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Hayti was the aboriginal name of the island. Columbus called it Hispaniola; but, when the Spaniards had built, in the south, the capital city of St. Domingo, the name soon spread over the whole island, and was subsequently continued by the French settlers, to whom Spain ceded the northern and south-west divisions. The modern inhabitants style themselves Haytians; and, when speaking of their country, continue to use the term Hayti-signifying high land, a true characteristic of its general face.
By a precipitate manumission of the slaves, the French, as our readers all know, first lost hold of the Queen of the Antilles, as it was deservedly termed; and, by the double-dealing of their attempts at repossession, have forfeited the island perhaps for ever. Napoleon despatched Le Clerc, in 1802-3, for the ostensible purpose of restoring social order to the settlements, too long disturbed, it was said, by intestine divisions; and, in the Proclamation of that General, on landing, it was stated, in so many words— You are all free and independent, before God and the Republic. A correspondence was opened by him with Generals Dessalines and Christophe, the two native chiefs; which, we think, was conducted, on their part, with singular ability, moderation, and firmness. At length it became evident, from the tenor of the French proposals, that nothing less than the unconditional surrender of all the posts and garrisons of the island, and by consequence, the submission of the whole population to the will of Francewas the real object of the invading expedition. The pro. ceeding was viewed as an unjustifiable attempt to betray the liberties of the country, already purchased by the effusion of much blood; and, for the preservation of their dearest interest, therefore, the Haytians were again obliged to have recourse to arms. The wanton and impolitic barbarities of the French army had disgusted and turned every citizen from their cause; and a contest ensued, resembling that of the Guerilla warfare in Spain. The natives had every advantage; a thorough seasoning in their torrid climate, and a perfect knowledge of the insular localities. The heat of a vertical sun, by day, and the dampness of the heavy dews, by night, were sufficient, of themselves, to have defeated the French soldiery: but, when, in addition to these natural enemies, they were assailed by the Haytians, from their thickets and fast. nesses, their numbers decreased beyond example.
The balance inclined to the Haytian cause. The people assumed their independence: a government was organized, with Dessalines at the head: commerce began to unfurl her canvass; and order gradually pervaded every department of
the commonwealth. The cruelty of Dessalines, however, who, though distinguished for his military abilities, was yet too sanguinary for a humane and inoffensive people,-prepared the way for his downfal; and he was accordingly assassinated on his way to the south, for the inspection of his troops. Toussaint underwent a still worse fate. We believe he had a generous heart and an enlightened mind; but these quali. ties did him no good in a French dungeon, which, it is said, was inundated with water. The command now devolved upon Henry Christophe-a man who was fitted by nature for elevated purposes, and who seems destined to perpetuate the independence, which he bore so conspicuous a part in achieving. He was raised to the Presidentship of Hayti, by the universal consent of the nation; and discharged the duties of that difficult office, with great ability and application. He revised the several administrations; examined the respective departments of finance, trade, and navigation; looked into the details of the army; visited the hospitals in person; and, to complete his thorough reformation, he remedied the defects of the laws, and instituted a new system of jurisprudence, which now goes under the title of the Code Henry, and of which one remarkable provision is,—that the cultivator of the soil, who was before the unpitied victim of slavery and oppression, is now secured in the possession of one fourth part of the gross produce.
Rising in the esteem of his countrymen, by the wisdom of his measures, President Christophe was deemed worthy of a higher distinction; and was accordingly elevated to the dignity of Monarch, in the month of March, 1811, the eighth year of the independence of Hayti. In the progress of his reign, King Henry has not been unmindful of the liberal arts and sciences. National schools, on the Lancasterian plan, have been already established in the capital: others are preparing, in the interior; and a Royal College is now building, in which the higher branches of science are to be taught by professors daily expected from England. German officers are employed in the instruction of the cadets intended for officers and engineers. Nor are the polite arts neglected. An academy of Painting and Design, under the superintendance of distinguished artists, is already attended by about thirty pupils; many of whom exhibit talent of considerable promise.
With a taste for the conveniences of civilized life, an increasing consumption of foreign articles of luxury begins to manifest itself. The government usually purchases a con
siderable proportion of every cargo that arrives in port; giving, in barter, sugar, coffee, molasses, cotton, or other produce, according to the agreement. Provisions are generally brisk of sale; the peasantry being occupied with the more profitable employment of raising sugar and coffee, for exportation. The military attitude of the country,-necessary, perhaps, as a preservative against the attempts of France, is undoubtedly adverse to improvement, and to the thorough development of the incalculable resources of the soil. Cul. tivation is impeded by the enrolment of all males for milita. ry service on their attaining the age of sixteen; yet the produce raised, though not so abundant as it could be wished, is furnished in sufficient quantity for the returns required by importations.
