Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/151

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Death of Maurepas

on the 17th of November, 1802, and he at once began committing the acts of cruelty for which he was famed. General Maurepas, whom Brunet had arrested at Port-de-Paix, had been, together with his whole family, transferred to the man-of-war Le Duguay-Trouin, at that time in the harbor of Cap-Français. Colonel Bandin and a regiment of native troops were also embarked on the same ship. By Rochambeau's order all these unfortunate people were thrown into the sea and drowned.[1]

At that time it sufficed to be black or mulatto to be suspected of sympathizing with the insurgents, and, in consequence, to be mercilessly murdered. Yet the French were among the first to call Dessalines a monster when he retaliated by killing the whites. If it were possible to excuse such excesses, must not one make allowances for the uncultured men who were fighting in order to shake off an odious yoke? The French were supposed to represent progress and civilization; should they not be the ones to give the example of respect of human life and of the rules of war? If Dessalines is called a monster, what epithet then does Rochambeau deserve, he whose victims cannot be numbered!

At first good fortune seemed to favor the new Captain-General. Reinforcements had just arrived from France; he availed himself of this opportunity

  1. Here is the opinion of a Frenchman, Mr. Gastonnet des Fosses, about Maurepas's death (La perte d'une colonie, Paris, A. Faivre, éditeur, 1893; p. 334): "Two black Generals, Laplume and Maurepas, were faithful to us and we could trust them. Maurepas was under the authority of General Brunet, who was in command at Port-de-Paix. For some time he was wrongly suspecting him of treason and of being in relations with the insurgents. In consequence, when he was instructed to evacuate Port-de-Paix and to retreat to Cap-Français, he arrested Maurepas and several colored officers, whom he brought with him to Cap-Français. General Leclerc had just died and Dauze, the Colonial Prefect, was in command until the arrival of Rochambeau. He was of the opinion of sending Maurepas and his companions to France. On the 17th of November Rochambeau landed at Cap-Français, and, by his order, the fate of the prisoners was quickly settled. Maurepas, his family and his companions, were embarked on Le Duguay Trouin; and at night these unfortunate people were cast into the sea. This was murder; and it is sad to notice that its perpetrators were Frenchmen."