Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/99

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89
Sonthonax Leaves Saint Domingue.

to him through Lapointe, they endeavored to speculate upon his supposed jealousy of Toussaint Louverture on account of his being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army. In his reply Rigaud asserted his devotion to France and defended Toussaint. "I must," said he, "repress your insolence and your insulting tone toward the French General Toussaint Louverture. You have no right to speak of him as a coward, since you do not dare to encounter him; or as a slave, because a French Republican cannot be a slave. His black skin makes no difference between him and his fellow-citizens under a constitution which does not bestow dignities according to one's color."[1]

In spite of Sonthonax's intrigues, Toussaint and Rigaud were then still united. The Commander-in-Chief deemed it time for the realization of his plans. After his defeat before Saint-Marc, his soldiers, who were quite destitute, became somewhat unmanageable. He availed himself of this opportunity to complain of the destitution to which his army had been reduced.

Sonthonax felt that all the responsibility for the sufferings endured by the soldiers was cast upon him. Yet he was unable to remedy the ill effects of the bad management of the finances. In the mean time, he had ordered the arrest of General Pierre-Michel. This arrest, preceded by the arrest of Rochambeau and Desfourneaux, without mentioning the attempt to dismiss Rigaud, made it clear to Toussaint that Sonthonax was not over-scrupulous in getting rid of those who stood in his way or who could no longer be of use to him. Sooner or later his turn would come. Besides, should an intelligent administration not soon find the means of providing for their wants, the soldiers, it was to be feared, would rebel. Toussaint was conscious of the power he possessed and he was confident of being able so successfully to manage the finances as to bring back the former easy circumstances.

On August 15, 1797, he suddenly appeared at Cap-

  1. Letter of General Rigaud to J. B. Lapointe. July 17, 1797. (B. Ardouin, Studies of Haitian History, Vol. III, p. 320.)