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lower orders, any sum, however small, may be ventured upon a certain number or numbers which the adventurer chooses out of one hundred, his choice is necessarily confined to five, upon any one of which, or upon all, he stakes any sum he thinks proper; five numbers only are drawn out of the wheel; those who happen to have fixed upon any one of the numbers drawn, are the fortu. nate adventurers, and if upon more than one, they gain in proportion, and the profits are so great in the case of those who shall have chosen all five, that the passions of avarice and ambition are continually excited in the breasts of hundreds from one end of France to the other.
And now, my dear daughter, adieu. I shall write you no more letters from France. In a few days we are to be at Paim. boeuf where I have secured as comfortable lodgings as such a place admits of. I shall there spread my map of France upon the table, collect my notes, and look over my scraps of information, and learn all I can from every one I meet with as to the history and agriculture of the neighbouring country, and if we are so happy as to reach New-York in safety, you shall hear from me again.
MEMOIRS OF HAYTI-FOR THIE PORT FOLIO.
The Cape, Island of Hayti, November 1805. That portion of the island of Hispaniola called the Spanish part, which is by far the most considerable in extent of territory, though not in culture and population, was ceded to France in the year 1795 by the treaty of Basle (or Bael). In conformity with this arrangement, Toussaint L'Ouverture, in his capacity of general in chief of the island under the French Republic, took possession of it, with the exception of the city of St. Domingo. This important place was in the occupancy of a force under the command of Don Joachim Garcia, insubordinate to the authority of the new proprietors, and was not surrendered until the year 1800, when Paul L'Ouverture, brother of the black general, was stationed there as commander in chief of the Spanish department.
Upon the arrival of the French army in the winter of 1801-2 under the captain-general Le Clerc, Paul L'Ouverture embracing the apparent friendly offers of the Gallic commanders, delivered up the city to general Herverseau. Brigadier-general Clervaux, a mulatto officer, who commanded at the town of St. Iago, following this example, also submitted without opposition, and thereby placed the whole province in the complete possession of the troops of France. The war which commenced at that period between the white and black republicans, and which was terminated by the expulsion of the French army towards the close of 1803, had its seat principally in the western part of the island. In consequence of this, the inhabitants of the Spanish part were in a situation to remain neuter until the contest should be decided, and then to side with the victorious party. They accordingly pursued this system, and upon the success of the indigene arms, those upon the north side of the island, as far eastward as Port Plate, generally hastened to acknowledge their subjection to the authority of Dessalines, as citizens of Hayti. In consideration of this honourable proof of loyalty, the governorgeneral appointed the officers that were to command them from among themselves, and a cordial intercourse was kept up with them for several months, and a profitable commerce in the products of their territory, encouraged. Those on the contrary who resided near the city, placing more confidence in the protection of the French, who still preserved a garrison there under general Ferrand, preferred to continue their allegiance to that government. About the first of March a decree was issued by the French commander prohibiting all intercourse with that part of the island which was in possession of the blacks, by which it ap. pears that at that time, the French only occupied the district which lies between Cape Raphael on the North East coast, and Ocoa bay on the south side.
Thus stood affairs for a short time until the intrigues of the French had changed their complexion. Emissaries and agents, aided by the influence of a priest, were employed to bring the Spaniards over to their interest, by circulating addresses through the country calculated to inspire faith in the great nation, and distrust in the “brigands.” At length after the commencement of the horrible system of massacre which was extended throughout the French part, the Spaniards became alarmed and fearful of encountering a similar fate with their unfortunate cidevant allies, manifested a disposition to withdraw from their new masters. They accordingly made application to Ferrand for assistance, and requested him to send a capable officer to command them. That general, seizing with avidity the favourable opportunity which presented itself, despatched to their aid general Devaud with a body of troops. On the receipt of intelligence of their hostile movements, Dessalines issued from the Cape a proclamation addressed to the Spaniards, bearing date the 8th of May, printed copies of which were distributed through their territory. In this document he cautions them against being seduced by the “perfidious insinuations” of the French, and threatens them with destruction if they should dare to oppose his authority. He allows them fifteen days to make up their determination “ whether they would coalesce with his cruel enemies, or rally under his banners.”
