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artillery, were stationed on the Haut du Cap, and the town was surrounded by a strong palisade and chevaux-de-frize. To such of the distant parishes as could be reached either by land or sea, notice of the revolt was transmitted, and the white inhabitants of those parishes formed a chain of posts, which for a short time seemed to prevent the rebellion from spreading beyond the northern provinces. Two of these camps, one at Grande Riviere, the other at Dondon, were forced with great slaughter, the Mulattoes assisting the Negroes. . The Blacks mounted the white cockade; and Jean François, their generalissimo, wore the insignia of several military orders, and took the title of “Commandant des Armées du Roi.” The other chiefs also wore ribbons and crosses; and any white man who would wear a white cockade, needed no other passport to procure leave to pass to the Spanish part of the island. The Cape was surrounded with a high palisade of large stakes, and its advanced post upon the height, half a league from the town, was in a good state of defence. The forts at Petite Anse, half a league off, commanded the road, which from thence led to the ferry and to the town; and various corps-de-garde, established upon the heights around, seemed to prevent the possibility of a surprise. The Whites from the plain and the hills to the eastward, joined to the inhabitants of Fort Dauphin, Jacquesy, Caraçol, and Petite Anse, protected these positions upon the sea-side. At the foot of the Rogou hill, a camp was established (which was afterwards moved to M. Depardieu's house), composed of Whites, people of colour, and some troops of the line. One still larger was pitched at M. Bertin's house at Port Margot, to keep the rebels of the west coast in check. Lastly, to the south, upon Mount Pélé, two leagues from the Cape, a battery commanded the plain. All that the colonists could do, with their greatest efforts, was to maintain themselves in these positions. Port Margot was frequently and furiously attacked by the rebels, but gallantly defended by M. Valerot. Rogou, at that time commanded by M. de Rouvrai, repelled the attack of an immense number of Blacks, headed by Jeannot, after an action of three hours. Pardieu was twice attacked by at least 10,000 rebels each time, and successfully defended by two young Creoles, Pageot and Pinaud. Notwithstanding the town of the Cape was thus surrounded by forts, it was very nearly carried by surprise. A corps of Blacks, about 600 strong, chosen men, left the foot of the Mornes de la Tannerie: in the afternoon, about sun-set, they appeared before Petite Anse, and made demonstrations of an attempt to storm it. The forts fired at them after dark. Having thus given the alarm there, they turned to the left, and crossing a great salt lake, about ten at night, they swam across the little river opposite the hospital,
within gun-shot of the town. From thence passing rapidly to the grand road, their first advantage was the having cut off the communication between the Cape and its grand advanced post above the town. Here an aide-de-camp and some others fell into their hands. Leaving some to keep possession of the road, the rest divided into two corps — one stormed the hospital, and put its inmates and guard to the sword; the other proceeded to Fort Belair, situated upon the top of a hill between the hospital and the Cape, from whence the guns commanded the roads, the town, and the anchorage. At eleven P. M. a soldier, who had escaped from the Negroes by the fleetness of his horse, communicated the appalling intelligence to the town. The inhabitants immediately concluded all their outposts were taken, and that the Cape must fall. The “Generale” was beat— the troops assembled — all the male Negroes confined to the houses, and all the fires put out. After waiting two hours in suspense, two shots, fired into the town from Fort Belair, completed the terror of the inhabitants. The firing of musketry, however, announced that some opposition was making to their progress; and about two o'clock in the morning the inhabitants learnt that the regiment of the Cape, assisted by some companies of militia, had driven the rebels from their positions, and dispersed them. As soon as the works for the defence of the town were comR.". offensive operations were undertaken against the rebels. . Rouvrai, with a small army, encamped at Rogou. A war of extermination was carried on by both parties. The rebels had great quantities of ammunition, which the Negroes had stolen from the royal arsenal in the town of Cape François, and secretly conveyed to their friends. Within two months, 180 sugar plantations, and 900 coffee, cotton, and indigo settlements, were destroyed, and the buildings burnt. Twelve hundred families were reduced from opulence to depend on charity for their sustenance and clothing. pwards of 2000 white persons had been massacred. . More than 10,000 of the insurgents had perished by famine and the sword, and some hundreds by the hands of the executioner, in tortures that disgrace the perpetrators, and reduce them as men of humanity almost to a level with their opponents. On the 26th of September, an English squadron arrived at Cape François to assist the Whites. The officers landed amidst a crowd of grateful spectators, who all joined in one general outcry against the national assembly, and mounted the black cockade, as indicative of their wishes that the English would send an armament and take possession of the colony. The rebellion soon spread to the western division. Two thousand insurgents, chiefly men of colour, joined by six hundred Negroes, appeared in arms in the parish of Mirabalais, and began their ope
