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xation of war. Being attacked and vanquilhed, he took refuge amongst the Spaniards, who delivered him up to his adversaries. The horrors of his death were the harbingers of future crimes. These disturbances still increafing, the National Affembly found it necessary at length to decide between the contending parties.
On the 15th of May, 1791, a decree was made, consisting of two articles, by the first of which the Assembly confirmed that of the 12th of October, so far as respected the flaves in their islands. It is true, that the word flave was cautiously omitted in this document, and they are only characterised by the negative description of men not free," as if right and wrong depended on a play of words, or a mode of expression.
This part of the decree met with but little opposition, though it passed not without severe reprehenfion from a few enlightened members. The second article, respecting the people of colour, was strongly contested: those who were before known by the appellation of patriots divided upon it. It was, however, determined in the result, that the people of colour, born of free parents, should be considered as active citizens, and be eligible to the offices of government in the islands.
This second article, which decided upon a right that the people of colour had been entitled to for upwards of a century, instead of restoring peace, has been the pretext for all the subsequent evils that the colony of St. Domingo has sustained. They arose not indeed from its execution, but from its counteraction by the white colonists. Had they, after the awful warnings they had already experienced, obeyed the ordinances of an Assembly they pretended to revere; had they imbibed one drop of the true spirit of that constitution to which they had avowed an inviolable attachment; had they even suppressed the dictates of pride in the suggestions of prudence, the storm that threatened them had been averted, and in their obedience to the parent state they had displayed an act of patriotisin, and preserved themselves from all possibility of danger.
But the equalization of the people of colour ftung the irritable nerves of the white colonists. The descendants of Naves may lose the resentments of their fathers; but the hatred of a despot is hereditary. The European maxim allows, “ That they never pardon who have done the wrong ;" but in the colonies this perversity attains a more monstrous growth, and the averfion to African blood descends from generation to generation. No sooner had the decree passed, than the Tt2
deputies from the islands to the National Assembly withdrew their attendance: the colonial committee, always under the influence of the planters, suspended their labours. Its arrival in the island struck the whites with consternation : they vowed to sacrifice their lives rather than fuffer the execution of the decree. Their rage originating in def. potism and phrenzy carried them so far that they proposed to imprison the French merchants then in the island, to tear down the national flag, and hoist the British standard in its place, whilst the joy of the mulattoes was mingled with apprehensions and with fears. St. Domingo re-echoed with the cries of the whites, with their menaces and blasphemies against the constitution. A motion was made in the streets to fire upon the people of colour, who fled from the city, and took refuge in the plantations of their friends and in the woods : they were at length recalled by proclamation; but it was only to swear subordination to the whites, and to be witnefles of fres enormities. Amidst these agitations the flaves had remained in their accustomed subordination; nor was it till the month of August, 1791, that the symptoms of the insurrection appeared amongst them.
A considerable number, both of whites and people of colour, had lost their lives in these commotions before the flaves had given indi, cations of disaffection; they were not, however, insensible of the opportunities of revolt afforded by the diffenfions of their masters; they had learnt that no alleviation of their miseries was ever to be expected from Europe ; that in the struggle for colonial dominion, their humble interests had been equally facrificed or forgotten by all parties. They felt their curb relaxed by the disarming and disper. fion of their mulatto masters, who had been accustomed to keep them under rigorous discipline. Hopeless of relief from any quarter, they rose in different parts, and spread defolation over the island. If the cold cruelties of despotism have no bounds, what shall be expected from the paroxysms of despair?
On the 17th of Septeinber, 1791, a convention took place, which produced the agreement called the Concordat, by which the white planters stipulated, that they would no longer oppose the law of the 15th of May, which gave political rights to the people of colour. The colonial Affembly even promised to meliorate the situation of the people of colour, born of parents not free, and to whom the decree of the 15th of May did not extend. An union was formed between the planters, which, if it had sooner taken place, had prevented the insur
rection. The insurgents were every where dispirited, repulsed, and dispersed; and the colony itself preserved from total destruction.
By a decree of the National Assembly, the 24th of September, tbe people of colour were virtually excluded from all right of colonial legislation, and expressly placed in the power of the white colonists.
