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The Horrors Of St. Domingo

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Féw everiis have ever occurred, which have been more geneï-ally misrepresented and misunderstoüd, ilian tho nsurrection in St. Üomingo. Fifty yeais ago, St. Öorningo was by far the most floiirishing of the West India Jslands, and wns the most important colon y belonging lo France. lts feriile fields and majestic mountains spréficj over a space of about four hundi'èd miles in lenglh and one hundred in breadth. 500,000 slaves, as ignorant and sensual as it is possible for human beings to be, tilled these fields. Si.xty ihousand free blachs found a precarious subsistence in the cit ies. Forly thoüsnnd wlules drove the blacks to their unpaid toll, with their pistols and tlieir whips. The slaves were extremely debased, and yet timid and affectionale. Likè the dog, they fawned upon the hand that scnurged them. They were hardly conscious of a!ny righls, of which they were defrauded. They were naked, but they wanted no clothes ; they were ignorant, but haJ no desire for knowledge ; they ate ths coarsesi bran bread, and slept - men, women and childrén - with the do'gs Upori the siraw ; but good appetites converteJ their food into littcUrious Tands, nnd toil made their sleep more sweet than is ever found on bedsnf down. They werè often scourgéd, but feit not the ignominy of the lash. They were slaves, but the drpam of any thing different had hardly éntered their minds. - They were contented with their lot, as the vicious are conlenlèd with vice, as the degradèd are conlentcd wilh degradation, as the miserable poor are contented with poverty, and filth, and rags. Providënce, kind in its compensations, in abandoning them to these suilerings, saved thtm from others. They probably passed fewer hours of rcstlessness and world-wearincss, than their masïerS. The free coloreu popuïatiori' wè'vë öf all shndes of color, from the jet black negro, to complexions in which ihere could not be detected the slightest tinge of African blood. Many of them had attained considerable wealtl) and influenc. had bccomè military and civil otticers, and were extremely jealojs of their social position and rights. Not a few wero mulaltóes, whose mothers toiled in fields, and whose fathers luxuriated in dissolute opulence. And these gene rally cornbined in their nature all thepride and energy of their Europeari parentge, while they were stung to the quick by the contëmpt with which thèy wèie règarded in cqnséquence of their maternal origin. - Thèy formed a class by themselves - above the slaves, beiovv the whites. They were nominally freemen, yet excluded by the force of circumstances from nearly all the privileges of freemen. The while populat;on consisted, in genoral, ofwealthy, yet proud and dissolute landed proprietors. They were youriger sons of olj French and Spanish nobihty, desperate adventurers, bn ken down profligateé. All those aristocratie vice? which had fanned into a flame the horrors of the French rëvolution, existed with more haughty preponderance on the plantations ofSt. Domingo: The National Assembly of France in itsstruggles for the promotion oí Freedom, passed a doeree on the 8ih of March, 1790 empowering each colony io express its wish upon the subject of a constitution; and declaring that the free coloredpopuídíiott in fhe colonies were entitled to vote in the choreé of reDrcsentatives. - Lieut. Col. Ogee, a mulaito officer of distinction, in the service of France, was sent by the National Assembly to St. Domingo wilh fhis decreè. These proud planters were so exasperated by the measure, that they not only refusetl obcdience to the decree, but seized Col. Ogee, and under circumstances of the most atrocious cruelty, in token of their contempt, torè him limb from litnb by the torture of the whcel. This iniquitous proceeding of coú'rse exaspcrated the free blacks and the whole coloröd population to the ulmost, but still llierc was on their side no resort lo anns. The planters, with the power in their hnnds, perseveretl n refusing to comply with the coTnmands of thé mótlier country, and trampled on the rights of all the colored population, boih slaves and free, with increasing rigor and scorn. Great bitterness of feeling was the result, and the colony was in a state of intense agitation. The National Aasembty again took up the subject, and aller aiong debate, re-affirmod the decrée that all persons of color, bom of a free father and a free motker, were entiiled to ihe political privileges of freemen. The planters loaded their muskets, and set the free colored people and the law al d fiance. The free blacks now also began to organize for the defonce of their rights. Malters vvere in this state, when the slaves formed n conspiracy to obtain their freedotu. - The ángry discussions whïc'h had ngitaled t íi é colony, and the marshaling of hosts