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plaints made against him, however groundless, might render his sincerity doubtful.
It was impossible however for the Directory to behold, without jealousy, the rapid career of this extraordinary man, and General Hedouville was sent out to observe his conduct and restrain his ambition. Toussaint, at the first interview, affected to complain of the burden of his command; on which the captain of the ship, meaning to pay him a compliment, observed, how much it would flatter him, after having brought out General Hedouville, to carry back General Toussaint L'Ouverture.' 'Your ship, sir,' replied Toussaint hastily, 'is not large enough for a man like me.' One of Hedouville's staff having hinted to him that he ought to retire to France, and end the rest of his days in repose, That (said he) is what I intend, as soon as this (pointing to a small shrub) shall be large enough to construct a vessel to take me there.' In short, this general, like Rochambeau, soon found that Toussaint was every thing in the colony, and himself nothing; he therefore determined at once to quit it. There still remained two men of whom it was necessary to get rid in order to insure the general tranquillity; these were the mulatto generals Rigaud and Petion. Jealous of Toussaint and of the increasing power of the blacks, they headed an insurrection of the people of colour against his authority, and carried on for some time a civil war: but when Buonaparte, now become First Consul, had sent out the confirmation of Toussaint as Commander-in-Chief, the adherents of the mulatto chiefs deserted their cause, and the two leaders embarked for France. The most dangerous and troublesome of his opponents, however, were the English, whose departure he hastened by his consummate skill in diplomacy. General Maitland, on finding the reduction of the island to be utterly hopeless, and that one reinforcement after another wasted away by fatigue, sickness, and desultory skirmishes with the blacks, availed himself of the bridge of gold,' which Toussaint made for his little army, and signed a treaty for the evacuation of all the posts which he held. The negro chief then paid him a visit, and was received with military honours. After partaking of a grand entertainment, he was presented by General Maitland, in the name of His Majesty, with a splendid service of plate, and put him in possession of the government-house which had been built and furnished by the English.
General Maitland, previous to the disembarkation of the troops, returned the visit at Toussaint's camp; and such was his confidence in the integrity of his character, that he proceeded through a considerable extent of country full of armed negroes, with only three attendants. Roume, the French commissioner, wrote a letter to Toussaint on this occasion, advising him to seize his guest as an
act of duty to the republic: on the route, General Maitland was secretly informed of Roume's treachery, but in full reliance on the honour of Toussaint, he determined to proceed. On arriving at head-quarters he was desired to wait. It was some time before Toussaint made his appearance; at length, however, he entered the room with two open letters in his hand. There, general,' said he, 'before we talk together, read these; one is a letter from the Freuch commissary-the other is my answer. I could not see you till I had written my reply that you might be satisfied how safe you were with me, and how incapable. I am of baseness.'
General Lacroix bears testimony to the order and regularity established in the island among all ranks by the influence and example of this singular man; the duties of morality and religion were strictly enforced, and the decencies of civilized life sedulously studied. His public levees were conducted with the utmost decorum, and his private parties might vie with the best regulated societies of Paris. Surrounded by the officers of his guards, all magnificently dressed, and living in the utmost profusion, he preserved the strictest sobriety: a few cakes, bananas, or batatas, with a glass of water, were his ordinary food. He was particularly attentive to the means of reforming the loose and licentious manners of the females; and would suffer none of the white ladies to come to his court with the neck uncovered. He once threw his handkerchief over the bosom of a young girl, observing in an angry tone to her, that modesty should be the portion of her sex.' His maxim was that women should always appear in public as if they were going to church.
Never, says Lacroix, was an European army subjected to a more severe discipline than that which was observed by the troops of Toussaint. Every officer of rank in it commanded with a pistol in his hand, and had the power of life and death over his subalterns. He set about the restoring of the public finances with wonderful address. The ancient proprietors of estates had almost wholly disappeared, and frequently all trace was lost of the direct or collateral successor to them. In such cases he established a sort of co-proprietorship, by which the cultivators received a certain portion of the produce, and the rest was appropriated to the public revenue. By this device, the negroes were induced to return cheerfully to the labours of the field, and to submit to regulations under the black officers, more severe (says Lacroix) than those of their ancient masters. Under the new system the colony advanced as if by enchantment towards its ancient splendour; cultivation was extended with such rapidity, that every day made its progress perceptible. All appeared to be happy, and regarded Toussaint as their guardian angel. In making a tour of the island, he was hailed by the ne
groes with universal joy. Nor was he less a favourite of the whites, whose confidence he studied to gain, and who were always invited to his private parties.
The general enthusiasm which he had excited was sufficient to inspire vanity into the strongest mind; and he had some excuse for saying that he was the Buonaparte of St. Domingo,' and that the colony could not exist without him.' It is said that no one left his presence dissatisfied, though his request was not granted. Sometimes a negro, or a man of colour, would ask to be appointed a magistrate or a judge, You shall,' he would say, because I presume you understand Latin No, general.' How! wish to be a magistrate without knowing Latin! and then he would pour forth such a torrent of Latin words which he had got by heart out of his psalter, that the black candidate retired with the satisfaction of believing that he might have obtained his object had he understood the language, and the conviction that the general was a portentous scholar.
Such was the man to whom the island was indebted for its prosperity; which, however, was unfortunately not of long continuance. No sooner was the peace of Amiens definitively settled, than Buonaparte, urged on the one hand by the expelled planters, and on the other by mercantile speculators, and probably more strongly than either by his own ambition, which could not suffer a rival, though the Atlantic rolled between them, determined on the recovery of the colony, the reinstatement of the former proprietors, and the subjugation of the emancipated slaves.
