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With a view to the latter object particularly, I should think it advisable to give Mr. Drake's twenty-fifth number entire, by way of introduction, and to provide an appendix, containing such judicious criticism as have appeared on the most distinguished of these odes.
The work would then comprise the finest models of their kind in the English language, and a selection of appropriate criticism.
Should your opinion, in these respects, correspond with mine, it will give me pleasure to see the publication conducted under your auspices, provided you can derive from it a compensation for your trouble.
I am, sir, with great esteem,
J. M' H.
MEMOIRS OF HAYTI-FOR THE PORT FOLIO,
The Cape, island of Hayti, November 1805. I SHALL now proceed to relate some additional circumstances which occurred during the general massacre described in my last.
Boisrond Tonnere, a mulatto officer of rank, who had been liberally educated, was one of those adepts in dissimulation, who could, by his duplicity, present the mask of friendship to a person at the same moment that he was meditating his destruction. This man went one day to the house of a Frenchman whom he knew to be possessed of several valuable articles. He entered and informed the gentleman, with a smile of complacency, that he had understood he had an elegant watch which he said he was desirous of purchasing. The Frenchman knowing too well the object of his visit, replied that he had a very excellent watch, and that if Mons. Tonnere would accept of it he would present it to him. The offer was not rejected, and the officer then said that he also wished to bargain with him for his sabre, which he had heard was superbly mounted. This was also handed to him ; but the demands of the villain were not yet satisfied, and he asked the gentleman if he had not a pair of valuable pistols. The Frenchman's patience being almost exhausted, and foreseeing the result of these apparent friendly inquiries, he answered, that he had such a pair of pistols, and that if Mons. Tonnere would accept of one, he would give it to him with pleasure. The mulatto not being remarkable for an overcharge of courage, very civilly declined the proposition, and immediately retreated with his watch and sabre, leaving the Frenchman to take his chance with the first party of assassins who should enter his house for plunder.
After the carnage had been continued until victims were scarcely any longer to be found, an aid-de-camp was sent to Mr. Dodge to direct him to appear before the governor-general, and to bring with him all the Frenchmen who were at his house. Mr. Dodge obeyed, and an examination into the claims of the different individuals to American citizenship was made by Dessalines, Christophy, and others. The proofs of most of them, though their number was small, were satisfactory, and they had liberty to return to Mr. Dodge's house. Among them, however, were two gentlemen, Messrs O. and G. who had long resided at the Cape, as copartners in trade, and who very narrowly escaped with their lives upon this occasion. Dessalines said he knew them to be Frenchmen; as for 0. he had known him many years, and he concluded by stating his opinion to be decidedly in favour of putting them both to death. Christophe, whose passion for money constitutes a very prominent feature of his character, addressed himself to the governor in the following language : “ With due submission to your excellency, I must beg leave to differ with you upon this point. I think if they will pay us a reasonable sum for their ransom, we might liberate them. As they are pauvre diables, and perhaps have not much money, we should let them off for two thousand dollars each.” The governour assented to the proposition, and the money was immediately paid for them by Mr. Dodge. But it appears that this humane scheme of commutation was an infamous device to turn their deaths to some account ; for, instead of being permitted to return with Mr. Dodge, they were ordered to prison, whence they never would have been permitted to depart; but it fortunately happened that on their route to their destined confinement, the officer under whose sole superintendance they were conducted, met with a party of soldiers who had in their possession some wretched whites, whom they were leading to their houses, in order to obtain from them a disclosure of the place in which their property was concealed, under promises to spare their lives. The officer, supposing that nothing could be obtained from the two persons in his charge, as they had already been fleeced by a higher authority, but calculating that there was a probability in the other case, of sharing in some valuable plunder, left them, and joined his comrades. The two gentlemen, being thus released, fled, and found means to conceal themselves among some rubbish in a burned house. After remaining there for several days, until nearly exhausted by hunger, they contrived, by an old black woman, who was passing, to inform Mr. Dodge of their situation. That gentleman, who, as well as Dessalines and the others, had supposed them to be dead,
went in the evening and humanely conducted them to his house. After the conclusion of the massacre, this affair transpired, and Christophe gave them permission to embark on board an American vessel, with the prohibition never again to set foot on the shore. Here they remained, as the vessel was not ready to sail for twenty-seven days, during the whole of which time they were in constant apprehension of being ordered to be drowned. They eventually sailed, but so powerful an impression had been produced upon the mind of Mr. G. by what lie had seen and experienced, that he pined away and died very shortly after his arrival at Charleston.
One day during the most violent stage of the massacre, Dessalines went without an invitation, to dine with Mr. W. an American merchant, riding in triumph over the dead bodies which then lay exposed in the streets. At such an awful time, such a visit must have been extremely painful to Mr. W. and particularly so as at that very time a horrible carnage was carried on in his neighbourhood, and the dying shrieks and groans of the unfortunate victims were continually assailing their ears. Upon this occasion, Mr. D. an American, was introduced to the governor. His name being a French one and the same with that of a person who had been a great persecutor of the negroes at Les Cayes, Dessalines started and eagerly inquired, “What, Dof Les Cayes?" Mr. W. replied that he was a gentleman of Baltimore, and upon Mr. D.'s attempting to speak French, his tongue at once discovered that that was not his native language.
