Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/66

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CHAPTER VI


Arrival of the new Civil Commissioners, Sonthonax, Polvérel and Ailaud—Application of the Decree of April 4, 1792—The Intermediary Committee—Resistance of the colonists—Fighting at Port-au-Prince and Cap-Français—The English land in Saint-Domingue—The Spaniards conquer a portion of the French territory—General freedom is granted to the slaves—The colored men are in power.


Sonthonax, Polvérel, and Ailaud, the new Civil Commissioners appointed by France, arrived at Cap-Français on September 18, 1792. They were accompanied by 6,000 soldiers and by General d'Esparbès, the new Governor-General of the island.

The "affranchis," who had already gathered imposing forces, were well prepared to protect and defend by force of arms the rights granted to them by the Decree of April 4, 1792. Their cause was henceforth inseparable from that of the French Revolution. Their assistance was therefore pledged beforehand to the new agents of the mother country.

The condition of the island at this time was not reassuring. In the North the colonists were inflicting punishments of the severest kind on the slaves taken prisoners, without succeeding in quelling the rebellion. In the West and in the South the whites and the "affranchis" were carefully watching each other: symptoms of unrest were rampant. Owing to the want of security resulting, agriculture was neglected and many colonists had left the country.

The Civil Commissioners had hardly become settled when news of the momentous events of August 10 reached Saint-Domingue. The arrest and deposing of

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