Imágenes de páginas

est Creole dialect, which is the species of language always used by his majesty: not because it is supporting the appearance of republicanism by affecting the manners of the plebeians—but because his majesty can speak no other.

Notwithstanding however this very friendly talk, there were in the Cape many individuals whom nothing prevented from leaving the island, but the prohibition to emigrate, which extended to all subjects. In January soon after the settlement of the government, Dessalines had issued a proclamation inviting the Haytiens, who, during the troubles of the revolution had left their country, to return, and promising to pay to the captains of vessels who would convey any such to the island, a sum of money for their passage. This address had not produced the desired effect. Very few instances occurred of the invitation having been accepted, and it was found at length that so far from the number of liege subjects increasing by importation, there was a prospect of the reverse. There were many individuals and families among the people of colour, who were not calculated for the tumults of a revolution, or fond of the system of cruelty and tyranny practised by the present rulers. There were also many who, in the former happy state ofthe country had been wealthy proprietors, and whose situation and circumstances having by no means been changed for the better, had just cause to complain of a sad reverse of fortune. Many of these unfortunate people were willing to abandon their property and their country to enjoy in a foreign clime, perhaps in poverty, that

peace of mind ever attendant upon a confidence of political security and protection, which cannot be felt within the reach of a despot. Applications for passports had frequently been made, but very seldom with success, and the prohibition to carry away the subjects of the government was generally known to foreigners. Still however some instances occured, of successful escapes, but on or about the twenty-first of October, an infringement of this municipal regulation produced a very melancholy occurrence, The armed ship Pilgrim of Philadelphia was at that time at the Cape, and after being prepared for sea, and whilst under way, with several vessels who were sailing under her convoy, she was brought to by the fort at the mouth of the harbour, and ordered back with the rest into port. The cause of this dctention was the circumstance of Christophe's having been informed that a number of the natives and several Frenchmen had been privately concealed on board of her. It is said that the general had been acquainted with the transaction several days previous, but under an impression that they would alter their minds and return again to the shore, he had taken no notice of it until the last moment. A guard of soldiers was immediately despatched on board the ship to search, and there discovered two Frenchmen and about twelve or thirteen people of colour. They with Mr. Tate, the first officer of the ship, were all conveyed to shore, when, as soon as they had landed, without any examination, Mr. Tate and the two Frenchmen were commanded to be instantly hung. The fatal decree was executed without delay upon the scale-beam on the commercial wharf, and so exasperated were the soldiers, that it would have costany American his life, to have attempted to interpose in behalf of his unfortunate countryman. The captain of the ship it is stated, was ordered to be shot, but some delay having taken place in the execution of this mandate, his friends had time to make intercession for him, by which he was saved. The people of colour, who had been found on board the ship, among whom were some women, were put into prison, but were soon afterwards liberated, and in a few days the fleet was permitted to depart.

This unpleasant occurrence produced much confusion in the transaction of commercial affairs, and created for a few days among the Americans a considerable uneasiness. Business was so much suspended, that the emperor became provoked and sent a message to the merchants to inquire whether or no they intended to go on as usual with their commerce. This impressive example of the rigour of the government, was followed on the 22d of October by a proclamation, which stated, that “notwithstanding the respectful treatment the Americans had received froin the Haytiens, some of them had, in an unaccountable manner, violated the municipal regulations of the empire, by attempting to carry away the natives of the island.” It was composed of two articles; the first declaring that in future any person guilty of such an attempt should be imprisoned for ten montlis, and then sent home with a prohibition never again to appear in the island under pain of death. The second declared, that any native detected in the attempt to escape, should be shot upon the public square.

About this time two Spanish vessels were captured by Haytien cruizers, and carried into Aux Cayes, the crews of which were marched into the country, and there in all probability destroyed. One was also brought into the Cape having on board a quantity of silks, which furnished the whole court with suits of that article. It has also been mentioned that an American vessel trading to the island about this period was captured by a French privateer, the crew of which murdered all the Americans, but being afterwards taken by a British cruizer, were delivered, as a punishment for their piracy, into the hands of the indigenes, who very quickly despatched them.

