on 
the 15th of May, 1887. But upon consideration the 
National Assembly decided to try to keep him at tne 
head of the Government ; for this purpose the Constitu- 
tion, which prohibited reelection, was modified; and on 
the 30th of June. 1886, Salomon was reelected Presi- 
dent for a new term of seven years. On the 15th of 
May, 1887, he took the oath of office. Great discontent 
followed this reelection, which seemed to be an attempt 
at reestablishing Presidency for life. General Seide 
Thelemaque, who was Commandant of the arrondisse- 
ment of Cap-Haitien, headed the malcontents, and on 

242 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the 4th of August, 1888, openly refused any longer to 
recognize Salomon's authority. On the 10th of the 
same month a hostile manifestation took place at Port- 
au-Prince, whereupon the President at once declared 
that he was willing to resign his office. Thus without 
the shedding of blood either at Cap-Haitien or at the 
capital, Salomon left for France on the afternoon of 
the 10th of August. 9 ^ 

The task of maintaining order was intrusted to a pro- 
visional government presided over by ex-President 
Boisrond Canal. 

He died at Paris on the 19th of October, 1888. 


Seide Thel6maque F. D. Lggitime (December 16, 1888-August 22, 1889) 
The incident of the steamship Eaytian Republic Le"gitime leaves 

The Presidency was being eagerly disputed by two 
candidates : General Seide Thelemaque, late Command- 
ant of the arrondissement of Cap-Haitien, and ex-Sen- 
ator F. D. Legitime, who had been Secretary of Agri- 
culture. The elections were hotly contested ; and on the 
17th of September, 1888, all the constituents had been 
elected. Theirs was the duty of choosing a new Presi- 
dent for the Eepublic, and the majority of them seemed 
to have been in favor of Legitime. On the night of 
September 28 an unfortunate clash occurred at Port- 
au-Prince between the partisans of the two candidates. 
General Seide Thelemaque went among his soldiers, 
endeavoring to quell the disturbance, when in the dark- 
ness he was hit in the abdomen by a stray bullet and 
died a few hours after. This sad accident provoked 
very grave consequences. The Departments of the 
North, the Northwest, and the Artibonite held Legitime 
responsible for the death of his rival and demanded the 
withdrawal of his candidacy. The Western and South- 
ern Departments, however, espoused the cause of Legi- 
time, who they knew was incapable of participating in 
a crime, if indeed crime there were; and strongly re- 
sented the attempt to cast the odium of Thelemaque 's 
death on him. The protestants, as the followers of the 


244 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

late General Thelemaque were called, organized a pro- 
visional government at Cap-Haitien, at the head of 
which General Hyppolite was placed; whilst the con- 
stituents of the Western and Southern Departments, 
after meeting at Port-au-Prince, elected F. D. Legitime 
Chief of the Executive Power on the 14th of October, 
1888. Seeing that their colleagues of the North, North- 
west, and Artibonite persisted in keeping aloof, they 
elected Legitime President of the Republic on the 16th 
of December. His opponents protested against this 
election, contending that the Constituents assembled at 
Port-au-Prince had not the proper quorum. However, 
Legitime 's authority was recognized by the European 
Powers, whilst the United States appeared undecided 
as to what course to pursue ; but being evidently made 
uneasy by the intimacy which existed between the new 
President and Comte de Ses Maisons, then Minister of 
France in Haiti, Hyppolite 's cause by degrees grew in 
favor with the Americans. Their partiality almost pro- 
voked grave complications. On the 22d of October, 
1888, the Haitian man-of-war Dessalines captured the 
American steamship Haitian Republic as she was leav- 
ing Saint-Marc after having previously entered several 
Southern ports with a Commission on board, whose 
object was to try to detach them from Legi time's au- 
thority. The same steamer also carried soldiers, arms, 
and ammunition for General Hyppolite 's cause. The 
case was in consequence laid before a prize court. The 
Department of State at Washington intervened; and 
after some protracted parleys the Haitian Government 
gave up the Haytian Republic, which had been declared 
confiscated ; and the ship was restored to Eear- Admiral 
Luce on the 20th of December. 

Legitime being unable to maintain his authority, 
sailed from Port-au-Prince on the 22d of August, 1889. 1 

1 In 1896 L^gitime returned to Port-au-Prince, where he is still living. 


Florville Hyppolite (October 9, 1889-March 24, 1896) The United 
States try to gain possession of Mole Saint-Nicolas The United 
States and Samana Bay Incident with France concerning Haitians 
registered at the French Legation The Chicago Exposition Tele- 
graph Telephone Public works Death of Hyppolite. 

The Constituent Assembly met at Gonaives on the 
24th of September, 1889 ; and after amending the Con- 
stitution, elected on the 9th of October General Hyppo- 
lite President of Haiti for seven years. He took the 
oath of office on the 17th of the same month. As soon 
as he assumed the power he had to settle a very delicate 
matter. Considering that they were entitled to some 
recognition for the sympathy which they had shown for 
Hyppolite 's cause, the United States decided that the 
time had come to try to get Mole Saint-Nicolas into 
their possession, with the intention of establishing a 
naval station. They were, however, greatly mistaken 
in supposing that the people of Haiti would be willing 
to give up a particle of their territory ; popular feeling 
is very strong on this subject and all parties would at 
once unite against the President who would dare to 
place either the independence of the nation or the integ- 
rity of the territory in jeopardy. Unaware of this 
characteristic of the people, President Harrison, acting 
under the advice of Mr. Elaine, his Secretary of State, 
commissioned Kear-Admiral Bancroft Gherardi to ne- 
gotiate for the acquisition of Mole Saint-Nicolas. With 
the intention, it would seem, to intimidate the Haitians, 
a formidable fleet was despatched to Port-au-Prince-, 


246 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

over 100 guns and 2,000 men were sent to support the 
parleys. This array of force produced an effect very 
contrary to that which had been expected ; it provoked 
instead the loud protest of the whole country, thereby 
compelling President Hyppolite to assume an attitude 
all the more firm through the fact of his having been 
suspected of being in sympathy with the Americans. 
From his flag-ship, the Philadelphia, Rear-Admiral 
Gherardi addressed his demand to the Haitian Govern- 
ment; his letter contained the following proviso: "So 
"long as the United States may be the lessee of the 
"Mole Saint-Nicolas, the Government of Haiti will not 
"lease or otherwise dispose of any port or harbor or 
"other territory in its dominions, or grant any special 
"privileges or rights of use therein to any other Power, 
* ' State, or Government. ' ' * 

Rear-Admiral Gherardi was in so great a hurry to 
win that which he imagined would be an easy success, 
that he did not think it necessary to secure the cooper- 
ation of Mr. Frederick Douglass, who was at that time 
United States Minister at Port-au-Prince; he alone 
signed the letter. Mr. A. Firmin, then Haitian Secre- 
tary of State for Exterior Relations, availed himself at 
once of this blunder to request the credentials of the 
Rear-Admiral, who, not being provided with any, was 
obliged to write to Washington for them. When Presi- 
dent Harrison's letter appointing Bancroft Gherardi 
his special Commissioner reached Port-au-Prince, pub- 
lic opinion was in such a state of excitement by the 
protracted sojourn of the powerful white squadron in 
Haitian waters, that it would have been impossible for 
President Hyppolite even so much as to attempt to 
grant the slightest advantage to the United States. 
The Secretary for Exterior Relations clung tenaciously 
to the Constitution, which forbids the alienation of any 
portion of the territory. This ended the matter. 2 

1 The North American Review, October, 1891 Haiti and the United 
States, by the Hon. Frederick Douglass. 

2 Frederick Douglass was wrongly held responsible for Rear-Admiral 
Gherardi's failure; he was replaced by Mr. Durham. No man would 

Hyppolite: The United States and Samana Bay 247 

But President Harrison and Mr. Elaine were not dis- 
couraged by this failure. Still bent upon acquiring a 
naval station in the West Indies, they applied in 1892 
to the Dominican Republic. Mr. Durham, who had re- 
placed Mr. Douglass as Minister at Port-au-Prince and 
Charge d' Affaires at Santo Domingo, was instructed to 
lease Samana Bay for a term of ninety-nine years, for 
which the sum of $250,000 was to be paid. General Ig- 
nacio Gonzales, who was at that time Secretary of State 
for Exterior Relations in President Heureau's Cabi- 
net, hesitated at taking upon himself the responsibility 
of signing such a lease, consequently, having disclosed 
the request made by the United States, he was obliged 
to fly from Santo Domingo into a self-imposed exile. 
These events caused both Presidents, Harrison and 
Heureau, to give up the negotiations. 

The affair of Mole Saint-Nicolas once disposed of, 
Hyppolite 's Government had to come to an understand- 
ing with the French Legation at Port-au-Prince con- 
cerning the practice it had been indulging in of late, of 
granting naturalizations on Haitian territory. Natives 
of Haiti who were able to lay claim to being of French 
descent would go to the legation and have themselves 
registered as French citizens. The Haitian Secretary of 
State of Foreign Relations undertook to put an end to 
this abuse, which could not be tolerated. After a long 
and tedious discussion on the subject, France at last 
yielded, and fully admitted Haiti's contention; she 
ordered her Minister at Port-au-Prince to cancel the 
names of all those who had not had the right to have 
them registered. 

Hyppolite held friendly intercourse with all the For- 
eign Powers. In 1892 the Holy See proved its good will, 
toward the Republic of Haiti in accrediting a Delegate 
and Envoy Extraordinary to Port-au-Prince. 

have succeeded; for the people of Haiti are always ready to resort to 
extreme measures in order to preserve the integrity of their territory 
or their sovereignty. The foreign Power which shows no regard for this 
sentiment by trying to take possession of a portion of the country must 
prepare to face a merciless struggle, to wage a war of extermination. 

248 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Desirous of extending her commerce and making her 
products known abroad, Haiti took part in the Chicago 
Exposition, where she won many high prizes. 

President Hyppolite devoted his earnest attention to 
the public works of the country. Wharves were built 
in several ports ; large markets were erected in Port-au- 
Prince and Cap-Haitien. In several towns canals were 
constructed for the distribution of water to private 
houses. Telegraph lines connected the principal towns 
in the Republic at about the same time that the tele- 
phone was first introduced. The roads were kept in good 
repair ; agriculture and commerce were in a flourishing 
condition. It now became possible for the Republic to 
redeem her internal debt, upon which she was paying 
interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum; for this 
purpose a loan of 50,000,000 francs at 6 per cent per 
annum was floated in Paris in 1896. 

That was the last important act of Hyppolite 's Gov- 
ernment. For some time the President, who was 69 
years old, had not been in good health, and disregarding 
the friendly warnings of those who were interested in 
Ms welfare he refused to give up his hard work and to 
take the rest of which he was in sore need. Against the 
advice of his doctor he decided to undertake a long jour- 
ney to Jacmel. He started on the 24th of March, 1896, 
at three o 'clock in the morning, but before he even had 
time to leave Port-au-Prince he fell from his horse 
dead, in a fit of apoplexy, at a short distance from the 
Executive Mansion. His funeral took place on the 26th 
of March. The Council of Secretaries of State took 
charge of the affairs of the Government until the elec- 
tion of his successor. 


T. Simon-Sam (March 31, 1896-May 12, 1902) The Ltiders incident 
The Northern Railroad Railroad from Port-au-Prince to L'Etang 
Misunderstanding as to the duration of Sam's power His resig- 

Seven days after Hyppolite 's death the National As- 
sembly met at Port-au-Prince, and on the 31st of March 
1896, the Secretary of War, General T. Simon-Sam, 
was elected President for a term of seven years; he 
took the oath of office on the 1st of April. 

All parties had concurred in this election. But the 
Liiders incident was detrimental to the popularity of 
the new President. On the 21st of September, 1897, 
the police of Port-au-Prince were seeking to arrest one 
Dorleus Presume, charged with having committed petty 
larceny. Presume was arrested at the entrance of Les 
Ecuries Centrales (Central Livery Stable), where he 
was employed. This was under the management of 
Emile Liiders, who was born in Haiti of a Haitian 
mother and a German father. Upon his refusal to fol- 
low the policemen the latter took hold of him and a 
fight ensued. The noise attracted Emile Liiders, who 
sided with his employe in helping him in his forcible 
resistance against the officers of the law. At the police 
court a complaint of assault and battery was lodged 
against Liiders and Presume, who were both sentenced 
to one month's imprisonment. They appealed to the 
Correctional Tribunal ; but instead of being charged 
this time with having committed assault and battery 
alone they were also charged with having resisted arrest 


250 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

by force; they were consequently sentenced to one 
year's imprisonment on the 14th of October, 1897. It 
is worth noting that in 1894 Emile Liiders had beaten a 
soldier and had been sentenced to six days' imprison- 
ment. This fact, together with the depositions made 
by the several witnesses, among whom were two French- 
men, a German, and an Englishman, did not prevent 
the German Legation at Port-au-Prince from interfer- 
ing on Liiders 's behalf. On the 17th of October, 1897, 
Count Schwerin, then Charge d 'Affaires, went to the 
Executive Mansion and formally demanded that Liiders 
be set free and that the judges who had pronounced the 
sentence, and the policemen who had made the arrest, 
be dismissed. Astounded by this action so contrary to 
international customs, General Sam declined to look 
into the matter, referring the German Charge d' Af- 
faires to the Secretary of State for Exterior Relations. 
Count Schwerin 's attitude, however, became such that 
the American Minister thought it wise to write to the 
Haitian Government on the 21st of October requesting 
Liiders 's release * out of courtesy for the United States. 
Complying with this request, President Sam, on the 22d 
of October, granted the pardon, and Liiders hastened to 
leave Haiti. Nevertheless, on the 6th of December two 
German men-of-war, the Charlotte and the Stein, an- 
chored at Port-au-Prince. Captain Thiele of the Char- 
lotte at once despatched an ultimatum to the Haitian 
Government demanding an indemnity of $20,000 for 
Liiders, apologies to the German Government, a salute 
to the German flag, and the reception by the President 
of the German Charge d' Affaires, allowing four hours 
for the fulfilment of these conditions. The excitement 
at Port-au-Prince was intense. The people, highly 
incensed at this high-handed attitude assumed by the 
Germans, were determined to defend themselves should 
the capital be bombarded. The representatives of the 
foreign Powers used every means in their power to 
urge President Sam to yield, until he consented to 

1 Solon M6nos, Affaire Liiders, p. 132. 

I. Simon Sam 251 

accept the conditions dictated by Germany. This giv- 
ing way offended the national amour-propre. Never- 
theless, no disturbance ensued; Haiti remained calm in 
the face of the gratuitous humiliation inflicted on her 
by a powerful nation. 

Like his predecessors, President Sam took much in- 
terest in public works. At Port-au-Prince the construc- 
tion of a new building for the sittings of the Court of 
Justice was begun, as was the railroad connecting the 
capital with 1 'Etang-Saumatre, and that of Cap-Haitien 
in the North. 

Treaties and conventions were signed with France 
for reciprocity in 1900 and with the United States on 
naturalization in 1902. 

In the mean time, the newspapers had been discuss- 
ing the duration of the President's term of office. The 
Decree of the National Assembly concerning General 
Sam's election had wrongly prescribed that he would 
be in authority until the 15th of May, 1903. The elec- 
tion had taken place on the 31st of March, 1896, and 
article 93 of the Haitian Constitution reads as follows : 
"In case of the death, resignation, or dismissal of the 
" President, his successor is appointed for seven years, 
"and his power must always cease on the 15th of May, 
"even if the seventh year of his term be not completed. ' ' 
Accordingly, General Sam, to whom this article was 
applicable, was to relinquish the Presidency on the 15th 
of May, 1902. So as to prevent any misunderstandings 
the President sent in his resignation to the National 
Assembly on the 12th of May, 1902, three days before 
the legal expiration of his term, and left Port-au-Prince 
on the 13th. 

The task of maintaining order was intrusted to a pro- 
visional government presided over by General Boisrond 
Canal, a former President of the Republic. 


Legislative elections Affray at Cap-Haitien A. Firmin at Gonaives 
The Markomania incident The blowing up of the Crete-ft-Pierrot by 
Killick Nord Alexis elected President on the 21st of December 
1902 The "Consolidation" scandal. 

The Provisional Government ordered the election of 
the Deputies who, together with the Senators, were to 
elect General Sam's successor. The Presidency was 
aspired to by three candidates: Seneque M. Pierre, 
Senator and former Secretary of War ; A. Firmin, Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary in Prance and former Secretary 
of the Treasury and of Exterior Relations ; C. Fouchard, 
former Secretary of the Treasury. Whilst Pierre and 
Fouchard contented themselves with directing their 
electoral campaign, Firmin took a more active part 
in the struggle by trying to be elected Deputy for Cap- 
Haitien, his native town. The contest in this part of 
the country grew daily more intense. Firmin exerted 
every power in order to secure his election, whilst his 
opponents, who knew that a failure would be detri- 
mental to his chances of attaining the Presidency, 
neglected none of the*means which might cause his 
defeat. Affrays had already occurred at Cap-Haitien, 
when General Nord Alexis, who was Secretary of War 
and a member of the Provisional Government, was 
sent there with the purpose of maintaining order. At 
the opening of the primary Assembly, on the 28th 
of June, 1902, the followers and the opponents of Fir- 
min came to blows. Killick, who at that time was 
at Cap-Haitien with the flotilla, espoused the latter's 
cause. Upon his being compelled to give up the fight, 


The Markomania Incident 253 

Firmin embarked on the Crete-d-Pierrot on the 30th 
of June, and went to Gonaives, where he had been 
elected Deputy. On his arrival he protested against 
the Provisional Government, declaring that the elec- 
tions had not been rightly conducted. Killick, who 
had followed Firmin to Gonaives, boarded the Ger- 
man steamship Markomania on the 2d of September 
and forcibly took possession of the arms and ammu- 
nition which had been shipped from Port-au-Prince 
to General Nord Alexis at Cap-Haitien. At Berlin 
this act was considered as piratical; and on the 6th 
of September the German man-of-war Panther arrived 
at Gonaives where the Crete-d-Pierrot was anchored. 
Her captain demanded that within five minutes the 
Haitian ship be delivered to him. Killick, thoroughly 
taken by surprise, was incapable of offering any resist- 
ance ; he requested to be allowed fifteen minutes. Send- 
ing his crew ashore he lighted a fuse connecting with 
the powder magazine; having done this, he seated 
himself on deck, lit a cigar, and quietly awaited the 
explosion, which was not long in taking place. Rather 
than give her up to the Germans, he preferred to sacri- 
fice his life in the destruction of his ship. The tragic 
death of Killick and the loss of the Crete-d-Pierrot left 
no chance of success to Firmin 's cause. In consequence 
the latter sailed from Gonaives on the 15th of October 
and went to Inagua. 

In the mean time, the electoral campaign was going 
on ; and it looked as if the contest for the election of the 
President would be very protracted. Tiring of a seem- 
ingly endless struggle, the population of Port-au-Prince 
put aside the three candidates who were striving for the 
Presidency and, on the night of December 17, 1902, 
declared in favor of General Nord Alexis, whom the 
National Assembly elected President of Haiti on the 
21st of December for a term of seven years. According 
to article 93 1 of the Haitian Constitution he will retire 
from office on the 15th of May, 1909. 

1 See page 251. 

254 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

As soon as he had been elected, General Nord Alexis 
asserted his determination to enforce a strict respect 
of the public funds. There were rumors of frauds hav- 
ing been perpetrated in the consolidation of the floating 
debt which had taken place under President Sam's ad- 
ministration^ On the 22d of March, 1903, President 
Nord Alexis instructed a Commission to investigate the 
matter; and it was found that the Haitian people had 
been defrauded of over $1,257,993. The case was re- 
ferred to the courts; and after a legal inquiry which 
lasted more than ten months the Chamber of Council 
(grand jury) of Port-au-Prince indicted Joseph de la 
Myre, a Frenchman, and late director of the National 
Bank of Haiti ; Georges Oelrich, Eodolph Tippenhauer, 
Poute de Puybaudet, the two former Germans and the 
latter a Frenchman, all three employed in the National 
Bank; Vilbrun Guillaume, former Secretary of War; 
G. Gedeon, former Attorney-General; B. Saint- Victor, 
former Secretary of Exterior Eolations; Herard Roy, 
former Secretary of the Treasury; Demosthenes Sam, 
Lycurgue Sam, J. C. Arteaud, and Auguste Leon. The 
"consolidation" scandal caused a considerable amount 
of agitation. The indicted parties were influential and 
well-known men. Their friends did all in their power 
to prevent their being tried. The National Bank of 
Haiti went so far as to publicly declare that it would 
no longer give any help to the Haitian Government if 
its former employes implicated in the frauds were not 
set free and allowed to leave the country without any 
further trouble. In spite of his personal sympathy for 
many of the offenders and in spite of the pressure 
"brought to bear on him, President Nord Alexis re- 
mained firm in his determination not to interfere in the 
matter, whilst the Haitian people turned a deaf ear to 
all threats and entreaties ; they calmly awaited the con- 
clusion of the case. On the 28th of November, 1904, the 
indicted parties appeared before the Criminal Tribunal 
(Cour d'Assises) of Port-au-Prince. The proceedings, 
which lasted nearly a month, were all public. The Min- 
isters of France and Germany personally attended the 

Nord Alexis: The Consolidation Scandal 255 

sittings of the court ; Mr. Allen, a barrister of the Paris 
Court of Appeals, was sent from France for the pur- 
pose of watching all the aspects of this famous criminal 
suit. The impartiality and the correctness of Haitian 
justice were such that our worst detractors had nothing 
to say. The evidence against the parties was over- 
whelming. The jury was given eighty-five questions 
to answer; which answer was rendered on the 24th of 
December, being in the negative for Herard Eoy alone, 
who was acquitted and at once set free. The following 
punishment was inflicted on the others, who were found 
guilty as indicted : J. de la Myre Mory, Georges Oelrich, 
R. Tippenhauer, de Puybaudet were sentenced to four 
years of hard labor ; Vilbrun Guillaume to penal servi- 
tude for life; Gedeon, Demosthenes and Lycurgue 
Simon-Sam to three years of hard labor ; Brutus Saint- 
Victor to three years of imprisonment. 

Thus ended the scandal, which for a while was 
fraught with danger, threatening to involve Haiti in 
grave complications. President Nord Alexis proved 
himself to be a man of energy, all the more remarkable 
in consideration of his age, being over eighty. All pub- 
lic works are given his personal attention. The Lycee 
of Port-au-Prince will soon be entirely rebuilt ; the new 
Court of Justice is almost completed. In the beginning 
of 1905 he laid the corner-stone of the monumental 
Cathedral, which is being erected at Port-au-Prince and 
will be completed within four years. Desirous of facili- 
tating the means of transportation for the numerous 
products of the country the President has caused the 
building of the railroad of Cap-Haitien, which enter- 
prise has been abandoned by the grantees, to be con- 
tinued at the expense of the Government. Another 
railroad is also under construction at Gonaives, the 
concession of which has been granted to a Haitian 

Peace, the advantage of which is daily gaining in the 
appreciation of the Haitians, in procuring security will 

256 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

facilitate the exploitation of the many natural resources 
of the country with the help of foreign capital. It is 
the usual thing for outsiders to misrepresent and 
slander Haiti; in so doing these critics show a lack of 
knowledge of the history of the country, and of discern- 
ment in their failure to appreciate the difficulties which 
have from the beginning stood in the way of Haitian 

The history of Haiti 's struggle for liberty and free- 
dom, of her constant efforts toward social and political 
betterment, of all that she has achieved unaided and in 
spite of the ill-will of many of the great Powers, clearly 
shows how unjust and undeserved are the calumnies 
heaped upon her by her detractors. 

Haiti asks no favors; neither has she ever received 
any; all she desires is to be judged with impartiality 
and in good faith. 


Facing 256. 



Limits of Haiti Area Mountains and rivers Adjacent islands Popu- 
lation Government Divisions of the territory into Departments, 
arrondissements, communes, and rural sections Financial organiza- 
tion; the national debt Academic organization; public instruction 
Judiciary organization Religious organization. 

Haiti is bounded on the east by the Dominican 
Republic, on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, 
and on the south by the Caribbean Sea. She derives 
from her position at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico 
and almost in the centre of the Antillean archipelago 
exceptional facilities for communications with foreign 
countries. Cuba is at a distance of 50 miles to the 
northwest, Jamaica 100 miles to the southwest, and 
New York but 1,400 miles away. 1 

The length of the island from east to west is over 
400 miles, the breadth from north to south, ranging 
from 160 to 17 miles, and its perimeter about 900 miles. 

According to B. Ardouin's Geography, its area, in- 
cluding the adjacent islets, is 52,000 square leagues, 2 of 

1 Handbook of Haiti issued by the Bureau of American Republics. 

a A league is equal to 3.89 kilometres. In his dictionnaire adminis- 
tratif d'Haiti, Mr. S. Rouzier gives the following figures : Length of the 
island from east to west, 638 kilometres; width, from 264 to 12 kilo- 
metres; perimeter, 2,600 kilometres; area, not including the adjacent 
islets, 75,074 square kilometres, of which 26,000 belong to the Republic 
of Haiti. The adjacent islets have an area of 2,100 square kilometres. 


258 Haiti: Her History and Her TJetractors 

which -a third constitutes the Republic of Haiti; the 
remaining portion forming the Dominican Republic. 

Fourteen mountain ranges lie across the country, 
which is watered by forty-four rivers and streams, thus 
rendering the soil exceedingly fertile. Among the rivers 
the most important are the Artibonite, 60 leagues long, 3 
which rises in the Cibao Mountain and flows into the 
Gulf of Gonave, near Grande-Saline ; the yearly rising 
of its waters and its consequent benefit to crops has 
caused it to be compared with the Nile ; it is navigable 
and greatly facilitates the traffic of the plain which 
bears its name. 

As to the mountains which give to Haiti so pictur- 
esque an aspect, they literally ridge the country. The 
peak of La Hotte in the South is about 2,470 metres 
and the peak of La Selle in the West 2,950 metres 4 
above the sea level. 

The adjacent islands belonging to Haiti are : 

1st. La Gonave in the bay of Port-au-Prince is 14 
leagues long by 3 wide. 5 The air is pure and the climate 
healthy; there is a lake on this island, and there are 
many mahogany and other valuable trees for cabinet- 
work and building purposes. 

2nd. La Tortue (Tortuga Island), opposite Port-de- 
Paix, was the cradle of the French domination in Saint- 
Domingue, having been occupied by the freebooters in 
1630 ; it is 9 leagues long. The climate of the island is 
so healthy that in the older times the French were in 
the habit of going there to escape from or recuperate 
after yellow fever. Here also are to be found mahogany 
and building timber, and land crabs much sought after 
as food. 

3rd. L'lle-a-Vaches, at about three leagues from 

8 B. Ardouin, Geography of Haiti, p. 24. 

4 According to Moreau de Saint Me>y and G. Tippenhauer, some of 
the mountains in Haiti have the following altitudes: Morne Belle Fon- 
taine, 2,150 m.; Montagne Noire, 1,780; Plateau de Furcy, 1,540; Morne 
L'Hopital, 1,029; Morne Commissaire, 1,500; Morne des Crochus, 1,200; 
Les Matheux, 1,300; Tapion de Petit Goave, 488; Piton du Borgne, 692; 
Morne dn Cap, 580. 

8 B. Ardouin, Geography of Haiti, p. 26. 

Population of Haiti 259 

Cayes, is four leagues long; it is very fertile and fur- 
nishes the town with all kinds of victuals; at certain 
times wood-pigeons are plentiful there. 

4th. Les Caimites, opposite Corail and Pestel, are a 
series of islets the largest of which has an area of only 
two square leagues ; they furnish timber for building. 

5th. La Navase, which has been taken possession of 
by the United States in spite of Haiti's protests. 

The population of Haiti numbers about 2,000,000. 
Under the Constitution the following persons are con- 
sidered Haitian citizens: 1st. Those who are born in 
Haiti or any other country of a Haitian father; 2nd. 
Those born in Haiti or any other country of a Haitian 
mother and not acknowledged by their father; 3rd. 
Those born in Haiti of foreign parents provided that 
they be of African descent. 

A foreign woman upon marrying a Haitian citizen 
becomes a Haitian, whilst a Haitian woman who mar- 
ries a foreigner loses her nationality. 

Any foreigner can be naturalized a Haitian by de- 
claring his intention of settling in Haiti before a justice 
of the peace and by taking the oath of allegiance; the 
naturalization papers being delivered afterward by the 
President of the Republic. 6 (Article 14 of the Civil 

Haitians alone are allowed to own real estate. 

At the age of twenty-one years a Haitian-born citizen 
attains his majority and the exercise of his political 
rights ; but foreigners who have been naturalized must 
reside in Haiti for five years before being allowed to 
enjoy political rights. 

The supreme power is in the hands of the people, 
who are represented by three independent powers : the 
Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary Powers. 

The Legislative power is exercised by a House of 
Representatives (Chambre des Communes) and by a 
Senate. The House of Representatives is elected for 

The only exception to this rule are Syrians, who cannot become 
Haitian citizens without residing ten years in Haiti. (Art. 7, Law of 
August 10, 1903.) 