If the decree of the 15th of May could inftigate the white colonists to the frantic acts of violence before described, what shall we suppose were the feelings of the people of colour on that of the 24th of September, which again blasted those hopes they had justly founded on the constitutional law of the parent state, and the solemn ratification of the white colonists ? No suoner was it known in the islands, than those diffenfions which the revolt of the negroes had for a while appeased, broke out with fresh violence. The apprehensions entertained from the saves had been allayed by the effects of the Concordat; but the whites no sooner found themselves relieved from the terrors of immediate destruction, than they availed themselves of the decree of the 24th of September; they formally revoked the Concordat, and treacherously refused to comply with an engagement to which they owed their very existence. The people of colour were in arms; they attacked the whites in the southern provinces; they posfessed themselves of Fort St. Louis, and defeated their opponents in several engagements. A powerful body surrounded Port au Prince, the capital of the island, and claimed the execution of the Concordat. At three different times did the whites assent to the requisition, and as often broke their engagement. Gratified with the predilection for monarchy and aristocracy, which the Constituent Assembly had in its dotage avowed, they affected the appellation of patriots, and had the address to transfer the popular odium to the people of colour, who were contending for their INDISPUTABLE RIGHTS, and to the few white colonists who had virtue enough to espouse their cause. Under this pretext, the municipality of Port au Prince required M. Grimoard, the captain of the Boreas, a French line of battle ship, to bring his guns to bear upon, and to cannonade the people of colour assembled near the town : he at first refused, but the crew, deluded by the cry of patriotilin, enforced his compliance. No sooner was this measure adopted, than the people of colour gave a loose to their indignation ; they spread over the country, and set fire indiscriminately to all the plantations; the greatest part of the town of Port au Prince soon after shared the same fate. Nothing seemed to remain for the white inhabitants but to seek their safety in quitting the colony.
In the northern parts the people of colour adopted a more magnanimous and perhaps a more prudent conduct. “They begun," says Mr. Verniaud, " by offering their blood to the whites. “ We hall wait,” said they, “ till we have saved you, before we assert our own claims.” They accordingly opposed themselves to the revolted negroes with unexampled courage, and endeavoured to soothe them by attending to their reasonable requisitions.
After this recital of authentic and indisputable facts, it is not difficult to trace the causes of the insurrection. The effects we leave to be described by the profeffed historian ; but the prudent measures of the French government we flatter ourselves will ultimately succeed in extending peace and liberty to every inhabitant of this, and all the other islands under their dominion; and may the godlike plan for the liberation and happiness of the African, be speedily imitated by those governments in Europe who have not had sufficient virtue to set the example. *
* In this account of the French Weft-India islands it will no doubt be remarked, that we have taken no notice of the conquest of some of them by Great-Britain during the present war. The very great probability that they will soon acknowledge their former dependency on France, and perhaps join in extending her victories over some of the British islands, must be our excufe ; but if this is not deemed sufficient, we have only to remark, that the common practice of surrendering, as the price of peace, what has been purchased during a war by a torrent of human blood, render it impulsīble to say what will, in a few months, belong to England or France.
SITUATED in 19° 29' north latitude, and 63° 10' weit longitude, and three leagues north-west of St. Christopher's, is only a mountain, about twenty-nine miles in compass, rising out of the sea like a pyramid, and almost round. But though so small and inconveniently laid out by nature, the industry of the Dutch have made it to turn to very good account; and it is said to contain five thousand whites, and fifteen thousand negroes. The sides of the mountains are laid out in very pretty settlements, but they have neither springs nor rivers. They raise here sugar and tobacco; and this island, as well as Curaffou, is engaged in the Spanish contraband trade, for which, liowever, it is not so well situated; and it has drawn the same advantage from its constant neutrality. But when hoftilities were commenced by Great-Britain against Holland, Admiral Rodney was sent with a considerable land and fea force against St. Eulatius, which, being incapable of any defence, surrendered at discretion, on 3d of February, 1781. The private property of the inhabitants was confiscated, with a degree of rigour very uncommon among civilized nations, and very inconsistent with the humanity and generosity by which the English nation used to be characterised. The reason asfgned was, that the inhabitants of St. Eustatius had allifted the United States with naval and other stores. But on the 27th of November, the same year, St. Eustatius was retaken by the French, under the command of the Marquis de Bouille, though their force confifted of only three frigates, fome small craft, and about three hundred men,