Dessalines, are," says Marcus Rainsford "an instance of forbearance and magnanimity of which there are not many examples in the annals of ancient and modern history."
Commodore Loring, in command of the English squadron which at that time was cruising in the vicinity of Cap-Français, requested Dessalines to send him some pilots in order to allow him to enter the port. But the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the indigenes, being unaware of the intentions of the English, refused to grant the request. Nevertheless, Rochambeau at last consented to become their prisoner of war, together with the whole French garrison.
On the 29th of November, 1803, Dessalines took possession of Cap-Français, which was usually called the Cape; and on December 4 Colonel Pourcely entered Môle, which was evacuated by General de Noailles.
Saint-Domingue was thus entirely lost to France. After a year of heroic efforts the natives were at last masters of a land literally soaked with their blood. The bicolored flag, the emblem of liberty, now floated over the whole French portion of the island.
James Franklin speaks as follows of the people who had just conquered their country: "It would be wrong not to express in proper terms the admiration called forth by the resistance which the blacks made whenever they were hard pressed by the French troops. They at times displayed a great deal of heroism and unshaken courage. Standing on the dead bodies of their comrades, they were often seen fighting man to man with the French. … At the evacuation of the island the negro troops were in a state of discipline but little inferior to the French, and in point of courage equal. Looking at them in other
- An historical account of the Black Empire of Hayti, p. 341.
- Son of Count Rochambeau, whose statue adorns Lafayette Square in Washington, Donatien de Rochambeau, made prisoner by the English, was sent to England, where he remained until 1811. Exchanged at that time he served in the French army in Germany and died, in 1813, at the battle of Leipsic.
- The present State of Haiti. London, 1828; p. 170, 171.