260 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

three years by the direct vote of the people. There is 
one Eepresentative (Depute) for each commune, with 
the exception of Port-au-Prince, which elects three, and 
Jacmel, Jeremie, Saint-Marc, Cayes, Gonaives, Port- 
de-Paix, and Cap-Haitien, each of which elects two Rep- 
resentatives, making up the number of 95 Represent- 
atives or Deputies. 

The qualifications for the election of a Deputy are 
that the candidate be not less than 25 years old, enjoy 
civil and political rights, be owner of real estate or 
practise some profession or trade. A Deputy receives 
a salary of $300 a month during the legislative session, 
and may not hold any other office paid by the Republic. 
The Senate consists of 39 members elected for six years 
by the House of Representatives from a double list 
presented by the electoral assemblies and by the Presi- 
dent of Haiti. There are 11 Senators from the Western 
Department; 9 from the Northern; 9 from the South- 
ern ; 6 from the Artibonite, and 4 from the Northwest. 

To be elected Senator one must be not less than 30 
years of age, the other necessary qualifications being 
the same as those required from a member of the House 
of Representatives. The Senate is divided into three 
series of 13 members each ; new elections taking place 
every two years. The salary of each Senator is $150 
a month. 

The Senate and the House of Representatives meet 
in National Assembly at the opening and close of each 
session; for the election of the President of Haiti and 
the administration of the oath of office ; to declare war ; 
to examine and approve of treaties of peace and to 
amend the Constitution should the necessity arise. 

The legislative body meets every year on the first 
Monday in April; its session of three months being 
sometimes prolonged to four. In very urgent cases the 
Executive Power is authorized to call an extraordinary 

The legislative body enacts all laws concerning public 
welfare ; the initiative of such measures belonging to 
the two Houses as well as to the President of Haiti 

The Executive Power 261 

since 1843. The House of Representatives, however, 
must first pass all laws concerning taxes or the expenses 
of the State. 

All Deputies and Senators are privileged from arrest 
from the day of their election to the end of their func- 
tions. In criminal, correctional, or police matters they 
cannot be arrested or prosecuted without the formal 
authorization of the Chamber to which they belong, 
save in case of flagrant crimes and for crimes of an 
atrocious nature. 

The Executive Power is exercised by a President 
elected for seven years by the House of Representatives 
and Senate assembled in National Assembly. He enters 
upon the duties of his office on the 15th of May and at 
the expiration of his term cannot be reelected before 
seven years haxe elapsed. In case of death, resignation, 
or dismissal of a President his successor must relinquish 
the office on the 15th of May, even if he have not served 
a full term of seven years. During a vacancy of the 
Presidency or whenever the President is unable to per- 
form the duties of his office the Council of Secretaries 
of State acts in his place. 

The requirements of a candidate for election to the 
Presidency are that he be born of a Haitian father, and 
have never forfeited Haitian nationality ; that he must 
be not less than 40 years of age, enjoy civil and political 
rights, own real estate in Haiti and have his residence 
in the same country. 

The President promulgates all laws enacted by the 
legislative body and issues the decrees necessary to 
their fulfilment ; commands all the forces of the Repub- 
lic; appoints and dismisses all public functionaries; 
makes treaties and conventions, which must be submit- 
ted for approval to the Legislative Power ; and has the 
right to grant amnesty and pardon as well as to com- 
mute penalties. 

In case of abuse of authority, the President is in- 
dicted by the House of Representatives and tried by 
the Senate sitting as the High Court of Justice. The 
President appoints and dismisses the members of his 

262 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Cabinet. He cannot execute any valid measure without 
the countersign of the Secretary under whose sphere 
of authority it comes and who becomes responsible 
therefor. The President's salary amounts to $24,000 
a year, besides $15,000 for traveling expenses. His 
Cabinet consists of six Secretaries of State. The De- 
partments are those of the Interior, Agriculture, Public 
Works, Justice, Public Instruction, Finance, Commerce, 
Exterior Relations, War and Navy. 

A Secretary of State must have attained the age of 
30 years, enjoy civil and political rights, and own real 
estate in Haiti. All important measures are examined 
by the Council of the Secretaries of State, who are 
responsible not only for their own acts but also for the 
acts of the President, which they countersign; the 
verbal order of the President cannot shield them. They 
participate in the labor both of the House of Represent- 
atives and of the Senate, where they have the right to 
introduce, uphold, or oppose the projects in debate. 
Both Houses can interpellate them on all matters rela- 
tive to their administration, and upon receiving a vote 
of want of confidence they usually resign at once. In 
the event of any crime being committed in the exercise 
of their functions they are impeached by the House of 
Representatives and tried by the High Court of Justice 
(the Senate). The salary of a Secretary of State is 
$6,000 a year. 

The Judiciary Power is exercised by a Tribunal de 
Cassation (Supreme Court) sitting at Port-au-Prince, 
by civil and commercial tribunals, and by justices of 
the peace. 

The territory of the Republic is divided into Depart- 
ments, the Departments into arrondissements, the 
arrondissements into communes, and the communes 
into rural sections. 7 There are five departments: the 

7 Several rural sections form a commune; two or more communes 
form an arrondissement and two or more arrondissements form a Depart- 
ment. There are now 26 arrondissements and 86 communes. 

Division of the Territory 263 

Western, capital Port-au-Prince, which is also the capi- 
tal of the Republic; the Artibonite, capital Gonaives; 
the Northwestern, capital Port-de-Paix; the Northern, 
capital Cap-Haitien, and the Southern, capital Cayes. 
A Delegate appointed by the President is at the head of 
each Department. The arrondissements and communes 
are under the rule of officers appointed by the President 
and respectively called Commandants of arrondisse- 
ments and Commandants of " places " and communes. 

The Commandant of an arrondissement exercises 
both civil and military power. As the representative 
of the Executive Power he has all the armed force of 
his territory under his authority, and is responsible for 
the maintaining of peace and order. He has about the 
same prerogatives as those conferred upon the prefects 
in France. In all military matters he is in direct com- 
munication with the President and the Secretary of 
War, whilst in administrative business he is dependent 
upon the Secretary of the Interior. 

The Commandant of a commune has the special care 
of the mending of roads, the control of agriculture and 
the police. 

The civil and financial interests of each commune are 
managed by an independent body elected for three 
years by the people and called the Communal Council. 
Out of its members this council elects a chairman who 
assumes the title of Communal Magistrate and whose 
powers resemble those of a mayor. 

Apart from the foregoing territorial divisions Haiti 
is subdivided into financial administrations, academic 
circumscriptions, jurisdictions, and dioceses. 

For the whole country there are eleven ports open to 
commerce with foreign countries ; 8 there are eleven 
financial administrations, at the head of which is a func- 
tionary called the Administrator of Finance. In each 

8 These ports are Port-au-Prince, Petit-Goave and Jacmel in the 
West; Miragoane, Je're'mie, Cayes, and Aquin in the South; Saint-Marc 
and Gonaives in the Artibonite; Cap-Haitien in the North, and Port-de- 
Paix in the Northwest. The port of M61e Saint-Nicolas has been opened 
lately (1905) but is not yet in operation. 

264 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

of the eleven ports is a custom-house, where all goods 
or products imported or exported are controlled. 

The Administrator of Finance signs all documents 
relative to the collection of duties or to the expenditure 
in that part of the territory under his authority; the 
duties are afterward collected and all expenses paid by 
the National Bank of Haiti, which has charge of the 
Service of the Treasury. 9 He is in relations with the 
Secretary of the Treasury and Commerce as well as 
with the Court of Accounts. 

The members of this Court of Accounts are elected 
by the Senate from a list of candidates presented by 
the House of Representatives. The property of the 
Secretaries of State and of all those who are account- 
able for the management of the public funds remains 
mortgaged until a favorable report is made by the 
Court of Accounts concerning their administration. 

The financial situation of Haiti is in a better condition 
than that of many other countries. The external debt 
amounted on the 31st of December, 1904, to $12,123,105 ; 
it consists of two loans floated in France in 1875 and 
in 1896. The balance due on the loan of 1875 is 19,252,- 
560 francs or $3,609,855, and yields an interest of 5 per 
cent. Haiti pays an annuity of 1,557,492 francs. In 
1922 this loan will be entirely redeemed. 

The loan of 1896, amounting to a total of 50,000,000 
francs, pays 6 per cent interest. Owing to the regular 
payment of the annuities the balance of this loan in 
December, 1904, was 45,404,000 francs, or $8,513,250. 
It will be entirely paid in 1932. 

On the 31st of December, 1904, the home or internal 
debt amounted to $14,181,870, not including the paper 
money, which is being gradually redeemed by means of 
special taxes. 

There are usually as many academic circumscriptions 
as arrondissements, although an academic circumscrip- 
tion may, according to circumstances, include two or 

Since the scandal of "La Consolidation" the service of the treasury 
has been in the hands of Haitian officials appointed by the President of 
the Republic. 

Public Instruction 265 

more arrondissements; at present there exist fifteen of 
them. At the head of each academic circumscription is 
an inspector of schools, who is in direct relations with 
the Secretary of Public Instruction. All public and 
private schools located in his circumscription are under 
liis control and authority. 

Teaching is free in Haiti ; natives as well as foreign- 
ers can practise this profession, provided that they 
fulfil the conditions required by the law on public in- 
struction. One must of course be in possession of a 
diploma testifying his ability to teach, and in the case 
of a foreigner he must be able to present good testi- 
monials, indicating at the same time the place of his 
residence and the profession practised before his ar- 
rival in Haiti. 

Instruction is compulsory and absolutely free of cost 
from the primary to the highest schools. A thorough 
education can be had by all Haitians simply by defray- 
ing the expenses of their maintenance. All have thus 
equal chances. The Republic goes so far as to assist 
children who, owing to the embarrassed circumstances 
of their parents, would be unable to remain long at 
schools. Free scholarships amounting to $15,300 a year 
are granted to 85 pupils, boys and girls. 

Teachers are exempted from military service. Knowl- 
edge is diffused through primary schools both in the 
towns and in the country, through Lycees and colleges, 
professional and high schools. There are now 278 pri- 
mary schools, 39 schools under the management of the 
Brothers of Christian Instruction, 6 schools for classical 
education, 6 Lycees, and one professional school, for 
boys. For girls there are 102 primary schools, 6 schools 
for classical education, 40 schools under the management 
of the Sisters of Saint- Joseph de Cluny, and about 20 
schools under the management of the "Filles de la 
Sagesse." Besides there are schools for the study of 
medicine, pharmacy, law, drawing and painting, arts, 
trades, and electrical sciences. All these schools are 
maintained at the expense of the Eepublic. 

Apart from these there are also many private schools 

266 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

where the teaching is conducted on the lines of the 
curriculum adopted by the Secretary of Public Instruc- 
tion. Among the most important of these establish- 
ments at Port-au Prince are the College Louverture, 
the Petit Seminaire College, under the management of 
the Fathers of the Holy Ghost; the Institution Saint 
Louis de Gonzague, the Pensionnat Sainte Rose de 
Lima; an orphanage where the girls are taught manual 
trades; a school for practical sciences, a Wesleyan 
school for boys and girls, a maternity which furnishes 
competent midwives, and the Clinique Pean, where the 
students receive practical and technical instruction in 
medicine. At Cayes and at Cap-Haitien there are pri- 
vate law schools. 

The Eepublic of Haiti, ever anxious to encourage the 
diffusion of public instruction, subsidizes all these 
private schools, without mentioning the bursaries she 
maintains in France and elsewhere. Whilst being most 
liberal in a financial way, she reserves the right of con- 
ferring degrees. No students of the private schools of 
medicine, law, etc., can be graduated without passing 
an examination of the Board of National Schools and 
having their diplomas signed by the Secretary of Public 

From a budget amounting to $7,000,000 Haiti's 
yearly expenditure for public instruction is $800,000. 
When one considers that in 1844 there were but four 
national schools in the whole arrondissement of Port- 
au-Prince, 10 it is easy to form an idea of the marvellous 
progress which has been made since in that line; for 
at the present day, not including the Lycee and other 
high schools, there are in the city of Port-au-Prince 
alone ten public schools under the management of the 
Brothers of Christian Instruction, one Lancasterian 
school, five lay schools, one school for classical educa- 
tion for boys, whilst for girls there are eight primary 
schools and one school for classical education, to say 
nothing of the numerous private schools. 

10 Linstant-Pradine, Lois et Actes, 1843-1845, p. 416. 

Public Instruction 267 

In the primary schools in the country there is a three 
years' course consisting of religious instruction, read- 
ing, writing, the first elements of French grammar, 
Haitian geography and history, elementary arithmetic ; 
the rudiments of agriculture for the boys, and sewing 
for the girls. 11 

In the primary schools of the city there is a four 
years' course of the same subjects as taught in the 
country schools, with the addition of the outlines of 
general history and geography and elementary physics 
and natural history. 

In the three years' course the following subjects are 
taught in the classical schools: French language and 
literature ; Spanish and English ; arithmetic ; rudiment- 
ary algebra and geometry ; cosmography and bookkeep- 
ing; physics and natural history and their relation to 
agriculture, industry and hygiene ; drawing, elementary 
political economy ; Haitian history and geography ; gen- 
eral history and geography. 

In the girls' schools most of the same subjects are 
taught, the subjects omitted being replaced by orna- 
mental drawing, music, sewing, and embroidery. 

The complete course in the Lycees and colleges takes 
seven years and comprises moral and religious instruc- 
tion, French, English and Spanish grammar and liter- 
ature; Latin; Greek; general history and geography;; 
philosophy; political economy; mathematics; physics; 
chemistry ; natural history ; elocution ; mechanical draw- 
ing; vocal and instrumental music. 

My excuse to my readers for giving these details is 
that this is the best refutation that can be given to the 
detractors of Haiti. By thus revealing the unceasing 
efforts made by that country toward the education of 
her inhabitants, the truth of which statements is amply 

11 For further information as to the curriculum of the various 
schools of Haiti, read the interesting work of Ste"nio Vincent and C. 
Lhe"risson, La Le"gislati6n de 1'Instruction Publique de la Re"publique 
d'Haiti. Mr. Lhe*risson is the founder and Principal of the College 
Louverture at Port-au-Prince, one of the most important private schools 
in Haiti. 

268 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

borne out by facts, I hope to prove the absurdity of the 
slanders made by people who, for reasons of their own, 
avail themselves of every opportunity to give to the 
public the false impression that Haiti is retrograding 
instead of progressing. Any foreigner by visiting our 
schools can verify for himself the truth of what is here 
reported; he can see the sons of our country people 
who have been brought up in these schools and form an 
idea of the headway gained from generation to gener- 
ation. That a State which willingly makes so many 
sacrifices in order to diffuse public instruction is re- 
turning to a condition of barbarism and savagery is an 
accusation as absurd as it is unjust. 

For the administration of justice the territory of 
Haiti is divided into twelve jurisdictions, at the head 
of each of which is an official called the Commissary of 
the Government (Commissaire du Gouvernement), who 
together with his deputies (substituts), represents the 
Executive Power. These Commissaries of the Govern- 
ment are appointed by the President. Their duty is to 
see to the carrying out of the law and of the decisions 
of the courts ; to prosecute all persons accused of crimes 
or misdemeanors ; to appear in all cases concerning the 
State, as well as in cases concerning persons under age 
or who are declared non compos mentis, when the inter- 
ests of those persons are neglected by their guardians. 

Justice is administered by the Supreme Court (Tri- 
bunal de Cassation), civil and commercial tribunals, 
and by justices of the peace. 

To become a justice of the Tribunal de Cassation one 
must have reached the age of 30 years, and of 25 years 
to become a judge of the other tribunals. 

The President of Haiti appoints all the members of 
the judiciary body ; but he has not the power to dismiss 
the justices of the Tribunal de Cassation or of the civil 
tribunals; they cannot even be appointed from one 
tribunal to another without their formal consent; to be 
retired on a pension they must be quite incapacitated 
by illness to perform their duties. 

The Tribunal de Cassation, which is at the summit of 

Judiciary Organization 269 

the judiciary organization, sits at Port-au-Prince and 
consists of a President, a Vice-President, twelve Jus- 
tices, one Commissary of the Government, and two 
Deputies (substituts). As a rule this tribunal takes no 
cognizance of the issues between litigants, its special 
mission being to prevent the other courts from violating 
the laws or from interpreting them wrongly; conse- 
quently, when it annuls a decision the case is referred 
to the nearest tribunal, the suit beginning anew. How- 
ever, in order to put as speedy an end as possible to a 
law-suit, the Tribunal de Cassation, sitting in assembled 
sections (sections reunies), settles the matter by a de- 
cision which is final when the same case between the 
same parties has been brought before it twice. 
^ The Tribunal de Cassation is divided into two sec- 
tions: the civil section, which takes cognizance of all 
civil, commercial, and maritime matters ; and the crimi- 
nal section, which has to do with criminal, correctional, 
and police decisions. The quorum for each section is 
five justices including the president; in assembled sec- 
tions (sections reunies), nine are required to make a 

There are civil tribunals at Port-au-Prince, Cap- 
Haitien, Cayes, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, Anse-a- 
Veau, Aquin, Port-de-Paix, Saint-Marc, Petit-Goave 
and Fort-Liberte. 

All civil suits on matters exceeding $150 must be sub- 
mitted to these tribunals, whose quorum is limited to 
three justices. In places where there are no commercial 
tribunals they settle commercial and maritime cases as 

Under the name of criminal or correctional tribunals 
they try all persons arraigned for crimes or misde- 
meanors. The decision of these tribunals is directly 
submitted to the Tribunal de Cassation. 

There are commercial tribunals at Port-au-Prince, 
Cap-Haitien, Cayes, Gonaives, Jacmel, and Jeremie. 
The justices of these tribunals, who are elected for two 
years by a certain class of merchants, must be 25 years 
of age, besides being merchants paying license. These 

"270 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

tribunals take cognizance of all cases between mer- 
chants, bankers, etc. ; of all issues relative to an act of 
commerce; of all matters concerning bankruptcy, fail- 
ures, etc. 

In every commune there is at least one justice of 
the peace. At present there are in the whole Republic 
104 justices of the peace with civil, commercial, and 
police jurisdiction; all civil and commercial law-suits 
not exceeding $150 must be submitted to them ; under 
the name of police courts they attend to all transgres- 
sions (contraventions). An appeal against a decision 
of a justice of the peace is deferred to the civil or 
correctional tribunal according to the nature of the 
case. Justices of the peace are appointed and dismissed 
by the President of Haiti. 

Catholicism being the religion of the country, Haiti 
is divided into dioceses, and the dioceses into parishes. 
The dioceses are identical with the Departments and 
the parishes with the communes ; there are consequently 
five dioceses. At Port-au-Prince there is an Archbishop ; 
there are Bishops at Cayes and Cap-Haitien ; a Vicar- 
General in the diocese of Port-de-Paix as well as in the 
diocese of Gonaives. At the head of each parish there 
is a rector (cure) appointed by the Archbishop or the 
Bishop of the diocese. The Archbishops and Bishops 
are appointed by the President of Haiti, their canonical 
investiture being granted by the Holy See ; before enter- 
ing upon the duties of their offices they take the follow- 
ing oath before the President: "I swear to God, upon 
"the Holy Gospel, to be obedient and faithful to the 
' ' Government of Haiti and to undertake nothing directly 
* ' or indirectly in opposition to the rights and interests 
" of the Republic, ' ' The Vicar-Generals and the rectors 
(cures) take the same oath before the justice of the 

The great majority of the Haitians are Catholics; 
consequently this religion is specially protected. In 
conformity with the Concordat signed at Rome in 1860 
the Republic provides salaries for the Archbishop, the 
Bishops, and rectors ; and furnishes them with proper 

Religious Freedom 271 

lodgings. Besides which, Haiti maintains 20 bursaries 
at the Seminary of Saint-Jacques in France. The most 
cordial relations exist between Haiti and the Pope, who 
has a diplomatic agent at Port-au-Prince. 

The privileged situation which the Catholic Church 
enjoys in Haiti does not prevent the Haitians from 
granting full protection to all other creeds. Religious 
freedom is proclaimed by the Constitution and has 
always been respected since the first day of the coun- 
try 's independence. In Haiti are to be found Episco- 
palians, Wesleyans, Baptists, Methodists, etc. As to 
tolerance of the Haitians in their liberal views, there 
can be no question when it is known that the Republic 
makes annual appropriations toward the support of 
many of the Protestant sects. 


Climate of Haiti Sanitary condition The absence of poisonous insects 
Fauna Flora: fruit-trees; vegetables Fertility of the land. 

The climate of Haiti, though very hot, does not 
endanger the lives of the foreigners. Persons coming 
from a cold country who land for the first time in Haiti 
run no greater risk than those who spend the summer 
in New York or Washington, where the heat is more 
oppressive on account of the humidity of the atmos- 
phere. In general the climate of Haiti is dry. It all 
depends upon the newcomer's mode of living as to 
whether he will enjoy good or poor health. Many a 
time diseases have been attributed to the tempera- 
ture when caused in reality by intemperance or bad 
hygiene. 1 

The warmest season of the year at Port-au-Prince 
begins about May. That which makes the tropical 
climate so trying is owing more to the continuous heat 
than to the intensity of it, the thermometer registering 
on an average 90 Fahrenheit during the month of 
August. During the daytime sea breezes moderate the 
heat, the nights being made quite pleasant by the land 
breeze. A very agreeable temperature can be obtained 
in the delightful hills which surround Port-au-Prince 

1 Foreigners who wish to go and live in Haiti would find some valu- 
able information in the book of one of my distinguished fellow-citizens, 
La Pathologic Intertropicale, by Dr. Le"on Audain, late intern and sur- 
geon of the hospitals of Paris and Director of the School of Medicine in 
Port-au-Prince. ( 1905. ) 


The Climate 273 

and are dotted here and there by country residences. 
Here the temperature at night is considerably cooler 
than in the city, and the absence of mosquitoes consti- 
tutes one of its greatest charms. Heavy rains cleanse 
and cool the atmosphere. The climate of Haiti has long 
been known for its healthiness. Moreau de St. Mery has 
said the following about it : 2 

"The great diversity of the climate and temperature 
' i of the island is owing to its configuration of alternate 
"lofty mountains and deep valleys. This diversity is 
"due chiefly to the situation of the island in the region 
' ' of the trade-winds ; Saint-Domingue is exposed in all 
"its length to the east winds, which, entering into the 
"spaces between the mountain-ranges, form channels 
"of air which serve to cool the temperature of these 
"mountains, an advantage not enjoyed by the plains, 
"where the mountains sometimes deviate the winds. 
"Apart from these causes many local circumstances, 
' ' such as the altitude of the land, the quantity of water 
"which irrigates it, the scarcity or the abundance of 
"forests, affect the climate greatly. 

"If a powerful cause did not counteract the effect of 
"the heat of the sun, which is always intense in the 
"torrid zone, and whose beams during three months of 
"the year fall at right angle on Saint-Domingue, the 
"temperature of this island would be unbearable to 
"man. * * * That which causes this counteracting 
"effect is the wind to which allusion has just been made 
"and whose healthful coolness tempers the heat of the 
' ' sun. To this can be added the influence of the equal- 
"ity in duration between days and nights and also the 
"influence of the abundant rains which water profusely 
"the surface of the island and have a cooling effect on 
' ' the air through evaporation caused by the heat. * * 
"The difference between the two seasons (summer and 
"winter) is more distinguishable in the mountains than 
"in the cities. In the mountains the temperature is 

a Moreau de St. Mary's book on Saint Domingue can be found at the 
Library of the Department of State at Washington. 

274 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"milder, there is neither that oppressive heat nor those 
"strong breezes which dry up the air instead of cooling 
"and freshening it. For this reason life in the mount- 
' l ains is more pleasant than in the plains. * * * In 
"the mountains the thermometer seldom rises above 18 
" or 20 degrees 3 centigrade, whilst in the plains and in 
"the towns it registers on an average as high as 30 
"degrees. 4 The nights are sometimes cool enough to 
"necessitate the use of a blanket ; in some of the mount- 
"ains of Saint-Domingue it is often necessary to build 
' ' a fire. This is not owing to the intensity of the cold, 
"the temperature being only 12 or 14 degrees centi- 
" grade, 5 but on account of the contrast of this tempera- 
"ture with that felt during the day and which produces 
"a sensation that is not rightly expressed by the words 
"cold and hot as they are generally understood in a 
"cold country. " 8 

All that Moreau de St. Mery wrote about the climate 
of Haiti is still true of it. Nevertheless, in their frenzy 
of misrepresentation the detractors of Haiti spare not 
even her climate ; they make it out to be a menace to the 
life of foreigners. As a matter of fact, these detractors 
generally know little or nothing of Haiti ; after a stay 
of a few hours or a day or two in one of the cities or 
towns they take upon themselves to speak ex cathedra 
about the country, its inhabitants, customs, etc. 

Besides the numerous residences in the suburbs of 
Port-au-Prince, at Turgeau, Peu-de-Chose, etc., which, 
nestling in their picturesque setting of green, offer a 
pleasant change from the heat of the city, there can be 
found in the surrounding mountains several places cool 
enough to bear comparison with many of the summer 
resorts in the United States. Petionville or La Coupe, 
at an altitude of 500 metres above the sea level, is 
scarcely an hour's drive from Port-au-Prince ; the nights 
there are always cool and pleasant. Beyond Petion- 
ville, at a distance of 17 kilometres from the capital, is 

8 64 or 68 degrees Fahrenheit. * 86 degrees Fahrenheit. * 52-54 
degrees Fahrenheit. 

B. Ardouin, G6ographie d'Haiti, p. 20. 

The Temperature at Furcy 275 

Furcy at an altitude of 1,540 metres, whose forest of 
pines was once of great beauty, but is now very much 
impaired through the felling of the trees. In August 
the thermometer here registers as low as 10 degrees 
centigrade or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This delightful 
temperature and the exquisite beauty of the scenery 
have made Furcy extremely popular among visitors to 
the island, Europeans especially, who seldom miss the 
opportunity of spending a few days in this place. In 
order to escape the severity of the winter the wealthy 
people of the United States will go some day to Furcy 
and there recuperate their strength and repose their 
minds in the enjoyment of a balmy climate. When 
Haiti becomes better known abroad Furcy will surely 
take her place as one of the most delightful of summer 

Everywhere in the vicinity of the towns can be found 
cool and beautiful spots where one may escape from 
the heat. Death by sunstroke is unknown in Haiti ; and 
the heat there does not kill people as it does in New 
York and many other cities of the United States during 
the summer. 

The drought and the rainy season succeed each other 
regularly. At Port-au-Prince the rainy season begins 
about April and lasts until late in November ; it showers 
mostly in the afternoon and at night. 

In the South, at Cayes, heavy rains occur in May and 
October; the rivers and streams, of which there are 
many in the vicinity of this town, overflow their banks 
and inundate the plain ; they fertilize the soil, but when 
excessive occasionally inflict great losses upon the in- 
habitants. The north wind which begins to blow in 
December occasions the drought, when the weather be- 
comes very dry and cool. 

The sanitary condition of Haiti is very unlike that 
which it is represented to be abroad; it is in reality 
better than in many countries. Yellow fever and small- 
pox do not exist in the island, except when brought over 
from some neighboring country. Typhoid fever is so 
uncommon that it is believed that very often doctors 

276 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

have mistaken some fevers peculiar to the country for 
that disease. 7 

Without any intention of finding fault or of making 
comparisons, I cannot, however, help noticing that 
typhoid fever and smallpox are endemic in many of 
the cities of the United States, and that in Washington, 
for instance, cases of these diseases can be found 
throughout the year. It would surely be unjust to infer 
from this that Washington or the United States is a 
source of danger to the world. Yet newspapers in the 
United States have often undertaken to pervert public 
opinion against Haiti by representing it as the seat of 
all kinds of diseases. According to them the Federal 
Government ought to make it its duty to take possession 
of the island in order to compel its inhabitants to com- 
ply with the rules of hygiene. 

These declamations have had a bad effect on the 
minds of those who, knowing nothing about Haiti, are 
led to believe that her sanitary condition is a great 
danger. This opinion would not long be entertained 
if the sanitary condition of this country were compared 
in good faith with the numerous contagious and infec- 
tious diseases which claim so many victims in some 
cities of the United States. However, this cannot justly 
be made a subject of reproach to the Americans; for 
few people take as much care as they do of public 
health ; few nations are as prompt as the United States 
always is to ward off and fight against diseases, regard- 
less of cost or sacrifice. The endemic smallpox and 
typhoid fever which exist in Washington do not prevent 
that city from being exceedingly clean and healthy. 
Nowhere is there more ease, nor are the rules of 
hygiene, prophylactic or otherwise, better enforced 
than there. Nevertheless, foreigners who have lived in 
Washington but a short time have often been heard to 
say that it is a dangerous place on account of its dis- 
eases. This hastily formed opinion has as slight a 

7 Dr. L6on Audain, Pathologie Intertropicale. 

Yet Mr. St. John, in Haiti or the Black Republic, strives to create 
the impression that the climate of Port-au-Prince is most unhealthy. 

Absence of Poisonous Insects 277 

foundation as that generally heard on the sanitary con- 
dition of Haiti. 

