Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/158

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

was holding his own at L'Arcahaie, where he had established his headquarters. In the beginning of June, 1803, Dessalines had stormed Mirebalais; and his army, like an irresistible torrent, broke into the plain of Cul-de-Sac, which was devastated by fire. Port-au-Prince was, in consequence, in great straits as to procuring needed provisions. These successes were gained in spite of the reinforcements which from time to time France was sending to Saint-Domingue. And the rupture of the peace of Amiens came in time to strengthen the cause of the natives. In May, 1803, France was again at war with England; therefore the French forces in Saint-Domingue could no longer rely on the least help from the mother country; and in addition to this yellow fever reappeared: the last flicker of the French dominion was about to be extinguished.[1]

When in July, 1803, the first English men-of-war began to harass the French ships on the coasts of Saint-Domingue, Dessalines saw his opportunity to deliver the decisive blow. But Lamour Dérance still refused to acknowledge his authority; he had assumed an independence detrimental to the uniformity of the military operations. Colonel Philippe Guerrier was therefore instructed to arrest him. Lamour Dérance, invited to come and inspect the Colonel's regiment, accepted the invitation confidently, relying on his influence, and was thus caught in the trap into which his credulity led him. Once among Guerrier's soldiers he was arrested without any trouble; he was afterward sent on the Marchand

  1. The flag whose folds would henceforth protect the right to freedom and liberty of a whole race, which centuries of oppression were unable to suppress, was adopted toward the month of May, 1803. Revolutionary France had raised the tricolored flag which, for the natives of Saint-Domingue, meant the union of the whites, the blacks, and the mulattoes. Dessalines had kept the three colors of France; and many were led to believe that he had no intention of separating from the mother country. To assert the idea of independence the Commander-in-Chief, by Pétion's advice, suppressed the white portion of the flag and kept only the blue and the red. Henceforth, in the mind of every native the exclusion of the white from the flag meant also the expulsion of the white Frenchmen from the island, which was to remain in the sole possession of the blacks and mulattoes.