Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/78

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

decided upon, began to be noised abroad. Upon leaving Port-au-Prince the black leader unfortunately went to La Croix-des-Bouquets; this step served to confirm the rumor which had been set afloat. In consequence, Pinchinat and Montbrun made up their minds to do away with him; and Marc Borno undertook to carry out the criminal project. He started at once for La Croix-des-Bouquets, where, on his arrival, he ordered a sergeant to kill Halaou. A bloody fight ensued, in which the followers of the latter were defeated. This murder was provoked by the instigation wrongly or rightly attributed to Sonthonax, who did nothing to conceal his distrust of the colored men. He soon appointed as commandant of "the place" of Port-au-Prince the white General Desfourneaux, who, having been arrested by Polvérel's order, and tried by a court martial presided over by Montbrun, harbored a bitter grudge against this mulatto officer. Montbrun was the highest military authority at Port-au-Prince. The appointment of this new officer was not to his liking. His displeasure increased, when, contrary to hierarchic discipline, Desfourneaux was directly authorized by Sonthonax to supply a regiment with new soldiers. The commandant of the place availed himself of the opportunity to enlist and arm all the whites, whose hostility toward the colored men was a recognized fact. The latter, blacks and mulattoes, who formed the "Legion of Equality" under the command of Montbrun, became uneasy. A conflict was thus made inevitable; it occurred during the night of March 17, 1794. Montbrun's soldiers attacked and defeated Desfourneaux's. The streets of Port-au-Prince were again stained with blood at a time when the union of all its inhabitants was of absolute necessity to its successful defense.

At the beginning of January, 1794, an English squadron, under the command of Commodore John Ford, had appeared in the harbor. The energetic refusal of Sonthonax to surrender the city had impressed the English; they withdrew without making any attack. But they were not long in returning with stronger