Introductory comment from Bob Corbett: This 180 year old newspaper which I have in my library has a rather ironic set of stories. Early in the paper is a story entitled: HISTORY, LITRATURE, &c. OF HAYTI. This long story was reprinted from "The British Review from March 1820." The irony is that this story celebrates the rule of both Christophe in the north and Boyer in the south and shows what a marvelous job each is doing and how, while technically at war, they do a decent job of getting along. Then, later in the paper is a another significant report of the uprising against Christophe which began at St. Marc and led to his suicide and the unification of Hayti. However, in this story, just pages later in the same newspaper, Christophe has become this horrible tyrrant and murdered. The issue isn't so much which picture of Christophe is the correct one. Rather, it is the irony that the editors of the Baltimore paper, Niles' Weekly Reader, either didn't notice the contradictory portraits of Christophe or they didn't care.
No matter the editorical position, or lack of same, this is an extradinarily vivid picture of the Haiti in the last days of the division into the Kindom of the north and the Republic of the south. It is a bit skimpy in details of the revolution and downfall of of Christophe.
Although the two governments, which rule the northern and southern districts have not established any relations of mutuality, they have remained in a state of perfect tranquility; and since the year 1811, Hayti has presented the pleasing picture, of domestic improvement and prosperity.
The monarchy has for its present sovereign Henry Christophe, who (as we have just intimated has assumed the title of Henry I. He is said to have been born in the Island of Grenada, and to have been a slave in the island of Saint Domingo at the revolution in 1791; he was an early friend and faithful adherent of the brave Toussaint Louverture, whom he resembles in some parts of his character. During the struggle for independence, he displayed great bravery and military skill, and his disposition was then (and is now) generally considered to be both humane and benevolent. The republican inhabitants however, of Hayti, represent him as a severe and sanguinary tyrant, and in their journals, and other writings, usually call him another Phalaris. But those who have resided under his government, unanimously give him the character of being a good husband and a good father, affable in private life, and observant of the duties of morality and the offices of religion; -- qualities which are utterly irreconcilable with the cruelties charged upon him by his enemies. By the constitutional law of the council of state which established royalty in the north of Hayti, the regal title with all its prerogatives and privileges, is declared to be hereditary in the male and legitimate descendants of the family of Christophe, in a direct line and in the order of primogeniture, to the exclusion of females; and, in default of male issue, the succession is to pass into the family nearest of kin to the sovereign, or the most ancient in dignity. The sovereign, however, may, in default of an heir apparent, adopt the children of such prince of the kingdom as he shall judge proper; and in the event of his demise, until his successor shall be acknowledged, the affairs of the kingdom are to be governed by the ministers and king's council. --Should the new sovereign be a minor (and he is to he so considered until he shall have completed his fifteenth year), affairs are to he administered by protectors or, by a regent.
The members of the royal family bear the title of princes and princesses; and on coming of age, the princes are to take their seats as members of the council of state.
The principles of the feudal government are said to be unknown in the island; but it appears from the statements which we have recently seen, that Christophe is about to establish military fiefs. Titles of hereditary nobility, and the royal and military order of Saint Henry, are the recompenses destined for those who devote their lives to the public service, or who shed their blood for their king and country. -- A great council of state, composed of the princes of the blood and others nominated by the sovereign, and a privy council, consisting of the great dignitaries of the kingdom, consult on such matters as are submitted to their deliberation by the king, The grand council of state forms a high court of justice for the trial of royal or noble delinquents, and of public functionaries charged with malversation in office. The business of the state is conducted by four ministers, viz. of war, and of the marine, of the finances, of foreign affairs, and of justice, and by a secretary of state. These are all appointed by the sovereign, to whom they are directly accountable, and from whom they immediately receive the orders. They are ex officio members of the council, in which they have a deliberative voice.
The government does all in its power to encourage agriculture, as the grand source of. prosperity, and the reciprocal duties of proprietors and cultivators, and, in short, the whole rural economy of Hayti, is regulated by an agriculture code, the principles of which are laid in justice, equity and humanity. The proprietors and farmers of land are bound to treat their respective laborers with paternal solicitude; and from those, in return, is exacted a reciprocal attention to the welfare and interest of their employers. In lieu of wages, the laborers on plantations are allowed one-fourth part of the gross produce, free from all duties and expense, to the time of removal. Provision is likewise made for the speedy removal of grievances, and for the humane treatment of the sick; while the lazy and the vagabond are severely punished; mendacity and licentiousness are severely reprobated; all beggars on the highway, prostitutes and stragglers, are liable to be arrested; and such as have no legal settlement, are to be placed at the discretion of the proper authorities to labor for their Livelihood. That no one, however, may be compelled to work beyond his strength, certain hours of labor are appointed by law; and pregnant women, or those who have infants to nurse, are exempt from field labor. Every night, prayers are read to the laborers: and the landlords, farmers, or managers of the plantation of which they are attached, are required to invite the people to attend public worship, in their respective parishes, on Sundays and on fast days. In such honor, indeed, is agriculture held, that it is celebrated on the return of each spring by a public festival. The plough has been introduced into the fields, which were formerly watered by the sweat of the slaves. Corn grows by the side of the sugar cane and the coffee plant: their breed of horses has been improved, and the pastures are covered with flocks. Hospitals are provided for the reception and comfort of the sick and indigent poor.
