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ed them protection. A number also were preserved by the cru
el Dessalines himself, as persons whose talents would be of sef· vice to the state.
After the fury of the governor-general, for Dessalines was not at that time emperor, had subsided, and the troops wearied with murders and sated with blood, had reposed themselves to riot in the delightful fruits of their rapine, the miserable whites appear, and are suffered to exist. The Cape, to which my observations will be chiefly confined, contained about three hundred men, women, and children, and the whole Haytian dominions probably from six to eight hundred.
It has been mentioned that prior to the above noticed eventful period, great pains were taken by the Haytian government to prevent the emigration of the French inhabitants, and that so extremely vigilant were they, that very few instances occurred wherein an attempt to escape had been attended with success. After the massacre, this same system of prohibition and espionnage was adhered to, and to render the diabolical views of Dessalines more certain of accomplishment, after he was declared emperor, he commanded that all the whites remaining in the various seaport towns, should be sent into the interior, to assist in the labours of the fortifications. Christophe, confident of the entire competency of his system of police at the Cape, to detect any dissatisfied individuals who should meditate their escape, overlooked the orders of his majesty, and permitted those who resided in the town, to continue there, and pursue their accustomed occupations for support. In this state of things, time rolled on in apa parent tranquillity, until the date of the memorable and distressing occurrence, I am about to describe.
On Easter Sunday, the sixth of April, the general in chief having recently removed to a new and spacious mansion, situate on the place d'armes, gave a sumptuous breakfast to his officers and friends, which was succeeded in the evening by a splendid ball and supper. To the latter were invited by inadame Christophe, a considerable number of the most respectable French ladies and gentlemen of the place, with some of whom she was in habits of intimacy, and a few Americans. The day and night passed off with great hilarity, and had you seen the sociabițity and
good-fellowship displayed between the sable officers and their white companions, you could scarcely have doubted its sincerity.
Early on the following morning, a journeyman in the employ of a taylor named Thoret, on going to his daily occupation, discovered that his employer, with his wife, child, and mother-in-law, were absent from their house. Immediate information of this circumstance was lodged with the cominandant of the place, who instantly examined into the report, and finding it to be true, communicated it in haste to the general in chief. The commissaries of the different wards or sections of the town, who were a body of spies to watch over the actions of the whites, were without delay despatched through their respective districts, and in the course of an hour discovered that Roulet a physician, and two merchants of the names of Poujedebat and Lee-farge had also disappeared.
As few instances of escape had hitherto occurred, but by means of American vessels, suspicion was immediately attached to them, particularly to the schooner Ceres of Philadelphia, which was to have sailed on that, or the succeeding day. Christophe went upon the wharf in person, and ordered a guard to march to prison all the people who were there collected, including in the number several American captains and sailors. From the violent rage and fury displayed upon this occasion by the black general, the Americans perceived themselves to be in a very critical situation. It appeared to us highly probable, that the fugitives were concealed on board of some of the vessels in the harbour, and we were satisfied that should they be discovered, the immediate execution of the captain, consignee, or some of the crew would assuredly follow. Christophe stood before us on the wharf, raving like a madman; as some of the Americans approached to speak to him, he repulsed them, and at one time pointing to the scale beam on which the unfortunate Tate was hung, pronounced the awful decree" this day an American shall suffer." His conduct was of so savage a nature that even his most intimate friends among the blacks, did not dare to converso vith him, and all others kept out of his reach, when they saw bim display the strength of his arm and the weight of his bludgeon upon the head of a poor negro who happeneñed to come
too near his excellency. The whole town was in commotion. The French inhabitants trembled as they anticipated the consequences -the well disposed natives commiserated their situation, and lamented the vindictive rage of their chief-whilst the savage part of the community joined in invectives against the Americans. Wherever we appeared we were insulted, and some of those officers who had formerly been our frequent associates, would not notice us as they passed, but with sneers and insinuations that we had much to fear.
