Laveaux pompously charged them with plotting to make Saint-Domingue an independent State, in order to be alone in command; he took umbrage at their growing influence, of which France, however, was deriving the greatest benefit. Such was the frame of mind he was in when Toussaint Louverture deserted the Spanish cause.
Clever and perspicacious, Toussaint at once saw the way in which to turn the mistrust of Laveaux to his own advantage. The latter became a mere puppet in his hands. Beneath his affected mildness was hidden an energetic will; his ambition knew no bounds. Everything must yield before him. Woe to those who dared to stand in his way. Conscious of his superiority over Laveaux, whose narrow-mindedness he was not long in finding out, he proposed to carry out his own interests, under the pretext of accomplishing the Governor's designs. The Agents of France sought to cripple the power of the mulattoes who had given offense to them, thinking that once deprived of their natural allies the blacks easily could be taken back to the deserted plantations.
Toussaint Louverture's intention was to help to reduce the influence of the mulattoes, but in his own behalf and at the expense of those who thought to use him as a tool which they would afterward throw aside. The black man was to prove more clever and a better tactician than the white. The time for action was nearing.
The inhabitants of Cap-Français, displeased with the administration of the Governor, rebelled on March 20, 1796. Laveaux was arrested and imprisoned. The municipality of Cap-Français hastened to adopt a decree investing Villate with the Governorship. This officer, instead of doing his duty by repressing the riot, accepted the office conferred on him by the municipality; thus becoming an accomplice in the attack made upon his official superior. The black Colonels Léveillé and Pierre-Michel protested against such an action. The latter through the medium of Henri Christophe, then a captain, wrote to the municipality demanding