Haiti is not a Garden of Eden from which human 
infirmities have been banished ; its inhabitants are in no 
wise exempt from the sufferings and diseases that fall 
to man's lot; but those sufferings and diseases are no 
greater here than they are elsewhere. Tuberculosis, for 
instance, whose victims in Europe and America cannot 
be numbered, is quite unknown among the country 
people in Haiti. But bilious fever is very common and 
malaria exists in many places. 

The country life is more pleasant from the fact that 
there are no dangerous animals or poisonous insects or 
reptiles ; neither are there any venomous vipers. Such 
snakes as exist here are harmless and always ready to 
flee upon the approach of man. The climate is so mild 
that the country people need not close their windows 
and doors at night; they very often sleep in the open 
air. Yet cases of death caused by the stings of insects 
are unheard of. In some places, towns principally, flies 
and mosquitoes are a great nuisance ; but these can be 
got rid of by taking the proper precautions. 

Among the reptiles there are many different kinds of 
lizards, all of them quite harmless. 

Birds are very numerous in Haiti, there being at least 
40 varieties of them, of which 17 are peculiar to the 
country. 8 Among the best known are the nightingale, 
humming-bird, swallow, finch or cardinal-bird, ortolan, 
turtle-dove, quail, wood-pigeon, teal, wild duck, water- 
hen, plover, oyster-catcher, flamingo, woodpecker, par- 
rot, etc. 

There is a great variety of beautiful butterflies ; there 
are wasps whose sting is very painful, and bees which 
produce a superior quality of honey. 

The only wild animals which exist in Haiti are boars, 
wild goats, and wild oxen ; and they are to be found only 
in some of the adjacent islands Plle-a-Vaches, Tor- 
tuga, etc. 

8 Handbook of Haiti issued by the Bureau of American Republics, 
Washington, D. C. 

278 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Land-crabs, fresh water and sea-turtles are to be had 
in great abundance and are much sought after as food. 

The following is a list of the chief fruits of the coun- 
try : star-apple, guava, mango, sappodilla or nasebury, 
peach, plum, West-Indian mammee, orange, tangerine, 
lime, sweet lemon, bread-fruit, alligator-pear, chestnut, 
sour-sop, sweet-sop, pineapple, custard-apple, rose- 
apple, date, wild strawberry, banana, watermelon, 
muskmelon, grenadilla, sweet-cup, papaw, etc. 

The lofty cocoanut-tree furnishes the thirsty traveler 
with cool water of delicious flavor, the interior of the 
nut, when young, being lined with a soft, sweet, jelly- 
like substance, which hardens with age to the thickness 
of an inch. The palmetto (palmiste), which abounds 
in the island, produces an edible shoot, the cabbage 
palm, which is considered a great delicacy and is pre- 
pared as a salad. 

Port-au-Prince is well known for the fair quality of 
its vegetables ; nowhere can there be found better arti- 
chokes, finer green peas, beets and carrots, egg-plants, 
lettuce, turnips, and so great a variety of beans 9 and 
juicy fruit. Other vegetables grown are yams, plan- 
tains, sweet potatoes, etc. Throughout the country the 
necessities of material life can be easily satisfied ; food 
is wholesome, plentiful, and nourishing. 

Nature does not limit her bounty to providing Haiti 
with such things only as are necessary for the bodily 
wants of its inhabitants. Her prodigality is seen on 
every hand in the luxuriant foliage which clothes the 
hills and valleys throughout the entire year with green 
from the tenderest to the deepest shades, and varied 
by large flowering-trees and brightly colored leaves, 
making up scenes of unsurpassed beauty that meet 
one 's gaze at every turn. From January to December 
flowers bloom in profusion, delighting the eye with a 
variety of coloring and scenting the air with their fra- 
grance. The atmosphere is often heavy with the per- 
fume of such flowers as jasmine, tuberose, camellia, 

8 The inhabitants of Haiti call the beans "pois." 

Beauty of the Scenery 279 

and many other beautiful plants unknown outside the 
tropics. The large flamboyant-tree (Caesalpinia pul- 
cherrima) displays on coast and hill-tops alike the 
crimson glory of its blooms against the soft green of 
the surrounding foliage, and lights up the scene with its 
vivid glow as of a lighthouse placed by nature for the 
guidance of invisible travelers. The cockscomb (Celosia 
cristata) empurples the fields with its velvet clusters, 
with here and there a touch of gold where the sunflower 
sways on its slender stalk, still another color being 
added to the scene by the deep pink blossoms of the 
coralilla (belle Mexicaine) (Antigonon leptopus), which 
runs along the hedges and hangs in graceful clusters 
from the surrounding bushes. Along the country way- 
sides and in the fields are to be seen varieties of wild 
begonia, fuschia, lilac, rose-bay, marigold, reseda, the 
large trumpet-like flower of the datura, many varieties 
of lilies and wild roses, whilst in the cool of the mount- 
ains, along the banks of the streams, grow masses of 
wild forget-me-nots. Around the humblest peasant's 
hut the fragrance of flowers perfumes the air ; climbing- 
jasmine, the honeysuckle, the sweet verbena, hidden in 
the bushes, reveal their presence by their sweet odor, 
mixed up with that of the mint which in some places 
carpets the ground. The convolvulus vine engarlands 
trees on whose trunks and branches wild orchids bloom. 
The fairy-like beauty of the scene is still more enchant- 
ing when seen with every leaf and blade of grass glis- 
tening with dew, shining like diamonds as they are lit 
up by the rays of the early sun. The very swamps are 
made beautiful by the nelumbo and the nenuphar, which 
spread over the stagnant waters, hiding them from 
sight by their large leaves and their yellow and white 

Each hour of day seems to bring out some new beauty 
in the landscape. As the sun sinks slowly in the west, 
in a blaze of color such as is seen only in a. tropical 
sunset, a gentle breeze passes caressingly on the land, 
carrying with it the faint fragrance of flowers such as 
the mirabilis and the night jasmine, which grow more 

280 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

lavish with their perfume as night comes on, as though 
to make up for the darkness that falls upon the earth. 
The moonlight is another of the chief beauties of the 
tropics. Under the influence of its mysterious lights 
the hills in Haiti are given a touch of grandeur never 
seen in the daytime. 

The Haitian soil is inexhaustibly fertile. Man is not 
obliged to exhaust his strength in order to gain a scanty 
living; the slightest effort brings forth an exuberant 
vegetation. This has naturally a great influence upon 
the customs and the temperament of the people. 


Customs and manners of the people; their hospitality Marriage and 
divorce The Haitian woman The Haitians are not lazy They 
entertain no race prejudice Advantages which foreigners enjoy; 
their safety Naturalization Right to hold real estate. 

One of the chief characteristics of the Haitian peas- 
ant is his thorough kind-heartedness; he is free from 
all envious thoughts and is pleased with his lot, his few 
wants being so easily satisfied. He has no cause for 
hatred, nature's liberality supplying him with all that 
he requires. His tastes are of the simplest. On week 
days his costume consists of a ' ' vareuse" * and trousers 
made of blue denim; sandals, and a broad-brimmed 
straw hat. But he always has in reserve at least one 
good suit of clothes for festival days and the dances, 
which are the greatest sources of enjoyment. 

Although he is seldom to be seen without his "man- 
chette ?> (machette), the Haitian peasant is of a quiet, 
confiding, and cheerful disposition, not given to fighting 
or quarrelling. He holds in abhorrence any abuse 
against the feeble; and crimes against children and 
women always disgust him. Nevertheless, quiet and 
harmless as the Haitian peasant appears, he can be 
transformed into a fierce and stubborn fighter when 
there is question of the independence of his country 
being in jeopardy. He has always in sight the two 
ends which it is his ambition to attain: to be a land- 
owner and to give education to his children ; with these 

1 A kind of loose jacket with two pockets in front. 


282 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

ends in view he will lay aside every cent he can possibly 
spare. In spite of his apparent carelessness, of his 
fondness for enjoyment, especially in the form of danc- 
ing, the Haitian peasant is more thrifty than the men 
of the towns and cities, the latter as a rule spending all 
that they can earn. 

The Haitian people are noted for their hospitality 
and the kind welcome they extend to foreigners. In the 
country parts as well as in the towns a stranger is 
always sure of finding shelter. One can travel without 
fear all over the island; no one would think of molest- 
ting a traveler, even were it known that he had his 
pockets full of gold. Foreigners, men and women, who 
have ridden all about the country know perfectly well 
that they can do so in all security; not only will the 
Haitian peasant not think of stealing, but he will even 
often refuse any remuneration for the hospitality he so 
readily offers. The best room, the best bed, in the 
humblest abode, is given to the transient guest, whom 
in all probability they will never again see; they set 
their choicest dishes before him. 2 And what is the 
reward of this kind-hearted people? Many a time the 
very foreigner who has taken the greatest advantage 
of the hospitality of the Haitian peasants will be the 
first to represent them as returning to barbarism, as 
adepts of Vaudou, snake worshippers, and even as 

There are men who hunger so for notoriety that in 
order to obtain it they do not hesitate to resort to false- 
hoods of the most flagrant type. The truth is of very 
little account to a certain class of travelers. Provided 
that their sensational books be sold, what matter to 

2 The Tribune of Nassau ( Bahamas ), under date of February 3, 1904, 
contains the following impression of an Englishman, Mr. A. S. Haigh, 
who had recently traveled through Haiti : "There are no more law-abiding, 
"civil, peaceful and well-behaved people to be found anywhere than the 
"common people of Haiti. One can travel alone, at any hour of the 
"night or day, in any part of the lowlands or mountainous districts, 
"with money or valuables in his possession, without fear of molesta- 
"tion; and they will give up all they have, gladly, to accommodate 
"strangers. They are exceedingly hospitable." 

Customs and Manners 283 

them that they outrage the honor and the dignity of a 
whole nation! 

However, imputation of cannibalism and Vaudou will 
be looked into later on ; for the time being it is the char- 
acteristics and customs of the Haitians which are in 
question. These customs are not quite the same in the 
towns as in the country. In the towns life assumes a 
more complex aspect ; here the wants being more numer- 
ous and pressing, there is a greater tendency to selfish- 
ness. However, the middle classes still retain their 
simple manners and mode of living. 

One of their greatest aims is to give their children 
as thorough an education as possible; these children 
are sent at the cost of great sacrifice on the part of their 
parents to France and to Germany in order to complete 
their education, to study a profession or a trade. The 
Haitians are fond of traveling; almost all of their 
statesmen have either made their studies in Europe or 
have lived there long enough to be thoroughly con- 
versant with its customs and its political organization. 

Haitians, as a rule, do not marry late in life; men 
marry at about the age of twenty-five and women about 
nineteen. Divorce is comparatively rare and is granted 
for adultery, for outrage, and grave public abuses; it 
can also be granted when one of the parties is sentenced 
to "peines afflictives et inf amantes. ' ' 3 A woman whose 
marriage has been dissolved either by divorce or by the 
husband's death cannot marry again before the expira- 
tion of one year ; and a divorced woman is not allowed 
to remarry her former husband; inversely a divorced 
man may not remarry his former wife. 4 

The formalities required for the validity of a mar- 
riage are very strict, thereby affording a good protec- 
tion against bigamy. Before a marriage can be con- 
tracted, both parties must have obtained the formal 
consent of their parents, besides having their banns 
published at their respective places of permanent resi- 

3 Civil Code of Haiti. Art. 215-219, 284. 
Loc. cit. Art. 213, 283. 

.284 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

dence. The civil marriage, adopted in Haiti at the 
beginning of her independence, is generally followed 
by the religious ceremony. The Catholic Church like- 
wise takes many precautions against clandestine mar- 
riages. Notice of the projected marriage must be given 
out from the pulpit in the church of the parish to which 
each party belongs and no ceremony can be performed 
without the presentation of the certificate of the civil 

Every family strives to have a comfortable home. 
The houses are furnished with good taste, according to 
the means of their owners. Men and women alike dress 
well ; those whose income permits it, order their clothes 
from Paris. They are fond of entertaining; the chris- 
tening of a child, engagements (fianc.ailles), birthday 
and wedding anniversaries, all of these occasions form 
a pretext for entertaining. Other striking character- 
istics of the Haitians are their open-heartedness and 
straightforwardness; their word may be relied upon, 
and in friendship they are sincere and devoted. They 
are intensely patriotic, although they will be the first to 
laugh at their own failings and shortcomings. This 
tendency to treat everything with raillery is strongly 
noticeable in the popular songs. During the festivities 
of the carnival the satiric spirit knows no restraint. 
Woe to those whose conduct has not been blameless. 
From the President of Haiti down to the humblest citi- 
zen no one whose behavior has merited it is immune 
from the attack in the popular songs; in spite of the 
comical form in which it is clothed this has become a 
great moral force, and many men and women who might 
be inclined to do otherwise behave so as to avoid becom- 
ing the theme of a song which would soon be heard 
about the streets in every part of the city. 

One of the characteristic features of the Haitian 
woman is her strong sense of duty. As a devoted wife 
and unrivalled mother she is always prepared to make 
any sacrifice in order to secure the happiness ^ of her 
family. Upon getting married she willingly gives up 
worldly pleasures in order to devote herself to her 

The Haitian Woman 285 

home ; she becomes the real companion of her husband 
in poverty as well as in luxury, in sickness as in health. 
The Haitian woman will not give up to any outside help 
the care of husband and child stricken with disease, no 
matter how deadly or contagious it may be. With the 
fearless unconcern peculiar to her sex, she becomes the 
most tender and skillful of nurses at the patient's bed- 
side, and the doctor 's principal auxiliary. Should mis- 
fortune overtake her family she rises nobly to the 
occasion, helping and encouraging her husband with 
her courage and sympathy. Her delicate rearing does 
not prevent her from working hard, should the necessity 
arise, in order to assist her husband and help with the 
education of her children. Pew Haitian women there 
are who understand otherwise their duty as wife and 

It would be erroneous, however, to believe that they 
are stern and cheerless ; they are, on the contrary, bright 
and gay, enjoying life according to circumstances. Con- 
sequently their influence is great and their advice much 
valued. The one reproach that can be made to them is 
that their extreme fondness leads them to spoil their 
children somewhat by over-indulgence. 

The peasant woman is quite as devoted as those of 
the cities. She will till the soil along with the man of 
her choice, both working side by side through the heat 
of the day ; together they set out for the nearest market, 
there to sell the fruits of their common labor. The 
woman shrinks at no task, however rude; to dispose of 
her goods she will journey many miles into the town, 
her basket on her head and often with her child fastened 
to her back or on her hips ; 6 thus she goes singing 
merrily or chatting whilst journeying with her friends 
or neighbors toward their destination. Her garment 
is very simple : a * ' caraco ' ' e tied at the waist by a cloth, 
her head tied with a picturesque colored handkerchief 

6 This way of carrying children is not common to all Haitian peas- 
ants; it is practised principally in the Western Department. And the 
Government is striving hard to discourage such a practice, as being 
detrimental to the development of the child. 

* A "caraco" (Karr-ah-ko) is a loose garment reaching to the ankles. 

286 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

on which she sometimes wears a broad-brimmed straw 
hat to protect her from the sun. 

The hard work the peasants have to accomplish does 
not prevent them from enjoying their simple amuse- 
ments. At the beating of the drum or at the sound of 
the violin 7 the hard tillers of the soil are transformed 
into women of lithe and graceful form, who give them- 
selves up wholly to enjoyment. The Haitian country 
woman is far from having the sad, disheartened, and 
disillusioned look of the female peasants of some other 
countries. On the contrary, the sound of frank and 
hearty laughter is always to be heard issuing from her 
lips ; the spotless whiteness of her teeth is always dis- 
closed by her merry smile. Always in good spirits, she 
excels in extemporizing the cheerful songs which help 
so materially to enliven the dances of the country 

The Haitian laborer, whether from the country or 
from the towns, is frugal, sober, and cleanly in his 
habits. His food is as simple as his way of living, the 
country people especially being mostly vegetarians. 
The manioc supplies them not only with starch but also 
with cassava and couscousou, which advantageously 
takes the place of bread; the sweet potato, plantain, 
rice, red beans, yam, all kinds of vegetables and many 
edible roots form the principal part of their diet ; they 
occasionally eat some meat, salted and smoked fish, such 
as cod-fish or red-herring. On the sea shore, where fish 
is plentiful, the people live mostly on fish. 

Alcoholism is unknown among the country people, 
who will, however, readily quencB their thirst with a 
drink of tafia or rum ; 8 but this is never carried to 
excess. Even in the towns, where the heat invites to 
drink, drunkards are not commonly found. 

7 In the country dancing takes place to the beating of the drum or 
to the sound of violins. Foreigners, upon hearing the beating of the drum 
for the first time, imagine that some ceremony of Vaudou is going on, 
so convinced are they that Vaudou is practised everywhere in Haiti. 

8 Tafia is a popular drink extracted by distillation from sugar-cane 
syrup; it is white in color. Rum is distilled from the tafia and after a 
while becomes yellow. 

The Haitians are not Lazy 287 

As to cleanliness, it is a well-known fact that a laborer 
or a peasant never goes to bed without taking a bath, or 
at any rate a thorough washing, if there be a stream in 
the neighborhood. They are not sparing of soap and 
water. One must not judge them by their appearance 
when at work; they are not expected to be clothed like 
people who live in a colder climate. 

Owing to his excellent hygienic habits and the whole- 
some food he lives on, the Haitian peasant is the per- 
sonification of health : strong and robust, he is able to 
endure all kinds of fatigue and hardships. 

Those detractors who persist in representing indo- 
lence as one of the principal features of the Haitian 
peasants either know nothing of them or have not taken 
the trouble of observing their customs; or else a few 
cases of laziness having perhaps come under their 
observation, they thereupon hasten to generalize. The 
fact is universally recognized that human beings exert 
themselves in proportion to the wants they have to sat- 
isfy; some of the higher classes there are who over- 
work themselves in amassing riches, but as a rule the 
masses will always strive to obtain all that they require 
by the slightest exertion of effort possible. This being 
such a well-known fact it is surprising that the Haitian 
people are not more indolent. They are not obliged to 
put away stores for the winter, there being none to put 
a stop to their labor in the fields ; they have not to think 
of procuring fuel for the heating of their houses and 
of warm garments for themselves. The whole year 
through they wear the same light clothing; the ever- 
verdant fields guarantee the maintenance of both man 
and beast. They need not have anxiety about good or 
bad seasons; for the season is good from the 1st of 
January to the 31st of December. All this engenders a 
natural disposition to carelessness. Then again an 
exuberant vegetation supplies numberless articles of 
food to those who do not care to work. Mangoes, alli- 
gator-pears, bread-fruits, guavas, oranges, etc., grow 
wild along the roadside, where those who will may 
gather their fruit. The bread-fruit and the alligator- 

288 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

p^ar, forming a kind of vegetable bread and butter, are 
of themselves wholesome and sustaining food. Man- 
goes are such nutritive fruit that people can live on 
them alone for weeks, and they are so plentiful that 
they are used for feeding pigs. Nature not only lavishly 
provides food, but her large bushy trees form such a 
heavy covering overhead that they may serve as rest- 
ing-places in a country where it is not sufficiently cold 
to cause inconvenience in sleeping out of doors. 

Nevertheless, the Haitian peasants do not yield to 
these temptations to idleness. In passing through the 
country one will come across innumerable green patches 
where vegetables are being raised; perched upon the 
steep sides of the hills, seeming from the distance as 
though they were suspended on the very brink of preci- 
pices, are numerous fields of plantations of maize, mil- 
let, coffee, beans, bananas, plantains, etc., whilst in the 
valleys there is an equal abundance of sugar-cane, rice, 
cocoa-trees, etc. The laborer is proud of his cultivated 
land ; and hoe in hand he works, singing the while under 
the burning rays of the sun. 

In the towns the workmen who, for instance, are 
employed in transporting or embarking coffee, start 
work at about 5 o'clock in the morning and continue 
until 5 or 6 P. M. ; they will even work beyond this 
time if adequately remunerated. Until now strikes are 
unknown in Haiti. 

The Haitians entertain neither race hatred nor race 
prejudice. Consequently, they find it difficult to under- 
stand why a man should be persecuted and made to 
endure humiliation solely on account of the color of his 
skin. They extend a welcome to all who arrive on their 
territory, irrespective of their color. When, therefore, 
they hear that in some countries people of different 
races are not allowed even to pray together in fhe 
churches, in the house of God, they wonder if the God 
of the Christians can be the same in those countries as 
in theirs; for they look upon their God as the Father 
of all mankind, as a benevolent Being who listens to 
the prayer of the humblest of His children, unmindful 

The Haitians Entertain no Race Hatred 289 

whether the souls of those who invoke His mercy be 
concealed beneath a white, green, or black exterior. In 
their churches all races join in prayer; kneeling side 
by side they plead for grace and offer up their suffer- 
ings to God, the ever-abundant source of mercy and 

In the schools there is also no color line drawn. But 
in social life absence of prejudice is still more notice- 
able. Whites and blacks intermarry; many Haitians 
marry French, German, and English women, these 
unions as a rule resulting very happily. 

In Haiti a man's color constitutes neither a bar nor 
a disadvantage to him. Every man is a man ; that only 
which is taken into account is intelligence, probity, and 
courage. A coward or a dishonest man, be he white, 
yellow, lilac or black, will receive the contempt he de- 
serves. It is the brain and the heart which constitute 
a man rather than the color of his skin. Consequently, 
to do away with everything which might seem to be the 
outcome of race prejudice, President Geffrard, in 1860, 
caused the abolition of a custom which up to that time 
prevented marriages between Haitians and foreigners ; 
it was rightly believed that such a prohibition was"con- 
trary to the laws of nature and that love was a surer 
guide than any law-maker when it comes to choosing a 
partner for the struggle of life. 

However, in spite of all these facts, Haiti is persist- 
ently being charged in the United States and elsewhere 
with entertaining race hatred and race prejudice. 

Haiti is the Eden of foreigners. Few are there who 
do not succeed in making a fortune after doing business 
there for a while. All their undertakings are facili- 
tated, being even allowed in some cases the enjoyment 
of more privileges than the natives. As a rule they like 
Haiti, generally settling there without any intention of 
returning to the country of their origin. Some others, 
however, after making sufficient money, go to live in 
Europe, where, wanting in the first elements of grati- 
tude, they become the worst detractors of the people 

290 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

who have helped them to acquire the income on which 
they live. 

Instead of retrograding, as is often said in bad faith 
of Haiti, she is progressing daily in her liberality 
toward foreigners. Formerly only Africans, Indians, 
and their descendants could be naturalized citizens of 
Haiti. In 1886 I proposed the removal of this discrim- 
ination ; this was granted in 1889 by an alteration of 
the Constitution. All foreigners may be naturalized 
Haitians by observing the following formalities (Art. 
14, Civil Code) : "All those who, by virtue of the Con- 
"stitution, are qualified to become Haitian citizens, 
""must, within a month of their arrival in the country, 
14 1 declare before a justice of the peace of their place of 
'" residence and in the presence of two well-known citi- 
"zens, their intention of settling in the Republic. They 
"will at the same time swear before the justice of the 
"peace to give up all other countries in favor of Haiti. 
"Provided with the certificate of the justice of the 
"peace relative to their declaration and oath, they must 
"then present themselves at the bureau of the President 
"of Haiti, where the act of naturalization is delivered 
v "to them." 

Thus since 1889 Haiti grants to foreigners, without 
regard to color, the greatest facilities for becoming citi- 
zens. 10 In this respect she can advantageously bear 
'comparison with many other countries; in the United 
'States, for instance, up to the present time no members 
of the yellow race may become American citizens. Still, 
the newspapers continue to charge Haiti with having 
race prejudice. This assertion contains as little truth 
as the accusation that the Haitians show their hostility 
to the whites by depriving them of the power to hold 
real estate. It is not the white man who may not hold 

Politique Exterieure d'Haiti, p. 59. 

TO According to a law enacted in 1903 Syrians must reside ten years 
hi Haiti "before being eligible to become citizens of the country, and for 
hygienic as well as economic principles, with which the question of race 
has nothing to do, she forbids them to enter her territory. The measure 
is the same as that taken by the United States against the Chinese. 

The Haitians Entertain no Race Hatred 291 

real estate, but the foreigner, whatever his color be. 
Article 6 of the Constitution reads as follows : ' i None 
' ' other than a Haitian may own land in Haiti or acquire 
" real estate. ' ' This measure is not the outcome of race 
hatred or prejudice; it is of a merely precautionary 
nature. Other nations, older and considerably more 
powerful than Haiti, have seen the advisability of re- 
serving to their own citizens the right of holding real 
estate. In many States of the United States of Amer- 
ica, 11 even in Washington, 12 the very capital of the great 
Eepublic whose influence is paramount in the New 
World, foreigners are not allowed to own real estate. 
Nobody thinks of blaming the United States for this 
exclusion. Why then impute a wrong motive to Haiti 
for adopting the same measure of self -protection? This 
prohibition, however, does not place foreigners at a 
disadvantage: by means of mortgages and through 
emphyteusis they succeed in enjoying almost all the 
privileges of a land-owner. And in order to gain their 
cooperation in exploiting the resources of the country, 
a law enacted in February, 1883, confers citizenship, 
i. e., the right of acquiring real estate, on all manufac- 
tories or corporations organized with a view of improv- 
ing the grade of coffee, cocoa, tobacco, etc. 

11 In the following States aliens must declare their intention to 
become citizens before they are allowed to hold real estate: Arizona 
Territory, Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Minne- 
sota, and New York. No statute applies to aliens in the following 
States: Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma Territory, Vermont, and Wyoming. 
In the following States they must be fully naturalized, a certain time 
being required for this purpose: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas. (A 
Treatise on the Law of Real Property, by Darius H. Pingrey, Vol. II, 
p. 1189.) 

12 "It shall be unlawful for any person not a citizen of the United 
"States or who has not lawfully declared his intention to become such a 
"citizen, * * * to hereafter acquire and own real estate, or any 
"interest therein, in the District of Columbia provided that 
"the prohibition shall not apply * * to the ownership of foreign 
"legations or the ownership of residences by representatives of foreign 
"governments or attaches thereof." (The Code of Law for the District 
of Columbia, Sec. 396, Washington, 1902.) 


Commerce of Haiti Her products of the present day compared with 
those at the time of the French domination Haiti at the St. Louis 
Exposition The various industries Timber and cabinet woods 

For the purpose of showing that the Haitians are 
reverting to barbarism, their detractors affect to praise 
the prosperity of the island at the time of the French 
domination ; they are especially fond of alluding to the 
agricultural products which, according to them, have 
not only never been surpassed, but have not even been 
equalled since the independence of Haiti. Instead of 
finding out from trustworthy sources the exact truth of 
the matter, they hasten to draw the conclusion that the 
Haitians are lazy and unworthy of possessing such a 
rich and beautiful island. But they present no evidence 
in support of their assertions. As it is not my intention 
to follow the same plan, I will here furnish my reader 
with a few figures which will enable him to make his 
own deductions; figures which for obvious reasons the 
detractors of Haiti, as a rule, omit to mention in their 

In 1790, at the time when Saint-Domingue was at the 
height of its prosperity, the products of the island were 
as follows : White sugar, 70,000,000 Ibs. ; brown sugar, 
93,000,000 Ibs. ; coffee, 68,000,000 Ibs. ; cotton, 6,000,000 
Ibs. ; indigo, 1,000,000 Ibs. ; cocoa, 150,000 Ibs. ; lignum 
vitae and mahogany, 150,000 Ibs. 


Products of the Present Day 293 

At the first uprising of the slaves almost all the culti- 
vations were destroyed. When Toussaint Louverture 
had reestablished order he devoted the greater part of 
his attention to agriculture, and even at the present day 
the prosperity of the country under his administration 
is highly spoken of. According to Mr. Vollee, who was 
Administrateur General des Finances, the total products 
from 1800 to 1801 were: White sugar, 16,540 Ibs.; 
brown sugar, 18,518,572 Ibs.; coffee, 43,220,270 Ibs.; 
cotton, 2,480,340 Ibs.; indigo, 804 Ibs.; cocoa, 648,518 
Ibs. ; logwood, 6,768,634 Ibs. ; lignum vitae, 75,519 Ibs. 

The war of independence which began at the end of 
1802 was a war of extermination. Both parties killed, 
burned, and destroyed all that stood in their way. 
When the Haitians at last became masters of the land 
which they had watered with their blood, all the mag- 
nificent plantations, sugar-houses, mills, the very towns, 
were one mass of ruins. Everything had to be built up 
afresh in this devastated land. Although in constant 
fear of an aggression from France, the Haitians cour- 
ageously set to work. In 1824 they exported the fol- 
lowing products : Coffee, 44,270,000 Ibs. ; cotton, 1,028,- 
000 Ibs. ; cocoa, 461,000 Ibs. ; tobacco, 718,000 Ibs. ; log- 
wood, 3,567,000 Ibs. ; mahogany, 2,181,000 ft. 

