Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/62

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54
Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

called Larousse killed Madame Beaulieu,[1] a colored woman who was in an advanced state of pregnancy; he opened her abdomen, tore out the child, and threw it into the fire.

The blacks and mulattoes were in a great state of indignation over these atrocities. Their one desire was for vengeance. André Rigaud, who had left for the South, was as not long in returning at the head of a strong army, which he marched as far as Martissant,[2] where he encamped. On the other side, Beauvais besieged Port-au-Prince on the north and on the east. The water supply was cut off. The whole southern portion of the island was in arms.

At Trou Coffin in the neighborhood of Léogane, a Spanish mulatto known as "Romaine-la-Prophétesse"[3] had gathered a large band of followers. He pretended that he had had frequent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, and in this way he acquired a great amount of influence over his companions.

In the North the slaves were still in arms, their overtures for peace having been contemptuously rejected by the whites.

Such was the situation of the colony when, on November 28, 1791, the first Civil Commissioners, Mirbeck, Roume, and Saint-Léger, arrived at Cap-Français. They had been instructed to restore peace in Saint-Domingue and to enforce the enactment of the Decree of September 24. They tried in vain to restore peace in the island. The arrogant Colonial Assembly of Cap-Français, to which the Decree of September 24 had given special powers, thwarted all their good intentions. The "affranchis" knew only too well the futility of expecting any concessions on the part of the planters; they decided to support the Civil Commissioners, hoping that their assistance would secure for them the recognition of their political rights. On the arrival of Saint-Léger at Port-au-Prince (January, 1792), the

  1. B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, p. 282.
  2. In the neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, to the south.
  3. Romaine the soothsayer.