rations by burning the coffee-plantations adjacent to the plain of the Cul-de-Sac. They repulsed some troops sent from Port-auPrince, and laid waste the country for thirty miles. At length they approached Port-au-Prince; but the slaves on the sugar-plantations in this part of the country not joining the Mulatto chiefs, as they expected, some of the latter declared that they were not averse to a reconciliation, and did not wish to desolate the country, but to support the national decree of the 15th of May. These sentiments coming to the knowledge of M. de Jumecourt, an eminent planter, he undertook the office of mediator; and, through his well-timed and powerful interposition, a convention, called the “concordat,” was agreed, upon the 11th of September, between the free people of colour and the white inhabitants of Portau-Prince. It declared the sentence of Ogé infamous and void. It granted to the Mulattoes a voice, “ consultative et deliberative,” in all the assemblies; a perfect equality between them and the Whites; and bound the Whites to observe, without restriction, all laws passed by the national assembly. It stipulated for an oblivion of the past, and an engagement, on the part of the Whites, to admit in full force the national decree of the 15th of May. On the 20th of September, the general assembly at Cape François issued a proclamation, declaring that they would not oppose the operation of that decree, and announced an intention to grant considerable indulgencies towards such free people of colour as were not comprehended in it, meaning those who were born of enslaved parents. They also voted the formation of certain free companies of Mulattoes, wherein men of colour, of all descriptions, should be allowed to serve as commissioned officers. These concessions produced only a temporary truce; disappointed pride, anger, malice, hatred, and revenge, were burning in the gloomy minds of all parties. While the justice and necessity of the decree were acknowledged, and its faithful observance promised by the colonial assembly, the national assembly in the mother country voted in a large majority, on the 24th of September, for its repeal. Doubts had already risen in the minds of the Mulattoes concerning the good faith of the Whites with respect to the concordat, and they had insisted on a renewal and confirmation of its provisions, which was granted on the 11th of October; but no sooner was authentic information received of the proceedings in France, in the repeal of the decree, than all trust and confidence, and every hope of reconciliation vanished for ever. The Mulattoes were not to be persuaded that the planters were innocent and ignorant of the transaction: they publicly declared, that either themselves or the Whites must be utterly exterminated—there was no alternative. In the western and southern provinces they flew to arms,
and a body of them became masters of Port St. Louis. Port-au
Prince had been reinforced by some troops from Europe, who drove the revolters from the city with great slaughter: they, however, before their retreat, set fire to it—more than one-third of the buildings were destroyed in the conflagration. In this war of extermination, there was a diabolical emulation which party could inflict the most abominable cruelties on the other." In the district of the Cul de Sac, an engagement took place, in which the Negroes, being ranged in front, and acting without discipline, left 2000 dead on the field. Fifty Mulattoes were killed, and several taken prisoners. Every refinement in cruelty that the most depraved imagination could suggest was practised on these wretched men. One of the Mulatto leaders was among the number. The victors placed him on an elevated seat in a cart, and secured him in it by driving large spiked nails through his feet into the boards: his bones were afterwards broken, and he was thrown alive into the flames. Just before Christmas, Mirbeck, Roome, and St. Leger, three commissioners nominated by the national assembly for St. Domingo, arrived at Cape François. Military honors were shewn them, and they were led in public procession to the cathedral. Their first proceeding, after announcing the new constitution for the mother country, was to publish the decree of the 24th of September, by which the decree of the 15th of May was annulled. In a few days they proclaimed a general amnesty and pardon to such
Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 99.110.