Their exports in 1838 were as follows: Coffee, 49,- 
820,241 Ibs. ; cotton, 1,170,175 Ibs. ; cocoa, 453,418 Ibs. ; 
tobacco, 1,995,049 Ibs. ; logwood, 7,888,936 Ibs. ; mahog- 
any, 4,880,873 ft. 1 

From 1st October, 1903, to 30th September, 1904, the 
exports were as follows : Coffee, 1st grade, 81,407,346 
Ibs.; inferior quality, 4,805,281 Ibs.; total, 86,212,627 
Ibs. Cotton, 3,017,014 Ibs.; cocoa, 5,028,615 Ibs.; log- 
wood, 154,466,658 Ibs.; mahogany, 30,576 ft.; lignum 
vitae, 4,982,502 Ibs.; cedar, 1,499,750 Ibs.; cotton seed, 
275,847 Ibs. ; wax, 228,612 Ibs. ; goat skins, 224,786 Ibs. ; 
pite (textile), 63,825 Ibs. ; honey, 22,044 gallons ; cabinet 
wood, 770,650 ft. ; ox skins. 252,392 Ibs. ; copper, 24,356 
Ibs.; horses and mules, 1,414; oxen, 1,521. 

1 B. Ardouin, Vol. II, p. 238. 

294 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

It is true that Haiti no longer exports sugar, through 
no fault of her own, however. A great deal of money 
would have been necessary to rebuild the sugar-mills ; 
and the Haitians depended on their own resources, 
which were very limited, all the great Powers being ill- 
disposed toward them; at the outset they were thus 
compelled to undertake those branches of agriculture 
which did not demand a great outlay. Later on the 
exportation of sugar was prevented by the same eco- 
nomic reasons which have obliged the British colonies 
in the West Indies to give up this industry. In Jamaica, 
especially, the large estates which formerly were de- 
voted to the cultivation of the sugar-cane have been 
transformed into banana plantations. In this respect 
the white colonists of the British West Indies have 
made no more headway than the Haitians, if the fact 
of their having ceased to export sugar was to be con- 
sidered as indicating retrogression instead of progress. 

The Haitians, however, have not abandoned the culti- 
vation of the sugar-cane; they employ it for making 
rum and tafia, This rum, celebrated for its aroma and 
fine quality, was awarded three gold medals at the St. 
Louis Exposition. At Mon-Repos, Chateaublond, on 
the Ogorman and Vaudreuil sugar plantations, in the 
vicinity of Port-au-Prince, the sugar for inland con- 
sumption is made. This sugar was also awarded the 
gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition. 

As to the other products, some of them have not only 
equalled but have considerably exceeded the yield of 
the most prosperous period of the French domination. 
One hundred years after taking over a devastated land 
the Haitians succeeded by their own unaided efforts in 
exporting 86,000,000 Ibs. of coffee, viz., 18,000,000 more 
than in 1790, or twice the quantity exported in 1800- 
1801 ; 5,000,000 Ibs. of cocoa, when the amount exported 
in 1790 was 150,000 Ibs. and 648,518 Ibs. in 1800-1801; 
154,000,000 Ibs. of logwood, compared to 6,000,000 Ibs. in 
1800-1801 ; 4,982,502 Ibs. lignum vitse and 30,576 feet of 
mahogany, whilst in 1790 only 1,500,000 were exported; 
and this without mentioning the honey, wax, orange 

Commerce of Haiti 295 

peel, cedar, skins, cabinet wood and various grains 
which figure among the present exports of Haiti and are 
not mentioned in the statistics of the time of the French 
domination. 2 

It will be noticed that Haiti has just begun to raise 
cattle ; and in 1904 she exported 1,414 horses and mules 
and 1,521 oxen. 

In spite of these well-founded facts there are still 
people of bad faith who declare that such is the laziness 
of the Haitians that the coffee which they have been 
exporting since their independence is the product of the 
plantations of the French colonists. 

In 1890 the total amount of the commerce of Haiti 
was estimated at $24,226,758, the exports amounting to 
$14,165,788 and the imports to $10,060,979. The imports 
from the United States amounted to the sum of $6,454 r 
600, whilst the exports of Haiti to the United States 
amounted to $2,289,292. 3 

Owing to various causes, the most important of which 
being the exceedingly low price of coffee, the commerce 
of Haiti has of late considerably decreased. In 1903 
her imports amounted only to $3,981,675 and her ex- 
ports to $8,585,687. 4 

According to the ' l Foreign Commerce of the United 
States/' page 298, imports of the United States from 
Haiti, for the fiscal year ended 30th June, 1904. 
amounted to $1,214,133, and their exports to this country 

2 National Bank of Haiti, statement made on December 31, 1904. 

3 Report made to the Haitian Congress for the year 1890: 

Exports from Haiti to the United States $2,289,292 

France 8,437,500 

England, Germany, Belgium, etc 3,518,986 

Imports to Haiti from the United States $6,454,600 

Germany 1,930,713 

France 917,994 

England 662,190 

Others 95,580 

4 Report made to the Haitian Congress: 

Imports from the United States $2,917,302 

France 389,437 

England 385,678 

Germany 61,401 

Others . 227,675 

296 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

to $2,594,740. The commercial relations of Haiti with 
the United States began to decline as soon as the latter 
country placed a duty on coffee. 5 Were this staple 
more consumed, but more chiefly were it not that the 
continual misrepresentations of Haiti have had the 
effect of keeping the people of the United States aloof 
from this country, the commerce between the two na- 
tions would surely once more become very flourishing. 
However, as compared with that carried on with other 
countries, this commercial intercourse is steadily in- 
creasing and the exports from the United States to 
Haiti are higher than those from any other country. 

The participation of Haiti at the St. Louis Expo- 
sition, although modest and very limited, has given to 
all impartial persons who viewed her products an oppor- 
tunity to appreciate the efforts and the work of the 
people. These products were spoken of as follows: 6 
" There can be seen in the Haitian pavilion a fine col- 
" lection of liquors and syrups, such as anisette, maras- 
"chino, creme-de-menthe, orgeat, grenadine, creme-de- 
" cacao; there are also bay-rum and rum of the finest 
1 ' quality ; cigars ; the mappou-cotton, which being cooler 
"than silk-cotton or the ordinary cotton, may be used 
"for making mattresses and pillows; cocoa, coffee, pea- 
4 'nuts, sugar, honey, shoes, skins, and leather. The 
"work of the pupils of the 'Orphelinat de la Madeleine' 
" (Port-au-Prince) was in no way inferior to similar 
"products on exhibition at St. Louis. The section of 
"the 'Orphelinat' consisted of skirts made of embroid- 
"ery, and Luxeuil lace, babes' caps, handkerchiefs, 
"ties, dresses, cushions, all made of lace; embroidered 
"petticoats and babies' shoes, embroidered pillow-cases 
"and sheets, etc. Next to these products there were 

6 In 1881 the export of coffee from Haiti to the United States 
amounted to 31,000,000 Ibs., falling as low as 7,540 Ibs. after a tax had 
been placed on coffee; since the removal of this tax the export of coffee 
to the United States began to increase again; in 1904 it amounted to 
4,000,000 pounds. (Department of Commerce and Labor, Monthly Sum- 
mary of Commerce and Finances of the United States, July, 1905, p. 93.) 

8 A Brief Sketch of Haiti, p. 14. 

Haiti at the St. Louis Exposition 297 

"hats made of palm and corn leaves; combs, and many 
"ornaments of tortoise shell; willow chairs, many 
"carved vases, pedestals, mortars and pestles, urns and 
" snuff-boxes. " 

Three Grand Prix, nine gold medals, twelve silver 
medals, and ten bronze medals were awarded to the 
Haitian exhibits. The embroideries and laces made by 
the girls of the orphan asylum of La Madeleine were 
awarded a gold medal. 

Before the independence of Haiti what was the con- 
dition of such children? They lived under the brutal- 
izing influence of slavery, subject to the whims and 
fancies of their masters; they could neither read nor 
write, still less embroider and make lace. In this re- 
spect the progress made is unquestionable. Yet, still 
we hear the fiction of Haiti reverting to barbarism ! 

The awards granted to her at St. Louis are all the 
more noteworthy, as Haiti only decided at the last 
moment to take part in the Exposition; therefore the 
exhibits sent were things which were already on hand, 
made with no idea of being placed on exhibition; and 
the space given to them in the Exposition was very 
restricted, measuring only 30 feet by 75. 

In Haiti there are many skillful workmen: excellent 
joiners, cabinet-makers, hatters, tailors, tinsmiths, tan- 
ners, saddlers, potters, silversmiths, printers, bookbind- 
ers, etc. There are soap factories and brick-yards; at 
Port-au-Prince an ice factory supplies the town with 
very pure and wholesome ice made of distilled spring 
water ; saw-mills exist in some places where the exploit- 
ation of timber and cabinet-woods is carried on. At 
St. Louis the following samples of these woods were 
greatly admired, and won the Grand Prix : 7 ' 'Lignum 
'vitae; bayaronde; bois de quinquina (Chincona luci- 
"aya); chene (Bignonia arbor ea) ; coquemolle (Theo- 
"phrasta americana) ; manguier (M an gif era India) ; rai- 
"sinier (Cocobola piibescens) ; acoma (Xaumalium 
" rascimiosum) ; tamarinier (Tamarindus indica) ; man- 

7 A Brief Sketch on Haiti, p. 21. 

298 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"cenillier (Hippomane-mancenilla) ; acajou (mahog- 
"any) ; bois rose (Cordia gerascaubus) ; chene noir 
"d'Amerique (oak) (Catalpa longisiligua) ; tendre 
"acaillou (Acacia arborea, Mimosa tenuifolia) ; ebene 
"noir (Acacia lebbek or ebenus) ; bois de fer jaune 
" (Sideroxylon americanum) ; ebene verte (Tecoma leu- 
" coxylon-a-saratiplea) ; bois blanc (Simaruba offici- 
"nalis) ; chene des Antilles (Bignonia arborea) ; bois- 
^de-fer blanc; oranger (orange-tree); cedre (cedar); 
^goyavier (guava-tree) ; canapeche (log-wood)/' etc. 

Mr. Edmond Boumain, professor of chemistry of 
the National School of Pharmacy at Port-au-Prince, 
who was the Haitian Commissioner-General at the 
Exposition of St. Louis, has devoted a great deal of his 
time to the mines of Haiti. At St. Louis he exhibited a 
large collection of iron, copper, platinum, and iridos- 
minum ores. 

According to Mr. Roumain there are millions of tons 
of lignite at Maissade; in the South there are manga- 
nese ore (pyrohisite) right on the surface and in great 
abundance, and also a considerable deposit of lignite. 
Gypsum, cinnabar, petroleum, and gold are to be found 
also in Haiti. 

"In the outcrops called Rocher and Reserve the cop- 
"per ore is gold and silver bearing; 8 specimens cut off 
"the vein known now to be over five feet wide at 
"Rocher, gave to Mr. Charles Merry, mining engineer 
"of Columbia University: 

"Gold, ounce 0.50 (half an ounce to the ton). 
"Silver, ounces 45 (forty-five ounces to the ton). 
"Copper, 20 per cent (twenty per cent). 

"In one other outcrop, at Lhercour, the mineral is 
"the so-called peacock ore, yielding right at the surface 
"27.83 per cent of copper. The iron found in the same 
"district is magnetite of 67 per cent iron. Regis Chau- 

8 This information concerning the mines and ores is an extract from 
the pamphlet, "A Brief Sketch of Haiti," St. Louis, 1904. 

The Mines 299 

"venet & Bro., of St. Louis (Mo.), made the following 

" analysis of this iron-ore: 

"Metallic iron 67.52 per cent. 

"Sulphur 0.01 " " 

"Phosphorus 0.041 " " 

"Silica 3.67 " " " 

The Haitian law relative to mines and quarries has 

been translated into English and was printed in the 

Bulletin of the Bureau of the American Republics 9 of 

June, 1902. 10 

9 Professor Robert T. Hill, in his book, "Cuba and Porto Rico with 
the other Islands of the West Indies," has endeavored to be just toward 
the Haitians; but he could not resist the temptation of repeating some 
of the misrepresentations contained in M. St. John's book, the hold of 
these misrepresentations being so strong even on the best well-meaning 
men. Professor Hill affirms that Haiti has no law relative to her mines 
(p. 272) ; such a law has existed since 1860 and can be found in English 
in the Bulletin of the Bureau of American Republics of June, 1902. 


Origin of the calumnies against Haiti Unsympathetic attitude of the 
foreign Powers toward her: Great Britain, Spain, France and the 
United States Even Simon Bolivar forgot the help rendered him by 
Haiti Germany Conditions in Haiti at the time of her independ- 
ence Difference between these conditions and those of the United 
States at the time when they severed their relations with Great Britain 
Civil wars in Haiti as compared with those of Germany, Great 
Britain, and France Some of the causes of civil strife in Haiti. 

To fully appreciate the origin of the unceasing and 
persistent calumnies of which Haiti has been made the 
target, one must go back to the very first days of her 
existence and call to mind the circumstances under 
which she started life as an independent country. 

When in 1804 Haiti was so bold as to proclaim the 
abolition of slavery all the countries where this inhu- 
man practise was still in favor were inclined to consider 
her attitude as somewhat of a challenge ; consequently, 
they deemed fit to take such steps as to enable them the 
better to protect a system the abolition of which, accord- 
ing to the opinion of the civilized world of that time, 
would cause the greatest calamities. By rising up 
against their masters and in revealing themselves on 
the battlefields their equals in courage, the slaves of 
Saint-Domingue had committed what was to the minds 
of the partisans of slavery an unpardonable crime, ren- 
dered all the more monstrous as the Haitians, after 
having dispossessed the whites of their property and 
becoming in their turn masters of the country, openly 
declared that any man of the black race upon setting 
foot on the Haitian soil would be considered as a freed- 
man. They were not satisfied with having cast off their 
own yoke, they wished also to give some hope to other 
Tinf ortunate beings who were receiving worse treatment 


Origin of the Calumnies Against Haiti 301 

than beasts in those countries where slavery continued to 
flourish. Such an example was considered highly dan- 
gerous ; and the partisans of slavery deemed it of the 
utmost importance to prevent the exploits of the Haiti- 
ans from becoming known to those whose flesh was still 
being lacerated by the whips of the overseer. In this 
way began the slanders against the Haitians, the ridi- 
cule and distortion of all facts concerning them succeed- 
ing so well as to provoke the greatest aversion at the 
mere mention of their name. In the United States, in 
the English, French and Spanish possessions in the 
West Indies, the whites unscrupulously exaggerated or 
misrepresented facts, concealing all those to the credit 
of the new State whilst magnifying beyond measure 
everything to its disadvantage. It is not to be expected, 
for instance, that the Southern planters of the United 
States would be likely to sing the praise of Haiti to 
their slaves ; by force of circumstances such men found 
themselves among her immediate enemies and conse- 
quently joined the ranks of her detractors. Those who 
would go to the length of resorting to civil war in order 
to uphold slavery were hardly to be considered enthusi- 
astic admirers of the people who had just abolished 
this institution. Among the planters naturally arose 
a chorus of imprecations against Haiti. The bad repu- 
tation she thus unjustly acquired was transmitted from 
generation to generation; legendary stories, some of 
them of the most atrocious character, were thus diffused 
and are still in circulation. Few people take the trouble 
to find out the true facts; either through indifference 
or indolence they find it more convenient to adopt and 
repeat preconceived opinions and the ideas current in 
their families or among their friends ; errors and mis- 
representations are thus oftentimes unwittingly propa- 
gated. Little by little, therefore, it has become the habit 
to represent Haiti as the home of all evil and where 
right and virtue are the exception rather than the rule. 
Surrounded by Powers to whose greatest interest it 
was to maintain slavery, Haiti met with no sympathy 
abroad. Great Britain, although at that time the ruth- 

302 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

less enemy of France, could not lose sight of the fact 
that her subjects in Jamaica and other islands of the 
West Indies were slave-owners ; consequently this new 
State which, by abolishing slavery, had assumed the 
part of champion of human dignity, did not enjoy her 
favor. The noble and unceasing efforts of Clarkson, 
Wilberforce, Fox, Benton, Brougham, Pitt, and Macau- 
lay succeeded in deciding Parliament in 1833 to abolish 
slavery, a condition so entirely opposed to the liberal 
principles of the English people. The emancipation of 
slaves did away with England 's chief cause of distrust 
against Haiti ; nevertheless, there are up to the present 
time Englishmen 1 who cannot forgive the Haitians for 
having kept for themselves an island which, in their 
opinion, ought to be numbered among the British pos- 

The Spaniards likewise could not be expected to be 

1 One of these Englishmen, Sir Spenser St. John, could not help 
giving vent to his annoyance at the failure of the British in Saint- 
Domingue, especially at the loss of the M6le Saint-Nicolas (Haiti or 
the Black Republic, p. 58). In order to vindicate the defeat of his 
fellow-countrymen, he endeavors to produce the impression (p. 54) that 
the invading army numbered but few Englishmen, consisting for the 
most part of colored hirelings. In spite of this statement he says at 
page 57 that "The English became convinced that it was useless to 
"attempt to conquer the island, and that their losses from sickness were 
"enormous," adding in the foot note of page 58 that "it is humiliating 
"to read of the stupidity of the chiefs at Port-au-Prince, who made the 
"soldiers work at fortifications during the day and do duty at night; 
"no wonder that we find a regiment of 600 strong losing 400 in two 
"months, and the Eighty-second landing 950 men to be reduced in six 
"weeks to 350." 

The mention of the enormous losses from sickness leads to the belief 
that the English were numerous at Saint-Domingue, and that the army 
which Toussaint Louverture and Rigaud were successfully combatting 
did not consist solely of colored hirelings. Nobody thinks of question- 
ing the courage and gallantry of the British soldiers; but Sir Spenser 
St. John was unwilling to make known the true cause of the failure of 
the English in Saint-Domingue without bringing into prominence the 
bravery of the soldiers of Toussaint Louverture and Rigaud; this cause 
being the intention of the English of re-establishing slavery. He hinted 
at this on page 46, but took care immediately to explain that sickness 
and treachery were the compelling motives in their evacuation of Saint- 
Domingue. Sir Spenser St. John, whose book is quite a bill of indict- 
ment against Haiti, seems unable to be impartial in his appreciation of 
the colored inhabitants of this country, even whilst they were yet under 
the French domination. 

Unfriendly Attitude of the Foreign Powers 303 

kindly disposed toward the Haitians; they also were 
slave-owners in Cuba and Porto Rico. Their attitude 
was most unfriendly ; they availed themselves of every 
opportunity to humiliate the new State. Their dis- 
agreement with Haiti concerning the Spanish portion 
of the island made the position still more delicate. 

France, apart from the fear she entertained for the 
safety of her other colonies in the West Indies, where 
slavery was abolished only in 1848, could not at the out- 
set be other than unfriendly toward Haiti ; she could not 
easily accept with resignation the loss of one of her most 
important American possessions. Her long-standing 
grudge against the Haitians is noticeable in the many 
books written by or under the influence of former col- 
onists of Saint-Domingue, their descendants or their 
sympathizers. It need hardly be said that in the first 
days of her existence Haiti could look for no help or 
sympathy from France. 

Neither could she rely on the United States of Amer- 
ica. Their attitude was so irreconcilable that even 
Simon Bolivar, in order to please them, thought it ad- 
visable to overlook the services rendered him by Haiti 
and the Haitians. Upon summoning the Congress of 
Panama he, who was personally under the greatest obli- 
gation to Petion and his fellow-citizens, deliberately 
ignored the people who had helped him, thereby slight- 
ing the only nation that had supported him in his strug- 
gle for the independence of his country. 

The slavery question was unquestionably the prin- 
cipal cause of the ill will of the American people toward 
Haiti. 2 Since the abolition of this inhuman institution, 
however, the relations between the two countries have 

2 Concerning the Congress of Panama, Mr. John W. Foster (A 
Century of American Diplomacy, p. 453) says: "The debates in the 
"Congress of the United States were of a most acrimonious character, 
"and were conducted upon domestic party lines, the opponents of the 
"Administration almost unanimously voting against the mission. The 
"two strong points of opposition were, first the objection to no alliance, 
"especially an armed one, with any other nations; and, second, the 
"recognition of the negro Republic of Haiti which opened up the slavery 

304 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

become very cordial; the two nations will esteem each 
other in proportion as they mutually acquire a fuller 
knowledge of each other. 

As has just been pointed out, Haiti has, without exag- 
geration, never enjoyed either support, nor even the 
mere good will of the foreign Powers. The sum of their 
liberality toward her has only been to overwhelm her 
with criticisms, reprimands, and threats. But who has 
ever extended a helping hand to her? 3 Where is the 
Power which, in the past, has ever rendered her simple 
justice? Appalling catastrophes have destroyed her 
cities, decimated her population, and left numberless 
families starving and shelterless: earthquakes, hurri- 
canes, and fires have inflicted the greatest sufferings on 
the country. From abroad no word of sympathy was 
sent to comfort the victims ; no one was moved by their 
trials. However, this indifference to their sufferings 
has not made the Haitians selfish ; in their kind-hearted- 
ness they are ever ready to sympathize with the mis- 
fortunes of others. Even when undeserved calamities 
have befallen her, Haiti has never received the sympa- 
thy or help of the other nations. Abandoned to her 
own resources she is, step by step, making steady prog- 
ress up the ladder of civilization. This progress, though 
considered slow by many, is worthy of a higher appre- 
ciation when one realizes the obstacles she has had to 
surmount. By extorting heavy and unjust indemnities 
from her, the foreign Powers themselves have impeded 
her evolution ; for the money she has had to pay solely 
in order to avoid brutal treatment at the hands of some 
powerful nations in their support of unscrupulous 

8 "Whatever success the Haitians have attained has been solely by 
'their own unaided efforts. The Christian world, which looked with 
'horror on the institution of slavery and cried loudly for its abolition, 
'neglected this self-emancipated people when they most needed its help 
'and aid. Although hardly three decades have passed since our country 
'was inflamed with sentiments demanding the abolition of slavery, and 
'eager to alleviate the condition of the freedmen, we have extended no 
'aid or sympathy to the Haitians who first lifted the banner of emanci- 
pation on American soil." (Robert T. Hill, Cuba and Porto-Rico with 
the other Islands of the West Indies, p. 288.) 

Altitude of Germany Toward Haiti 305 

claimants might have been employed to much advantage 
for her schools, in the repairing or building of her 
roads, and the irrigation of her fields. 

Prejudice against Haiti is so universal abroad that 
even certain Powers who, like Germany for instance, 
had never owned slaves in the West Indies or on the 
American continent have nevertheless fallen under the 
influence of this prejudice. Acting probably under the 
impression made upon her by these slanderous misrep- 
resentations, Germany, at the outset of her relations 
with Haiti, acted toward her with a harshness and 
irritability which all lovers of justice must deplore. In 
the past other nations, such as Great Britain, France, 
and Spain, had had grievances real or supposed against 
Haiti; but with Germany there existed no such excuse 
for a misunderstanding or strained relations. There- 
fore it was to be expected that Germany would be at 
least impartial in her attitude toward Haiti and even 
lend her a helping hand. These expectations are far 
from having been realized. 

Few nations have found themselves in the position 
of Haiti ; few of them have had such difficulties to sur- 
mount from the start. And when her detractors re- 
proach her, after but one century of her independence, 
with not having made as much progress as the United 
States or the old States of Europe, the sense of their 
injustice is lost in their manifestation of supreme ignor- 
ance, at least of their complete disregard of the his- 
torical evolution of the world. The Haitians would 
indeed be extraordinary beings if their civilization, 
which dates back only one hundred years, could equal 
that of Europe for instance. Before passing judgment 
on them by peremptorily declaring that they are incapa- 
ble of governing themselves, one must remember the 
condition of their coming into existence as a nation and 
their extraction, and compare this with the length of 
time which France, Great Britain, and Germany have 
taken to arrive at their present state of civilization. 
The fact that after a century of free government the 
United States of America have been able to equal and 

306 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

even exceed the progress accomplished by some of the 
European States cannot be used as an argument against 
Haiti. The conditions of the two nations differed so 
vastly that no comparison is possible. Reflecting upon 
the conditions in the United States and those of Haiti, 
considered at the beginning of their independence, the 
most narrow-minded of men must at once concede that 
the difference which existed between the two countries 
takes away all question of comparison between them. 
When on the 4th of July, 1776, the colonies, in Congress 
assembled, proclaimed their independence, the men who 
were about to create the United States of America could 
be likened to children who were deserting the paternal 
home in order to found their own homes and families. 
The first American citizens were, as a matter of fact, 
Englishmen continuing on their own account the work 
begun by other Englishmen. The people of this 
new nation possessed the intellectual culture, the cus- 
toms, the methods, and all the moral advantages of 
their former mother country; they had inherited 
from their ancestors centuries of accumulated efforts 
and instruction. Atavism had moulded and im- 
pressed their intellect. In organizing their govern- 
ment all that was necessary was to adjust it to imme- 
diate personal requirements in order to take up the 
onward progress begun by those from whom they 
had just parted. Moreover, the Americans were fortu- 
nate in that Great Britain accepted the accomplished 
fact without delay. Lord Cornwallis had hardly handed 
his sword to Washington (Yorktown, 1781), when 
George III recognized, in the House of Lords, the full 
independence of the United States (1782). Conse- 
quently, the Americans were able to set to work at 
once in building up their government without any fear 
of an aggression from their mother country. 

What were Haiti's advantages under the same cir- 
cumstances! At the time of her independence was it 
Frenchmen who were separating from other French- 
men? Could the Haitians be considered as the suc- 
cessors of those whom they had just expelled from the 

Haiti at the Time of Her Independence 307 

island? Had they inherited from their ancestors cen- 
turies of accumulated efforts and instruction? The 
obvious answer to all these questions must he in the 
negative. The slaves who by marvels of dauntless 
courage had succeeded in gaining possession of a coun- 
try had nothing in common with the Frenchmen; cen- 
turies of serfdom had kept them bound to the soil ; their 
brains and higher instincts had been left uncultivated; 
their only notion of government had come from the 
whip of the overseer who had subjected them with 
the utmost cruelty to a severe discipline. Exposed 
to sufferings and humiliation from their childhood up 
to the time of their self-emancipation, brutalized by 
their unscrupulous owners, they could not have the 
same ideals as their masters. Some of them had suc- 
ceeded in throwing off the degrading yoke of slavery 
and in acquiring knowledge. These more enlightened 
ones led them on to victory, but were unable to teach 
them from one day to another all they had to learn 
in matters of self-government. On the ruins of Saint- 
Domingue, still reeking with the blood of the French- 
men, another race had risen, the great majority of 
whom, by reason of the treatment to which they had had 
to submit throughout all these years, were completely 
ignorant. This ignorant mass it was which had to 
be transformed into useful citizens, into a nation. One 
can appreciate what a delicate and difficult task this 
was, all the more so as the Haitians were greatly 
hampered by the continual menace of an aggression 
from France as well as by the ill will of all the foreign 
Powers, who at that time were in favor of slavery. For 
nearly a quarter of a century Haiti had to be on the 
alert, bent as she was on preserving her independence 
which no one was willing to recognize. Everything 
had to be created and organized. It was literally a new 
people who had come into life. Was it to be expected 
that in a century this nation could attain its complete 
and full development? As with other nations, progress 
must of necessity be slow with this new people. Spenser 
St. John "e tutti quanti" has overwhelmed Haiti with 

308 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

abuse in that her civilization is not as advanced as that 
of the Old World. But do these persons recollect how 
many centuries Great Britain, France, and Germany 
spent in all kinds of struggles before arriving at the 
state in which they are to-day? 

And if civil wars, for which the Haitians have been 
so severely taken to task, were an evidence of the inca- 
pacity of a nation to govern itself, then the great 
Powers of to-day would not have existed. All of them 
have gone through trying ordeals, have paid for their 
advancement with the blood of the best among their 
citizens; every effort toward a higher ideal was marked 
by hecatombs; and those who have sacrificed their 
lives for the advancement of civilization cannot be 
numbered. Having now arrived at the pinnacle of glory 
the great Powers of to-day overlook the obstacles which 
they had to surmount; in their natural tendency to 
treat with disdain the young States that are now striv- 
ing, as they themselves did in the past, to mount up 
step by step to the summit, they liken themselves to the 
upstarts who look with contempt upon the poor who are 
endeavoring by hard work to enrich themselves in their 
turn. By the position they occupy in the world, Great 
Britain, France, and Germany are unquestionably the 
most important nations of Europe; they are justly 
proud of their position. But has such an end been 
attained at the cost of no sufferings or struggles? 