The present chief magistrate of the republican part of Hayti is general Boyer, a man of color, who is said to be both beloved and respected for that rare union of moderation and energy with which he administers the government of his country. In this portion of the island, slavery is forever abolished. Its government is not hereditary, but elective. The chief magistrate bears the title of president, and is likewise generalissimo of the military and naval forces of the republic. There is also a chamber of deputies, and a senate, in whom is vested the power of making laws; and the senate has the power of accusing and judging the president for misconduct in the discharge of his office. In the republic, property is divided between a greater number of proprietors than in the kingdom, where the finest sugar plantations are in the possession of the agents of the treasury, the great lords, and chief military officers; and, under their direction, the produce of these plantations is very nearly equal to that of St. Domingo in its most prosperous state before the revolution.
The sacred obligations of marriage are but Iittle regarded in the republic; the two sexes live in a state of concubinage; and, according to M. de la Croix, many irregular unions have taken place. The two sexes are united by a mere verbal engagement; and in case of separation (which rarely occurs) the mate children belonging to their fathers, and the female to their mothers. ln the kingdom, on the contrary, marriage is both a sacred and a civil contract. "Marriage," says one of Christophe's laws, "being the source of moral conduct, it shall be especially encouraged and protected; and the laborious peasantry who shall bring up the greatest number of legitimate children in a reputable, manner, shall be distinguished and encouraged by government itself." Divorce is not permitted; and no Haytian who is unmarried can fill any place of distinction under Christophe. In both states justice is administered with impartiality; the laws are written in clear and simple codes; and the establishment of posts has rendered the communications between tile different parts of them both prompt and easy. -- The present population of the two Haytian governments is computed to be about .501,000. viz.
Of this number, 261,000 are in the republican part and 240,000 in the kingdom of Christophe. The introduction of vaccination has greatly facilitated the increase of population.
The revenues of the two governments of Hayti are supposed to be about 48,000,000 francs; and the expenses of their administration in 1817, scarcely exceeded 18,000,000 francs, thus leaving a surplus of 15,000,000 at the disposal of each government.
The armies of the two rulers of Hayti are each composed of about twenty-four thousand regular troops; but not more than five or six thousand are on duty, at one time, in either government. They are relieved alternatively every three months; and , while on actual service, they receive pay. During the remaining nine months of the year, they are quartered upon the great provision grounds of the two governments, or upon those belonging to different habitations, where they oversee the labors of the cultivators. The following is an estimate of the forces of the king of Hayti, according to M. de la Croix:
The regiments of the republic is as follows: --
Troops of the line.3,600
The regiments of Hayti do not present that imposing aspect which superior discipline and accoutrements give to European troops; but they have an equally powerful internal organization; for every black who is enrolled in a regiment, is fixed to his colors, He is a cultivator to the soil. And in case of attack, the whole male population takes up arms, and the military forces of each government, in such emergencies, amounts nearly to one hundred thousand men. A people, who twenty five years since, made cannons of bamboo, have now manufactories of gun-powder, saltpetre, shot, cannons bombs, and every other kind of arms; and their flags now wave over the ocean on which they formerly ventured only in canoes.
The better to support his power, and also as a reward for services, Christophe has established degrees of nobility, in the conferring of which he manifests great reserve. Two princes, not of the royal blood, eight dukes, eighteen counts, thirty-two barons, and eight chevaliers, fill the highest offices of the state, and compose a permanent nobility. Six grand marshals of Hayti, eight lieutenant generals, fifteen major generals, (marechaux de-camp) six major- generals, and one hundred superior officers, lieutenants of the king, or commanders of districts, constitute the general staff of the royal army. That of the republic is less numerous, being composed of only six generals of division, and nine of brigade.
The royal and military order of Saint Henry, which is endowed with an annual income of 300,000 francs, was instituted in April, 1811: it confers personal nobility on those who are decorated with it. On the 1st of January, 1818, not more than six grand crosses, sixteen commanders and one hundred and sixty-five knights, had been nominated members of this order.