* “Amidst these scenes of horror, one instance, however, occurs of such fidelity and attachment in a Negro as is equally unexpected and affecting. Monsieur and Madame Baillon, their daughter and sonin-law, and two white servants, residing on a mountain-plantation about thirty miles from Cape François, were apprised of the revolt by one of their own slaves, who was himself in the conspiracy, but promised, if possible, to save the lives of his master and his family. Having no immediate means of providing for their escape, he conducted them into an adjacent wood; after which he went and joined the revolters. The following night he found an opportunity of bringing them provisions from the rebel camp. The second night he returned again with a further supply of provisions, but declared that it would be out of his power to give them any further assistance. After this they saw nothing of the Negro for three days; but at the end of that time he came again, and directed the family how to make their way to a river
they would find a canoe on a part of the river he described, they followed his directions, found the canoe, and got safely into it, but were overset by the rapidity of the current, and, after a narrow escape, thought it best to return to their retreat in the mountains. The Negro, anxious for their safety, again found them out, and directed them to a broader part of the river, where he assured them he had provided a boat, but said it was the last effort he could make to save them. They went accordingly, but not finding the boat, gave themselves up for lost; when the faithful Negro again appeared, like their guardian angel. He brought with him pigeons, poultry, and bread, and conducted the family by slow marches in the night along the banks of the river, until they were within sight of the wharf at Port Margot, when, telling them they were entirely out of danger, he took his leave for ever, and went to join the rebels. The family were in the woods nineteen nights.”
Edwards, vol. iii. p. 80.
people, of all descriptions, as should lay down their arms, and within a certain time take the oaths required. A general amnesty to revolted slaves was considered by the Whites as a justification of their enormities, and a dangerous example to such Negroes as had been faithful. They published also the decrees for an equality of rights and of ranks, and the planters did not conceal their dissatisfaction. The deputies of the colonial corps, instead of wearing the national colours when they waited upon the commissioners, wore black scarfs, as a sign of the general grief of the inhabitants; and those of the provincial assembly wore red scarfs, emblematic of the blood which had been shed. They insinuated, in their address, that a great part of their miseries was owing to the intrigues of what they termed a pernicious society, who neither understood the true interests of France or of her colonies. They declared openly against the measures, and begged that they might not be forced to consent to them. The commissioners had not a sufficient force to compel obedience, and the disagreement between them and the colonial assembly palsied the efforts of both parties. Nevertheless, a negociation was opened with the Negroes, and an exchange of prisoners effected. Jean François consented to attend a conference with the commissioners, to arrange the conditions of a general agreement. The interview took place in the evening at St. Michael, near Petite Anse. The Negro general professed the most pacific sentiments, and knelt before the commissioners, who raised him up, embraced him, invited him to remain for at least that night in the house, and offered to deliver hostages for his safety. He refused to remain, but promised to return the next day for a second interview. He never returned— histroopshad their liberty,and the power of keepingit appeared every day easier: they obliged him to break off the conference. The royalists were also suspected of advising it. The “aide-major" of the cape regiment was seen, the night after the interview, by some white prisoners, in the Negro general's camp at Tannerie, and was known to have remained there great part of the night. Four hundred and fifty-five thousand Negroes belonged to the French part of St. Domingo this year. The number of baptized Negroes, under the care of the Moravian o in Barbadoes, consisted of forty-four adults and three ildren. Mr. Montgomery, the Moravian missionary at Tobago, having lost his wife, seeing no fruit of his labours, and being ill of a dysentery, returned to Barbadoes in March: and thus ended the Moravian mission in Tobago.
Soirées Bermudiennes, pp. 142. 144. 146. Edwards, vol. iii. p. 213.