Plenty and cheapness are, of course, the great desiderata in a foreign market; and must ensure a preference wherever they are found. In consideration of these advantages, the merchants can, in his turn, afford to dispose of his commodity on easier terms: And our readers have heard too olten to need telling by us—that, where an article becomes reasonable, the consumption will be increased in an augmented ratio; giving new life to trade, and affording additional resources of public revenue. The Americans enjoy the advantage of going into the West India markets, at the lowest possible scale of expense. The schooners chiefly employed, are fitted out at a trifling cost; and the voyages are usually short, producing speedy returns. European manufactures can at present be purchased cheaper in the States than in Europe; and flour, lumber, and provisions can no where be supplied but from America. These circumstances combine to render the trade with Hayti advantageous at least in this point of view that it promises to compensate, in some degree, for the deprivation of our wonted intercourse with the British Colonies.
Cape Henry, the capital of Hayti, so named after the present king, is situated at the northern extremity of the island, in lat. 19° 45'. long. 72° 13'. from the meridian of Greenwich. The city has a remarkably handsome appearance from the harbour; and is built on an inclined plain, forming the base of the mountains in rear of it. Its position near the promontory of the cape, gains to it the full benefit of the windward sea-breeze; and the extensive vale to the right of the town admits the passage of the free current of air, from the mountains during the land wind. The strictest precautions, as to cleanliness, are enforced by the governor:
and, with these advantages, Cape Henry may be pronounced, perhaps, the most healthy spot in the West Indies. The yellow fever, so fatal at the Havanna, Jamaica, and other islands, is there unknown; and the chief diseases, indeed, to which strangers are subject, are principally to be ascribed to intemperance. Conviviality is promoted by the establishment of a mess or general table, which is supported by the subscriptions of the principal foreign merchants,—and to which strangers have access
a proper introduction. Those who have families usually spend their afternoons at home or in mutual visits; and a small but respectable and increasing society, consisting of English, American, German, and other merchants, form a social circle calculated to enliven and gratify its members. On Sundays it is usual for strangers to repair to a house and plantation, appropriated for * their entertainment by orders of his majesty. This delightful retreat is situated on a gentle eminence, about five miles distant from the capital; and commands a most beautiful prospect of the richest and most extensive plain to be seen in all the West Indies;-stretching in a straight line from east to west nearly sixty miles. Here the sugar-cane grows in full luxuriance; the mellow richness of the soil-the irrigation from the mountains, and the warmth of the position, screened, as it is, from the ruder blasts--giving it advantages for growth, which, in other places, it but seldom enjoys. The finest cotton is to be found growing spontaneously among the hedges,-indigo plants springing up by the way side, –and the coffee bush growing wild, and inviting the hand of industry to collect. Haut de Cap, the name of the plantation before mentioned, was the property of a nobleman who embellished it with gardens, displaying all the varied beauties of nature, as she appears in the tropical regions. At a distance of about seven miles, on the craggy summit of a stupendous mountain, is seen the Citidel Henry, mounted with three hundred and sixty-five pieces of cannon, and built according to the true principles of the engineering art. New fortifications are constantly added to it under the immediate directions of the king himself; who personally superintends their execution. It is said that this citadel is stocked with three years provisions for ten thousand men. It is the grand depositary of the treasures of the kingdomand guarded, of course, with peculiar care. Completely enfiladed by the guns and inaccessible on all sides, except by a toot-path hewn out of the solid rock, so narrow as to admit only single filesomit may with truth be deemed impregnable. Within a mile of the citadel stands the palace of Sans Souci-the favourite residence of the king-distant from the cape about twelve miles. Those alone, who have particular letters of introduction to his Majesty, enjoy the honour of a visit to Sans Souci. The floors and ceiling of the palace are of mahogany, highly polished. The most sumptuous furniture that Europe or the western world could supply, has been selected to adorn the interior; while the rarest fruits and plants are to be found in the gardens and pleasure grounds; which are laid out with exquisite taste. "The coolness of the air at this elevated spot, which has been chosen with singular felicity, is aided by the distribution of the trees; and the place forms, altogether, a retired and shady retreat from the bustle and the cares of state.
An extensive arsenal, and the barracks of the guards, are in the neighbourhood. The king is daily occupied with mi-: litary inspections, and always mounts his horse at sun rise. He is a remarkably handsome, well built man; with a broad chest, square shoulders, and an appearance of great muscular strength and activity. As a soldier he has certainly shown himself to be both valorous and skilful:-in counsel he is shrewd, and judicious., Moderation and a desire to keep aloof from the affairs of neighbouring states, are the peculiar characteristics of his administration. His conversation is familiar, condescending, and calculated to leave the most favourable impressions on the minds of those who are admitted to his pre
With the penetrating eye of a physiognomist, he appears to read the characters of men; and he is said to be remarkably accurate in the opinion he forms of them. His indefatigable attention to business, makes him acquainted with every transaction in his kingdom; and a retentive memory enables him to treasure them all up. In fine, he is master of all details,-and persons or things, with whom or with which, he is once acquainted, he is never known to forget. In his administration of public affairs, he appears to be governed by great caution; waiting, we suppose, till the independence of Hayti shall be recognised, by the various powers, before he executes those plans for the ameliorating the condition of his people, which he is known to have in view. Hitherto his task has been arduous indeed; and some allowance is to be made for imperfections, when we consider the heterogeneous nature of those materials which he has had to mould into order and subordination. If severity has sometimes armed the lash of punishment, he might urge, perhaps, as some extenuation, the excuse of Queen Dido: