Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/119

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Toussaint Protector of the Whites.

he reduced the import duties to 6 per cent; he ordered the cultivation of sugar-cane, coffee, cotton, cocoa; he repaired and bettered the highways, which the Spanish had kept in very bad condition.

The organization of the newly acquired territory did not prevent him from giving his attention to the general administration of the island. On January 9 he decreed stamp and registry dues; on January 10 he established license taxes. On February 11 he instituted a company of gendarmerie for every one of the communes of the colony. This gendarmerie had the special mission of supervising the cultivators.

Whilst imposing the severest discipline on the men of his race, Toussaint did his best to gain the sympathy of the colonists, thinking by so doing to lull France's suspicions. Therefore he facilitated the return to Saint-Domingue of the wealthy planters who had thought it best to leave the island; all properties were restored to their former owners, and he bestowed his entire protection on the whites. He firmly believed that by his kindness he had secured their gratitude. In this he was mistaken and his reasoning proved groundless. The colonists were simply taking advantage of the situation. They coaxed and flattered Toussaint Louverture, but in reality they felt humiliated to have to bow down before a black man, before one of those slaves whom they had been hitherto accustomed to regard as no better than animals. So for the time being they endured the situation until the right moment should arrive to make the change they desired; and meanwhile they were highly pleased with a system so beneficial to them. And they thought that the time was fast approaching for the realization of their long-standing wish to be the legislators of the colony. Toussaint knew that his rights were precarious; an order of the first Consul might at any moment deprive him of his exalted position. Therefore he felt the necessity of obtaining the support of the people with a view of justifying his usurpation of power.

Both sides were then in full accord as to disregard-