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lent menaces, in order to engage them to impose chains on their fellow-citizens: they were deceived; they found in the King of Hayti, the steelvault, an incorruptible chief, whom nothing in the world can seduce or terrify. They endeavour now to deceive the nation, and to accomplish the same v ews by her instrumentality, viz. her destruction, and the re-establishment of slavery. But the last expedient will prove as ineffectual as the first. It shall conduct them to disgrace, infamy, and ruin, if they dare make any attempt upon our liberty and independence. They deceived themselves. They imagined that the gross and ignorant inhabitants of Hayti suffered themselves to be led as blind men by their chiefs. Acting on this supposition, they began by addressing themselves to the chiefs, and having failed of success in that quarter, are now making an experiment of what can be done with the people. We may boldly predict they will be equally unsuccessful there.
The people of Hayti, flexible and easily governed, suffer themselves to be guided by their chiefs, when they are convinced that they guide them only in the path of their own interest. But if there were a leader capable of entertaining a thought hostile to the liberties of the nation, the moment it was discovered, how powerful soever the individual, he would be sacrificed to the public safety. Nothing could preserve him from the fury and just resentment of the people. Shall a nation that cannot be deceived nor betrayed by her lenders be treacherous to herself, and voluntarily submit to the yoke of despotism? Such however are the intentions of the French; such the views of the author of the new colonial system!Haytians! nation of brothers! never be disunited: your safety depends on your unanimity. Were there among you a single Haytian so unworthy of the name, as to recommend a separation of interests, consider him a Frenchman, in the light of a mortal implacable enemy! Consider him, I repeat it, in the light of a madman, hateful to himself, and who would become his own executioner. Our King and Country! This is your device. At these sacred words, stand united, be one, and but one body, in arms against the French! Despise all odious distinctions invented by your enemies, for the purpose of disuniting you. Despise the odious appellation of North-Negroes and South-Mulattoes. Are not we all Haytians; all of the same country, of one common stock? Can there be any distinction, any difference between us? Have not we all been wretched, all victims of cruelty? Have not all the same interests, the same privileges, the same country to defend? Did we not share the same dangers, reap the same laurels? Does not a similar fate await us all? Are not we all brethren, all parents, all friends? Must not all be free and independent, or die, fighting in the field of
battle? Let us then have but one object, one common inclination! Let us be influenced only by the cry of, Our King and Country!
What hope may we not entertain under so great, so excellent a King as ours i When in the person of his royal highness the Prince Royal we see the true heir of his virtues and rank, a prince gifted with the most eminent qualities, and inspired with the most genuine love of his country; can we help indulging the most flattering expectations? Have we any cause to fear the imprecations of our enemies f
We are glad to have arrived at the conclusion of these remarks. More than once our intellectual faculties have been depressed by excessive indignation. More than once we have been tempted to throw away the pen, and tear in pieces the book of that execrable being Borgne de Boigne. But it will be necessary not to abandon him, before we give our readers a just idea of his matchless impudence. It will be proper to show how entirely he has survived all feelings of humanity.
Such is the language he addresses to our chiefs, on the supposition of their rejecting the conditions lately offered by the French. "A secret voice," says he, " will whisper, whatever be the title you assume, and the power you enjoy, bond or free, you are yet considered rebels by Europe. Where is your right to rule the country of which you usurp the dominion? You are, the greater part, born on the shores of Africa: violence and circumstances have contributed to p ace you in the situation of masters: that pillar of support is on the point of giving way: you may be crushed under its ruin. To-day you are supreme: to-morrow, perhaps, your headswill stoop under the yoke of slavery. You will either be exterminated, or reduced to your former condition. The thought is dreadful! Thunder strikes the daring oak; while it respects the humble cane."The indulgence shown to your revolt was too excessive, for being thought sincere. Besides, is that sentiment personal to us? Or does it not rather depend on other interests? Does its cause still subsist?
"Unknown to the different nations of the two hemispheres, utterly unconnected with them by ties of blood and political interests, you have no kind of affinity to them. What can you expect at their hands? They have merely endured your usurpation, because they waited for an opportunity to chastise you. The time is come. Europe lives, and you dare defy her! Your fate is at your own disposal: hasten to secure it! France will quickly sound the trumpet of alarm against you. In the midst of her long and terrible convulsions she never lost sight of you. Allured by the seductive charm of conquest, she has been taught by her misfortunes to know that glory has limits, while moderation and justice can act without reserve and without limitation. A volcano, she sustained a dreadful eruption. Providence now shuts the crater; its fire is subsiding. Imitate her example. Connect again your destinies with hers, ever brilliant and lasting. Had she not been immortal she would have perished. France returns, once more, within her boundaries: she concentrates her strength: governed with greater wisdom, she becomes more powerful. A king whom she loves superintends her welfare. All his promises have been realised: she is free at last. He opens his arms to you as to children of the same family: he embraces you with the same paternal solicitude. Hesitate not to decide on the part you ought to take.
"Receive with deference the conditions that are offered. Accept them with gratitude; and even less generous terms, if they were imposed upon you. They are dictated by the greatest magnanimity.
