Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/112

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

fort of Petit-Goave. Bloodshed had started; men were about to kill their own brothers, and all to the greatest satisfaction of the colonists, who saw visions of reconquering their former influence through this great sacrifice of human life. Toussaint displayed his usual activity. After repressing a rebellion at Môle Saint-Nicolas he centred his efforts against Jacmel, which was being besieged by General Dessalines, Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the South. The few ships used in the blockade of the town were inadequate to prevent the landing of supplies of provisions sent to the besieged town. Toussaint then claimed the promised assistance of President John Adams, as a result of which a brig and a frigate of the United States Navy cruised before Jacmel and chased away the small crafts which were endeavoring to revictual the town.

The besieged people of Jacmel had been successively deserted by their leaders Beauvais[1] and Birot; however, they kept up a valiant defense under the command of Pétion, who at the eleventh hour had come to their help. Being unable any longer to resist the famine and the consequent diseases arising from it, they evacuated the town on March 10, 1800. The fall of Jacmel was the beginning of the overthrow of Rigaud. In spite of their great bravery his soldiers could not check the steady advance of Toussaint's more powerful army. On July 28, 1800, Dessalines was at a distance of only three leagues from Cayes, the port of which was blockaded by two frigates and two schooners of the United States Navy. Rigaud's cause was irretrievably lost. Flight was the only course open to him; consequently, he left Cayes and sailed from Tiburon on July 29, 1800, on a Danish ship bound for Saint Thomas.[2]

  1. Beauvais, whom the "affranchis" of the Diègue camp had appointed their leader, was unfit to hold the first rank. Always ready to obey the Agents of France, he was greatly disturbed by the proclamation of Roume branding him with the name of a rebel. In order to avoid the necessity of fighting Toussaint Louverture he fled from Jacmel, of which arrondissement he was commander. The ship on which he set sail for France sank and he was drowned.
  2. From Saint Thomas, Rigaud went to Guadeloupe, whence he sailed for France on October 2; on his way he was captured and made prisoner by the Americans, who were still lending their assistance to Toussaint. He was taken to Saint Christopher and there imprisoned. He did not succeed in reaching France until the following year on March 31, 1861. (B. Ardouin, Studies on Haitian History, Vol. IV, p. 201.)