Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/253

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Boisrond Canal: Pelletier Claim

and carry them off to be sold. Under the pretext that his ship needed some repairs he entered into relations with the authorities of the town for engaging some workmen, and then announced that there would be a dance given on board the Guillaume Tell. Alarmed by the audacity of his captain, a member of the crew, one Miranda, deserted the ship and denounced the whole plot to the Haitian authorities. The French Consul at Cap-Haitien proceeded forthwith to Fort-Liberté, and at once found out that Jules Letellier was no other than Antonio Pelletier, and that the ship was not the Guillaume Tell from Havre, as her captain had reported, but the same Williams which some time previous had set sail from Port-au-Prince for New Orleans; and that she had no right to fly the French flag. The Haitian authorities caused the ship to be seized, and Antonio Pelletier with his accomplices was delivered up to justice. On the 30th of August, 1861, he was sentenced to death by the Criminal Court of Port-au-Prince, but the sentence was reversed by the Supreme Court on the 14th of October; Pelletier was again tried by the Criminal Court of Cap-Haitien, which sentenced him to imprisonment for five years. Pelletier was serving his term of imprisonment in the jail at Port-au-Prince when he became ill in 1863. Out of humanity the Haitian Government authorized his transfer to a hospital. He profited by this opportunity to make his escape and flee to Jamaica.

The action of the Haitian Government met with the full approval of the representatives of the foreign Powers then accredited at Port-au-Prince. Mr. Lewis, who was the Commercial Agent of the United States in Haiti in 1861, personally requested that Pelletier should not be set free. In his report of the 13th of April, 1861, to Mr. Seward, at that time Secretary of State, Mr. G. Eustis Hubbard, Commercial Agent of the United States at Cap-Haitien, expressed the following opinion: "I have no doubt that the intention of Captain Pelletier was to induce a number of Haitians to go on board of his vessel, under contract or otherwise, and then make his escape with them and sell them