To obtain religious freedom alone has caused blood 
to flow freely in Germany. When in 1517 Luther nailed 
his celebrated protest at the door of the church of Wit- 
temberg, his action stirred many souls who theretofore 
had been either passive or indifferent; their awakening 
set Germany ablaze. Massacres and incendiarisms 
were the order of the day throughout almost the entire 
sixteenth century. Catholics and Protestants did not 
cease to shed one another's blood until the seventeenth 
century, after the Thirty Years' War. This struggle 
left Germany dismembered and worn out, her commerce 
entirely destroyed, famine adding its horrors to the 
trials she had just gone through. This discord and 

Civil Wars in Germany 309 

these calamities, trying as they were, did not prevent 
Germany from continuing her march toward progress, 
they did not keep her from becoming one of the most 
powerful nations of the world. However, she had to 
fight desperately in order to secure even her political 
stability. To go back no farther than the twelfth cen- 
tury we find that her history is a series of oppressions, 
of rivalries and murders for the possession of power. 
The dispute between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines 
alone stained the country with blood for many cen- 
turies. At the death of Henry VII, Guelfs and Ghibel- 
lines had each a king; there ensued a civil war which 
ended when Otto IV was crowned in 1208. Otto was 
dethroned by Frederick I. Henry, the son of Frederick, 
made an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow his father; 
he was defeated and put in prison, where he died. 
Some time after the death of Frederick II many pre- 
tenders fought for the possession of the crown. This 
period is known as the Interregnum. There was no 
security throughout the land; the barons fought con- 
tinually among themselves, plundering peasants and 
travelers and committing all sorts of crimes, there being 
no law to check them. In Westphalia there were the 
" Wehmgerichte, " secret tribunals which indicated to 
men, hired for the purpose, those whom they had de- 
cided were to be killed. For three hundred years these 
tribunals held sway. Rodolph of Austria succeeded in 
destroying the castles of the barons. His son Albert 
was murdered by his nephew after his struggle with 
Adolph of Nassau, who was striving to get possession 
of the throne. Henry of Luxemburg, who became 
Emperor under the title of Henry VII, died from poi- 
soning (1313). Two pretenders then laid claim to the 
crown: Frederick and Louis of Bavaria. Frederick 
was defeated and imprisoned; but later on, the victor, 
Louis, was divested of his office and replaced by Charles 
IV, a son of the King of Bohemia. The barons became 
once more very powerful and again began their depre- 
dations. Wenceslas, the next Emperor, committed such 
atrocious cruelties that his sanity was questioned and 

310 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

he was kept imprisoned in a castle in Austria. Fred- 
erick III, whose indolence earned for him the nickname 
of Emperor Night Cap, occupied the throne from 1440 
to 1493. The barons were continually at war with each 
other; the disturbances and dissensions were of such a 
character that Germany and the Emperor became the 
byword of Europe. Charles V, who succeeded Maxi- 
milian, entered into a struggle with the Lutherans, and 
a religious war raged during the seventeenth century; 
the Thirty Years' War having begun during the reign 
of Mathias who was elected in 1612. In 1806 the Empire 
of Germany ceased to exist and was replaced by thirty- 
nine States. All the bonds which formerly united the 
members of the great German family looked as if they 
had burst asunder; each State had its own laws and 
currency and levied taxes upon the products of the 
neighboring States. In 1848 the people resorted to 
violence; an insurrection broke out and was quickly 
subdued. It was only after sixty-four years of constant 
effort that the political unity which was shattered in 
1806 succeeded in being reconstituted: the Empire of 
Germany was reestablished only as far back as 1870. 
Germany has thus gone through centuries of vicissi- 
tudes before reaching her present state of splendor. 

England had to undergo like tribulations. The blood 
of a great number of her children was shed in estab- 
lishing the liberty she enjoys to-day and of which she 
is justly proud. A century of continual warfare was 
necessary to obtain the unity of the kingdom. From 
1074 to 1174 the barons fiercely defended their prerog- 
atives; and many kings of England lost their lives in 
the cause of centralization. The struggle for the pos- 
session of power and religious quarrels also made num- 
berless victims. 

In 1100, whilst hunting with his brother, William 
Eufus was killed by an arrow; he was succeeded by 
Henry II, who had to fight against his brother Eobert. 
After Henry's death two pretenders claimed the crown : 
his nephew Stephen and his daughter Mathilde (1135). 
A civil war ensued which lasted fifteen years. Henry II 

Civil Wars in England* 311" 

was obliged to fight against the barons. They suc- 
ceeded in 1215 in forcing King John to sign the Magna 
Charta; this was followed by another civil war, during 
which the barons solicited the aid of the King of Prance. 
The strife continued when Henry III ascended the 
throne, his brother-in-law, Simon de Montfort, heading 
the rebellion. Victorious at the battle of Lewes (1264), 
Simon de Montfort summoned Parliament, and in 1265 
the House of Commons met. Edward II had to fight 
against Roger Mortimer; the King was defeated, de- 
posed by Parliament, and committed to Berkeley Castle, 
where he was murdered (1327). In 1381 began the agi- 
tation for the abolition of villeinage. The head-tax 
caused the discontent which had been fermenting among 
the serfs and free laborers to burst forth ; they rose up 
in arms at the voice of Tyler and John Ball. 4 For 
three weeks the mob was in possession of London ; they 
pillaged and burned houses ; beheaded the Lord Chan- 
cellor and the chief collector of the odious head-tax; 
destroyed all the law papers they could lay their hands 
on and murdered a number of lawyers ; 5 l ' for the riot- 
1 ' ers believed that the members of that profession spent 
' 1 their time forging the chains which held the laboring 
" class in subjection/' 6 The revolt was crushed and 
the peasants were mercilessly put to death ; their blood 
flowed freely. But the sacrifice of so many lives was 
not in vain ; for the days of villeinage were numbered ; 
they would ultimately succeed in ridding themselves 
of this institution and reestablishing the dignity of man. 
Although he was successful in subduing the uprising 
of the serfs, Richard II was unable to maintain his 
authority. Henry Bolingbroke rose against him. Rich- 
ard was defeated, deposed by Parliament (1399), and 
confined in Pontefract Castle, where he was murdered. 

* John Ball was a priest; he demanded that all property should b 
equally divided and that all rank should be abolished. (D. H. Mont- 
gomery, The Leading Facts of English History, p. 139.) 

5 It is interesting to note that the Haitian peasants also, when they 
rose in 1844, believed that the lawyers were responsible for the plight 
in which they found themselves. Page 196. 

D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History. 

312 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Upon ascending the throne Henry IV had to subdue 
many uprisings. And the House of Commons availed 
itself of the opportunity to assume the exclusive right 
of granting the money needed for the expenses. Henry 
V (1413), who succeeded him, caused many of the Lol- 
lards ' to be put to death. Their leader, John Oldcastle, 
was burned as a heretic. Henry VI was dethroned in 
1461 and died a prisoner in the Tower of London. 
Some important events of this reign were the rebellion 
of Jack Cade, the mismanagement of public affairs, and 
the personal rivalries which provoked the civil war 
known as the War of the Roses. For thirty years the 
English soil was stained with blood; and the contest 
was not for principle, but for place and spoils, and 
became a war of extermination. 

The reign of Edward IV (1461-1483) was one of con- 
tinual civil warfare. Edward V was murdered by his 
uncle, who thereupon took possession of the throne. 
But Richard III (1483-1485) did not long profit by his 
crime. He succeeded in crushing Buckingham 's revolt, 
but was defeated by Henry Tudor and was found dead 
on the battlefield of Bosworth. 

The accession of the Tudors to the throne with Henry 
VII (1485-1509) did not put an end to the effusion of 
-English blood. Under the reign of Henry VIII (1509- 
1517), whose deeds are too well known to need being 
retold here, numbers of people were put to death for 
treason and heresy. Men and women alike were burned, 
some for being too zealous in their faith, others for not 
having enough belief. The establishment of the Church 
of England made matters still worse, adding as it did 

7 The name of Lollards was given to the followers of John Wycliffe, 
who, after attacking the religious and political corruption of his time, 
had organized the order of the "Poor Priests" in order to take up the 
work formerly accomplished by the "Mendicant Friars." In the begin- 
ning these friars led a life of self-sacrifice; they went from place to 
place preaching the Gospel and exhorting the people to penance ; growing 
rich, they forgot their former duties. Coarsely clothed, barefooted, and 
staff in hand, the "Poor Priests" went from town to town preaching the 
law of God and demanding that church and state bring themselves in 
harmony with it. The Lollards afterward became socialists or com- 
munists. (D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History.) 

Civil Wars in England 313 

religious persecution to the already existing political 
rivalries. Conversion or extermination became the 
watchword of the two parties; and Protestants and 
Catholics were by turns burnt at the stake. 

Queen Mary (1553-1558), known as "Bloody Mary," 
after suppressing the rebellion organized by Thomas 
Wyatt, caused Lady Jane Grey, whose reign had lasted 
only nine days, to be beheaded. In her proselytism 
Mary caused many Protestants to be burned at the 
stake. But upon Elizabeth 's accession to the throne 
(1558-1603) it was the turn of the Catholics to suffer 
ruthless persecution and martyrdom. In order to rid 
herself of a dangerous rival, Elizabeth caused Mary 
Stuart to be beheaded. There were numerous plots 
against the Queen, treason was everywhere, and "had 
"grown so common, " says Hentzner, a German traveler 
in England, ' * that he counted 300 heads of persons who 
4 1 had suffered death for this crime, exposed on London 
"Bridge." 8 

The change of dynasty did not put an end to the 
religious and political strife. The Stuarts, by proclaim- 
ing the doctrine of the divine right of kings, provoked 
a bitter struggle between the people and the sovereign. 
James I (1603-1625), who asserted this theory, had, at 
the beginning of his reign, to baffle two plots: the 
"Main plot," whose object was to place Arabella 
Stuart on the throne, and the "By plot," which aimed 
at obtaining religious toleration. The Conspirators in 
the Gunpowder plot were mercilessly dealt with. The 
tendency to absolute power manifested by James I in- 
creased under the reign of Charles I (1625-1649). The 
struggle between the King and Parliament assumed a 
violent character. Civil war began once more. De- 
feated in 1645, Charles resorted again to arms in 1648. 
Meeting with severe reverses he was tried and sen- 
tenced to death as a "tyrant, traitor, murderer and 
public enemy," and was beheaded on the 30th of Janu- 
ary, 1649. 

8 D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History, p. 223. 

314 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

The Commonwealth and Protectorate (1649-1660), 
which became the Government of England after the 
execution of Charles I, were in reality but a military 
despotism. Cromwell's will was supreme, as the real 
power lay in his army. At the head of a troop of 
soldiers he expelled Parliament, "the speaker being 
"dragged from his chair and the members driven 
* l after him. ' ' The new Parliament which he summoned 
adopted the Constitution known as "Instrument of 
Government." Cromwell, who by this Constitution 
(1653) was made Lord Protector or President for life, 
arrogated the authority of a king. He repressed with 
extreme severity the revolt of the Irish, many of whom 
were deported and sold as slaves in the West Indies. 
England was divided into military districts ruled by 
martial law and with despotic power. All Catholic 
priests were banished; and no books or papers could 
be published without permission of the Government. 

During the latter part of his life Cromwell was in 
such dread of being murdered that he constantly wore 
concealed armor. When he died in 1658 he was suc- 
ceeded by his son Eichard (September 3), who, how- 
ever, remained in office but little over seven months, the 
military chiefs compelling him to abdicate on the 22d 
of April, 1659. 

Parliament was expelled by the army and the coun- 
try was left without any organized government. Inse- 
curity and anxiety provoked a reaction. General Monk 
invaded England and monarchy was restored upon 
Charles II ascending the throne. 

As soon as Charles II (1660-1685) had become King, 
he began to avenge his father's death. The regicides 
were either put to death or imprisoned for life. Vio- 
lent religious persecutions ensued. The Dissenters, all 
those who were not Episcopalians, were dealt with with 
the utmost severity; they were sent to jail, fined, and 
even sold into slavery. The Covenanters principally 
were made to undergo cruel punishments. They were 
hunted down like animals and mercilessly hanged or 
drowned. "The father of a family would be dragged 

Civil Wars in England 315 

"from his cottage by the soldiers, asked if he would 
"take the test of conformity to the Church of England 
"and to Charles's Government; if not, then came the 
"order, 'Make ready present fire!' and there lay 
* i the corpse of the rebel. ' ' 9 Under mere suspicion 
many innocent persons were thrown into prison and 
executed. 10 

James II (1685-1689) was no less cruel than his pred- 
ecessor. The defeat of the rebellion led by Monmouth 
was followed by the "Bloody Assizes" (1685). This 
tribunal was a travesty of justice. Those who were 
brought before it were not allowed to defend them- 
selves. Judge Jeffreys, who presided over it, was the 
embodiment of cruelty and corruption. Over 1,000 per- 
sons were sentenced either to be hanged, beheaded, or 
sold as slaves. ' ' The guide-posts of the highways were 
"converted into gibbets from which blackened corpses 
"swung in chains, and from every church tower in 
"Somersetshire ghastly heads looked down on those 
"who gathered there to worship God; in fact, so many 
"bodies were exposed that the whole air was tainted 
* ' with corruption and death. " " To rid themselves of 
James II the English people were obliged to call Will- 
iam of Orange to their aid. The latter landed in Eng- 
land (1688) with a force of 14,000 soldiers. Deserted 
by his army, James fled to France. 

William and Mary succeeded him (1689-1702). This 
revolution had great consequences. Courts of justice 
ceased to be "little better than caverns of murder- 
ers. " 12 The divine right of kings was no longer as- 
serted and the liberty of the press was established. 

However, the dynasty of Orange did not maintain 

9 D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History, p. 265. 

10 One Titus Gates pretended that he had discovered a conspiracy 
(the Popish Plot) formed by the Catholics with a view to burn London, 
massacre the inhabitants, kill the King and restore the Roman religion. 
On the charge preferred by him many innocent persons were executed. 
(Ibid., p. 270.) 

11 Ibid., p. 278. 

12 Hallam's Constitutional History of England. Montgomery, op. 
cit., p. 284. 

316 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

its authority without the effusion of blood. Before 
long James II landed in Ireland, but was defeated 
and fled once more to France (1690). As a sequel 
of this civil strife Roman Catholics were hunted like 
wild beasts and thousands of the Irish were compelled 
to leave their country. 

In Scotland also the struggle was fierce and desper- 
ate. Terrible measures followed upon William's vic- 
tory. At Glencoe the clan of the Macdonalds was 
entirely exterminated. 

The reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) was disturbed 
by party strife. Superstition was rampant. Anne her- 
self sincerely believed that she could cure the sick by 
touching them. An official announcement actually ap- 
peared in the London Gazette, "Stating that on certain 
"days the Queen would ' touch' people to cure them of 
" * King's evil' or scrofula." 13 

After eighteen centuries of self-government there 
was no efficient police force in London ; it was danger- 
ous to go about at night in the streets, which were mis- 
erably lighted and heaped with filth, and infested with 
ruffians. Neither was there any safety along the high- 
ways; and even in the daytime it was imprudent to 
travel without an armed escort. The roads were in a 
fearful condition; and so great was the expense of 
transportation that farmers often let their produce rot 
on the ground rather than attempt to get it to the near- 
est market-town. The poor man's parish was virtually 
his prison, and if he left it to seek work elsewhere he 
was certain to be sent back to the place where he was 
legally settled. 14 Hanging was the common punishment 
for most offenses. Men and women were frequently 
whipped along the streets. Fastened to the pillory 
ordinary offenders were publicly exposed to the insults 
and outrages of the populace. 

Notwithstanding the change of dynasty when the 
House of Hanover came into power, civil wars con- 

18 D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History, p. 320. 
14 Ibid., p. 295. 

Civil Wars in England 317 

tinned still. George I (1714-1727) had to defend Ms 
crown against the son of James II. The adherents of 
the Pretender were defeated and many men sold as 
slaves in the West Indies, the leaders being either 
hanged or beheaded. 

Party feeling caused by too frequent elections was 
instrumental in provoking a revolt ; consequently, to do 
away with this cause of unrest the duration of Parlia- 
ment was extended from three to seven years. And in 
order to maintain his authority the Prime Minister, 
Robert Walpole, resorted to corruption, bribing the 
voters and conferring titles and distinctions. Hi$ 
theory was "that every man has his price, " and that 
an appeal to the pocket was both quicker and surer 
than an appeal to principle. However, he established 
the form of government still in force, viz., the adminis- 
tration of the affairs of the state by a Cabinet whose 
members are chosen by the Prime Minister. 

The military success of George II (1727-1760) did not 
prevent the continuation of political unrest. Charles 
Edward, a grandson of James II, laid claim to the 
crown, and fought for it almost a year. He was ulti- 
mately defeated at Culloden and made his escape to 

George III (1760-1820) was also compelled to shed 
blood in order to maintain his authority. Whilst Eng- 
land was waging war against her rebellious colonies in 
America Lord George Gordon stirred up the people at 
home to rebellion. "London was once more at the 
"mercy of a furious mob, which set fire to Catholic 
"chapels, pillaged many dwellings, and committed 
"every species of outrage (1780)." 15 One's life was 
in constant danger from the rioters; those especially 
who did not wear the blue cockade of the Protestants 
ran the greatest risk of being killed. 

The rebellion of Ireland in 1798 was put down with 
great severity; blood flowed on all sides and horrible 
atrocities were committed daily. Even after the union 

15 D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History, p. 337. 

318 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

with Great Britain the sons of Erin tried to free them- 
selves from the English domination. In 1803 Robert 
Emmet took up arms, but was defeated and put to 

In 1811 the English peasants, brought to despair by 
the competition of steam machinery in modern industry, 
resorted to violence under the leadership of Ludd ; they 
broke into factories, destroying the machinery and 
burning down buildings. This riot was suppressed and 
numbers of the rioters were executed. 

It was only during the reign of George III that the 
press acquired the right of reporting Parliamentary 
debates, whereas under the Stuarts and the Tudor s it 
would have been highly dangerous for members of 
Parliament to make public their criticism of the gov- 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the con- 
dition of England could still admit of vast improve- 
ment ; punishments were of an excessive and barbarous 
nature, men of birth flocked to the prisons to look on 
at the flogging of wretched women ; even children were 
hanged for petty larceny. And not only were the jails 
dens of misery and disease, but also schools of iniquity 
and crime. 

After centuries of existence there was little safety 
in the capital of Great Britain. The streets of London 
were dark and dangerous by night and highway rob- 
"beries were of frequent occurrence; the streets began 
to be properly lighted only toward the close of the 
reign of George IV. "In the country the great mass 
' i of the people were nearly as ignorant as they were in 
"the darkest part of the Middle Ages. Hardly a peas- 
"ant over 40 years of age could be found who could 
"read a verse in the Bible, and not one in ten could 
"write his name." 16 When George IV ascended the 
throne (1820-1830) the condition of the people was still 
very bad ; such was the scarcity of food that they were 
on the verge of famine ; and a great majority could not 

18 D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History, p. 352. 

Civil Wars in England 319 

find employment ; as a result of this state of things pub- 
lic meetings were held, but were considered seditious 
and dispersed by force. Freedom of speech, liberty of 
the press, and the rights of persons to assemble in a 
body were restricted. These measures resulted in the 
conspiracy known as "Cato Street plot," the leaders 
of which were either executed or banished. 

Nevertheless, these agitations did not prevent the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 
carrying out very great reforms. Religious toleration 
was established and the creed of a man was no longer 
a bar to public office; henceforth Dissenters were eli- 
gible to all municipal or corporate offices, and Catholics 
were no longer excluded from sitting in Parliament 
(1829). And in order to force the House of Lords to 
abolish the rotten boroughs the people, during the reign 
of William IV (1830-1837), resorted to riots. At Not- 
tingham the mob burnt and pillaged the castle of the 
Duke of Newcastle, who was known to be one of the 
leading opponents of the reform. The Reform bill 
which gave to the country over half a million more 
voters was ultimately passed in 1832. Up to that time 
the election of a member of Parliament very often occa- 
sioned great disturbances; the small towns found them- 
selves infested with " drunken ruffians" who assaulted 
their opponents, going so far as to confine prominent 
citizens, setting them at liberty only after the elections 
were over. Peaceful men were in this way so intimi- 
dated that in many instances they abstained from 

The Reform bill, however, did not grant the right 
of voting to the peasants ; a certain class only of these 
were admitted to the franchise in 1884, owing to the 
energy of a laborer, Joseph Arch. Voting by secret 
ballot was adopted only in 1872. It was not until the 
year 1888 that persons of all denominations were eli- 
gible to become members of Parliament. 

It thus took the English people nineteen centuries of 
constant struggles and untiring efforts to acquire true 
electoral freedom; and they do not yet enjoy universal 

320 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

suffrage. Even at the time of Queen Victoria's acces- 
sion to the throne (1837-1901) there was great discon- 
tent among the people. " Wages were low, work scarce, 
"and bread dear. In the cities thousands of half- fed 
"creatures lived in squalid cellars; in the country the 
"same class occupied wretched hovels hardly better 
"than cellars. * * * A very large proportion of 
"the children of the poorer classes were growing up in 
"a state of barbarism. They knew practically little 
"more of books or schools than the young Hottentots 
"of South Africa." 17 

As to public offices, those were considered up to 1870 
as the booty of the party which was successful in an 
election ; and the motto of some politicians was, * ' Every 
man for himself and the National Treasury for us all. ' ' 
These scandalous proceedings ceased when positions in 
the civil service were to be obtained solely by competi- 
tive examinations. 

In spite of her unquestionable wealth and her power- 
ful position in the world England has still to solve a 
very delicate problem the agricultural question, which 
is giving some concern. Thousands of acres of fertile 
soil are no longer under cultivation and the laborers 
thus left without employment are congregating more 
and more in the towns. 18 The consequences of the agri- 
cultural crisis were also felt in the British colonies of 
the West Indies; they have lost much of their former 

17 D. H. Montgomery, The Leading Facts of English History, pp. 392, 

18 Many detractors, the principal among them being Spenser St. 
John, affect to see a new evidence of the incapacity of the Haitians to 
govern themselves in the fact that agriculture is not as nourishing as 
they think it should be; yet the resources of Haiti cannot be compared 
with those of England where agriculture is causing so much concern. 
Very few foreigners take the trouble of looking for the economic causes 
when there is question of the condition of Haiti. If agriculture is not 
prosperous there are many who pretend that it is the fault of the 
Haitians, and hasten to charge them with being a lazy and indolent 
race; and when, as in England, the people desert the country and show 
a tendency to congregate in the towns Spenser St. John will affirm in 
all seriousness that cannibalism and fetichism have driven them from 
the fields; he does not care to go into the matter and find out whether 
like causes may produce like effects in England as in Haiti. 

Civil Wars in France 321 

splendor. By importing beet sugar into England it 
became impossible for them to continue with advantage 
to themselves the cultivation of the sugar-cane. The 
preponderance of the English in these colonies, or in 
other words and to use an expression familiar to the 
calumniators of Haiti, the supremacy of the white man, 
was unable to preserve the former prosperity of the 
British possessions in the West Indies. It is therefore 
more than unjust to impute to the laziness of the Haiti- 
ans or to their so-called incapacity for governing them- 
selves the abandonment of the cultivation of many 
products which for economic reasons are no longer 

Will the English writers of the school of St. John now 
admit that more than one century was necessary to their 
country in order to attain political stability, to conquer 
its liberty and achieve its full development? From her 
many severe trials England has emerged stronger and 
more powerful ; and she is the more justly proud of her 
present condition in that it has been acquired at the 
cost of great effort and the lives of a great number of 
her sons. 

Haiti, which has comparatively come into life but 
yesterday, need not be disheartened; she knows that 
the struggle for progress is a hard one and that success 
is not easy to be obtained. Were she inclined to ignore 
this fact, the tribulations through which France has 
passed would have been sufficient to make her realize 
the difficulty of the task. This nation, which was and 
still is one of the greatest exponents of civilization, 
should have long ago been struck off the maps of the 
world if intestine dissensions and civil wars were to 
prove the incapacity of a people to govern itself. With 
France, as with Germany and Great Britain, almost 
every step on the thorny road of progress has been paid 
for with the blood of her children. Her history, to go 
no farther back than 1789, is at least as agitated and 
surely more bloody than that of Haiti. It took this 
people, who rank to-day as one of the leading nations 
of the world, more than eighteen centuries to obtain 

322 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

true political cohesion, civil equality, the right to choose 
its own government and the liberty which seems to be 
now firmly established. It is unnecessary here to recall 
the horrible massacres caused by religious strife, the 
disturbance occasioned by the rivalry of political fac- 
tions and by various struggles for the possession of 
power. The history of France contains many glorious 
pages as well as some most deplorable ones. She has 
undergone many trials, great suffering and humili- 
ations ; yet she has always risen from her ashes, pre- 
serving intact her supremacy in letters, arts, and 

For more than eighteen centuries absolute monarchy 
prevailed in France. The authority of the monarch 
was boundless, in him were vested all the functions now 
allotted almost universally to different people ; he pos- 
sessed at the same time all executive, legislative and 
judiciary power. His Ministers were as so many irre- 
sponsible clerks. His decrees and ordinances were laws 
and he levied taxes according to his will. By his orders 
(lettres de cachet) he could cause to be imprisoned 
for life or for an indefinite time any one who gained 
his displeasure. In 1789 this despotism received its 
first blow; but a series of revolutions was necessary 
in order to free the country of it and to obtain political 
freedom. During the whole of the nineteenth century 
France strove to secure the form of government most 
suited to her requirements. The crisis began with the 
fall of the Bastille (July 14, 1789), and for ten years 
thereafter the country was in a constant state of con- 
vulsion, each party plotting the downfall of the other. 
There was safety for no one ; the guillotine perpetually 
at work threatened all alike. From the 14th of July, 
1789, the most violent passions were unbridled, causing 
the most refined people in the world to become guilty of 
all manner of atrocities ; scores of persons were put to 
death and their heads paraded through the streets, these 
ghastly sights exciting the people to fresh carnage. 

In 1791 strenuous efforts were made to do away with 
the doctrine of the divine right of kings in favor of that 

Civil Wars in France 323 

of national sovereignty. The Constitution adopted in 
that year caused severe friction between the King and 
the masses ; and Louis XVI was defeated in the struggle 
which ensued. He was suspended from office by the 
Legislative Assembly on the 10th of August, 1792, and 
the authority was vested in a provisional Executive 
Council. The horrible massacres of September were 
the forerunner of the establishment of the Republic, 
The National Convention soon assumed supreme au- 
thority, chiefly through its famous Committee on Public 
Safety. By the Reign of Terror which he inaugurated, 
Robespierre in 1793 became the master of France. In 
the mean time, in order to assert the complete severance 
between them and the long-established monarchy which 
had held sway in their country, the people caused the 
unfortunate King Louis XVI, who had been formally 
deposed in September, 1792, to be guillotined on the 
21st of January, 1793. The province of Vendee rose 
up in arms ; and the atrocities of a civil war were added 
to the horrors of the foreign war which at the time was 
being waged against France. In their mad frenzy the 
French mercilessly slaughtered one another. The in- 
habitants of Vendee hunted down the Republicans like 
wild beasts, women being often seen giving the finishing 
stroke to the victims. The Republicans, in their turn,, 
gave no quarter to their enemies. Carrier, at Nantes,, 
ordered many innocent people to be drowned; at 
Lyon the prisoners were mowed down with grape-shot. 
Threatened from abroad by the coalition of Europe and 
at home by the insurgents, the new government re- 
garded as its enemies all those who did not profess 
their admiration of it, the slightest act of opposition 
being considered treasonable. And, according to the 
law adopted in September, 1793 (Loi des Suspects) f 
"all of those who had done nothing for the cause of 
1 ' liberty ' ' were liable to be held as foes whom it was well 
to be rid of. This was a year of unequalled bloodshed ; 
the prisons were overcrowded and the guillotine never 
ceased in its ghastly function. Men and women alike 
fell victims to it. Marie- Antoinette, the fE-f ated Queeix 

324 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

of France, as well as the famous Republican, Madame 
Roland, were beheaded by it. Numbers of innocent per- 
sons were put to death. France seemed on the verge 
of being dismembered : Toulon had placed itself under 
the dominion of the English; Paoli had made them 
masters of Corsica ; Roussillon and Beam were occupied 
by the Spaniards ; the Prussians were at Mayence ; the 
Austrians at Conde and Valenciennes. Still France 
would not allow herself to lose heart in the face of the 
fearful odds against her ; her dogged energy saved her 
from the many perils by which she was surrounded. 
The blood of her children flowed freely : The Girondists, 
Hebertists, and Dantonists, the extremists as well as 
those of more moderate inclinations, were by turns guil- 
lotined. In order to put an end to the carnage it was 
necessary to overthrow the leading spirit of it all ; and 
Robespierre, the man who was feared by all, was eventu- 
ally dragged to the guillotine, half dead, his jaw broken 
by a pistol-shot (Thermidor 9, 1794). The Reign of 
Terror had lasted but 420 days, and during this com- 
paratively short space of time the executions alone 
amounted to 2,596! 

The Constitution of the first year of the Republic 
(1793), which the National Convention had immediately 
adopted, was never carried into effect ; it was replaced 
by the Constitution of the year III (1795). 

The Directory failed to restore quiet ; in the reaction 
which followed Robespierre's death, the Reign of Ter- 
ror continued, the Republicans becoming this time its 
principal victims; they were massacred in the South, 
at Toulon, Marseilles, Aix, and Lyons; armed bands 
scoured the country, plundering, murdering, and set- 
ting fire everywhere. In Paris the mob broke into the 
National Convention and killed Deputy Ferrand, whose 
head they placed on a pole and presented to Boissy 
d'Anglas, the president of the Assembly. On the 13th 
of Vendemiaire, year HI (October 4, 1795), the troops 
of General Bonaparte had to subdue the riots of the 
royalists at the mouth of the cannon. 

