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General Rochambeau, previously to sending these proposals to our officers, had entered into terms of capitulation with the black General Dessalines, to whom he was to deliver up the Cape, with all the forts, ordnance stores, and ammunition.
Dessalines, at the head of his troops, having made an attack upon the town, had brought the French to these terms, and compelled them to retire to their ships; but their escape from the English cruisers was still to be accomplished. The French General had the permission of the blacks to retire, but the English prevented him. It is but just to acknowledge, that he was most unfortunately situated; contending, at the same time, against two distinct enemies; the one, cruel and merciless; the other, daring and vigilant: both seeking his destruction or capture, but with very different views. It would therefore be unfair to impute to the General disgraceful motives for his conduct: he had contended as long as he could, under every privation, and surrendered at last only to save the lives of his few brave followers. His double negotiation was probably intended to ensure his escape to France; this he hoped to effect in the bad weather, which had for some time kept our ships at a distance.
The colours of the blacks were in the mean time displayed on the forts; and Commodore Loring sent Captain Bligh, of the Theseus, to know the sentiments of General Dessalines respecting General Rochambeau and his troops. On his entering the harbour, he met Commodore Barr6, a French naval officer, who pressed him in very strong terms, to go on board the Surveiliante, and enter into some capitulation which would put them under British Protection, and prevent the blacks from sinking them with red hot shot, as they had threatened, and were preparing to do. Captain Bligh complying with the request, a few articles were hastily drawn up, which he signed, under an agreement that they should bear his own interpretation on their arrival at Jamaica. After this he hastened to acquaint General Dessalines, that all the ships in the harbour had surrendered to his Majesty's arms, and with great difficulty he obtained the promise of the General, not to fire on them while they lay in the harbour.
Captain Loring applied to General Dessalines for pilots, to conduct the British ships into the harbour to take possession of the French. To this Dessalines replied, "That he could not send him pilots, but that he would oblige the French to quit the port; and then," he added, "you may do with them as you please."
They came out under French colours; our ships fired a shot over them, to which they returned a harmless broadside and surrendered.
The names of the ships taken were the
with various other vessels, some loaded with colonial produce, and some in ballast.
The conduct of General Rochambeau was considered so highly reprehensible during his command, that the British naval officers would not associate with him. Sir John Duckworth, in his public despatch, accuses him of participating in the cruelties which had been practised upon the blacks: and it cannot be denied, that the French, after the explosion of civil discord, were never very scrupulous as to the means they employed to suppress rebellion.
Cape Nicholas Mole still held out, under the command of General Noailles; but in the month of December, being anxious to secure himself from the incursions of the negroes, he evacuated the place without notice.
Of General Noailles, Count Dumas relates a most unintelligible story, respecting his boarding and taking a British sloop of war: date, name of ship and captain, with every necessary particular, are" very wisely suppressed. As the story is not worth refuting, it may suffice to say, that the affair never happened. See Precis Militaires, torn, viii. p. 338.
Thus the adventures of the French army in Hispaniola and their final expulsion ended, with the exception of a few troops in the city of St. Domingo and St. Jago; and the ruin of that beautiful colony, with the murder of nearly half a million of people, may be justly attributed to the folly of the National Convention, and the cruelty of Napoleon Bonaparte. M. Dupin (vol. i. p. 149.) says, that, in two years, out of sixty thousand troops, fifty-seven thousand five hundred died of fever. What number fell by the sword he does not inform us; but even this statement may serve to shew what losses France sustained by the enterprise.
The lamentable condition of St. Domingo calls for a few observations. In advocating the abolition of the slave trade, we follow the dictates of religion, of reason, and sound policy; but we go no farther. We join in no condemnation of the West India planters, whose humanity to their slaves we have often witnessed. The planters have long been the victims of a mistaken policy and false philanthropy: their property, hitherto a source of wealth to themselves and their country, and a nursery for seamen, is now a millstone about their necks. Negro emancipation can only be safely conceded by their gradual acquisition of wealth; and by this means the free negroes, the best and most loyal, because the most industrious, are daily increasing in number without danger to the state. Any other mode can only produce those evils which we have seen and described in St. Domingo; and will inevitably end in the destruction of the planters, and replunging the unhappy blacks into the lowest abyss of human degradation.
Overtures of Bonaparte to the northern powers—Bombardment of the enemy's port of Granville—Flotilla intercepted —Projects of invasion—Proclamation of Admiral Bruix— Rebellion in Ireland—Naval force and power of Great Britain—Disposition of the squadrons—Captain Winthorp destroys a French frigate—Loss of the Shannon on the coast of France—Of the Apollo and her convoy on the coast of Portugal—Capture and recapture of Goree—Mr. Pitt's motion in the house of commons on naval defence—Captain Wolfe destroys two French corvettes—Capture of La Blonde— Conspiracy of Moreau and Pichegru—Death of the Duke D'Enghien—Capture of the Vincejo, and murder of Captain Wright—Intrigues of Napoleon, which led to the seizure of Spanish treasures—Bombardment of French ports—Capture of three Spanish frigates—Destruction of the Mercedes —Death of the family of Alvear—War with Spain—Account of treasure—Captain Henuiker attacks flotilla—Loss of the Venerable.
Bonaparte, when his plans for renewing the war had been detected, sent off General Duroc to Berlin, and Colonel Colbert to St. Petersburgh. Not satisfied with the neutrality of these powers, he wished to engage them in active war against Great Britain; but the emperor and king were awake to their true interests. Alexander had seen the fate of his father, and Frederic had penetration enough to know that the subjugation of England, by aggrandizing the power of France, would « overturn the liberties of Europe. Both the am