To guard against the dangers of pillage and assassination to whichi the Americans were liable to be exposed, a sentinel was placed by the governor before the house of each resident, to protect it. These guards were faithful to their trust, insomuch that in one instance which I shall relate, an officer of rank was refused permission to enter. There was a Frenchman, who was generally supposod to have been killed, residing in concealment at the house of an American. The latter one day discovered that a black colonel was in dispute with the sentinel at his door, in consequence of the soldier's having refused him entrance. The officer charged him with disobedience to the orders of his superior, and pointed to his epaulets to show his rank. The sentry replied, that he was placed there by the governor-general, with orders to permit no person to enter, and he should obey his instructions. The colonel by this time had seen the gentleman of the house, who was in his balcony, and stated to him the object of his visit. He began by lamenting the death of the Frenchman who was then alive in the house, and concluded by stating that his friend had bequeathed him all his clothes, and that he had called for the purpose of taking them away. So gross an attempt at deception produced, what it so justly merited, the dismissal of the officer. VOL. III.
One night an attempt was made by a party of soldiers to enter the house of this same gentleman to search for Frenchmen. As soon as they were heard below, the American with great firmness stationed himself at the head of his stairs with some fire arms, and resolutely declared that he would blow out the brains of the first man who should advance another step. This boldness, added to his general character of being un bon Americain, induced them to depart, and saved the lives of several individuals who were then concealed in the house. This circumstance was, however, well nigh proving fatal to Mr. D. the same gentleman mentioned above. He was in the house at the time, and on hearing the soldiers coming up stairs sought his safety by leaping from the balcony into the street, after which he fled to the corps de garde. On the following day he was conducted by the soldiers, who took him for a Frenchman, to the place d'armes, where he was actually placed in a rank among a party of those unfortunate people, who were just then about to be marched out of town to be put to death. In vain did he plead that he was an American. His inability to speak French was considered as a deception. He saw no one who knew him, and finally began to give himself up as lost. Luckily, at this moment some persons who knew him, saw him in this perilous situation, and by their interposition saved him. Another instance, also of a similar nature, occurred with a Mr. B. In passing from the house of one of his countrymen to another, he was arrested by a guard of soldiers, who were so confident of his being an enemy, that they deliberated among themselves whether they should not put him to instant death. In this deplorable state he vehemently cried out that he was an American. His protestations, however, would scarcely have been attended to, had it not been that Azore an aid-de-camp of Christophe, who was at that moment passing, recognised him. This officer who is a generous humane young negro, after procuring his liberation, accompanied him in safety to his place of residence.
On or about the twenty-second of April some of the troops who could not find sufficient employment at the Cape, commenced a massacre at Fort Dauphin, a small town on the coast a few leagues eastward of this, during which all the whites amounting to about ninety persons, were exterminated. A part of the town was also destroyed, and a few days after many French inhabitants were brought from the interior of the country, to the Cape, and wantonly destroyed.
After the conclusion of this sanguinary affair, as soon as the alarm had subsided, and commerce had begun to resume some activity, the spoils which had been accumulated by the soldiers, were offered by them for sale. Watches, rings, trinkets, and jewelry of all kinds were sold for mere trifles, and so abundant were the valuable metals, that
gold and silver were carried about for sale by hatsfull, and offered for money at half and perlaps a fourth its value.
The eagerness for plunder cannot possibly exist in a higher degree than it does among the Haytiens. For pillage they will not only assassinate a white man, but even one another, as will appear by the following fact communicated upon substantial testimony. During one of the conflagrations of the Cape, a negro was seen hastening through the street with a bag of money. A black soldier shot him down with his musket, and picked up the bag. The new proprietor had been but a short time in possession, when the same game was played upon him by a third, who bore off the treasure.
In this and the preceding letter you have as complete an account of the horrible massacre of the French at the Cape as I am enabled to give you. Many additional particulars might indeed be collected, but they would be but unpleasant repetitions of such acts of barbarity as would chill the blood with horror, and cause “the hair to stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porcupine.”
In this one picture you have a description sufficiently comprehensive to give you a correct idea of the system pursued in the other towns of the island. You know that there are in Hayti a considerable number of towns some of which were very considerable and populous. In all of these there had remained after the expulsion of the French army, some white inhabitants who had relied upon the assurances of protection solemnly pledged to them by the blacks. In my third letter I have estimated the total number at ten thousand, and from additional information which I have taken pains to collect, I feel confident in asserting that I have not erred upon the side of exaggeration. The vengeance of Dessalines pervaded the whole island, and during the months of March, April and May 1804, nine tenths of them were cut off.
This destruction of the whites must be viewed by every friend of humanity, as one of the most deliberate and wicked acts of barbarity that has ever polluted the pages of history. Nine thousand men, women and children, most of whom were entirely innocent of any agency in the cruelties committed against the blacks, after being enticed to remain in the island under a solemn pledge of the protection of the government, were in the most wanton, barbarous and cruel manner inhumanly destroyed. I can conceive of no excuse which can be set down as an extenuation of their crime. Their uncultivated and rude state may be adduced perhaps by some as an argument in mitigation, but not with reason; their leaders have proved themselves capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and this particular enormity has been the effect of studied and deliberate premeditation. It is true that the injuries and flagitious cruelties inflicted upon them by the