M If the king consent to acknowledge you; if he deign to invest you with a legal authority, which can be derived alone from his power, your fate is changed in an instant, as by the touch of a magician's rod. You are included in the number of vassals and tributary subjects of Louis XVIII, and are ranked among civilised governments.
»1 Can you desire a nobler destiny? To what do vou aspire? Seize the opportunity of giving authority to your political existence, and protecting it from the dangers and alarms that incessantly threatened it! Will you be ungrateful in return for conduct so noble? If you are, France finding you undeserving her regard, will have no further inducement to treat you with kindness.
"The colonies naturally belong to European commerce: the company about to be formed, offers you every kind of guarantee. If you refuse it, the forces which the company has at its disposal will be merely the advanced guard of the army she will raise against you, without any expense to government.
"Numbers of persons whom you have subdued butnot conquered, who find their condition the same and even worse, though the name be changed, as they now receive from the King a confirmed existence, will quickly desert you, and pass over to the side of justice and kindness."
Go, execrable monster! Carry elsewhere thy counsels, justice, and benevolei>ce. With such language, men like thee came, bringing plunder, fire, pestilence, death, and slavery! Dost thou imagine the remembrance of the crimes and numberless cruelties we suffered from thy countrymen, is quite erased from the memory? or that we have forgotten all the acts of perfidy we experienced, all the snares into which they endeavoured to betray us? Dost thou impudently conclude, that because our complexion is black, and our hands were fettered, we are destitute of that instinct which compels the very brute to preserve its existence: or that we cannot see the drift of a Frenchman's exhortation? We are, to adopt thy own terms, born slaves or free, and are yet considered rebellious and revolted. We were, indeed, the slaves of despots; the idea, far from exciting a blush, is our pride. We were not slaves from inclination or misconduct, but were made so by the cruelty of thy countrymen. Our swords have conquered again our native rights; we have wiped away in their detested blocd the spots of slavery! Spots they were indeed! It would be disgraceful, in the last degree disgraceful, were we to cease to be free, and resume once more the chains of despotism. But to remove slavery and regain liberty, at what period would not this be a glorious deed?
Go then, and derive from whatever source thou thinkest proper, thy exhortations and thy menaces! We shall, as thou hast said, return either to our former condition, or perish. This we thought of long ago, and our election is made. We can cease to exist; we cannot cease to be free.
Thunder, as thou tellest us, strikes the sturdy oak, and respects the humble cane. Hurl then thy thunders at the oak, or play thyself the part of the humble cane: base, servile, creeping, it is suited to thy character. , 1
We long to hasten to a conclusion : we feel ourselves freed from an enormous burthen. The scul is weary and the heart ready to break, when forced into an ocean of ills, prejudices, and oppression. When will the period arrive at which France shall cease to exercise a tyranny so unprecedented, a persecution so severe and disgraceful?
When shall French writers cease to profane the august name of Europe by their insults and menaces? Have not we also claims to the regard of Europe? Is not our independence an object most interesting to Europe, most worthy of attracting notice, the attention of the philosopher, and the admiration of mankind? Is not our return to life a new confirmation of the rights of nations ? Does it not supply undoubted proof, that Africa is capable of civilisation, and that happiness and knowledge may be diffused throughout the earth.'
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1If we were nolunder the necessity of curtailing our remarks, we might introduce in this place some ideas on African civilisation.
Africa, we are of opinion, can be civilised only by a conquest, of which the object is civilisation, and not in imitation of the conduct of the Spaniards and Portuguese in the two Indies. Manners cannot be changed,established customs and prejudices cannot be destroyed, except by powerful means. If you speak to men, who cannot understand you, you preach to the deserti. To influence men who are buried in profound ignorance, they must be en
If men feel interested in the happiness of men, and if it be the province of philanthropy to subdue the force of passion and prejudices; ought not the world, instead of repressing our exertions, instead of interposing to prevent the increase and improvement of our social condition; ought it not to lend assistance? What do we ask, that cannot be granted ? Liberty, independence, and peace!
Liberty! the natural inheritance of all men. Independence! so dearly purchased by us, and paid for by torrents of blood ! Peace! which we so well deserve after 25 years of war, trouble, and miseries! Peace, which we ask only in order to cultivate more securely, agriculture, commerce, industry, arts and sciences.
At a moment when great and powerful princes occupy the thrones of Europe; princes who, themselves enlightened, are surrounded with men whom wisdom, knowledge, and philanthropy have made illustrious; it is in such a moment we venture to raise our voice. We hope their hearts will be touched, and that they will throw on the people of Hayti, a look of kindness, protection, and benevolence. And you, my brethren, who are lately born to a new life, render thanks with me to the Creator of the universe, who has vouchsafed to rescue us from a state of slavery, ignorance and barbarism, to impart to us the blessings of civilisation and comfort. Let us show ourselves worthy of those blessings, which we never can sufficiently appreciate, by applying, every day, to a nobler and better use, our independence and liberty!
lightened. Perhaps the Germans, Gauls, and Britons would have been barbarians, if it had riot been for the conquests of the Romans. The Romans themselves owed their civilisation to the Greeks alone, and the Greeks to the Egyptians.