Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Chavannes, Jean Baptiste

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

CHAVANNES, Jean Baptiste (shav-ans), Haytian patriot, b. in La Grand Rivière du Nord about 1748; d. in Port au Prince, 23 Feb., 1791. He was the son of rich mulatto parents, and received a good education. In 1778 the expedition under d'Estaing, sent to assist the American army, was in Hayti, and Chavannes joined it as a volunteer. He distinguished himself during the operations in Virginia and New York, and specially during the retreat from Savannah in December, 1778. The independence of the American colonies having been accomplished, Chavannes returned to his own country. When Vincent Ogé landed near Cape Français, 23 Oct., 1790, intending to create an agitation amongst the colored people in favor of their political rights, Chavannes sided with him and wanted all the slaves to be declared free; but Ogé did not dare to follow his advice, and informed the assembly of his intention to take the opposite course. The mulattoes raised a force of about 1,000 men, which was defeated by the colonists. Ogé, Chavannes, and a few others took refuge in the Spanish part of the island, and the Haytian assembly asked for their extradition, according to treaty. The jurist Vicente Faura made a powerful plea in their favor, and the king of Spain gave him a decoration; but the audiencia of Santo Domingo decided against the refugees, who were delivered to the Haytian authorities, 21 Dec., 1790. Two months later Chavannes and Ogé were sentenced to be hammered to death, and the sentence was executed in the presence of the provincial assembly and authorities of Port au Prince. Chavannes showed great courage during his terrible torture, and protested to the last moment against the oppression of the colored people.