On the arrival in the bay of Samana of the French fleet, having on board twenty-five thousand men, the flower of the French army, under the command of General Le Clerc, the brother-inlaw of Buonaparte, Toussaint hastened to the spot to reconnoitre its movements. Having never before seen so numerous a fleet, We shall all perish,' said he to his officers; all France is come to St. Domingo.' The division under Rochambeau having effected a landing at Fort Dauphin, the negroes who had assembled in crowds to behold the strange sight, were charged with the bayonet, and numbers of them killed on the spot; but the main body of the fleet and army, on preparing to land at Cape François, received a message from General Christophe, prohibitory of any disembarkation of troops without the orders of his commander-inchief. Le Clerc, on this, sent a letter to Christophe, with mingled expressions of conciliation and menace, to which Christophereplied, with great firmness and moderation, that he was responsible for his conduct only to the governor and commander-in-chief, Toussaint L'Ouverture; that if he attempted to carry his threats into execution, he should know how to resist as became a general offi
cer; and that he accounted those troops which he threatened to land as so many pieces of card, which the slightest breath of wind would dissipate. Le Clerc had sent on shore printed copies of a proclamation drawn up by Buonaparte, in which the same insidious mixture of cajoling and threatening was used to seduce or intimidate the blacks. Inhabitants of St. Domingo,' it commenced,
whatever be your origin or your colour, you are all French; you are all free, and all equal, before God, and before the republic;' and it concluded, Rally round the captain-general; he brings you peace and plenty. Whoever shall dare to separate himself from him will be a traitor to his country, and the indignation of the republic will devour him as the fire devours your dried canes.'
This menace, backed by such an overwhelming force, shook the allegiance of the white inhabitants to Toussaint; Christophe perceived the disaffection, and knowing the town not to be defensible, set fire to it in several places, retreating in good order, and carrying off with him above two thousand of the whites as hostages, not one of whom was injured, in the confusion and massacres which followed. This spirited measure, and the active preparations making by Toussaint in the interior, induced Le Clerc. to make trial of a scheme which, if resorted to previous to the commencement of hostilities, might have been successful. He had brought out with him the two sons of Toussaint, whom the father was to be permitted to see, in the hope that, through them, he might be prevailed upon to acquiesce in the wishes of the First Consul. From the smoking ruins of Cape François, Coisnon their tutor was dispatched with his pupils to Toussaint's country residence. The interview was affecting: and the artful pedagogue employed all his eloquence to prevail on Toussaint to relinquish the chief command, and become the lieutenant-general of Le Clerc; but it was too late. Toussaint had made his arrangements to oppose the French army, and, after an interview of two hours, left his two sons to decide between their father and their adopted country. In the History it is stated that the sons returned to General Le Clerc, and were never heard of more; but Lacroix says that the mother succeeded in detaining them, and that one of them was afterwards entrusted with the command of a body of insurgents.
When Le Clerc found that Toussaint was inexorable, he issued a proclamation, declaring the generals Toussaint and Christophe to be put out of the protection of the law, and ordering every citizen to pursue and treat them as rebels to the French republic. The war now raged with great violence, and every artifice was practised by Le Clerc to procure the defection of the black troops, in which he was but too successful. The black generals La Plume and Maurepas went over with their forces to the French: and
what was their recompense? Lacroix confirms, to the letter, what King Henry has stated in his able manifesto of September 1814.
Maurepas, a man of mild and gentle manners, esteemed by his fellow-citizens for his integrity, had been one of the first to join the French, and had rendered them the most signal services; yet this man was suddenly carried off to Port de Paix, and put on board the admiral's vessel, then at anchor in the roads, where, after binding him to the main-mast, they, in derision, with nails such as are used in shipbuilding, fixed two old epaulettes on his shoulders, and an old general's hat on his head. In that frightful condition, these cannibals, after having glutted their savage mirth, precipitated him, with his wife and children, into the sea. Such was the fate of this virtuous and unfortu
Toussaint, however, had under his immediate command a well disciplined army; and Dessalines, one of the most courageous, enterprising and skilful of all the negro generals, held the strong fortress of Crête-pierrot, which had been built by the English. The French army laid siege to this place, which, after a brave defence, was evacuated by Dessalines, who carried off every thing that was valuable, leaving a small detachment to follow him in the morning. Intoxicated with the successful issue of the siege, the French committed all manner of cruelties on the unfortunate negroes who fell into their hands; and Le Clerc, with equal baseness and folly, publicly restored to the proprietors of estates all their ancient authority. The consequence was such as might have been foreseen; all the blacks who had adhered to the French now deserted them, and again took up arms. Le Clerc perceived his error, and had once more recourse to the delusion of proclaiming 'liberty and equality to all the inhabitants of St. Domingo, without regard to colour;' with the reservation, however, of the approval of the French government. The negroes, tired of the war, again deserted their leaders; and at length Christophe negociated in behalf of himself, his colleague Dessalines, and Toussaint the general in chief, a general amnesty for all their troops, and the preservation of the respective ranks of all the black officers. Le Clerc was too happy to grant these conditions; and a peace was accordingly concluded, by which the sovereignty of France over the island of St. Domingo was acknowledged by all the constituted authorities.
Toussaint had liberty to retire to any of his estates which he might please to make choice of. He selected that called by his own name, L'Ouverture, situated at Gonaives; there, in the bosom of his family, he entered upon the enjoyment of that repose of which he had so long been deprived. The secret instructions however of Buonaparte were now to be obeyed; and Le Clerc