Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/79

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The English Occupy Port-au-Prince

forces. On May 30 their fleet was again in the harbor. The landing forces, with General White at their head, were reinforced by the French counter-revolutionists under the command of Baron de Montalembert, H. de Jumécourt, and Lapointe. Against this army of about 3,000 men Port-au-Prince could not oppose more than 1,100 soldiers. The English occupied the city on June 4. Thereupon the Civil Commissioners[1] retreated to Jacmel, when on June 8 the corvette L'Espérance arrived from France. Captain Chambon notified them of the decree of impeachment adopted against them by the Convention on July 16, 1793. The Commissioners lost no time in sailing, leaving the defense of the colony to the care of Laveaux in the North and of Rigaud in the South.

Before leaving Jacmel, Polvérel wrote to Rigaud on June 11, denouncing Montbrun as a traitor. Yet the Civil Commissioners took no steps to have the traitor court-martialed; instead of this he continued to exercise his powers as Governor of the West. Thus to the mulatto Rigaud fell the task of arresting and dismissing the mulatto Montbrun,[2] which served but to foster distrust and jealousy.

After the departure of the Civil Commissioners two military chiefs were in command in the colony: Laveaux and Rigaud. A great portion of the territory was occupied by the English and the Spaniards.

At this period the outlook was a gloomy one for France, which seemed rapidly to be losing hold of her colony. At this juncture a man destined to be the most

  1. Since April 9 Polvérel, who was previously at Cayes, had been in Port-au-Prince with Sonthonax.
  2. Even before the conflict of March 18, when Sonthonax was compelled to embark his protégé Desfourneaux, the Civil Commissioner had a great dislike for Montbrun. So he charged the latter with having given up Port-au-Prince to the English. However, Montbrun had fought gallantly at Fort Bizoton, where he was wounded. Notwithstanding this, Rigaud caused Montbrun to be arrested and sent to France; after four years' imprisonment he was summoned to appear before a court martial at Nantes and was acquitted of the accusations brought against him. He served in the French army and was appointed general. He died at Bordeaux in 1831.