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Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the public spirited founder of this institution. With a patriotism which many feign but few can feel, he engaged in an undertaking of high importance to his country and his profession, and has brought it to a state of perfection which may cause it to vie with institutions of a similar nature in the old world, and which the wealth of princes and the labour of ages have been employed in rearing. For ourselves, we consider the cause of science as the cause of our country; we are therefore happy to learn that its present proprietor, with the view of perpetuating the benefits of this establishment to his profession has made an offer of it to the State of New-York upon liberal terms. From the many inducements which that opulent and enlightened State has already made for the improvement of their schools, colleges, and other public seminaries of learning, they will, doubtless, gladly avail themselves of an opportunity of adding this to their former benefactions for the promotion of science. Under the direction of those to whom the interests of learning are entrusted it cannot fail to exalt still more the reputation of that State for its wise and magnanimous policy, and add celebrity to our national character.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
MEMOIRS OF HAYTI-LETTER IX.
The Cape, Island of Hayti, April 13th, 1804. Prior to the commencement of March the English were upon terms of close friendship with Dessalines. Their officers arriving in the different ports of the island, were received with the most flattering attention and respect. There was nobody like “les Anglois,” and during their stay, an American was scarcely noticed. This fervency, however, soon disappeared, and a coolness ensued. The cause of it was the refusal, on the part of Dessalines, to enter into negotia
tions, with an agent sent by the British, for the exclusive trade of the island. The governor-general stated as one of his objections that there were many species of merchandise, such as claret and some other products of France, that were absolutely necessary for his people, with which the English could not supply him. This supposition was no doubt founded upon the knowledge that the produce and manufactures of France could not be imported into Great Britain, without, however, reflecting that supplies of that kind might be furnished through the United States. But Dessalines must have had a more powerful motive for his refusal. He had sense enough to perceive that he would be rendering himself dependent upon Great Britain, and that from the nature of the monopoly, he should be compelled to pay for American produce, a much higher price than if his commerce was without restrictions.
I believe I have yet made no mention of the navy of Hayti. Being yet in its infancy it is but small, consisting of some gun barges, and several small schooners and sloops which carry perhaps two to six small pieces of cannon. Their occupation is principally to convoy boats laden with produce and foreign merchandise, in their expeditions along the coast to and from the large towns. The only officer of any magnitude whom I have seen, is commodore Dublin, an English negro, who commands a schooner of about sixty tons burthen, the largest vessel in the service. This great naval character wears an appropriate uniform, though not by any means a splendid one, and swaggers through the street as big as though he were commander of a ship of the line. Besides him, I am led to believe, from the following circumstance, that there are some other officers who have claim to rank. One day when Dublin was riding commodore in the harbour with his pennant at the maintopmast head, there comes a small sail into port, of about twenty tons, who fires a salute and displays also a commodore's pennant. On coming to an anchor, Dublin's first lieutenant, the commodore being ashore, orders him to douse his flag, and send his boat on board. The captain, with a “diable,” refused to do either, when the other, in an equal tone of anger, said "he would make him, foutre !” The captain then got into his gig which was manned with two hands, for the purpose of going to shore, bidding defiance to the threats of “ the first lieutenant of the Thunder-bomb." The lieutenant again hailed him, drew up a guard of marines on his quarter deck, and ordered them to take aim at the gig. 'At the sight of the muskets pointed at them, the boat's crew were struck motionless. The captain violently enraged at this cowardly conduct, drew his dirk, and presenting it alternately at the breasts of his men, swore that if they did not proceed, he would plunge it into them, whilst the marines as loudly declared, that if they did not immediately bring the captain on board the commodore, they would fire upon them. The boat's crew were in great distress. Threatened with death on all sides, they did not move, until a shot brought them to a determination. They turned about and safely lodged their captain on board the commodore, where he was placed under arrest. A court martial, composed of the officers of the fleet, was immediately convened, and the captain's flag was instantly struck. The sentence of the court I did not hear. In speaking of this transaction to the commodore a few days after, he expressed great indignation at the conduct of the captain, and assured me that “ had he been on board he would most certainly have sunk the scoundrel.”
A few days since a proclamation was issued by the governor-general directing all Frenchmen who had been naturalized by foreign nations in friendship with Hayti to come forward and produce their cirtificates, informing them that, upon so doing, they should have liberty to leave the island. This notification created considerable alarm among the whites, for very few, perhaps, had been so naturalized, and scarcely any had their certificates. It was received by all as another link in that chain of horrors which was designedly intended to keep them in torment until the fatal period appointed for their destruction.
Yesterday was truly a deplorable day to these unfortunate people. A report was in circulation through the town, 'that during the two preceding nights there had been a massacre in the north suburb, called Carénage. I took some pains to inquire into the nature of this rumour, and found it, unhappily, to be too true. Guards were stationed in that neighbourhood, and no American was permitted to visit there. One of the sailors, however, as he passed in his boat near that part of the town, saw several dead bodies lying on the beach, and the steward of our vessel, who is a French negro in disguise, assured me that one of the soldiers who was upon the expedition had stated to him in confidence, that they had destroyed sixty white men, women, and children, and that Colonel Joysin, with the Administrator Ferrier, accompanied them for the purpose of plundering the property of the wretched victims.