Notwithstanding the rivalry subsisting between the black royalists and republicans of Haiti, both parties have agreed to unite their forces, in case their territory should be attacked by any foreign troops; and the arrangements which are reported to have been made in the contemplation of such an event, are such as to insure the maintenance of their liberty and independence.
The Roman Catholic religion is recognized as the religion of the two states. In the kingdom it is governed by an archbishop who has a chapter, a seminary, and a college, attached to his metropolitan see, all well endowed, and by bishops, each of whom has endowed chapter and a seminary. Christophe has nominated to the archbishopric of Hayti, a Spanish priest, to whom the court of Rome, with its accustomed narrow policy, has refused canonical institution. The government of the church of the republic is confided, as formerly, to an apostolical prefect.
In both states, the blacks have retained their ancient habits of living. Since the Haytians have been trained to arms, they have acquired to a degree of confidence, which forms a striking feature in their character; and they reluctantly pay the slightest tribute of respect to the whites. In general, they are more attached to agriculture than to commerce; and retail trade is willingly relinquished to the women. In the republic, many women of color have the sole management of great commercial transactions, which they conduct with intelligence and probity; any many of them have already acquired large fortunes.
The internal police of the two governments is stated to be such, that the whites may travel into the interior of the republic with perfect safety. No Frenchman is allowed to enter the kingdom; and the interior governments, where there are depots of arms are carefully shut against all Europeans. So strict are Christophe's regulations, that no cultivators can quit their residences without a written permission from the officers of their district: and they are obliged to be decently clothed whenever they go to the Sans Souci (the royal residence or to the markets in the different towns. So severe, indeed, are the measures adopted by the police, to insure the safety of property, that it is said a person may retire to sleep with his doors unfastened, and drop his purse without fear of losing it.
Generally speaking the appearance of the blacks indicates moral improvements. There is less nudity: neither soldiers nor cultivators dare show themselves in town without being decently clad. In the kingdom, those who are attached to the court, and all the officers of state, as well as the military officers, are under the strictest discipline: and the slightest negligence would incur very severe reprimands . In the republic, however, less regard is paid to dress in the lower classes, and to uniformity in the civil and military costumes.
Both governments have displayed a laudable solicitude for the instruction of the rising generation. Christophe has examined the rival claims of the two systems of mutual instruction practiced in England, and has given the preference to the system of the British and Foreign School Society, The principal schools in his dominions are established at Cape Henry, Sans Souci, Port de Paix Gonaives and St. Marc, they are under the care of English teachers, among whom Messrs Daniel and Gulliver have particularly distinguished themselves, The former unites, with the superintendence of a school, the daily instruction of the princes, he has already furnished male pupils to the college, which Christophe has erected and endowed, and in which professors of every branch of literature and science are to be established and liberally rewarded. In these primary schools, the instructions are principally given in English (the pupils having hitherto neither read nor spoken a written language,) as the Creole dialect differs very greatly from the French. So rapid has their progress been, that in the school established at Cape Henry, three months have proved sufficient to teach the pupils to read the Bible in English; which language it is the king's declared intention to bring into general use, with the ultimate design of superseding the French as the vernacular language of the people at large.
That the important work of education may by properly conducted, a royal chamber of public instruction has been appointed, whose province it is to superintend all schools, academies, colleges, and other establishments of public education, to select books and cause them to be printed, to maintain order, to regulate the methods of instruction, to enforce the observance of rules, and to reform abuses. The expense of salaries to the masters and professors , appointed by this board, as well as of books, is wholly defrayed by the sovereign, to whom half-yearly reports are presented: and once a year, prizes are given to the most distinguished scholars. Besides these national schools at Cape Henry; where such of the children of the poorer classes as can not be accommodated in the national schools, are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, at a moderate rate. All the inhabitants, indeed, are obliged, under a penalty to send their children to school, as soon as they attain a sufficient age.
In the republican part of the island, a school was established at Port-au-Prince on the British and Foreign Society's plan, by an English teacher, to whose conduct and ability the president, general Boyer, has borne the most honorable testimony. This school is at present under the superintendence of a native speaker. A lyceum has likewise been instituted for teaching the higher branches of literature and science.
When we consider how short a period has elapsed since the Haytians established their independence, and that the attention of their governors must principally be directed to supplying the necessities of the state, we cannot behold, without admiration, the rapid advances which they made, not merely in the useful arts, but in literature. The love of liberty and independence pervades all their literary compositions, especially the addresses of their chieftains, Dessalines and Christophe. The proclamations of the latter, and particularly his manifesto, put forth in September, 1814, on occasion of French emissaries being sent to negotiate with the Haytians, display an animation and intelligence, which would not be discreditable to the most experienced diplomatists of Europe.
