Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/84

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Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors

colored officer rejected with scorn this shameful proposal. A similar attempt at bribery was made on Laveaux, to whom only 50,000 francs were offered. Did the English consider the honor of a white less valuable than that of a colored man? The Governor of Saint-Domingue resented the affront; in his indignation he challenged Colonel Whitelock, who had made the proposal[1] to a duel, to which the latter paid no heed. The English were guilty of a still graver offense. Having captured seventy soldiers of the Southern Legion, they sent them to Jamaica, where, by order of Adam Williamson, Governor of the Island, the captives were imprisoned, chained by the neck; and in spite of the fact that they were prisoners of war, they were publicly sold as slaves. Yet Rigaud and his officers were kind in their treatment of 400 sailors of the Switchoold that had been captured at Cayes.[2]

Following the advice of the French colonists, the English restored slavery and established the supremacy of the whites throughout the territory they occupied. Nevertheless, they had among their followers mulattoes and black leaders like Jean Kina and Hyacinthe. Being thus warned of the fate in store for them, should the English be successful, and tranquilized by the Decree of February 4, 1794, by which the National Convention confirmed the general freedom granted by Sonthonax and Polvérel and abolished slavery in all the French colonies,[3] the colored men began to plot on behalf of France. Their conspiracy was discovered at Saint Marc and L'Arcahaie, and they were mercilessly put to death. Elsewhere, however, their defection favored Toussaint's designs.

In February, 1795, Major Brisbane, who was in command at Saint-Marc, attacked the forces of Toussaint Louverture; the English officer was defeated and severely wounded. In his dealings with the prisoners

  1. Placide Justin, History of Haiti, p. 274.
  2. B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. II, p. 446.
  3. In spite of this decree of the Convention, slavery existed in the French colonies until it was definitely abolished in 1848.