Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/68

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

inces. Polvérel left for the West and Ailaud for the South. Sonthonax remained at Cap-Français with the Intermediary Committee. Instead of going to Aux Caves, Ailaud, alarmed by the existing state of things, abandoned his post and returned to France. Sonthonax therefore went South in his place. In January, 1793, he had barely finished expelling from Platons the rebellious slaves of the plain of Cayes, when grave events compelled him to leave the South. Fighting had already taken place in the streets of Cap-Français (December 2, 1792): a body of white soldiers had refused to acknowledge the authority of a colored officer appointed to command them; they mutinied. A few colonists and the sailors of the men-of-war hastened to side with the white soldiers. They attacked the battalion of colored men, who, after a fierce defense, were compelled to yield to the superior forces of their opponents; they withdrew to Haut-du-Cap, where they took possession of the artillery. On his arrival at Cap-Français, Sonthonax arrested and embarked the most important factionists. The colored soldiers agreed then to return to Cap-Français; they were welcomed with great honor: the Civil Commissioner, the acting Governor, the Intermediary Committee, and the municipality all went to meet them. This reception irritated the colonists of Cap-Français, and more especially those of Port-au-Prince. The latter, in order to avenge what they considered as a humiliation put upon the white race, plotted the expulsion of the Civil Commissioners and the extermination of the colored men when the agents of France would be no longer in the island to protect them.

For a while they forgot their own differences and united firmly against their common enemy. In their turn they succeeded in stirring up against the colored men the slaves of "Fond-Parisien" and of the Cul-de-Sac plain. The revolt broke out on January 23, 1793. Thirty-three plantations belonging to colored men were reduced to ashes. Emboldened by their success the wealthy planters of Port-au-Prince, headed by Auguste