In a preceding page (197), we have inserted an interesting account of the condition of that part of this island which was under the dominion of the people of color. By sundry arrivals we are put in possession of many particulars relative to the late revolution. The chief things are as follows:
St. Marks (sic) revolted from king Henry early in October, and the troops of the garrison sent the head of their general to Boyer, in evidence of their, in evidence of their sincerity.
The revolution at St. Marks was seconded by the military at the Cape (Henry or Francois), the capital of the "kingdom." The troops, headed by gen. Richard, governor of the city, having trampled under foot the insignia of royalty, proceeded to invest the palace to seize the person of the king -- on which, seeing that all was lost, he blew his own brains out. This thing happened on the 8th of October.
The people in many parts had declared in favor of Boyer -- but some troops remained faithful to royalty, and, under the command of general Romain, (duke of Limbe) had retired to the mountains of Gros Morne, taking the "royal family" with them. But another account says that this family fell into the hands of the republicans --and that they were all in irons. This is the most probable statement. The private chest of Christophe is reported to have contained 240,000 dollars.
The general commanding at Jeremie had sent in his adhesion to the republic, oil the condition that the people should be considered citizens. Gonaives submitted on the 20th of Oct.
The late king is called "Christophe the cruel." It is reported that, after his death, no less than four thousand persons were released from the dungeons of Sans Souci.
A Port au Prince account says "everywhere, where our army has passed we have only perceived the habitations of old men and old women. The population of this part of the island was, then, condemned to end for want of propagation."
The tyrant is no more: he has done himself justice.
Christophe, whose usurped authority covered with mourning and wretchedness the northern and western parts which obeyed him, terminated his days on Sunday last, the 8th instant, at half past seven o'clock in the evening, by a pistol shot, at the news of the defection of what he called his military household: which, instead of opposing, as he wished, general Richard and the troops of the garrison of the Cape, who on the 6th had declared against his despotism embraced them and swore, on reuniting to the republic, henceforward to live united, and as a nation of brothers and friends.
The president of Hayti hastens to express his satisfaction, in the name of the country, to all the inhabitants, who, under these circumstances, have profitably served the cause of liberty and equality, and to assure them that nothing shall he spared to meliorate their condition; the military who have delayed to yield their submission, should present themselves without fear. The republic is merciful, because she is strong; she has only children to reconcile, and not enemies to combat; the latter, alone, who shall dare to resist the wish of the people, by acting from private views, shall be delivered to the sword of the law.
The generals, superior officers, and the military of all grades should use their efforts to maintain good order every where: It is. forbidden to shed the blood of any person; he who shall permit it, shall be considered as an assassin.
The president of Hayti is about to traverse the whole northern part with an imposing force; not to conquer, but to conciliate and pacify The people wish to be free: they shall be so; the constitution, alone, can secure to them this precious advantage, because the constitution of the republic is the work of its representatives.
Given at the national palace of Saint Mark, the 17th of October, 1820, 17th year of independence.
By the president.
Additional accounts. There are letters direct from the Cape, detailing the late events there. The king's tyranny appears to have been excessive, which caused the revolt first at St. Mark's. His troops at the Cape refused to attack against them -- he offered to his body guards great sums of money and the pillage of the city if they would stand by him; but they rejected his offers, then he shot himself. His wife and family immediately buried as he was -- no one would make a coffin for him. The palace was then entered and plundered of money, plate, and jewels, to the amount of a million dollars. The prisons thrown open and 4000 prisoners released, nearly all of whom must be cripples for life, having had their backs broken by bastinarding! The famous castle and fortress at Sans Souci, supposed to be one of the strongest places in the world, was given up; 300 pieces of cannon were mounted on its various works -- and four millions of dollars were hoarded up in it -- one account says forty millions, which is not probable. Personal property was regarded as safe at the Cape, and the demolition of royalty seems not to have greatly affected the public tranquility, or to have caused any disturbances, except in the acts committed immediately against the king, &c.
Republic of Hayti
The magistrates and general undersigned, announce to you, with the most lively joy, that they come solemnly to declare that this day there exists in Hayti, but one government and one constitution.
Citizens! Soldiers! Peace is made, war is no more amongst us; all Haytians are united and brethren. President Boyer and his army will shortly enter this city to receive and give the embrace of peace and fraternity: prepare yourselves to receive it with all that enthusiasm which characterizes true Haytians. In consequence, we shall repeat a thousand times these cries, pledging forever, the happiness and welfare of the country.
We pledge you to repeat them a thousand times with us.
Given in L'Hotel de Ville du Cap, October 21st, 1820, seventeenth year of the independence of Hayti.
P. ROMAIN, &c. &c.
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