Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/70

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

France (June 13). The Governor raised a rebellion among the crew of the men-of-war; and on June 20 he landed at Cap-Français at the head of 3,000 men. Antoine Chanlatte, gallantly supported by Jean-Baptiste Belley,[1] a free black, lost no time in going to the help of the Commissioners. A bloody struggle occurred in the streets of Cap-Français. In the end, however, Polvérel and Sonthonax were compelled to abandon the town, which was left to the mercy of Galbaud's sailors. On the 21st of June they retreated to Camp-Bréda. Their situation seemed hopeless. That very day they issued a decree promising full freedom to all the slaves who would take up arms for the cause of the French Republic, promising also that they would be considered the equals of the whites and would enjoy all the rights belonging to the French citizens. As soon as this decree became known to them, the followers of Pierrot, Macaya, and Goa, who were fighting on their own behalf, hastened to place themselves at the disposal of the representatives of the French Republic. With a firm determination to earn their freedom, these slaves fiercely attacked the forces of Galbaud; owing to their assistance Cap-Français was stormed on June 23. The sailors had sacked and partly destroyed the unfortunate town by fire. The ill-fated island of Saint-Domingue continued thus to be devastated by fire and sword.

Instead of improving, the situation of the Civil Commissioners daily grew worse. In February France was again at war with Great Britain; hostilities soon followed with Spain. The representatives of France and Spain at Saint-Domingue were both instructed by their respective governments to spare no pains, to resort even to the revolted slaves, in order to conquer the territory of the other party. The Governor of the Spanish portion of the island was already carrying out these instructions. He had won over Jean-Francois, Biassou, and Toussaint Louverture, whom he loaded with favors and honors. Jean-François was appointed lieutenant-

  1. Jean-Baptiste Belley was later on elected member of the French National Convention.