As stated in a former letter, Dessalines left the Cape for the seat of government on the 14th of May. During his visit in the North, the grand dignitaries of the government had heaped additional honours upon his head, by granting him an extension for life of his title of governor-general, with the important powers of nominating his successor and of making peace and war.
The determination of the Spaniards eventuating in favour of the French interest, a small army was marched against them, which penetrated without much difficulty as far as the town of St. Iago. This place being defended by a garrison of about seven hundred men, opposed a powerful obstacle to the further conquests of the Hayticns. A battle took place on the 3d of June, in which the blacks were unsuccessful, and were compelled to retreat with loss. A short time afterwards, however, under the command of Christophe, who had advanced with a reinforcement, St. Iago was carried. All the white inhabitants who could not escape, were put to the sword, the town was delivered up to pil. lage, and the Haytien army returned to the Cape with about seven or eight hundred black and mulatto prisoners. Most of the white inhabitants of the conquered town and its vicinity had fled to the city of St. Domingo, leaving behind them their property, which afforded to the victorious troops a rich and extensive field for plunder. St. Iago is an ancient, and has once been, a ve. ry wealthy town. A large quantity of gold and silver was found there by the soldiers, who indiscriminately robbed the churches as well as private habitations. On the return of the black army with the spoils of war, the French advanced their outposts as far as Monte Christi, where they were in possession on the 30th of September following. The Spanish prisoners becoming burthen. some to the government, were soon afterwards liberated, and in a state of the most abject poverty and distress, were compelled to beg their bread in the streets of the Cape..
The existence of a French force in the island, though at a considerable distance from the Haytien settlements, and separa. ted by a very mountainous country, and although during the continuance of the war then supported between England and France, there was no probability of an attempt at another invasion by the latter, was to Dessalines a source of serious uneasiness. He was determined to use his utmost endeavours to expel them, by 5 reconquering the boundaries which nature had set to his domi. nions.” But he was not yet prepared for an undertaking so ar. duous, and therefore laid aside any immediate intention of marching against the city of St. Domingo. The internal affairs of his government required some attention, and after his departure from the Cape, he visited Port de Paix, Port au Prince, and other towns, for the purpose of ascertaining generally the situation of their fortifications and military establishments, and of reviewing his troops.
Immediately after the expulsion of the French army, the construction of powerful forts had been commenced on the high mountains in the interior of the country, as places of retreat in
case of a future visit from their old enemies. These fortresses have been built under the direction of skilful architects and engineers, and are admirably well constructed and defended. There is one near the Cape called Le Fevrier which I shall des. cribe on a future occasion as a specimen of the strong holds of this country. It is the determination of the Haytiens, in case the French should send another army to the island, which they look for on a return of peace in Europe, to abandon thc towns on the coast after setting them on fire, to conflagrate and destroy all the gardens and plantations in their neighbourhood, to poison the water, and then to retire to the mountains, leaving their foes neither protection from the climate nor sustenance from the soil.
In addition to these forts, some of which were constructing under his inspection, the governor-general devoted a portion of his time to the planning of two cities, which were about this time commenced. One was a few leagues to the eastward of Port au Prince, and was called Alexandria, in compliment to Alexander Petion, general of division, commanding one of the western departments. The other, situated upon the plantation formerly called Marchand, afterwards Camp Marchand, about ten leagues from Gonaives towards the interior, was nominated the city of Dessalines, and was intended to be the permanent seat of government, and the residence of the executive. At this latter place, a splendid palace was built by his excellency, to which he shortly after removed.
Until the month of September following, no event of a political or interesting nature occurred. The chiefs of the island were busily employed in the superintendance of the forts, and in the government of their respective departments, the cultivators were kept closely at work upon the plantations in the cultivation of coffee, sugar, &c. and the inhabitants of the towns were engaged in their commerce and their various respective occupations. The government assumed a settled appearance, and tranquillity was again restored. Still, however, something occa. sionally transpired to excite uneasiness. The coffee plantations having suffered much from the devastations that had so long existed, had not yet been sufficiently productive to supply all the