Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/152

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

to assume the offensive. Generals Clauzel and Lavalette were ordered to storm Fort Liberté, which with strong forces under their command they attacked on the 1st of December, 1802. Toussaint Brave, who was in command, gallantly defended the post as long as he was able, and when at last he was compelled to evacuate the town he set fire to it in order to leave the French naught but its smouldering ruins.

Probably finding the help of the brave soldiers whom France was sending to the island at a great sacrifice not sufficient for quelling the insurrection, Rochambeau decided to resort to auxiliaries, his equals assuredly in ferocity. General de Noailles was sent to Havana, instructed with the important mission of buying blood-hounds to aid in the destruction of the blacks. In order to excite the appetite of his new assistants, the son of a field-marshal had the inspirations of a Nero. A post was set up in the centre of a circle where the seats were occupied by Rochambeau, the officers of his staff, and many colonists and their wives. And this was the performance that they witnessed. Hungry blood-hounds sprang into the arena; tied to the post could then be seen a young black servant of the French General Pierre Boyer. The beasts seemed to shrink from their horrible task. In order to invite them to it General Pierre Boyer drew his sword and with one stroke disemboweled his unfortunate servant; then catching hold of one of the dogs he forced its mouth into the palpitating entrails of the victim; and the appalling feast began amidst the applause of the spectators and the sounds of the military band; a live man was torn to pieces by the blood-thirsty animals![1] What are the reprisals made by the blacks when compared with such revolting cruelty?

But the hounds were not more successful than the soldiers of Marengo; they failed to subdue the natives.

  1. B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. V, p. 392.
    "Rochambeau went so far as to import from Cuba hounds especially trained for the hunting of the blacks. At the beginning of the nineteenth century he renewed the horrors committed in the sixteenth century by the Spanish conquerors." (Gastonnet des Fosses, loc. cit., p. 338.)