fbr civil war, lid aroused the slavé's to a consciousné'ss of he rights of which they were defrauded. Ön the night of August 22d, 1791, the insurreetion biírst forth, in the northerrt part of the Island. It was headed by jfearï Francoi, a s!ave possëssèd of many heroic and gèneroiis traits of character, comliined with the violent pnssions which had been excited by the lastr of the white man. That was indeed nn awful vfien the rrtribution for ogos of oppression was rolled upon the oppressor. A thousand piantalions were in one hour in flames. - No pen can evp.t describe íhe horrors of that night. An army of negroes, ihtoxicatcd with success, ir.SpIred with revengp, hurled themselves upon thèir masfers. - The males,a!most without exce)tion,were masfacrtid and tlirnwn into the flames of their dweilings. The females wefe j seived, to be the slaves of their former I slavfes. The fires of this conflagration, gleamifl fár and wide, drove the terrified planters from all quarters to Cape Franeois. ín the heartof the town there were ten thousand slaves, burning for freedom ; while fifteen thousand of the victorious inurgents bfelenguered thé place. The warfare was èqually merciless on both sides. The blacks and whites immediately massacréd all prisoners, without regard to age oí sëx. And tortures were retaliated by tortures. The flame, thus kindled, rapidly spread to the soulhern part oftheíslnnd. The lerrified planters, hrrror-stricken by_ the ruin which was rolling upon them, abandone everyihing and fled to Port-auPrince; and there théy wëre besieged by the foe they had so grèatly cíespised. - The National Gaard, and troops of the line, with all ilie white male population of the city,marched out to attack the sla ves, and after a most sanguinary conflict, ' we re driven back wilh the most horrible slaughtèr. A slaveby the name of Toussalnt had now, by his inlelligence, energy and j bravery, atlained a complete ascendency over all the blnck chiefiains. He was in all respecis nn cxiraordinary man. Amiable, intelligent, and of irreproachable purity of moráis, he had acquired a very great ascendency over his brethieñ'. Hie character had arrested the atiention and commanded the esleem of bis master,and he had taught mm reading, writing and ariihmetic. When this insurrection broke out, the blacks carncstly sotitíilñd him to join fhém; but he refused until he hád secured the safsty of his mastër a!nd fumily, by afïording them nn escape to Baltimore, and shipping to t,hem a cargo of sugar, to enable them to raise mcriey for the supply oftheir wants. He iheh joined his brethren in their struggle for freedom. Matters were in thia state when a forcé of 3. 000 men, with three delegates, arrived from France - despalched by the National Assembl-, to endeavor to p'romote a reconciliation between the whites and thë blacks. The members of the colonial legislaturë and Toussaint trël the delegates. Toussaint declared that the blacks wère all ready to return to their duty, if their rights as prociafmed by the mother county were respected. But the planters indignantly refused arry compromise, and demnnded ths u'nconditional submission of the slaves and ihedeath of their leaders. Tlie conflict was immediately renewe-3 wilh increasing violence, and the insurrection spread every wherè throughout the Island. The planters, who had escaped massacre, weie driven into thé forti fied towns on the seacoast. and the slaves were scattered in lawless freedom all over the desolated plantations.- - The National Assembly) slruggling against monarchical and aristocratie power la France, sympathized with the slaves, strugglïng agaii st the irifinitely more aristocratie oppression of the plantéis. A qiiarrel soon arose in Cape Town, bètween' ihe higher and lower classes of the European populaüO'n, ihe iower clas uniling wi.h the freí fclacks, and two days ;he blood flovvéd in torrerits in the streets. The nègro chiefs, talting advantage ofths sirifê, burst iato the city, and an awful sróne of conflagrntionand Llood ensu'ed. Twanty thonsar.d negroes, wtih" swörd and llame.traversed the iteets and glu'tted thoir vengeance on their foes. A few wretched fugitives escaped on board tlie ships and took refuge in thé United States. The Frerch Republic now publishiU n decreo proclaimi'ng frfedotn to all the slaves who vvoiild enlist as soldiers of the Republic Toussiant immediately passed under the service of France, with tho rank of Col one), and the blacks ivere ropidly or ganizing inta regiments under the stan dards of the]repub!ic, and there was peace Touisaant enacted very whe laws aüow ing the laboréis on the plantations onefourlli of thé proriact's of their hitVof a's their wages, vograncy wns próhïbiié'd.tiië land was distributed,ty purchise and by gifts, to the whites who stil] remained,nnd to the leading officers in Toussiant'i army, and the colony rapidly rose again in wealth nnd prosperity.