After his departure from the Cape the emperor went into the southern department of the island to view the fortifications and to accelerate the military preparations of the troops in that quarter. The grand campaign against the city of St. Domingo which was intended to be opened in the ensuing spring, occupied the principal attention of his majesty and his chiefs, who spoke very confidently of leading into the field, an army of fifty thousand men. Success was considered as certain, and the same pleasing anticipations of vengeance and pillage were entertained by both officers and men, each being eager for his share of both.

The garrison at St. Domingo, as well as the inhabitants of the Spanish part of the island generally, were apprised of the meditated invasion, and were accordingly preparing themselves for resistance. It has been said that a degree of jealousy had latterly prevailed between the French and Spaniards of this department, almost sufficient to prevent them from making common cause against the blacks, and that despatches had been intercepted by the latter containing a proposition to Dessalines from the former, to deliver into his hands the Spanish inhabitants, upon the condition of his permitting them to depart without molestation. This statement, however, I do not believe to be correct, although it has been very confidently related in some of the American gazettes.

Ever since an open declaration of hostilities by the emperor against the Spaniards, incursions upon a small scale had frequently been made upon the possessions of the latter, attended with massacres, and robberies of cattle and other property. The Spaniards had few opportunities of retaliating, but were well disposed to do it when in their power, as is evident from the following circumstance. A Haytien armed vessel with a crew of twenty-five negroes ventured upon the coast from the Cape as far as Port Plate, and the captain feeling all the consequence of a commander of a line of battle ship, was so silly as to demand the surrender of the town. The crafty Spaniards pretended great joy at the opportunity afforded them of testifying their attachment to his imperial majesty the emperor of Hayti, and in a very friendly manner invited the officers and crew of the man of war to partake of a grand féte which they had prepared in honour of the occasion. The device succeeded; the unsuspecting blacks went on shore, were entrapped, and received from their kind hosts a treatment very similar to what their imperial master was in the practice of showing to the Frenchmen whom he found in his dominions. Not one was left alive to carry home the tidings of the sad fate of his comrades.

The year 1804, being the first of the independence of Hayti, closed without producing any other events of moment, leaving the nation in the height of their preparations for a campaign, which added nothing to their military renown, and cost them the lives of many "peasant slaves." This expedition will form the subject of my next communication.

Page 426, line 16, last Letter, for bear-skins read bare-skins.

Sketch of the Life, Character, and Works of Voltaire. MR. OLDSCHOOL,

The following sketch of the life, works, and character of the celebrated Voltaire may probably appear new and interesting to many of your readers. If you should be of this opinion, it is much at your service.


VOLTAIRE is generally considered as the most universal genius, and most elegant writer of his nation; but he was not satisfied with this splendid fame; he was ambitious of uniting with it the unfortunate reputation of an infidel. He was born at Paris in 1694; and his respectable father Mons. Arouet was as well known for his literary accomplishments, as the regularity of his life. It was the lot of this virtuous man to sigh at an early period over the licentious deviations of his son. Impiety in him burst forth with his wit, which was uncommonly premature. His infant tongue could scarcely articulate verses when he distinguished himself by little poems both impious and obscene.

The college of Louis le Grand at that time the school of learning and piety, proved to him the rock on which he split, not but he received there the best lessons of virtue enforced by the edifying example of very able professors; but more flattered by the applauses of a few licentious fellow students, than influenced by the remonstrances of his teachers, he gave ample scope to the proud temerity of his heart. It is well known, that father le Jay his professor of rhetoric, often foretold that he would become the standard of infidelity. This prediction was unfortunately too literally accomplished. After leaving the college the young Arouet (for as yet he had not assumed the name of Voltaire) connected himself with the most notorious Parisian freethinkers. He was a constant guest at the petits soupers in the temple, and the poison of impiety daily exhibited fresh symptoms of its virulence from his intimacy with the abbè Chaulieu, and the table companions of that epicurean poet.

It was at this early period that he conceived the plan of his epistle to Urania, which sometime after the death of the abbè Chaulieu he ascribed to that deistical writer. But with respect to this fact no person could be mistaken. This epistle so celebrated for brilliancy

« AnteriorContinuar »