Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/145

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Understanding Between Dessalines and Pétion

mander-in-Chief of the Indigenes." The disturbance reached the mountains of l’Arcahaie. Charles Belair's uprising was untimely; and his pretensions to the supreme command were detrimental to the cause of liberation. It became thus a necessity to subdue him. Dessalines and Pétion set out against him. These two men were very influential; since Toussaint Louverture's deportation, the former had been considered as the leader of the blacks, and Pétion, since the exile of Rigaud, was regarded as the leader of the mulattoes. They met at Plaisance. Leclerc's ill-advised methods of procedure had served to unite the two officers who, while fiercely fighting against each other in 1800, had each learned to esteem the other's courage. The bad feelings of the past gave place to the great hopes they had in the success of the struggle they were planning. These two former opponents shook hands and their reconciliation decided the independence of Haiti. At Plaisance, Pétion not only recognized Dessalines's authority, but also admitted that he was the only man who could succeed in expelling the French from the island. They were not long in reaching an agreement and in deciding on the plan of the campaign. They had now but to wait for a favorable opportunity to begin hostilities.

In the mean time war was to be waged against the unfortunate natives who had anticipated the time fixed for the deliverance of the country. The followers of Sans-Souci were compelled to take shelter in the depths of the forests. Charles Belair was defeated and his wife, Sannite, fell into the hands of the French; in the hope of saving her life, he voluntarily gave himself up; but his chivalrous action did not move his unmerciful victors. Less than six hours after their arrival at Cap-Français man and wife were handed over to a court martial which, on the 5th of October, sentenced them to death; they were executed the same day. Sannite died bravely; considering the attempt to blindfold her as an insult to her courage she boldly presented her breast to receive the fatal shot.

Their momentary defeat had not depressed the in-