When the Directory was established (October 25, 

Civil Wars in France 325 

1795) the situation was not a very promising one; the 
people were on the brink of starvation and the treasury 
was entirely depleted. "The Generals did not even 
"receive every month the eight francs in metallic money 
"to which amount their pay had been reduced besides 
' ' the assignats. ' ' 19 Measures of extraordinary severity 
had to be taken to maintain order ; and numerous con- 
spiracies were being plotted. Babeuf and the Jacobins 
were guillotined. The army interfered in political af- 
fairs ; the soldiers surrounded the Council of the Five 
Hundred and that of the Ancients, whose royalist mem- 
bers were arrested. Two members of the Directory, 
Carnot and Barthelemy, were deported. Barras's cor- 
ruption, the bad morals of the time, and the general 
state of insecurity increased the discontent of the 
people. The nation was at the disposal of the first 
daring man possessed of sufficient energy and courage 
to undertake its salvation. General Bonaparte, who 
had just arrived from Egypt, constituted himself the 
savior of France. As soon as he had been appointed 
Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Paris (November 
9, 1799) he caused the Council of the Five Hundred to 
be invaded by his soldiers ; the Deputies were forcibly 
dragged from their seats. This high-handed proceed- 
ing met with the approval of the people; and in the 
evening of Brumaire the 19th the Council of the 
Ancients and what was left of the Council of the Five 
Hundred passed a resolution abolishing the Directory. 

The new government which was organized consisted 
of three provisional Consuls: Bonaparte, Sieyes, and 
Eoger-Ducos. The Constitution of the year VIII 
(1800) afterward decided that the three Consuls should 
remain in office for ten years ; Bonaparte, Cambaceres, 
and Lebrun being appointed. The first Consul had all 
the powers of a king; his two colleagues being there 
only to give advice. 

In spite of the absolute power vested in him, Bona- 
parte's ambition was to obtain still more unlimited 

19 R. Jallifier, Histoire Contemporaine, p. 142. 

326 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

authority. In virtue therefore of the services he had 
rendered France and of the prestige he had acquired 
by his victories, he caused himself to be appointed Con- 
sul for life on the 4th of August, 1802, with the right 
of selecting his successor. In this way the authority 
became once more vested in one man, and the semblance 
of republican government which still obtained was 
before long abolished. On the 18th of May, 1804, a 
Senatus-Consultum established the Empire. The Con- 
stitution which was enacted (year XII) tried to save 
appearances by stating that the "government of the 
Republic was intrusted to an Emperor ' ' ; but Napoleon 's 
will became supreme and knew no restraint. For more 
than ten years France was in a state of constant war- 
fare with Europe. 

Defeated in 1814, Napoleon resigned his office and 
withdrew to Elba, of which he became the sovereign. 
A provisional government was organized under the 
presidency of Talleyrand and held authority until the 
arrival of the Bourbons. On the 4th of May Louis 
XVIII entered Paris and soon after granted the Char- 
ter of 1814. The new monarch was no sooner installed 
than he found himself compelled to fly to Gand; 
Napoleon had landed at Golfe Jouan on the 1st of 
March, 1815 ; and on the 20th he was in Paris. A new 
Constitution, entitled the " Additional Act to the Con- 
stitutions of the Empire," was enacted, a sort of con- 
stitutional monarchy being decreed. But Napoleon's* 
liberalism did not have the opportunity of a fair test ; 
for, upon his defeat at Waterloo on the 18th of June, 
1815, he abdicated his sovereignty forever, and was 
banished to St. Helena, where he died. 

A Commission presided over by Fouche was in au- 
thority until Louis XVIII, brought back for the second 
time by the foreign troops, was able to retake posses- 
sion of the throne of his ancestors (July 8, 1815) ; upon 
which a series of reprisals commenced. Marshal Brune 
was assassinated. Murder and plunder terrorized 
Nimes and Uzes ; prisons were invaded and Protestants, 
Republicans, and Bonapartists were dragged from them 

Civil Wars in France 327 

into the streets and massacred. Ney and Lebedoyere 
were shot, and the death sentences of the military courts 
were carried into effect within twenty-four hours. 

The Charter of 1814 which was reenacted was unable 
to protect Charles X, who succeeded Louis XVIII in 
1824, from the thirst for liberty of the French masses. 
The tendency of the new monarch to assume absolute 
power created great discontent among them. On the 
28th of July, 1830, the inhabitants of Paris took up 
arms and fierce encounters took place at the barricades 
which were erected in the streets. At last Charles X 
was compelled to fly to England (August 16, 1830). 

The Charter of 1814 was altered and Louis Philippe 
became King of the French (August 9, 1830). 

There was fresh shedding of blood in order that the 
new dynasty might maintain its authority. The fol- 
lowing year, 1831, a riot occurred in Paris, in the course 
of which the archbishop's palace was invaded and pil- 
laged ; an insurrection broke out also at Lyons. In 1832 
and 1834 fresh riots broke out in Paris, grave disturb- 
ances taking place also at Luneville, Grenoble, Saint- 
Etienne, and Marseilles. Another insurrection which 
broke out at Lyons was quelled after four days of 
bloody fighting. 

The opponents of the Government demanded certain 
electoral and parliamentary reforms; their demands 
were very moderate and did not include universal suf- 
frage ; they would have been satisfied with having the 
electoral qualification reduced from 200 to 100 francs, 
and with the "adjonction des capacites," i. e., the right 
of the participation in the elections of a certain class 
such as university graduates, public functionaries, etc. 
The refusal of Louis Philippe's government to grant 
these two reforms for which the public was so eager, 
provoked what Lamartine termed "the revolution of 
contempt." On the 22d of February, 1848, Paris was 
in a great state of agitation. On the evening of the 23d 
a group of citizens who were parading through the 
streets was fired upon by the soldiers. This was the 
signal for the insurrection. Next morning found Paris 

328 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

covered with barricades; the city was once more in a 
state of war. Louis Philippe, like Charles X, had to 
seek safety in flight. The victorious mob invaded the 
Tuileries and hacked the throne to pieces. 

The House of Representatives organized a provi- 
sional government, as did the municipality. A com- 
promise was at last effected ; a provisional government 
was established and universal suffrage adopted. The 
National Assembly met on the 4th of May, proclaimed 
the Eepublic, and decreed a new provisional govern- 
ment consisting of five members. This Assembly, which 
seemingly possessed the full confidence of the citizens 
of Paris, was nevertheless invaded by the mob which, 
on the 15th of May, demanded its immediate dissolu- 
tion. They were about to form a new provisional gov- 
ernment when the militia arrived in time to frustrate 
their plans and rescue the representatives of the nation. 
The riot was put down, but broke out again before 
long. The Assembly was not favorable to the socialistic 
experiments which were being carried on; and the 
" ateliers nationaux," organized for the sole purpose 
of procuring work for men without employment, did 
not meet with its approval. On the 21st of June it 
decreed the abolition of these "ateliers." When, on 
the 23d, the news of this decision reached the working- 
men, they at once resorted to violence. Fighting started 
once more in the streets and during four days Paris was 
one vast battlefield where blood flowed in torrents. The 
Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Affre, was shot 
whilst endeavoring to pacify the fighters on both sides. 
In order to suppress this insurrection the Assembly was 
obliged to invest General Eugene Cavaignac, the Secre- 
tary of War, with dictatorial power (June 25) ; and the 
Executive Commission which was in authority had to 
resign. Generals Duvivier and Negrier were killed; 
General Breda was murdered by the insurgents, who 
suffered a complete defeat on the 26th of June. On the 
28th General Cavaignac relinquished his absolute au- 
thority ; but the Assembly maintained him at the head 
of the executive power and enacted the Constitution of 

Civil Wars in France 329 

1848. The President of the Kepublic was to be elected 
by the vote of the people for a term of four years. At 
the election which took place on the 10th of December, 
1848, Louis Napoleon defeated General Cavaignac. The 
new President took the oath of office on the 20th of 
December, and before long was at odds with the Legis- 
lative Assembly. His term was to expire in 1852 ; and, 
according to the Constitution, he was not eligible for 
reelection. But Louis Napoleon, who had no intention 
of giving up the power he held, tried to have the Con- 
stitution altered so as to enable him to remain in author- 
ity ; upon his plans being frustrated he resorted to vio- 
lent measures. On the night of December 2, 1851, 
several Deputies were arrested and locked up in the 
prison of Mazas; Generals Cavaignac, Lamoriciere, 
Changarnier, Bedeau, and Leflo were also imprisoned. 
The President ordered the dissolution of the Legislative 
Assembly, which he styled "a centre of conspiracies. " 
On the 4th of December the streets of Paris once more 
ran with blood; the provinces also took up arms in 
protest against that which they considered the first step 
toward the establishment of absolute power. Thirty- 
two Departments were declared in a state of siege. 
Louis Napoleon succeeded in restoring peace and order, 
but the repression was very severe; extraordinary 
courts were organized, which rendered over a thousand 
sentences of banishment ; sixty-six Deputies were sent 
into exile. 

On the 20th of December, 1851, a plebiscite ratified 
the high-handed proceedings of Louis Napoleon and 
intrusted to him the enacting of a new Constitution; 
thus conferring on him dictatorial power. He availed 
himself of this opportunity to attain his desire, and on 
the 20th of January, 1852, he proclaimed the new Con- 
stitution conferring on the President of the Eepublic, 
who was to be elected for ten years, the exclusive right 
of introducing laws. The legislative body was not per- 
mitted to alter the laws submitted for its approval with- 
out the consent of a Council of State whose members 
were appointed by the President. The days of the 

330 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Kepublic were decidedly numbered. A senatus-con- 
sultum moved that the Empire be reestablished, and 
the measure was ratified by a plebiscite on the 21st of 
November. On the 1st of December, 1852, Louis Napo- 
leon Bonaparte became Napoleon III. 

The Constitution of January, 1852, was altered so 
as to agree with the new regime which France had 
adopted. At first the Imperial Government was fortu- 
nate with its military operations in Europe. But the 
victories won in Italy and the Crimea were unable to 
counterbalance the appalling disasters which resulted 
from the conflict with Germany. Invasion, humiliation, 
and dismemberment: such were for France the conse- 
quences of the second Empire. The catastrophe of 
Sedan (September 2, 1870) was speedily followed by the 
overthrow of the dynasty of the Napoleons. On the 4th 
of September the Republic was once more proclaimed 
in Paris, whose Deputies organized a provisional gov- 
ernment called the "Government of National Defense/' 
which was presided over by General Trochu. This 
revolution, which occurred whilst the enemy was march- 
ing on the capital, was the beginning of the last severe 
trials which remained for France to undergo during the 
nineteenth century before definitely securing her politi- 
cal liberty. 

When Paris was besieged by the Germans its inhab- 
itants gave proof of marvelous energy and courage; 
but well-nigh starved to death, they were compelled to 
capitulate and the city was occupied by the German 
army; an armistice was signed; and the National As- 
sembly which was elected met at Bordeaux. Mr. Thiers 
was appointed chief of the executive power of the 
French Eepublic (February 17, 1871). Yet the ten- 
dency of the majority of the Assembly was monarchical 
a fact not calculated to gain the confidence of the 
Republicans. The presence of foreign soldiers on the 
national territory did not prevent a terrible civil war 
from breaking out. The National Assembly had trans- 
ferred its sittings to Versailles and decreed the abolition 
of the pay of the militia. This decision was followed 

Civil Wars in France 331 

by the same evil consequences as the suppression of the 
' ' ateliers nationaux ' ' in 1848. The inhabitants of Paris, 
most of whom were already distrustful of the Assem- 
bly's intentions, immediately took up arms. On the 
18th of March, 1871, the militia captured an artillery 
park encamped upon the heights of Montmartre. The 
insurrection began by the murder of two Generals, 
Clement Thomas and Lecomte. The Government gave 
up Paris to the Commune and withdrew to Versailles. 
The struggle was appalling in its cruel pitilessness. 
The French, in a frenzy, slaughtered one another, the 
Prussians remaining mere spectators of this fearful 
carnage. Paris was once again in a state of siege. On 
the 20th of May the troops from Versailles succeeded 
in forcing an entrance into the unfortunate city, and 
war was again carried on in the streets. Blood ran in 
torrents during the fight and again in the innumerable 
executions which followed. When every hope was lost, 
instead of submitting to the inevitable, the Communards 
resorted to revolting crimes ; the Archbishop of Paris, 
the President of the Court of Accounts, and numbers of 
priests and friars were mercilessly butchered. The 
Tuileries, the Court of Accounts, and the City Hall were 
destroyed by fire ; bands of ruffians were seen with cans 
of petroleum in hand setting fire to the finest houses in 
Paris. The Commune was subdued after a week of 
severe fighting; but the suppression was as terrible as 
the struggle had been. The soldiers shot all suspects 
who fell into their hands. The executions alone num- 
bered over 6,500, and more than 7,000 persons were 
sentenced by court martial to be deported. 

This was the last bloody crisis through which France 
passed during the nineteenth century, though many, 
unsuccessful attempts were made in order to overthrow 
the Eepublic, which now seems to be firmly established. 

After investing Mr. Thiers with the title of President 
(August 31, 1871) the Assembly persisted in regarding 
the Eepublic as a provisional form of government, and 
assumed such an attitude that Mr. Thiers resigned his 
office (May 24, 1873). Marshal McMahon was then 

332 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

elected President of the Republic for seven years and 
the constitutional laws were enacted in 1875. 

However, intrigues for the restoration of the mon- 
archy did not cease ; they resulted first in the dissolu- 
tion of the House of Representatives (1877) and then 
in the resignation of the President of the Republic 
(January 30, 1879). 

Jules Grevy, who succeeded Marshal McMahon, had 
to resign before the expiration of his second term ; Sadi- 
Carnot, who succeeded him, was assassinated, and Casi- 
mir-Perier, who was elected on the 27th of June, 1894, 
resigned on the 14th of January, 1895. 

The foregoing events serve to prove that after nine- 
teen centuries of existence France spent almost the 
whole nineteenth century seeking for the political 
regime best suited to her needs. In order to secure 
this political regime she had to change her Constitution 
"twelve times, to go through civil wars, disorder, con- 
fusion, and such terrible crises as at times caused her 
best friends to despair of her future. Yet this nation 
still exists and is moreover still respected and powerful. 

By recalling the tribulations, the painful episodes of 
the history of Germany, Great Britain, and France 
before they arrived at their present political stability 
and at the high place they occupy in the world, it is not 
my intention to infer that for centuries to come Haiti 
must remain a prey to civil strife and discord. By 
relating what may be termed historical fatalities I in- 
tend simply to establish that she does not deserve the 
anathemas launched against her ; I want principally to 
show that the question of race has nothing to do with 
the disturbances which from time to time have agitated 
her. Few countries have progressed without bloodshed 
and fierce struggles. Haiti did not escape the conse- 
quences of this fatality to which all nations seemed 
doomed in the beginning; she is no exception to the 
rule. Her detractors are aware therefore that they are 
acting in bad faith when they affect to believe and cause 
others to believe that her civil wars are due solely to the 
rso-called incapacity of her people to govern themselves ; 

Civil Strife in Haiti 333 

they intentionally forget the disturbances which have 
given so many anxious moments to France, whose in- 
habitants, however, are not black. If this powerful, 
rich, and highly educated people had, during nineteen 
centuries, to grope for the political regime best suited 
to their temperament, can the world refuse to make 
some allowance and to have a little indulgence for Haiti, 
whose existence dates back but a hundred years and 
whose sons possessed none of the advantages enjoyed 
by those of the older nations of Europe? 

The lesson taught us by the history of the Old World 
should make it clear that there is nothing surprising in 
the fact that after a century of existence Haiti has not 
attained the height of modern civilization; neither is 
there anything humiliating for her in the fact that she 
also had to grope for the best political regime most 
suited to her people. King, Emperor, and President 
have each in turn been tried by her; and the Republic, 
in spite of some temporary failures, is definitely estab- 
lished ; the people have energetically shown their pref- 
erence for this form of government, and since 1859 no 
ruler, however fond he may have been of absolute 
power, has dared to disregard the firm will of the nation 
on this point. The understanding, therefore, is now 
complete as to the form of government ; all that remains 
to be done is to consolidate and perfect it. It is this 
work of consolidation and improvement which has cost 
such great efforts and provoked so many convulsions 
and disturbances. The civil wars in Haiti have not all 
been caused by personal rivalries or by unbridled am- 
bition. The struggle has been more for the sake of 
principle than is generally thought. In order fully to 
understand and appreciate the causes which brought 
about the revolutions which have agitated Haiti, one 
must closely study the character of the people and 
endeavor so to enter into their feelings as to form a 
just conception of their ideals, their hopes and expecta- 
tions, and of the spirit by which they were animated. 
The same love of liberty which rendered the yoke of 
slavery unbearable to them led them to sacrifice their 

334 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

liberator Dessalines when his rule appeared to be grow- 
ing too despotic. And the conflict between Petion and 
Christophe was more the outcome of a difference of 
opinion as to principle than a matter of personal 
rivalry: it was a struggle of republican against mo- 
narchical ideas. And the Haitians, as fond of equality 
as they are of liberty, will give their firm support 
against all odds to that system of government which 
does not establish privileges and renders public offices 
accessible to all citizens according to merit. 

The first civil war which took place in Haiti resulted 
in the triumph of the Republic ; monarchy disappearing 
with Christophe in 1820. The new form of government 
was planned in accordance with the requirements of the 
day. The necessity of taking precautions against the 
possibility of an aggression from France, the absolute 
authority vested in the Governor-General still fresh in 
people's minds, and the natural inexperience of men 
just freed from slavery, all combined in deciding the 
people to invest the Chief Executive with extraordinary 
powers and prerogatives. And in order to avoid the 
disturbances provoked by too frequent elections, Presi- 
dency for life was established. 

The circumstances which had necessitated a strongly 
organized Executive Power underwent a change when 
the independence of Haiti was fully recognized by 
France. As soon as they were relieved of the fear of 
an attack from the former mother country the people 
began to object to the amount of power of which their 
ruler was possessed, and desired to have his authority 
curtailed and adapted to the new state of things. At 
that time the exclusive right to introduce laws was held 
by President Boyer, the members of his Cabinet being 
like so many clerks. The House of Representatives 
wished to partake in the privilege of introducing laws, 
requesting also that public affairs be managed by re- 
sponsible Ministers forming a Council of Secretaries 
of State, presided over by the President of the Repub- 
lic. In their youthful enthusiasm this new nation 
demanded reforms which the Executive Power did not 

Civil Strife in Haiti #35 

deem advisable to grant. This brought about the revo- 
lution of 1843 ; again it was a question of principles 
which actuated this revolution. The Constitution en- 
acted in the same year did away with the Presidency 
for life, limiting the term to four years, and the Council 
of Secretaries of State was instituted. The right of 
introducing laws was conferred on both the Executive 
and the Legislative authorities. Trial by jury was 
introduced for all criminal cases. Municipal authority 
was at the same time increased to such an extent as to 
subject the military to the civil power. This last reform 
was an untimely one and in part provoked the disturb- 
ances which for four years agitated Haiti. A clash 
resulted before long between the two forces, and from 
1843 to 1847 Haiti underwent a period of transition 
complicated by the uprising of the peasants, who de- 
manded the betterment of their condition. The inse- 
curity which reigned created a strong reaction against 
the ideas of liberty, and the military party gained the 
advantage in the struggle. Faustin Soulouque became 
Emperor in 1849. The country, weary of the four years 
of turmoil which it had just gone through, accepted for 
a while the despotism of its ruler, but resumed the 
struggle for liberty as soon as it had regained strength. 
The Empire was overthrown in January, 1859 ; and the 
Eepublic which Geffrard reestablished has been since 
that time the form of government of the country. This 
was another revolution in which two opposite principles 
fought for supremacy the one over the other, and it- 
resulted in the reforms adopted in 1843 being asserted. 
There are people who may contend that the reestab- 
lishment of the Republic should have put an end to 
revolutions. So it might if no fresh causes had crept 
up to disturb the harmony of things; as it was, there 
were two principal causes which provoked new disturb- 
ances, namely, Presidency for life and the conflicting 
opinions of the military and civil parties. Geffrard had 
made the mistake of accepting the Presidency for life, 
which the people were bent on abolishing; after eight 
years of successful administration he was compelled to 

336 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

resign. The Constitution of 1867 once more abolished 
Presidency for life, limiting the term to four years. 
But the new President, Salnave, ill advised and ill 
inspired, had the unhappy idea of inducing the army 
to invest him with Presidency for life. Thereupon the 
struggle began anew ; the people took up arms, decided 
to teach their rulers a lesson that they would long re- 
member. Salnave was defeated, sentenced to death by a 
court martial, and shot on the 15th of January, 1870. 
His tragic fate served to confirm the principle of a 
limited term of Presidency, Presidency for life being 
forever abolished. The struggle was a long and costly 
one ; but the wish of the nation was realized and their 
hard-won reform, introduced for the second time in 
1843, was at last definitely secured. Presidency for a 
limited term is unquestionably a move in favor of a 
liberal and progressive Kepublic. 

Since 1879 the term of the Presidency has been ex- 
tended to seven years. This septennial duration gives 
to the country the peace and the tranquillity of which 
it is so greatly in need. Salomon remained in office 
during his full term, and would have retired peaceably 
had he not sought to be reelected. Hyppolite died one 
year previous to the expiration of his term of office, 
whilst Simon-Sam remained President for the stipu- 
lated time, and General Nord Alexis, who was elected 
in 1902, has been in authority for four years (1906), 
during which time the country has enjoyed great tran- 

At the time of Presidential elections there is great 
excitement among the people, who sometimes unfortu- 
nately resort to violence ; but these regrettable disturb- 
ances are very often far from having the importance 
with which they are credited abroad, quiet being re- 
stored as soon as the election is over; for the general 
tendency of the people is to accept and support the 
President-elect; which is unquestionably a good omen 
as regards future tranquillity. 

It has not yet been possible to do away with all the 
causes liable to bring about disturbances, such as the 

Reforms Resulting from Civil Strife 337 

continual struggle for supremacy between the civil and 
the military parties. The experience acquired in the 
past will help to facilitate this transition; meanwhile, 
the Haitians have secured many important points, viz., 
first, the definite triumph of the principle of equality 
over favoritism by adopting a form of government in 
which public offices are accessible to all; second, the 
curtailing of the power of the President by limiting his 
term of office and by the check on his executive duties 
of a Council of Ministers accountable to Congress ; third, 
the division of the right of introducing laws between the 
President and Congress; fourth, the establishment of 
the annual enactment of the Budget; fifth, the adoption 
of trial by jury for all criminal cases and all violations 
of the law committed through the press; sixth, the 
organization of a Court of Accounts for the control 
of public expenses; seventh, rendering effective the 
personal responsibility of officeholders; and securing 
greater freedom for all citizens in the towns as well as 
in the country. The acquisition of these rights, although 
costing in some cases the sacrifice of many lives, is 
nevertheless a cause of self -congratulation. Civil wars 
in general are not to be approved of ; but not all of those 
which have taken place in Haiti have been barren of 
good results, having in many instances promoted the 
cause of liberty. Enlightened by the experience of the 
past, the Executive Power will become less and less 
unyielding and will cease to oppose uncompromisingly 
the just reforms desired by the people ; it will thus 
become easier for them to forge and to work out their 
destiny without further violence and bloodshed. 

A nation which has been through so many crises and 
has voluntarily endured so many hardships in order to 
improve its political regime cannot be considered de- 
generate and retrogressive. Like the countries of the 
Old World, Haiti will achieve the conquest of its ideal 
by the steadfastness of its faith in personal effort and 
the consciousness of its dignity and its duty toward the 
race whose rehabilitation it has willingly undertaken 
to secure. 

338 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

When all is considered, especially the fact that the 
existence of Haiti as a nation dates back only one cen- 
tury, one is brought to the conclusion that this country 
has been no more disturbed nor agitated than Prance 
for instance; her changes of government have at any 
rate not been more numerous. France has had in suc- 
cession the rule of the Directory, the Consulate, the 
Empire, the Monarchy of the Bourbons, the Empire and 
the Monarchy of the Bourbons for the second time, the 
Constitutional Monarchy of the Orleans, the Kepublic, 
the Empire, and eventually the Republic. From 1800 
to 1900 France was under the administration of about 
eighteen different rulers, just the number of rulers that 
Haiti has had from 1804 to 1900. Forced to fly from 
France, four sovereigns, Napoleon I, Charles X, Louis- 
Philippe, and Napoleon III died in exile; and of the 
seven Presidents who from 1870 to 1900 ruled the 
Eepublic, one, Carnot, was assassinated, and four 
others, Thiers, McMahon, Grevy, and Casimir-Perrier, 
resigned before the expiration of their term of office. 

I am merely stating facts without drawing any com- 
parisons, my sole aim being to prove that Haiti is no 
exception to the general rule, and that what has taken 
place in her case has been the same in the case of other 
nations. Neither have some of her rulers escaped the 
fate of some of the French monarchs ; but it is untrue 
to say that all of the Presidents have been compelled to 
seek safety abroad. Out of nineteen she has had in the 
course of a century five of them Boy er, Herard, Gef- 
frard, Domingue, and Salomon died away from their 
country; eight others Petion, Guerrier, Pierrot, Riche, 
Soulouque, Saget, Hyppolite, and Boisrond Canal- 
passed peacefully away in Haiti. One ex-President, 
Legitime, is still living in Port-au-Prince, where he is 
surrounded by the esteem and respect of his fellow- 

Two rulers, Dessalines and Salnave, were put to 
death. This event, although much to be deplored, is 
not peculiar to Haiti. Other nations have also rightly 
or wrongly found themselves under the necessity of 

Misrepresentation of the Most Insignificant Deeds 339 

putting their rulers to death. Charles I was beheaded 
by the English, Louis XVI by the French, and Iturbide 
was condemned to be shot by the Mexicans. States, 
like individuals, commit errors. The errors of others 
are allowed to sink into oblivion, but not so with 
those of Haiti, which meet with implacable and lasting 
severity. Her most insignificant deeds are purposely 
exaggerated and misrepresented, with the sole aim of 
creating the impression that she is incapable of gov- 
erning herself. People hasten to dignify mere riots 
or disturbances which elsewhere would not even have 
attracted the attention of the public, with the name of 
revolutions or insurrections. Some of the strikes in 
the United States, for instance, are more bloody and 
fraught with much more danger for the safety of the 
peaceful inhabitants of the disturbed locality, and 
cause many more victims, than many of the so-called 
revolutions in Haiti. The Washington Evening Star 
of May 3, 1905, printed the following concerning one 
of these strikes which occurred at Chicago: " There 
' l seems to be no power in the city to check the excesses 
i ' and crimes of the mobs. The streets are not safe for 
"the pedestrians. Traffic is crippled, trade is being 
"ruined. Losses are mounting into millions and lives 
"are being sacrificed. The processes of government 
' l are defied by the mob. ' ' 

At Frankfort, Kentucky, the Governor-elect, Mr. 
Goebel, was murdered in the streets in broad daylight 
by his opponents, the disturbances which ensued last- 
ing many weeks. 

In Russia very grave events have taken place re- 
cently; for a while no life was safe and horrible mas- 
sacres were of frequent occurrence. 

All these things passed almost unnoticed; a few lines 
in the newspapers, and the cases were dismissed. But 
if, perchance, such events had occurred in Haiti, endless 
would have been the charges preferred against the 
character of the people; foreign Powers would have 
hastened to despatch men-of-war, under the fallacious 
pretext that the lives of their respective citizens were 

340 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

in jeopardy. And yet since the much to be regretted 
reprisals which followed the war of independence, the 
most hitter foes and detractors of the Haitians have 
never been able to quote a single case of foreigners 
having been killed during the political disturbances 
which have from time to time shaken the country. 
Nowhere do foreigners find greater protection and secu- 
rity than that which is granted by Haiti. There are 
instances in the United States when Italians and Austri- 
ans have been put to death by an infuriated mob. The 
closest examination of the history of Haiti and the 
nts of daily occurrence will not reveal one instance 
of foreigners having been killed either by reason of 
their nationality, the color of their skins, of on account 
of the rivalry more or less great between them and the 

I do not mean to infer that Haiti has attained to 
perfection. Like other nations, she also has her imper- 
fections. I am only trying, and I cannot repeat it too 
often, to lay before my readers the unjust treatment 
she has up to the present time met with. She does not 
?rve the needless calumnies with which she is over- 

Everything is made a pretext for turning Haiti into 
ridicule; even the number of her Constitutions 
brought forward as a subject of derision; whilst it ap- 
pears quite natural that France, for instance, should 
have enacted the following twelve Constitutions from 
1791 to 1875: the Constitutions of 1791, of the year I 
(1793), of the year HI (1795), of the year VIH (1800) 
modified in 1802, of the year X (1804) ; the Charter of 
1814; the Additional Article of 1815 ; tiu rations 

of 1830, of 1848, of 1852; the imperial Constitution of 
1852; the Constitution of 1875 modified in 1884. 