In this alarming state of things, we were, by the command of the general, summoned to assemble at the house of the interpreter, who there addressed us in the following language-"The general knows that those people are concealed on board of some of your vessels: it will be for your interest to deliver them up, and the general promises if that be done, immediately, no further measures shall be pursued.” What could we say?-Each indi. vidual could assert his own innocence, but was still in doubtful anxiety; for although the proposition had the semblance of being a fair and honourable one, it was not entirely regarded as sincere; the merchant was fearful that his captain might have been acting imprudently, and the captain was apprehensive that his crew had brought him into difficulty. The plan failing, for we all denied any knowledge of the affair, another mode of discovery was adopted. The crews of all the vessels, with the exception of one man or boy in each, to the number of about three hun-. dred individuals, were taken out and marched to the common jail, where they were confined, whilst the commandant of the place, with his guard of gens d'armes, visited and searched every vessel in the barbour.
It is worthy of remark, that Christophe, whose rage continued for several days unabated, was frequently heard to exclaim in fits of phrenzy" what shall I say to the emperor?” As above stated, he had neglected to conform to his majesty's orders, in not sending the whites into the country, and he very much feared his displeasure. He however instantly despatched one of his aids to the seat of government with the information, and an embargo was laid upon all vessels in the port, and continued until his return.
The residue of Easter-week was employed in removing out of town all the remaining French inhabitants, and as the real method of the escape had not yet been ascertained, the Americans were still considered as the offenders, and though no proof of our being even accessory to the affair could be adduced, we were still insulted in the streets, and sometimes by the soldiers saluted with the modest appellation of dogs. The unfortunate whites suspected pretty strongly, that the motives for their journey into the country were not of a very charitable character; but few of them, I presume, anticipated so early a dissolution as they were doomed to experience.
One of the first steps adopted after the discovery of the flight of the above mentioned party, was to arrest the mistresses of three of the Frenchmen. The colour of these ladies, which was brown, afforded them no protection against the infuriate vengeance of Christophe; for on their refusing, or being unable to give any account of their friends, they were sent to prison and fettered with irods; nor could all the entreaties of the general's lady and her associates, move the obdurate chief to a sentiment of lenity. They were detained in confinement with scarcely the necessaries of life, until their oppressor became in some degree persuaded, that they were not instrumental in facilitating the departure of the fugitives. The American sailors were only detained in prison until the evening of the day succeeding the disturbance; and, indeed, it was a fortunate circumstance for themselves, as well as for all their countrymen in the island, that they were so soon liberated. Their pride was so mortified at receiving such servile treatment from men whose complexion they had ever been accustomed to regard as inferior to their own, that they had entered into a combination to effect their escape on the following night, even if the lives of the prison guards were to be sacrificed in the attempt. Had such an imprudent intention been carried into execution, with the loss of any Haytian lives, it is probable that not an American in the island would have escaped the ungovernable fury of the people. . .
In the course of a few days, when the public feeling had in some measure subsided, and the clamour of the populace become moderated, it was ascertained that the fugitive whites had been seen on Easter Sunday passing the barrier and ferry which were on the road to the Plain, separately, and some of them on horseback as if taking an afternoon's ride—that a boat which had been purchased by a Frenchman from the captain of an American vessel wrecked on the coast, was missing, and that a negro man belonging to the town had disappeared. From this combination of circumstances, added to the discovery of some tracks on the sand, near which a saddled horse was found, it was final. ly concluded that the party had, during the night, met and em. barked near Petite Ance, about half a league from the town, and that their intention was to pursue the coast eastwardly towards Samana, and thence to the city of Santa Domingo, both of which places were in possession of the French.
It was certainly a chef d'æuvre in the fortunate fugitives, to conduct their scheme with so much secrecy and caution, that not the least suspicion was entertained of their intentions, and to have selected a moment when all the officers were engaged in dissipation and revel.
The general having been informed that the four men who had escaped were freemasons, at once conceived an idea that the lodge which then held its meetings at the Cape, had been instrumental in their flight, and without any investigation upon the subject, went with his aids-de-camp to the hall, which was a neat and beautiful building, and demolished its interior. He divided the furniture among his aids—tore up the marble paye. ment of the piazza-carried off the Venetian window shutters laid claim to the funds of the institution, which were in the treasurer's hands-and finally ordered, that no lodge should again be permitted to sit at the Cape. This conduct of Christophe soon became known at the Imperial court, when the secretaries, ministers and officers near his majesty, who were most of them masons, represented to Dessalines, that his general in chief had been guilty of a crime of no ordinary character, in disturbing the harmony of one of the most laudable institutions. The emperor, though not of the order, severely reprimanded Christophe, who, by the by, only a month or two before, was himself upon the eve of becoming a member of the craft.