The deceitful fattery of Hope has never been so strongly depicted to my mind, as in the case arising out of the situation of the French now in the Cape. On the first promulgation of the original decree of Dessalines, by which these ill-fated people were prohibited to leave the island, suspicions were entertained that all was not well, and there was scarcely one but doubted some foul play. The destruction of the dogs in February, which presented very much the appearance of a rehearsal of some bloody tragedy, strengthened these apprehensions, and the almost daily repetition of proclamations, by a public crier, at the corners of the streets, have been sufficient to prove to a moral certainty, the wicked intentions of Dessalines. Besides this, in all the public documents and addresses to the people there is breathed a spirit of hatred against the French, and a determination to take, at some day, deliberate vengeance upon those who are in their power, for all the cruelties inflicted upon the Haytians by the French nation, is evident from the tenor of their language. But Hope has still deluded and blinded these people to a sense of their real situation, and approaching fate. Some have endeavoured to pave the way for their safety by associating with the black officers and professing friendship for them, under the impression that, should a massacre take place, they would be preserved by them. But still they all Aattered themselves that their fears were groundless. At length, however, an account is received of a general massacre having actually taken place at Port au Prince, and a few days after, they see that sixty people have been murdered in the very suburbs of the Cape. Yet all this has not been sufficient to satisfy their minds that the vengeance of Dessalines has doomed them to destruction, or to arouse in their breasts a spirit of heroism to make some bold effort for their escape.
The wonderful state of irresolution into which these people have fallen has, indeed, been, with the Americans and Englishmen here, a frequent subject of conversation. The idea of six hundred or more men, in complete possession of their personal liberty, threatened with a destruction of the most horrible nature, with an attack by which their wives and children must inevitably perish in the most barbarous and inhuman manner, without the least attempt, on their part, to avert the blow, is scarcely to be conceived. And yet such a case actually exists.
Prodigies have been performed by valour, and in the present instance ordinary human courage and resolution would enable these people to escape. I will appeal for the correctness of this observation to every American who has lately been here, and when I state to you the facts upon a knowledge of which my assertion is founded, you will yourself allow its justice.
Six hundred white men, particularly when in a state of desperation, and where no quarters can be expected, are equal to nearly double that number of Haytian soldiers. The work constantly carried on at the fortifications in the interior, has required the labour of nearly all the troops, insomuch that it has very seldom happened that more that two to three hundred soldiers, if as many, have been in or near the town at any one time. The magazine, in which there has always been plenty of arms and ammunition, has been guarded by a mere
handful of men, suppose from thirty to fifty, and the battery near to it has been so badly supplied and defended, that in a few minutes all its guns might have been overturned into the sea. Fort Picolet, which commands the passage from the harbour has scarcely ever contained any considerable garrison, perhaps not more than five and twenty men, and there has been no effective body of troops which could have been called in as a reinforcement, within twelve or fifteen miles of the town. Now, under these circumstances, it would have been a very easy matter to have seized upon the magazine, to have taken possession of some of the vessels in the harbour, and all the boats, and to have embarked all the women and children, while their retreat would have been covered by the armed men. A very small detachment could have taken Picolet and destroyed its garrison, the possession of which would have completely secured the outward passage of the véssels. But suppose me to be too sanguine, as regards the favourable result of such an undertaking, one thing is beyond a doubt, that had the time at which captain Whitby quarrelled with the general, and threatened to blow down the town, as related in my last, been seized upon for the attempt, success must indisputably have attended it. The British officers would have assisted them, as is evident from their previous conduct; the frigate would have effectually covered their retreat; and a safe convoy would have been found in her to protect the vessels seized upon by the fugitives when passing the fort. Some, indeed, would, in all probability, have lost their lives ; but with what satisfaction would their dying moments have been attended, when they reflected that their wives, children, and friends were safe, that they had performed their duty like men, and had fallen like heroes.
Last evening I left the shore for the last time, and came on board the vessel in which I have taken my passage for the United States, and whence I now address you.
About nine o'clock last night, while some of us were in bed, one of the sailors entered the cabin, and informed us that there was a boat full of armed inen along side, who were coming on board. He had scarcely spoken when we were surprised by the entrance of four black soldiers with their muskets. Their appearance was in the highest degree savage. They were ragged, wore frightful mustachios, and had the tout ensemble of regular bred assassins. They informed us that they had been sent on board to search for Frenchmen, and obli-. ged me, with the others who were in bed, to turn out and show ourselves. After they had recognised us as Americans, we were permitted to lie down again. We were too much alarmed to treat these villains in any other than a civil manner, and, in return, they conducted themselves very orderly. But a taste of our liquor made them so well