From 1804 to 1889 Haiti was under the successive 
rule of the Constitutions of 1805, 1806, 1816, 1843, 1846, 
1849, 1867, 1874, 1879, and 1889. Most of these Consti- 
tutions proceeded from two prototypes the Constitu- 
tion of 1816, which organized a strong Executive Power, 
and the liberal Constitution of 1S43; all others were 

The Various Constitutions of Haiti 341 

modifications or adaptations which represented the re- 
forms adopted or the progress realized. The people 
on each occasion issued the whole Constitution for 
greater convenience, naming it after the year in which 
the change was made ; and this has given the impression 
that oat'h Constitution was an entirely new one, differ- 
ing essentially from all those which had previously been 
in force. But even if Haiti, like France, had enacted 
almost twelve Constitutions during the first eighty-four 
years of her existence, this should not be brought for- 
ward as an evidence of her incapacity for self-govern- 
ment, which her maligners lead others into believing. 
These changes would rather indicate a strong desire 
of bettering such institutions as were found to be inade- 
quate or unsuitable to actual circumstances. It is surely 
pardonable in so young a nation as Haiti not to have 
succeeded from the very first in establishing and main- 
taining the best form of government, when older 
nations, like Russia for example, are still seeking after 
a proper political organization. 


Corruption Cannibalism Voodooism Papa-loi Superstitions Falst 
assertion that the Haitians are reverting to savagery. 

The principal impression produced by many books on 
Haiti is that honest men are in the minority in the 
country and that the great majority of the Haitians, 
from the highest to the lowest classes, are corrupt, their 
chief occupation consisting in plundering the treasury. 
There have been Presidents, Ministers, and other minor 
officials who have betrayed the trust placed in them by 
the people. In the management of public funds some 
of them have been oblivious of the primal rules of right 
and honesty ; they have not always had present in their 
minds the fact that every cent unlawfully drawn from 
the treasury was like stealing a portion of the scanty 
earnings of the producer who, by the taxes which he has 
to pay upon his coffee, cocoa, etc., is made the principal 
victim of their corrupt dealings. These dishonest ac- 
tions are to be regretted and deserve the severest con- 
demnation. But it is unjust beyond measure to hold a 
whole nation responsible for the action of a few of her 
citizens. In every country wrong goes side by side with 
right; and in order to establish an average one must 
find out which prevails over the other. Those dishonest 
men who accumulate wealth at the expense of the people 
seem at first glance to be more numerous, the display 
of their ill-gotten wealth making them conspicuous. 
They attract by these means more attention than the 
great majority of honest citizens who perform their 


daily duties in an unpretentious manner ; and this great 
majority are thoroughly trustworthy. Far from ap- 
proving of unscrupulous and corrupt officials, the bulk 
of the people are always ready to give their support to 
any man of whose integrity they are convinced and who 
is determined to cause the public funds to be respected ; 
and the delinquents, when brought to trial, are pun- 
ished with a degree of severity which they have merited 
by their actions. The public have never failed to show 
their gratitude to the statesmen who have served them 
with honesty and fidelity. Such men may have gone 
through severe trials ; for the cause of right, like that 
of civilization or progress, has its martyrs. But sooner 
or later those who have not swerved from their duty 
receive their just reward. It is not right that one 
should judge by a few individual cases when there is 
question of forming an estimate of the characteristics 
of a people. A few functionaries have disgraced their 
names; but the others, after occupying high positions 
for years, retire with their integrity unquestioned and 
in possession of the esteem of their fellow-citizens when 
they relinquish their authority. These are the men 
who are in the majority, but pass unnoticed by the 
foreigners, because they do not noise their honesty 
abroad, but content themselves with the inward satis- 
faction of having been faithful in the performance of 
their duties. In Haiti there are to be found a great 
number of statesmen, former Ministers, Deputies, Sen- 
ators, etc., whose moral soundness is equal to that of 
the best statesmen of the countries which ceaselessly 
endeavor to slander us. 

One must bear in mind that the salary of the Presi- 
dent of Haiti is $24,000 a year and that his traveling 
expenses amount to $15,000. Yet if we stop to consider 
some facts of recent occurrence which can be easily 
verified, we find that after nine years of Presidency 
General Salomon has left his heirs in very modest cir- 
cumstances; and that the inventory of the estate of 
General Hyppolite, who died in the sixth year of his 
Presidency, was a great surprise to many, and proved 

344 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

that tie could not be considered to have been a wealthy 
man. General Boisrond Canal, who was at three differ- 
ent times at the head of the administration of his coun- 
try, lived on the pension granted him and on the prod- 
ucts of his plantation up to the time of his death, which 
occurred in 1905, upon which Congress granted a pen- 
sion to his widow. Ex-President Legitime's sole income 
is the pension which the country grants to its former 

Those who charge all the Presidents of Haiti and the 
Haitian people at large with being dishonest and cor- 
rupt are merely propagating slanders in more or less 
good faith. 

At times there are grave scandals in France ; never- 
theless, no impartial-minded person will infer from this 
that the French people are corrupt, for their probity is 
proverbial ; a whole nation cannot be made to suffer for 
the faults or the failings of a few of its citizens. 

In the United States the administration of some im- 
portant cities unnecessary to name here has often 
been in the hands of very unscrupulous men who have 
-enriched themselves at the expense of the people. Even 
samong the members of a body as deserving of respect 
and as justly esteemed as is the Senate of the United 
States there have been some men who have forgotten 
the duty they owe to themselves and to the States which 
placed their trust in them. Does it follow that because 
a few men have transgressed the rigid code of honor, 
that the Americans are as a whole a corrupt people, or 
that the Senate is undeserving of the universal respect 
it enjoys? Most assuredly not. The foreigner who, in 
making use of a few particular cases in generalizing, 
makes the whole nation or all Congress responsible for 
the misconduct of a few individuals, the " black sheep " 
among them, would be guilty of gross slander toward 
the United States in thus misrepresenting the solid 
qualities and virtues of a thoroughly honest people. 
When there is question of the Senate, its tradition and 
its reputation place it so high in the public opinion that 
it does not suiter by the failings of any of its members. 

Corruption 345 

The Americans as a people are patient, and being of 
an honest nature and not over-ready in thinking evil 
of others they are thus easily taken in. But once con- 
vinced of the corruptness of any of their functionaries 
they will allow no consideration to interfere with the 
course of justice in prosecuting those who have be- 
trayed their trust, irrespective of their wealth or their 
social and political standing. This goes to prove in 
the best way how wrong it is to stigmatize a whole 
nation on account of the transgression of a few men 
of unsound morals. 

Although public opinion in Haiti has not yet acquired 
the authority and influence it enjoys elsewhere, yet 
.given favorable circumstances it does not fail to act, 
and upon occasion loudly demands the prosecution of 
those who are guilty of malversation. A recent case 
has just established that the Haitian people are bent 
upon causing the public funds to be respected and in 
bringing the strictest integrity into the management of 
their affairs; they did not hesitate to hand over to 
justice all those who were implicated in the "consoli- 
dation" scandal. 1 The high standing and the services 
rendered in the past by many of those who were in- 
dicted in connection with this affair in no way influenced 
the jury or the judges, who unflinchingly pronounced 
on them the sentence prescribed by the law. A nation 
capable of punishing in this manner some of its most 
prominent men cannot with any degree of truth be 
termed a nation of corrupt men. From whence would 
the courage and energy to inflict the punishment which 
these misdemeanors deserved have come if the entire 
people did not condemn the fault? All the world over 
men yield to the same temptations; everywhere the 
thirst for gold provokes social catastrophes and many 
a time stains the honor of the best families. Haitians 
are mere human beings, swayed by human passions like 
the rest of mortals. Some of them lacking strength of 
mind have yielded to temptation. But it does not fol- 

1 See page 254. 

346 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

low that they are all bad and unworthy of consideration. 
If a whole nation were to be declared criminal and cor- 
rupt because of the presence of a few criminals and 
unscrupulous men among its citizens, which of the 
nations of the world would enjoy the reputation of 
respectability f For amongst all nationalities, in every 
class of men assembled in society, there will be found 
good and bad men, and thieves and assassins in the 
midst of honest and honorable men. Let us then judge 
every one according to his merits and refrain from the 
injustice of holding a whole country responsible for 
the shortcomings of a few of its citizens ! 

Sympathy, or even mere impartiality, has seldom 
inspired those who have written about Haiti. On the 
contrary, they seem to take a special pleasure in repeat- 
ing one after the other the same slanders and the same 
horrible fictions. In this manner they have almost suc- 
ceeded in producing the impression abroad that the 
Haitians are cannibals and that human flesh is ac- 
counted a delicacy amongst them. Before confuting all 
the ridiculous and extraordinary stories told by St. 
John, Pritchard, and others, I will here recall the 
authentic fact that the island which is now called Haiti 
is the only one in the West Indies where cannibalism 
has never prevailed. Before Columbus 's arrival the 
first inhabitants 2 of the island lived in constant dread 
of the neighboring islanders, the Caribs, who were an- 
thropophagous ; and the latter never succeeded in set- 
tling at Quisqueya. 

When the blacks took the place of the Indians whom 
the Spanish rapacity had exterminated, cannibalism 
did not take root in Saint-Domingue ; only one tribe, 
says Moreau de St. Mery, 3 were anthropophagous : the 

2 The first mention made of these people in history is contained in a 
letter written by the discoverer to Ferdinand and Isabella in October, 
1493, in which he stated that the people of Haiti lived in constant dread 
of the Caribales, who dwelt in the long chain of the islands to the south, 
now known as the Lesser Antilles. (Christian Advocate, New York, 
October, 1903. American Cannibals, by John Cowan.) 

8 Moreau de Saint Me"ry, Description de la partie Franchise de Saint- 
Domingue, p. 33. 

Cannibalism 347 

small tribe of the Mondongues. The Congos, who were 
of a bright and kind-hearted disposition, did their 
utmost to rid their companions in misfortune of this 
horrible habit. Even under the brutalizing influence 
of slavery the blacks imported from Africa gave evi- 
dence of their dislike and aversion for cannibalism, and 
undertook to eradicate the evil by their own efforts. In 
this they were successful; for the slaves of Saint-Do- 
mingue, however grossly they may have been abused 
and misrepresented, have never been considered at any 
time as cannibals; even the maroons who lived in the 
depths of the forest in a real state of barbarism have 
never been charged with the habit of eating their fellow- 
creatures. Therefore, after over a century of inde- 
pendence how has it come about that the Haitians have 
become cannibals ? Where could they have acquired the 
unrestrained and depraved taste for human flesh which 
their unscrupulous maligners attribute to them? The 
theory of atavism is out of the question in this case, it 
being a well-established fact that their ancestors had 
not such a habit. Those who know the Haitian peasant 
and his kindly, confiding, and hospitable disposition 
will not hesitate to affirm that the charge of cannibalism 
brought against him constitutes one of those calumnies 
which, by reason of their constant reiteration by for- 
eigners interested in misrepresenting the country, have 
become so rooted in the minds of outsiders as to be 
difficult to eradicate. None of those who contribute to 
propagate such a slander lay claim to having been an 
eye-witness of the horrifying scenes described in the 
many books concerning Haiti. St. John, whose book 
seems to be universally accepted as a truthful account 
of the country, has related the most extraordinary tales 
upon no better foundation than hearsay. Does it not 
appear strange that having lived so long in Haiti he 
has never tried to see one of the many horrible scenes 
described in his book? It is still more surprising to 
notice that instead of availing himself of the oppor- 
tunity, he avoided all fair chances of ascertaining the 
truth. One of his friends, a Haitian, invited him to 

348 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

spend a few days among the country-people in order 
to "show him all the superstitious practises of the 
blacks"; he declined this invitation, remarking on page 
208 4 of his book that he regretted having missed the 
opportunity of seeing something new. St. John, whose 
assertions have done so much harm to the Republic 
of Haiti, thus admits that he has not witnessed the 
atrocities which he so glibly describes; he confesses 
that, being invited by a Haitian friend who probably 
wanted to convince him of the harmlessness of the 
superstitious practises of some of the peasants, he will- 
ingly let pass the opportunity to search into a matter 
seemingly of so much interest to him. After volun- 
tarily abstaining from finding out the truth, he however 
gathered and published all the fabrications which 
reached his ears. In one instance it is a French priest 
who furnished him with the account of a human sacri- 
fice ; 5 at another time it is from a New York newspaper 
that he takes his story. 6 

It is most unwise to give credence to all one gathers 
from hearsay. If an illustration were necessary to 
make the reader cautious it might be found in Wash- 
ington, where the good faith of a reliable newspaper 
was abused. In January, 1901, the Washington Post 
printed a sensational article, stating authoritatively 
that Professor Robert T. Hill, who had just returned 
from Haiti, had witnessed a vaudou ceremony whilst 
in the country; together with the following assertions 
which were attributed to Professor Hill, who was de- 
scribed as a government explorer in order to probably 
lend more strength to his statement : * l Cannibalism is 
"a conspicuous feature of these rites," said Professor 

4 Spenser St. John, Haiti or the Black Republic (1889 issue) : "In 
"the year 1873 an intimate Haitian friend, educated in France, the pro- 
prietor of an estate on the plain of Cul-de-Sac, invited me to spend a 
"fortnight with him in the country, promising to show me all the 
"superstitious practises of the negroes. I regret I did not accept, as at 
"all events I should not have been called upon to witness a murder, and 
'"might have seen something new." 

8 Haiti' or the Black Republic, p. 200. 

6 Ibid., p. 203. 

Cannibalism 349 

Hill yesterday. "It is unquestionably a fact that large 
" numbers of young children are offered up annually in 
" Haiti as sacrifices to the great yellow snake. Indeed, 
"it is known that mothers frequently dedicate their 
"infants at birth to this purpose, the fatal ceremony 
"being postponed ordinarily until the victim has 
"reached the age of two years. Invariably the ritual 
"winds up with a feast the details of which are too hor- 
"rible to be described. Only when human prey is not 
"obtainable is a black goat, which must not have a 
"white spot on it, used as a substitute, or a white cock. 
"The cock chosen for this purpose is always one of 
"those freak chickens which have their feathers grow- 
" ing the wrong way. ' ' 

Such are the things which Professor Hill was made 
to say. The particulars seemed to be accurate enough 
and were intended to give to the account all appear- 
ances of truth; there was nevertheless not a word of 
truth in the story, which was fabricated solely with the 
intention of casting opprobrium on Haiti. Mr. E. D. 
Bassett, who was United States Minister to Haiti and 
lived at Port-au-Prince for more than nine years, has- 
tened to confute this calumny. 7 Thereupon Professor 

7 The following is an extract from Mr. Bassett's article which was 
printed in the New York Sun of the 24th of March, 1901: "As the 
"diplomatic representative of a great Power it was a part of my official 
"duty to inform myself of everything that tended to show the animus 
"of the people or the drift of their social and political inclinations. I 
"do not see how any foreigner could ever have fuller facilities than I 
"enjoyed for getting at the real facts. I went among the country people. 
"I spoke their language (the French Creole) and I personally knew 
"hundreds of them in many different localities. I could never discover 
"that there was any attempt to conceal from me anything of their modes 
"of life or social or religious customs. It is fair to presume that if 
"there had been any such attempt or purpose at all general or persisted 
"in, I would have become aware of it. 

"This brings me to assert my unqualified belief that the cannibalistic 
"practises alleged to have been described by Professor Hill and affirmed 
"by others have no existence whatever in Haiti. Even if they did exist 
"there, it would be most extraordinary I repeat it, most extraordinary 
" if Professor Hill or any other white person could ever gain access 
"to them. 

"Primitive dances to primitive music, festivals and celebrations also' 
"primitive in character and held on holidays and evenings after the- 

350 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

Hill wrote the following letter to the New York Sun of 
the 26th of March, 1901 : 

"To the Editor of the SUN. 

"Sir: I notice a lengthy communication on your 
"editorial page of to-day from ex-Minister Bassett 
' ' correcting certain alleged assertions of mine concern- 
ing cannibalism and voodooism in Haiti. 

"Permit me to say that your correspondent, whose 
"communication was most courteous, labors under a 
"mistake in thinking that I said the things which it is 
"alleged that I said. The article in the Washington 
41 Post and other papers concerning Haiti purporting to 
"be an interview with me was not written by me at all. 
"It was written as a syndicate article by my friend, 
"Mr. Kene Bache, and contrary to his usual custom, 
"and no doubt unintentionally on his part, did not cor- 
""rectly quote me. 

"I have personally seen no cannibalism in Haiti and 
"written nothing concerning the Eepublic except the 
"matter contained in my book on 'Cuba and Porto Eico 

"day's toil is over, exist and may even be said to abound among the 
"peasantry of Haiti just as in other countries. If Professor Hill or any 
"other foreigner ever saw or in any way witnessed in Haiti a 'ceremony* 
"to which he was unaccustomed and which he might on that account and 
"in view of the declarations of Spenser St. John and others twist into 
"a Voodoo ceremony of which cannibalism is a conspicuous feature,' it 
"was probably one of these innocent dances or festivals. 

"Diligent inquiry made upon the spot under the conditions and ex- 
"ceptional facilities already explained and running through quite a 
"number of years utterly failed to bring within my knowledge any per- 
^'son who had ever seen or knew of anybody else who had seen or knew 
"of his or her own personal knowledge of any such horrible practises as 
"Professor Hill is alleged to have described, and I solemnly declare my 
"unqualified conviction that the whole story about cannibalism in Haiti 
"is nothing more than a myth, which, like many other myths, has gained 
"credence by persistent repetition. 

"And it* is due to the Haitian people as well as to a true statement 
"of the matter, that I should add as I do that in my opinion the exist- 
"ence of any practise by which, as Professor Hill is said to have declared, 
"the sacrifice of 'large numbers' or any number at all of 'very young 
"" 'children' or of any one human being, would be regarded in Haiti with 
"the same abhorrence as it would be in New York or Pennsylvania. 

"Now there are in Haiti eighty-six communes, a commune being 
"somewhat like a town in Massachusetts or Connecticut, and there are 
"one hundred and fifty Roman Catholic priests so stationed throughout 

Cannibalism 351 

"with the other Islands of the West Indies/ a review 
"of a book entitled 'Where Black rules White,' in the 
"Nation of last week, and an unpublished article on my 
"desk entitled 'The Other Side of Haiti.' In all these 
"articles I agree with your correspondent that Haiti 
"is not so black as it has been painted. 


This absolute denial passed quite unnoticed, the 
Washington Post in all probability never having any 
knowledge of the contradiction of the sensational story 
attributed to Professor Hill, no mention being made of 
his letter to The Sun; therefore up to the present time 
the readers of this newspaper, one of the most import- 
ant of those edited in the capital of the United States, 
must be under the impression that they know the truth 
about cannibalism in Haiti. 

Like the author of the Washington Post interview, 
Spenser St. John, in quoting others, may have taken 

"the Republic that no commune is without one or more priests of this 
"faith. Almost every one of these is a European, born, brought up, and 
"educated in Europe, and sent out to Haiti under the strict rules of the 
"Church and the requirements of the Concordat with the Holy See. And 
"besides there are about thirty clergymen of the Protestant faith. The 
"Government gives liberal support and encouragement to all, Catholic 
"and Protestant alike. 

"Professor Hill is surely in error in his alleged assertion that 'there 
" 'are few priests permanently resident in their parishes.' The fact is 
"that no parish is ever left without a priest in charge, and the serious 
"allegation that the churches of that faith are desecrated by the per- 
formance within their sacred walls of the alleged voodoo rites is little 
"less than a signal indignity offered to the Church as a whole. No such 
"a proceeding is more possible in Haiti than it would be in New Eng- 

"If now so horrible and shocking a practise as that of cannibalism 
"under the guise of religion or any other cloak existed at all in Haiti, 
"how could it be that this considerable body of educated, devoted religious 
"teachers, the vast majority of whom are Europeans, keep silent about 
"it through all these years and years? Surely they are all at least 
"civilized men, and if so horrible and revolting a practise as that of can- 
"nibalism existed at all in Haiti they would surely know of it. If it 
"existed, and the great body of priesthood had agreed to throw a cloak 
"over it, how could it ever happen that none of them through years and 
"ye?.rs has ever let leak out at least some hint about its existence? In 
"other words, how is it that the story is in general left to be told by 
"fleeting visitors who never or at any rate rarely go among the country 
"people and who know little or nothing of their language?" 

352 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

great liberties with the truth, for decidedly some of the 
statements to be found in his book would have done 
credit to Baron Munchausen. According to this former 
British Minister, people under the influence of a nar- 
cotic, having every semblance of death, were buried; 
they were afterward taken out of their graves, revived, 
and then really killed, some portions of the mutilated 
corpses being carried away to be eaten. 8 

With the customs prevalent in Haiti for the prepara- 
tion of a dead body for burial it is absolutely impossible 
for any one to be buried alive. A person in a state of 
coma could not possibly remain alive after undergoing 
the treatment inflicted on the corpses in the preparation 
for burial; and the dead bodies of the rich as well as 
those of the poor are treated in the same way. The 
corpse is first thoroughly washed and afterward a large 
quantity of chloride of lime or of some powerful anti- 
septic is poured down the throat; the nostrils and the 
mouth are then filled up with cotton or some antiseptic 
stuff. The respiratory organs being thus stopped, one 
has very little chance to return to life should death 
be only apparent. The corpse is exposed to public 
view and is after a while enclosed in a coffin in the 
presence of the family and friends of the deceased. 
Upon arriving at the cemetery the coffin is placed in the 
grave, which is closely covered with earth, or else sealed 
in a vault. An important fact to bear in mind is that 
according to Haitian laws no burial can take place 
before the expiration of twenty-four hours from the 
moment of death. 

Who will now believe that a person who has swal- 
lowed a large quantity of a powerful antiseptic, whose 
nostrils and mouth have been firmly stopped, and who, 
in this state, lies exposed to public view for a whole day 
or a whole night, is afterward enclosed in a coffin and 
buried under six feet of earth or else sealed in a vault 
who will believe that snch a person can retain life 
for a few hours even after being buried! Such a resur- 

8 Haiti or the Black Republic (London, 1889), pp. 236-240. 

Cannibalism 353 

rection would be as miraculous as that of Lazai is. Yet 
St. John finds such a course not only quite natural, but 
he affirms that the resuscitated person is so much alive 
that he is kiJled afterward ; and this is the fairy tale he 
wished to lead his readers to believe ! 

With regard to the flesh of corpses which, according 
to the detractors of Haiti, is eagerly sought after, it 
suffices to have an idea of the tropical climate to be at 
once convinced of the impossibility of this loathsome 
idea and of the risk which those who would indulge in 
such practises would run. The intense heat of the 
Antilles is not long in decomposing dead bodies, and 
ptomaine would have quickly rid Haiti of the ghouls 
who would feed on them. In Haiti, as in France and in 
the United States, 9 there are from time to time desecra- 
tions of graves. But cannibalism is not the motive for 
these occasional profanations ; robbery, in Haiti as else- 
where, is the leading motive of such abominable crimes. 
The Haitians are accustomed to bury their dead in their 
finest apparel, the common people especially consider- 
ing it their duty to clothe the dead in entirely new 
garments, from the shoes to the gloves. Some beggarly 
scoundrel who is in tatters will not scruple to strip a 
corpse of its clothes ; and in order to conceal one crime 
he commits another by mutilating the body, thus pro- 
voking all kinds of superstitious conjectures. "At 
"Jacmel," says Spenser St. John, 10 "they found the 
"cover of a coffin broken to pieces, the corpse resting 
"on its side, an eye and a part of the face and the hair, 
"and doubtless other parts of the body, carried away. 
"The shoes had also been removed. " Were he not so 
bent upon making out that the Haitians are cannibals, 
St. John might have seen in the removal of the shoes, 
and doubtless of other parts of the dead man's apparel, 

9 "Extraordinary precautions have been undertaken that the body of 
"Russell Sage shall not be disturbed in its last resting-place. * 
"The fear that the body might in some way be stolen, as was that of 
"A. T. Stewart, has influenced the family to resort to every measure to 
"guarantee that the tomb is not despoiled." (New York Herald, July 
25, 1906.) 

10 Haiti or the Black Republic, p. 239 ; London, 1889. 

354 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

the true motive of the crime. 11 Desecrations of graves 
in Haiti, as in the United States, are of exceedingly 
rare occurrence. And it would be highly unjust to hold 
a whole country accountable for or sharing in the evil 
actions of a few depraved members of its community. 
Depravity of morals and sentiment exists everywhere. 
The characteristic traits of a people cannot be found in 
the morbid or wicked passions of a handful of bad men. 
For instance, not long ago twenty persons were arrested 
at Jaszbereny (Hungary), charged with having killed 
and eaten many children ; the leader of the band alone 
is alleged to have eaten eighteen children. 12 Must we 
infer from this that all Hungarians are cannibals ? Cer- 
tainly not. Why then do writers generalize in speaking 
of crimes committed in Haiti! If there were occasion 
for it they might agitate for the proper punishment of 
crime when the offenders can be found. But there is 
no necessity for any such outside agitation as this duty 
is well discharged by the Eepublic. The juries and the 
courts have never hesitated to sentence to death assas- 
sins even when they pretend to have acted under the 
maddening influence of superstition; nor are women 
spared ; found guilty of murder they are publicly shot. 
Such severity is the best evidence that superstitious 
beliefs have not a strong hold on the conscience of the 
people. In reality, crimes inspired by witchcraft are 
exceedingly rare. As a rule, murders and poisonings 
are not common in Haiti; and, all things considered, 

u An Englishman, Mr. A. S. Haigh, from Huddesfield, speaks as 
follows of St. John's book (The Tribune, Nassau, N. P., Bahamas, Feb- 
ruary, 1904) : "I have read Spenser St. John's book, 'Haiti or the Black 
" 'Republic,' and it was indeed surprising to me to find things in Haiti 
"so very different from what he had written. I can illustrate this work 
"in no better way than this : a person having been entertained by another 
"in his parlor, in the best of style, on going away writes a description of 
"his host's ash pit and back yard. I do not hesitate to say that the 
"books written about Haiti show up the very worst side, and that even 
"is, in some cases, exaggerated. It is like writing up the slums and 
"calling it a representation of London. The glaring and preposterous 
"accounts of belief and practises in witchcraft and obeah by the Haitian 
"have been very much exaggerated by writers." 

12 New York Herald, June 29, 1905. 

Vaudou 355 

the average of crime, compared with that of other coun- 
tries, is inconsiderable. 

Unfortunately there is among the Haitians a strange] 
tendency to ascribe all cases of sudden death to super-! 
natural causes; and the foreigners who live in the! 
island share this idea with the natives. In the United^ 
States apoplexy, heart failure, acute indigestion, etc.,', 
daily cause sudden deaths; nobody thinks of imputing 
them to witchcraft. But in Haiti when a person, ap- 
parently in good health, drops dead in consequence of 
one of these diseases, some people will in nine cases 
out of ten hold the "papa loi" responsible for this sud- 
den decease ; and even when the doctors perform a post- 
mortem examination, stating the cause of death and all 
the particulars, many people will still refuse to believe 
that the death was a natural one. Numerous stories of 
*' loup-garou " and "papa-loi" proceed from this error. 

"Papa-loi," "mama-loi," and "loup-garou" these 
are words which one is sure to find in every article and 
book written about Haiti. According to these writers, 
these names represent very important personages of 
the "vaudou" cult, the mere mention of which occa- 
sions a thrill of horror and fear. We will here examine 
the matter in all its bearings in order to allow the 
reader to form his own rational opinion about it. 

Because " vaudou-cannibalism, " as described by St. 
John and other writers, does not exist in Haiti, it does 
not follow that there are no superstitions in the coun- 
try. It would be ridiculous to affirm the contrary. The 
most civilized nations, after many centuries of exist- 
ence, have not yet succeeded in freeing themselves from 
superstitious beliefs. Consequently it is not surprising 
to find superstition in Haiti ; but such as it is in reality 
is very different from what it is usually represented 
to be. 

* In order to understand the effect that the mere utter- 
ance of the word "vaudou" produces up to the present 
time on some minds, and to appreciate the persistence 
of the calumnies with which Haiti is overwhelmed on 
this account, one must go back to the dark days of 

356 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

1 slavery. The slaves who were imported and scattered 
about the island of Saint-Domingue had all different 
beliefs and fetiches ; very often they came from hostile 
tribes. The sufferings endured in common soon formed 
a bond of sympathy amongst them; and the " Creole " 
patois, which was quickly learned, allowed them to 
understand each other. Through the interchange of 
ideas which followed, hope entered into the hearts of 
the most daring among them. The vital question for 
them was how to shake off the abhorred yoke of slavery. 
The colonists had done their utmost to imbue their 
slaves with a superstitious fear of their power and of 
\the might of France. Would these ignorant men, who 
had been brutalized by years of constant ill-treatment, 
ever dare to rise up against their redoubtable masters? 
The leaders, who were longing for the betterment of 
their condition, had to find put the safest way of instill- 
ing their boldness into their unfortunate companions. 
The ignorance and even the superstitions, whlffli clouded 
the intellect of those who seemed to be forever bound to 
the soil, furnished a good opportunity for carrying out 
/ the work of redemption. Hatred of slavery, rancor pro- 
I voked by revolting cruelties, and the craving after lib- 
erty united all the victims of the inhuman institution. 
Associations were formed and clandestine meetings 

f took place in the depths of the forests. Whilst dancing 
and singing, the leaders went about sowing seeds of 
revolt ; and in order to inspire the slave with confidence 
in them they pretended to possess supernatural powers, 
such as being able to insure happiness, to make their 
enemies impotent, and defy death itself by becoming 
invulnerable. Hyacinthe carried about with him an ox 

P tail which he said was a charm against bullets ; and 
Hallaou pretended to be immune from death by virtue 
of a white cock which never left him; these men were 
followed with confidence by their companions, who 
blindly rushed into all kinds of dangers at their com- 
: mand. These semi-political and semi-religious tales 
raised the courage of the slaves. 

