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ON SOME FRENCH WORKS AND NEWSPAPERS,
THE BARON DE VASTEY,
SECRETARY TO THE KING, KNIGHT OF THE ROYAL AND MILITARY ORDER OF ST. HENRY, PRECEPTOR TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE ROYAL OF HAYTI, &C.
Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.
AT SANS-SOUCI, FROM THE KING'S PRINTING-OFFICE,
1817, THE Hth. OF INDEPENDENCE.
Translated exclusively for the Pamphleteer.
TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE VICTOR HENRY,
CROWN PRINCE OF HAYTI,
GRAND CROSS OF THE ROYAL AND MILITARY ORDKR
Sfc. Sfc. $'c. fyc.
When I took the liberty of dedicating this work to Your Royal Highness, I considered, that political remarks, written solely with a view to promote the happiness, renown and prosperity of the people of Hayti, on principles that tend to secure the safety, freedom and independence of the state, could not fail of becoming acceptable and in a peculiar degree interesting to Your Royal Highness.
In submitting to the inspection of Your Royal Highness a picture of the injustice, crimes, and oppressive measures of the French, and exposing the perfidious subtlety of these Greeks of modern times, I was aware I should open your wounds afresh, and deeply affect your sensibility. But I have been urged reluctantly, by a stronger and more powerful motive, to awaken painful recollections. It has been an object with me, on the one hand, to guard my country from the artifices which a cruel, unrelenting and insidious enemy, had it yet in his power to practise; on the other, to breathe into the hearts of the people of Hayti, the sacred fire of freedom, independence, and immortal hatred of the French.
The instances of zeal, patriotism and love, discovered by Your Royal Highness in behalf of your native country, are well known to us: as you advanced in age, they became habitually rooted and more firmly fixed. Your Royal Highness will be able ere long, to assist your great and illustrious Father in his councils, and will endeavour to tread in his footsteps.
Deign, Sir, to regard, with a favorable eye, my feeble essays; and accept the dedication of them, as a public testimony of the profound respect which I entertain for you.
I shall ever continue, during life, with inviolable attachment and veneration,
Sir, Your Royal Highness's
BARON DE VASTEY.
The following Remarks have been occasioned by the perusal of some French works and newspaper criticisms on America,and more particularly Hayti. They consist of two vols. 8vo. intitled "Reflections on the Colonies, and present Revolution in America,' by M. De Pradt, Ex-archbishop of Malines, together with a third vol. written by the same, "On the three last Months of America." There is, in addition, a single vol. to which the title prefixed is, "A new System of Colonisation for St. Domingo, of a Commercial Company, to re-establish an intercourse between France and that island; preceded by some general considerations on the Colonial Government of Europeans in the two Indies; by M. Le Borgne de Boigne, Ordonatorqfwar, Knight of the Royal Order of St. Lewis, Ex-envoy of France to St. Domingo, Ex-deputy-legislator of that Colony."
We quote with commendation the works of M. de Pradt, making every due allowance for error, which must be ascribed to the want of local information, or to the difficult situation in which he has been placed. In the pages of that celebrated writer are to be discovered a comprehensive and profound knowledge of things, important and useful truths, and real feelings of benevolence to all the world. We shall reply to him distinctly.
Such praise cannot, we regret to say, be bestowed on the lucubrations, or rather visions of M. de Borgne de Boigne: his New System of Colonisation for St. Domingo, is an idle chimera, the offspring of weak intellects; than which nothing can be conceived more unfounded or ridiculous. The French, when speaking of us, betray the same want of judgment: an article inserted in the Journal dts Debats, of the 26th July, is in substance little else but an echo and panegyric of the New System of Colonisation for St. Domingo. M. de Pradt, after censuring in terms of severity the personalities of that newspaper, informs us that the editors of it are Messieurs Fievee, Felletz, and Hoffmann. It will be necessary therefore to apply our observations to that accomplished and learned triumvirate equally as well as to M. de Boigne himself.
There is nothing more extraordinary and hypocritical than the language of these gentlemen. It would scarcely be credited if it were not to be read in print. They cannot hope to subdue us by force, or inspire us with fear; and it is curious to observe, how mild, persuasive, and almost urbane those expressions are become, which were once so forbidding, authoritative and severe. Like Proteus, they present themselves in all shapes: no longer in the hideous form of a monster, threatening to exterminate the nation, and infants even at the breast of their mothers; but as a captivating syren, whose seductive tones of voice and beauty invite us to throw ourselves into her arms.
We have nothing, they affect to say, to fear from the French. All the mischief that has been occasioned, had its origin in Bonaparte: while they are about to commence a new career, to be characterised only by moderation and benevolence.
Our intercourse with France is to be regulated by other principles. We have merely to guard against deception; to avoid reflections on the past, and to think only of the present state of things; to conciliate present interests; and not to sacrifice for ever, those that are not absolutely destroyed.
One would be tempted to imagine that the persons who used such language had not the smallest idea of our situation. Our political and rural economy appear to be unknown to them; of the nature of the causes which conducted us to liberty, and from liberty to independence, they are altogether ignorant: it might almost be conjectured from the style of the declamation, that they have been the innocent cause of all the mischief, atrocities, and injustice, that have been visited upon us: or perhaps that in this country, which abhors them, they may yet expect to find the blind credulity of the Toussaint Louvertures, and the French population of 1802.
Listen to them, and the Bourbons are a talisman, which should blind the eyes, and prevent their discernment of our best and most obvious interests: the Bourbons are a magical rod, which should make arms fall from our hands, and oblige us to surrender at discretion: in fine, the Bourbons possess the same virtue as the river Lethe; no sooner are we ranged under the white flag, than scaffolds, gibbets, burning-piles, drownings, blood-hounds, and all the horrors we have suffered from the French, should be for ever erased from the memory!
These periodical writers, however, concede to us a small portion