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fontaine, had Louverture not lost his balance he would have seen that Bonaparte and Talleyrand had out-manœuvred him, and that even if Jefferson were not as French in policy as his predecessor had been hostile to France, yet henceforth the United States must disregard sympathies, treat St. Domingo as a French colony, and leave the negro chief to his fate. England alone, after the month of February, 1801, stood between Toussaint and Bonaparte. Edward Stevens, who felt the storm that was in the air, pleaded ill-health and resigned his post of consulgeneral. Jefferson sent Tobias Lear to Cap Français in Stevens's place, and Lear's first interview showed that Toussaint was beginning to feel Talleyrand's restraints. The freedom he had enjoyed was disappearing, and he chafed at the unaccustomed limitations. He complained bitterly that Lear had brought him no personal letter from the President; and Lear in vain explained the custom of the Government, which warranted no such practice in the case of consuls. "It is because of my color!" cried Toussaint.1 Justice to President Jefferson and a keener sense of the diplomatic situation would have shown him that such a letter could not be written by the President consistently with his new relations of friendship toward France; and in fact almost the first act of Pichon, on taking charge of the French Legation in Washington after the treaty, was to re
1 Lear to Madison, July, 1801; MSS. State Department Archives.
monstrate against any recognition of Toussaint, and to cause Lear's want of diplomatic character which offended Louverture.1
Rarely has diplomacy been used with more skill and energy than by Bonaparte, who knew where force and craft should converge. That in this skill mendacity played a chief part, need hardly be repeated. Toussaint was flattered, cajoled, and held in a mist of ignorance, while one by one the necessary preparations were made to prevent his escape; and then, with scarcely a word of warning, at the First Consul's order the mist rolled away, and the unhappy negro found himself face to face with destruction. The same ships that brought news of the preliminary treaty signed at London brought also the rumor of a great expedition fitting at Brest and the gossip of creole society in Paris, which made no longer a secret that Bonaparte meant to crush Toussaint and restore slavery at St. Domingo. Nowhere in the world had Toussaint a friend or a hope except in himself. Two continents looked on with folded arms, more and more interested in the result, as Bonaparte's ripening schemes began to show their character. As yet President Jefferson had no inkling of their meaning. The British government was somewhat better informed, and perhaps Godoy knew more than all the rest; but none of them grasped the whole truth, or felt their own dependence on Tous
1 Pichon to Decrès, 18 Fructidor, An ix. (Sept. 5, 1801); Archives de la Marine, MSS.
saint's courage. If he and his blacks should succumb easily to their fate, the wave of French empire would roll on to Louisiana and sweep far up the Mississippi; if St. Domingo should resist, and succeed in resistance, the recoil would spend its force on Europe, while America would be left to pursue her democratic destiny in peace.
Bonaparte hurried his preparations. The month of October, 1801, saw vast activity in French and Spanish ports, for a Spanish squadron accompanied the French fleet. Not a chance was to be left for Toussaint's resistance or escape. To quiet English uneasiness, Bonaparte dictated to Talleyrand a despatch explaining to the British government the nature of the expedition.1 "In the course which I have taken of annihilating the black government at St. Domingo," he said, "I have been less guided by considerations of commerce and finance than by the necessity of stifling in every part of the world every kind of germ of disquiet and trouble; but it could not escape me that St. Domingo, even after being reconquered by the whites, would be for many years a weak point which would need the support of peace and of the mother country; . . . that one of the principal benefits of peace, at the actual moment, for England was its conclusion at a time when the French government had not yet recognized the organization of St. Domingo, and in consequence the power of the blacks; and if it had
1 Correspondance, vii. 319; Bonaparte to Talleyrand, 22 Brumaire, An x. (Nov. 13, 1801).
done so, the sceptre of the new world would sooner or later have fallen into the hands of the blacks."
No such explanations were given to the United States, perhaps because no American minister asked for them. Livingston landed at Lorient November 12, the day before Bonaparte wrote these words; Leclerc's expedition sailed from Brest November 22; and Livingston was presented to the First Consul in the diplomatic audience of December 6. Caring nothing for Toussaint and much for France, Livingston did not come prepared to find that his own interests were the same with those of Toussaint, but already by December 30 he wrote to Rufus King: "I know that the armament, destined in the first instance for Hispaniola, is to proceed to Louisiana provided Toussaint makes no opposition."
While the First Consul claimed credit with England for intending to annihilate the black government and restore slavery at St. Domingo, he proclaimed to Toussaint and the negroes intentions of a different kind. He wrote at last a letter to Toussaint, and drew up a proclamation to the inhabitants of the island, which Leclerc was to publish. "If you are told," said this famous proclamation,1 "that these forces are destined to ravish your liberty, answer: The Republic has given us liberty, the Republic will not suffer it to be taken from us!" The letter to Toussaint was even more curious, when considered
1 Correspondance, vii. 315; Proclamation, 17 Brumaire, An x. (Nov. 8, 1801).
as a supplement to that which had been written to the British government only five days before. "We have conceived esteem for you," wrote Bonaparte to the man he meant to destroy,1 " and we take pleasure in recognizing and proclaiming the great services you have rendered to the French people. If their flag floats over St. Domingo, it is to you and to the brave blacks that they owe it." Then, after mildly disapproving certain of Toussaint's acts, and hinting at the fatal consequences of disobedience, the letter continued: "Assist the Captain-General [Leclerc] with your counsels, your influence, and your talents. What can you desire?- the liberty of the blacks? You know that in all the countries where we have been, we have given it to the peoples who had it not.” In order to quiet all alarms of the negroes on the subject of their freedom, a pledge still more absolute was given in what Americans might call the Annual Message sent to the French Legislature a week afterward. "At St. Domingo and at Guadeloupe there are no more slaves. All is free there; all will there remain free." 2
A few days afterward Leclerc's expedition sailed; and the immense fleet, with an army of ten thousand men and all their equipments, arrived in sight of St. Domingo at the close of January, 1802. Toussaint
1 Correspondance, vii. 322; Bonaparte to Toussaint, 27 Brumaire, An x. (Nov. 18, 1801).
2 Ibid., 327; Exposé de la situation de la République, 1 Frimaire, An x. (Nov. 22, 1801).