Christianity, which they were practising without 

Vaudou ( 357 

understanding its importance and meaning, was mixed 
np in their minds with the superstitious beliefs taught 
by those who were unquestionably deceiving them, but 
with the praiseworthy object of bettering their con- 
dition. Hierarchy was established to insure the success 
of the undertaking ; the leaders had subordinates under 
their authority scattered through the island, whose duty 
was to carry out their decisions! The colonists at last 
began to fear these meetings, which assumed the ap- 
pearance of a menace to their domination. The beating 
of the drum which was supposed to summon the adepts 
or to form part of the mysterious ceremonies of vaudou 
struck terror into their hearts. These ceremonies had 
a two-fold aim: on one hand to inspire the ignorant 
masses with confidence in order to decide them to rise 
up against their powerful masters ; on the other hand 
to conceal as much as possible the true object of the 
leaders in order to remove the suspicions of those whose 
yoke they intended to shake off. Toussaint Louverture, 
whose religious sentiments were unquestioned and who 
was a strong protector of the Catholic cult and clergy 
of Samt-Domingue, had nevertheless witnessed the 
secret meeting in which the conspirators, stirred by the 
fierce Boukmann, had taken the "bloody oath" on the 
entrails of a wild boar. 13 

The slaves have never been charged with indulging 
in human sacrifices in all the vaudou meetings at which 
they prepared for their uprisings. And what was called 
vaudou can be compared with the many secret associ- 
ations, with political and religious purposes, which ex- 
isted and are still to be found even nowadays in Europe. 
From the meetings in which vaudou ceremonies only 
were supposed to be practised came the signals which 
would cause the slaves to rush upon the colonists and 
to set fire to the plantations. In order to strike the 
masters with fear and to impair their resistance, the 
leaders who were preparing the great struggle for lib- 
erty did not scruple to spread all kinds of horrible 

13 See page 50. 

358 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

stories and to exaggerate the influence and power of 
the vaudou cult. Legends were thus created ; and as it 
is very difficult to uproot the legends of a people, espe- 
cially when based upon fear, those concerning vaudou 
are still in circulation. 

Traces of this institution can perhaps still be found 
in the mountains of Haiti ; for, after having helped to 
accomplish heroic deeds, what is called vaudou could 
not be expected to disappear from one day to the other. 
But this vaudou never has had, nor has it at the present 
day, the odious character ascribed to it; in some re- 
spects it can be compared to some of the religious sects 
which exist in the United States. 

And the worship of the yellow snake, which the 
adepts of vaudou are charged with practising, is one 
of the assertions which nobody has been able to prove. 
It would not be surprising to see a people brought up 
in slavery worshipping idols and deifying various rep- 
tiles. Nations whose civilization was far from being 
backward have deified animals. It is a well-known fact 
that the Egyptians worshipped the crocodile; and the 
snake in many instances has been worshipped. The 
Romans adorned many of their temples with ^Escu- 
lapius's snake, which they held sacred; and, according 
to tradition, Moses was instructed by the Lord to make 
an iron serpent, which it sufficed to behold to be cured 
of the poisonous bite of the snakes sent to chastise the 
sons of Israel. Consequently, as a fetich, the snake 
is not of African invention. Without upholding the 
doctrine of Auguste Comte, I may safely say that 
even up to the present fetichism is more widespread 
and more generally practised than people will admit; 
very often it cannot be distinguished from idolatry. 
Intelligent men, and the average among the less intelli- 
gent ones, will see in images but mere symbolic figures 
and do not confound with them any idea of divinity; 
but not so with the great majority of believers, who 
sometimes worship the symbol like the divinity thus, 
without thinking, many people are fetichists. 

Be it as it may, I am in a position to affirm that the 

Snake Worshipping 359 

Haitian peasants do not worship any kind of snake. 
A foreigner can go all over the country, nowhere will 
he find a deified reptile. Were such a cult in existence 
its adepts would not fail to pay the greatest respect to 
their god, which would occupy the most conspicuous 
place, both in the temples and in the homes of its wor- 
shippers; no believer is ashamed of his god, conse- 
quently he has no interest in concealing it ; on the con- 
trary, he would have a tendency rather to show off its 
power and its superiority over other deities. Yet not 
one of those who have so largely contributed to spread 
false ideas about Haiti has ever been able to say that 
he has seen the famous yellow snake or that he has 
witnessed one of the ceremonies of the cult devoted to 
it. A whole nation is charged with being addicted to 
a vulgar fetichism and none of its detractors can be 
found who is in a position to say truthfully, "I have 
seen the deified snake and have witnessed the ceremony 
of its cult." 

A Haitian peasant will in many instances hesitate 
to kill a snake; and the foreigner, who does not know 
his motives for so doing, will at once attribute the 
sympathy shown the reptile to some superstitious fear 
or respect for the so-called god. The true reason for 
the reluctance shown is that in many places the fields 
are infested with rats ; and, as everybody knows, some 
snakes help greatly to destroy the troublesome rodents, 
which sometimes cause great damage ; consequently the 
peasants do not care to destroy the harmless snakes, 
which take the place of cats or ferrets in ridding them 
of the rats which are a nuisance. 

There is nothing of impenetrable mystery in Haiti. 
Her mountains and her forests can be traversed from 
one part to another in all safety by travelers, native or 
foreign. In the most remote places chapels are to be 
found in which the Catholic religion is practised. Chris- 
tianity prevails everywhere; and should there still be 
some adepts of what is called vaudou, they cannot be 
very numerous. Therefore, when Spenser St. John 
affirms that all the Haitians belong to that cult, he is 

360 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

deliberately untruthful and is to be compared to the 
writer who would charge the whole people of the United 
States with being polygamous because plurality of 
wives was formerly practised by the Mormons. 

There are certainly many superstitions in Haiti, great 
advantage of which is ta'ken by the papa-loi and the 
manman-loi. The papa-loi, who is represented in the 
many books and articles about Haiti as an extraordi- 
nary being, is in reality what in the United States and 
in Europe is called a charlatan, quack, clairvoyant or 
fortune-teller. Turning to his own account the igno- 
rance or the credulity of those who consult him, the 
papa-loi does his best to foster the beliefs that he has 
the power to cure all kinds of diseases, to procure hap- 
piness, to insure the success or the failure of all kinds 
of undertakings, to influence love and hatred, to enrich 
or impoverish. He profits by his oftentimes great 
knowledge of the medicinal herbs and tropical plants 
to gain the confidence of his clients; but he will care- 
fully avoid administering poison. The advantage to be 
gained by this would not compensate the great risk he 
would run, as he knows well that, should it be detected, 
his crime would cost him his life, for in such a case he 
would be sentenced to death and shot; and no human 
being needlessly exposes himself to death. 

In the United States 14 many cases of poisoning have 
occurred through flowers and through candies sent by 
post ; at Connellsville, Pa., an attempt was made on the 
life of a young woman, who received a pair of shoes 
the heels of which had been hollowed out and filled with 
nitroglycerin. If such a thing had occurred in Haiti 
her foreign detractors to a man would ascribe these 
crimes or criminal attempts to the papa-loi, of whom, 
however, Haiti is far from having the monopoly. This 

14 "Boxes of candy sent by messenger or despatched through the mail 
"have contained poison, and 'gifts of this kind have produced great sen- 
"sations. Mortal potions have been sent with flowers. Now comes the 
"report of a shoe sent to a young lady, with enough nitroglycerin con- 
gealed in the heel to blow the bearer off her feet." (The Washington 
Evening Star, May 26, 1905.) 

Papa-Loi 361 

sort of charlatan is to be found all over the world; he 
exists as well in France and in the United States under 
different appellations. 

1 'There is perhaps not a village in France which does 
* 'not possess its healer (guerisseur) or rebouteux. Both 
"continue to be serious competitors to the country 
11 doctors. They assume the appearance of sorcerers 
"and profit by the fear they inspire. They occasion- 
"ally make use of mediaeval drugs the eccentricity of 
"which takes the fancy of their customers and secures 
"their authority over the minds of those already pre- 
pared to respect the traditional and ancestral art of 
"the healer. 

"We must confess that most of these unlawful doc- 
"tors are clever and possess efficacious means of curing 
"some diseases. They know quite well how to set a 
"leg or an arm, to cure sprains, wounds, and burns. 
"Their lasting fame is the best evidence of their skill. 
"The healer has existed from the earliest ages." 15 

Papa-loi is, as it were, the Haitian form of the French 
rebouteux, who is perhaps more skilled and has cer- 
tainly been longer in existence than the papa-loi. No- 
body would think of saying that the French nation is 
at the mercy of such quacks. Yet many writers state 
in a serious manner that the influence of the healer is 
so great in Haiti that the doctors are unable to earn a 
living by the practise of their profession. It suffices 
but to notice the prosperous condition of the Haitian 
doctors to be convinced of the absurdity of such an 
assertion; theirs is one of the best paid and the most 
profitable callings. 

As to the philters which the papa-loi is said to admin- 
ister to those who wish to make themselves beloved, 
they do not seem to be unknown in the United States. 
In a divorce suit introduced before the court of North 
Platte, Nebraska, the husband charged his wife with 
having given him "dragon's blood, " which, it seems, 
is what the American papa-lois prescribe in love af- 

" Les Annales Politiques et Litteraires, Paris, August 20, 1905. 

362 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

fairs. The following question was publicly asked the 
defendant : ' i Did you ever administer * dragon 's blood ' 
"for the purpose of making the Colonel love you more 
"and other women less?" 16 Such a query would not 
have been made in a law-suit in which it would be well 
to note that the litigants did not belong to the African 
race if in some places in Nebraska, at any rate, people 
were not inclined to believe in the charm of "dragon's 
blood. " Must we infer from this that all the inhab- 
itants of Nebraska and the whole people of the United 
States in general share this superstition? Certainly 
not. Why then should all Haitians be charged with 
believing that the papa-loi's philters have really the 
power of exciting love or hatred? 

At Leadville, Colorado, a judge ' ' sitting in full orders 
"at a session of his tribunal made bold to declare that 
"testimony affirming the witchcraft of a young woman 
"so charged before his honor was eminently admissible, 
"since two-thirds of the population thereabouts be- 
"lieved in such things. " 17 The case was of an exceed- 
ingly extraordinary character. One Martin Roberts 
had committed assault and battery on Catherine Roth- 
enburg, a beautiful Jewess who was reputed a sorceress. 
No fewer than six different persons were on hand to 
display ills that she had practised upon them. Robert's 
defense was that "the Jewess had cast a spell over him, 
"in pursuance of a threat she had made some weeks 
"before, and caused him to fall ill as she had foretold 
"she would do. He had become ill in a very queer way ; 
"his head buzzed and he saw things continually whirl- 
' ' ing before his eyes ; he looked like a crazy man. Phy- 
"sicians could not account for the malady by any regu- 
lar formula known to medical science and muttered 
"something about it being very strange. He remem- 
"bered then that Catherine Rothenburg had told him 
"once that whenever she succeeded in afflicting any one 
"with disease, as she often did, there was but one way 
"to destroy her power over the invalid, that was for 

19 The Washington Post, March 1, 1905. 

17 The Washington Post, September 17, 1899. 

Superstitions in the United States 36$ 

"the invalid to draw blood from her mouth. He con- 
1 'eluded to put this remedy to the test, and he went to 
"Rothenburg's house while Catherine's husband was 
"away and found the alleged witch sitting in a chair 
"holding her child in her lap. He laid hands on her 
"unceremoniously, and beat and chopped her until the 
"mouth ran red with blood, and she was bereft of her 
" senses. " Roberts proved by doctors 7 sworn state- 
ments that since the maltreatment of the mysterious 
woman he had recovered his normal health, and had 
begun to improve the moment the deed was done. 

Twelve men and women recounted the uncanny 
doings of the Jewess. Sickness had come to one family 
because she had sprinkled earth from a murderer 's 
grave in their water barrel ; a certain man who had de- 
clined to give her $5 had become a cripple ; she had been 
seen prowling at midnight in a cemetery near the grave 
of a gentleman whose departure from this life at the end 
of a rope had given him distinction among the shades; 
her eyes had been observed to shoot fire. 

Had Spenser St. John known these facts he would 
not have failed to ascribe them to Haiti, and his book 
would have had one more sensational chapter. 

The following account of a religious meeting which 
took place at Beal's Island, which is a part of Jones- 
port, Maine, is still more extraordinary: 

"Scenes during the meetings were weird, spectacular 
"and horrible," says the New York Herald of March 
13, 1904. "Elder Buber preached a hell-fire doctrine 
"with a vivid and impassioned eloquence. He pictured 
"to the awe-stricken villagers awful torments which 
"are to be theirs if they did not speedily believe and 
"repent. He told them that they must purify them- 
" selves, body and soul; that they must sever all earthly 
"ties, must give all their money, houses, lands, cattle, 
"and even clothing to the preachers. His listeners, 
"terrified by the awful fate in store for them and quak- 
"ing before the awe-inspiring gaze of Allaby, assented. 
"The exhorter worked himself into a frenzy. He 
"shouted that the mouth of hell was eagerly yawning 

364 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"for sinners. He leaped high into the air, placed his 
"hands on the top of the tall pulpit, and vaulted back 
"and forth over it. He grovelled on the floor, pounded 
"his head on the timbers and worked up to a point of 
"delirious frenzy, performing feats of contortion which 
"rival those of a professional circus athlete. 
"Men and women groaned aloud, grovelled in their 
"seats, their minds answering sympathetically every 
"emotion depicted by the exhorter. 'How much will 
" 'you give to the Lord!' he shouted in thunderous 
"tones. 'All, all!' answered the people, rising in their 
"seats, and they meant it. On Friday night of last 
"week the most violent meeting of all was held, continu- 
ing until after midnight. At this meeting the vil- 
" lagers turned their pockets inside out for the preach- 
" ers. They gave the few valuables they had with them. 
"It was arranged that a final meeting of renunciation 
"was to be held on the following Sunday, at which a 
* ' monster contribution was to be made to the preachers. 
"The people of the island, with few exceptions, pre- 
pared to sell their homes and lands, their places of 
"business and fishing tackle, their cattle and household 
"possessions, so that all could be converted into cash 
"for the purpose of the offering. They were in a 
"frenzy, practically insane with the intoxication of 
"their emotions. 

"Stranger rites and ceremonies were performed, and 
"finally Elder Buber announced that by reason of 
"divine power he could perform miracles. 

' ' Thurman, the nine-year-old son of Mrs. G. F. Beal, 
"a cripple since birth and beloved by all on the island, 
"was brought into the church. He was placed on the 
"altar before the congregation. He was then covered 
"with a sack, while the exhorter, working himself into 
"a frenzy, commanded the spirit of which the child was 
"possessed to depart. The miracle was a failure. The 
"child remained a cripple, but, strange to say, the 
"people did not lose faith. They ascribed the failure 
"as due to a devil in the boy. This meeting ended at 

Superstitions in the United States 365 

"midnight, Elders Buber and Buck being so exhausted 
< 'that they could hardly stand. 

"Some of the more zealous of the converts desired 
"to continue in their frenzy, and twenty or more re- 
" paired to the home of Mrs. Beal, near the church. 
t i Their imaginations were so wrought up that with the 
"first words of exhortation they became insane, and 
"horrible ideas and suggestions followed. 

"Mrs. Beal was the centre of the group. She said 
"that they had sacrificed or were about to sacrifice, all 
"their worldly possessions, but that was not enough. 
"A living sacrifice was required, she said. She pro- 
" posed crucifixion, and appointed her son Eli, a young 
"man of twenty-eight, as the chosen instrument, or 
"executioner. Wild approval met the suggestions of 
"Mrs. Beal. 

"Raising her hands high in the air, as if seeking 
"inspiration, she said that a certain dog in the village 
"must be killed. It was brought into the room. Mrs. 
"Beal said that the dog was to typify the Lord. Eli 
"Beal grasped the dog with hands made stronger than 
"normal by insane fervor and tore open its throat. The 
' ' fanatics groaned and shouted while the dog breathed 
"its last. A cat was the next victim, similar ceremonies 
"being gone through. 

"Then it was that Mrs. Beal groaned because the 
"holy spirit did not wholly yield to her, and said that 
"her little boy Thurman must be sacrificed. Some joy- 
" fully acceded and other women proposed to sacrifice 
"their children. Frank Wallace and John A. Beal, two 
"strong-minded men who were present, but not par- 
ticipating in the ceremonies, protested. Wallace told 
"a Herald correspondent that in five minutes more the 
"Beal child would have been killed and others would 
"have followed. Wallace seized the boy, dashed for 
"the door, and held the crowd at bay while the fright- 
"ened youngster fled for his life, finding a hiding-place 
"among the rocks. 

"Mr. Beal hurried to the mainland and notified the 
authorities there. Mrs. Beal was adjudged insane and 

366 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

"sent to an insane asylum in Bangor. And the select- 
^'men of Jonesport have issued strict orders that there 
"be no more religious services of any kind on the 

Had the foregoing events occurred in Haiti, instead 
of taking place in the United States, her detractors 
would not have missed the opportunity to assert that 
Haitian mothers are accustomed to sacrifice their chil- 
dren in the vaudou ceremonies. The incident would 
have been grossly exaggerated and wo^-ild not have been 
imputed to the insanity of a handful 01 fanatics. With- 
in ten or twenty years after, these ceremonies would 
have been related by foreign writers to cast aspersion 
on the whole Haitian Republic. 

Public instruction, which is comparatively much more 
wide-spread in the United States than in Haiti, has 
however not yet succeeded in protecting the inhabitants 
of the former country from charlatans and fortune- 
tellers. In a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, a woman 
was the victim of one of these American papa-lois. The 
-case was tried at Elmira, New York, where Walter P. 
Collins, alias Dr. Zollo, was arrested on a charge of 
grand larceny. "I am very superstitious, " said the 
complainant, Miss Mary M. Miller, "and I believed in 
4 1 Dr. Zollo, for he read my palm very cleverly. He told 
"me that it was necessary for me to bring money, 
4i because money was the one goal in the world for which 
"every one was pushing, and one's thought centred 
"upon it constantly. He said that through this money 
"he could transmit an influence on me, as a result of 
"which my affairs would not be so tangled, and that I 
"would be able to rent my property, the poor returns 
"from which caused me much worry. I brought him 
"$500. He put it in an envelope, as I supposed, and 
"gave it to me, telling me to go home and bring him 
"more the next day, also to bring back the envelope 
"supposed to contain the $500. I brought back the 
"sealed envelope and $300. He opened the envelope, 
"apparently took therefrom the $500, and, bunching 
4 * the $300 in bills with it, asked me to hold one end while 

Superstitions in the United States 367 

"he held the other. I did so, and he again apparently 
"put the money in an envelope, sealed it and told me 
"not to open it, but to wear it in a jewelry bag around 
"my neck until the next day, when I should come to his 
"office for him to open it, so that the charm might not 
"lose its full effect. I paid him his fee and the next 
"day when I visited his office he had disappeared. I 
' ' found a newspaper in the envelope, but no money. ' ' 18 

One Dr. Theodore White was arrested in the very 
city of Baltimore on the charge of using the United 
States mails to defraud. He was selling love-powders 
said to contain three hairs out of a black cat 's tail, seven 
hairs out of a white mule's tail, eight drops of blood 
out of a dog's tail, and one or two equally astonishing 
that his operations had extended all over the United 
the directions were carefully followed out. 20 Dr. White 
antee that he would at once rival Borneo in his ardor if 
had numerous patrons for this powder of his; for 
$12,800 in cash was found in his safe; and he admitted 
ingredients. 19 Directions were given for administering 
this powder to the reluctant or cold lover, with the guar- 
States, Europe, Central America, and a portion of 
South America. 

In Washington, the capital of the United States, the 
police had to intervene on behalf of the credulous and 
superstitious people who were being taken advantage 
of by clairvoyants, fortune-tellers and that class of 
charlatans who would have been called papa-lois had 
they been found in Haiti. 

"The police department announced yesterday," says 
the Washington Post of the 19th of February, 1904, 
"that war is to be waged on all Clairvoyants, fortune- 
" tellers, and mediums in the District. The 

"detectives have received numerous complaints re- 

19 The Washington Post, March 31, 1906. 

On the 23d of June, 1906, Dr . White was sentenced by Judge Morris 
to serve three years in the penitentiary and to pay a fine of $1,500. 

18 The New York Herald, Juno 22, 1903. 
(Washington Post, 24th June.) 

20 The Washington Evening Star, March 31, 1906. 

368 Haiti: Her 'History and Her Detractors 

"cently. All of the victims were women, and they were 
"mulcted, so they said, of sums ranging from $1 to 
"$100; but woman-like they refused to prosecute for 
"fear of publicity. One of the letters received by the 
"police reads as follows: "The Professor talked me 
" 'right out of my money, and instead of bringing back 
" 'my husband, as he promised, he seemed to drive my 
' ' 'husband away, for I am now alone. My husband has 
" 'gone to Pittsburg. The Professor said that if I had 
" 'him arrested, he would tell all my story, and would 
" ' swear besides that I was after another man instead 
" 'of my husband.' 

"One other contribution to the stock of complaints 
"is a tiny yellow envelope stamped on the outside: 
" 'Phychio Magneto, Nepal, India.' The woman who 
"gave it up confessed that she had paid $5 for the 
' ' envelope, which was supposed to contain an all-power- 
ful powder, which had only to be placed under the 
"pillow for so many nights to accomplish as many won- 
"ders as Aladdin's lamp. The powder failed of its 
"purpose, and the remnant of it still left in Captain 
"Boardman's desk needs only a test to prove that it is 
"nothing more than common table salt." 

From the above-mentioned facts it does not follow 
that the whole people of the United States are grossly 
addicted to superstition. The foreigner who would 
draw such a conclusion would show either astonishing 
ignorance or bad faith. The inhabitants of the United 
States constitute at the present one of the most civilized 
nations. They have spared no pains for diffusing pub- 
lic instruction throughout their country. I have men- 
tioned the superstitious beliefs of a few of them only to 
illustrate the fact that these beliefs exist everywhere 
and are not peculiar to Haiti, where they are found 
under the same character as they assume elsewhere. 
In Haiti, as elsewhere, religion and a broad diffusion 
of knowledge alone will cause superstition to disappear. 
Violence and ill-timed repression might only serve to 
make those who would be too severely dealt with seem 
as victims and martyrs to the cause. A belief, by being 

Vitality Slioivn by Haiti 369 

persecuted, has many chances it otherwise would not 
have of making proselytes. The school-master and the 
minister of religion are, in such cases, more powerful 
and more efficacious than the police. The Haitian 
statesmen know this; for this reason they rely upon 
religion and upon education to fight superstition; this 
is the reason why, in spite of her comparatively limited 
revenue, Haiti devotes a large part of it to public 
instruction and subsidizes all Christian cults, although 
the great majority of her inhabitants are Roman Catho- 
lics. The impartial foreigner traveling about the coun- 
try without any preconceived idea of slandering the 
people cannot fail to notice the good results attained. 

Every country, even the most advanced and civilized, 
has certain peculiarities. Haiti is no exception to this 
rule; like other nations she has her peculiarities, but 
the one who describes these peculiarities alone in order 
to excite the ridicule of his readers is like a person who, 
after visiting a mansion, describes only the kitchen or 
the stables; kitchen and stables certainly have their 
particular uses, but they do not give any idea of the 
beauty of the mansion. For more than a century it 
has been the usual thing to ridicule Haiti; none of the 
means which might bring discredit on her has been neg- 
lected. Nevertheless, she still exists and has proudly 
maintained her independence. This fact may seem to 
be unimportant to many ; but it is the best evidence that 
a country placed in so disadvantageous a position as 
was Haiti, and has nevertheless shown such a vitality, 
cannot be a mere collection of ignorant, corrupt, and 
abjectly superstitious men. Such a nation must un- 
questionably possess a certain amount of sterling 
qualities. But the foreign writers do not care to know 
these qualities, and if perchance the knowledge of it is 
forced upon them they do not care to make them known 
to the public. The ridiculous point of view has more 
attraction to them; they have almost all made the 
caricature rather than the description of the Haitian 

Men who are ignorant even of the correct geograph- 

370 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

ical position of the island think themselves competent to 
give information about the Haitians ; undeterred by the 
scantiness of their knowledge, they hasten to affirm that 
instead of progressing they are relapsing into barbar- 
ism. This is another assertion as common and as wide- 
spread as the charge of vawdcm-cannibalism. Even the 
grave Encyclopedia Britannica has been led into adopt- 
ing and propagating such slanders on the authority of 
writers of the class of St. John and Pritchard. When 
a work of the kind contains such misleading informa- 
tion about Haiti, one wonders what faith can be placed 
in what it says of other countries. 

In the United States people take all possible advan- 
tage of this slander. Does a politician desire to create 
the impression that it is necessary to assume a certain 
control on some of the American Republics on account 
of the probable opening of the Panama Canal, he at 
once resorts to the famous theme of Haiti's revert- 
ing to barbarism. Does he wish to establish that it 
is not safe to confer the right of voting on a certain 
class of his fellow-citizens, he will always draw his 
principal argument from the thesis of Haiti 's relapsing 
into savagery. Haiti thus at the same time is made 
into a sort of moral scare-crow as well as continually 
serving as a scape-goat. 

However, she need occasion no anxiety to the United 
States. She has never thought nor ever will think of 
alienating the smallest portion of her territory, no more 
than does Haiti entertain the idea of consenting to the 
least attack upon her independence. Consequently it 
is very hard that the people of the United States, in 
order to facilitate some of their home problems, should 
make use of such calumnies against a small State which 
is earnestly striving to fulfil all its duties. 

I am glad to say that an American citizen has of late 
done us justice on this point. Professor Eobert T. Hill 
says in his book that "Sir Spenser St. John's conclu- 
* ' sions are not borne out by history, and the Haitians, 
"instead of degenerating, are, excepting the Cubans, 
"Porto Eicans and Barbadians, the only virile and ad- 

Haiti is Not Reusing into Barbarism 371 

"vancing natives of the West Indies * * andwhat- 
"ever may be said against them, it should be remem- 
"bered that these people nearly a century ago initiated 
" the movement which, ending in Brazil in 1889, resulted 
"in driving the institution of slavery from the Western 
" hemisphere." 21 

In conclusion I will content myself with recalling 
what I said on the matter in the North American Review 
of July, 1903. 22 To revert to a condition almost of sav- 
agery, to relapse into barbarism a nation must be, at 
the time when the charge is made, in a state of civiliza- 
tion less advanced than formerly; it must be going 
backward instead of forward. So, to ascertain whether, 
since the removal of the white control, the Haitians 
have or have not reverted to a condition almost of sav- 
agery, one must necessarily compare their condition of 
to-day with their condition before the removal of that 
control. What was the condition of the Haitians over a 
hundred years ago? The great majority of them were 
slaves. They were treated like beasts. They were com- 
pelled to work like machines in the fields. They could 
not read. They could not write. They were not even 
good artisans/ not being allowed to learn anything. 
Their degradation was complete. 

Such was the condition of the Haitians under the 
French control. It is needless to say that their con- 
dition now is different. 

The factories, the rich plantations had been all de- 
stroyed during the war of independence. The Haitians 
found themselves in possession of a devastated, land. 
They have rebuilt their cities and towns. They culti- 
vate now their own properties, almost every inhabitant 

21 Cuba and Porto Rico with the other islands of the West Indies 
(New York, 1903). 

It is to be regretted that Professor Hill was not able to stay in the 
country long enough to become convinced of the absurdity of all the 
false charges brought against the Haitians. His book contains some 
mistakes resulting from his insufficient knowledge of the people and 
their character; but it is a book written in good faith. And Professor 
Hill honestly strove to be impartial and just. 

K The Truth about Haiti. 

372 Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors 

of the Eepublic being a land-owner. Now every man 
is a man. The sons of the former slaves are to-day 
lawyers, doctors, surgeons, architects, engineers, sculp- 
tors, chemists, skilled artisans, shrewd business men 
and good laborers ; some of them, without being multi- 
millionaires, live on large incomes. The Haitians oper- 
ate their own telegraph and telephone systems. Under 
the French control there was not even a good primary 
school in the island ; to-day Haiti devotes almost a sixth 
of its revenues to education. All the public schools are 
free, from the elementary ones to the highest grades. 
There are schools of law, medicine, pharmacy, electrical 
and applied sciences (sciences appliques), even a school 
of painting; and these are open to all. Not satisfied 
with the education which can be had at home, many 
Haitians go to France to obtain still higher or special 
instruction, and achieve success in the French schools 
of mineralogy, agriculture, moral and political sciences, 

In the light of these facts, which may be easily veri- 
fied, I may confidently appeal to the fair-minded and 
intelligent reader to decide whether the assertions so 
frequently made, that the Haitians are relapsing into 
barbarism and falling back into a state almost of sav- 
agery, are worthy of credence, or whether they are 
merely unjust and ungrounded aspersions upon a 
people who since their independence have been striving, 
with success commensurate to their opportunities, to 
attain the practical ideals of modern civilization!