Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/168

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Proclamation of independence—Saint-Domingue becomes Haiti—Dessalines, the first ruler of Haiti (January 1, 1804-October 17, 1806)—Intrigues of the English—Military organization of Haiti—Discontent provoked by Dessalines's administration—His death.

The struggle for supremacy had cost the lives of over 50,000 Frenchmen.[1] Dessalines desired to notify France by a solemn declaration that a new State had replaced her former colony. By a happy inspiration he chose for the proclamation of the Independence of Haiti the very spot on which had been enacted the treacherous deportation of Toussaint Louverture. Toward the end of December, 1803, he went to Gonaives, at which place he had given instructions to the generals of his army to assemble. On the 1st of January, 1804, they all met together on the Place d'Armes and swore to abjure forever allegiance to France, to die rather than to live under her domination. The oath was met by the ringing cheers of a people mad with joy. Enthusiasm reached its highest pitch when Boisrond Tonnerre, Secretary to the Commander-in-Chief, read out Haiti's certificate of birth, consisting of the following words:

"On this the first day of January, 1804, the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the indigenes, accompanied by the Generals of the army assembled for the purpose of taking the measures destined to secure the happiness of the country;

  1. Gastonnet des Fosses. La perte d'une colonie, p. 34.