Puslapio vaizdai
[graphic][merged small]

of St. Joux, France, before the independence; Dessalines was assassinated; Christophe committed suicide; Pétion died in office; Boyer and his immediate successor, Rivière, were overthrown by violence and died in exile; Guerrier, like Pétion, died in office; Pierrot, retired from sheer incapacity before an approaching storm, and was permitted quietly to end his days at home in comparative obscurity; Riché, like Pétion and Guerrier, was still in office when he died, by some supposed to have been foully dealt with; Soulouque, overthrown by revolution, practically spent his after life in exile, though he was allowed to return to his native town just before he died; Geffrard was driven by violence into exile, where he ended his days; Salnave, likewise driven from power by revolution, was captured and shot by order of his successor; Saget alone retired at the end of his term and died in his country; Domingue went out under violence and died in exile; Canal retired voluntarily before a revolution and is now in exile; Salomon, after nearly ten years of office, broken down by overwork, disease, and old age, went out in revolution and died in exile; Légitime, driven from power by revolution, is still in exile, and Hyppolite is now in power.

It is of interest to those having relations with Haiti at present to state that, in spite of the criticisms passed upon President Hyppolite, he is, nevertheless, a man of experience in the public affairs of his country, and has shown capacity and dignity in office. His constitutional term will expire May 15, 1897.

Chapter III.


According to the returns drawn up by the Legislative Assembly of France, which met in October, 1791, there were at that time in Haiti about 30,000 whites, 455,000 slaves, and mulattoes about equal in number to the whites, though no census of them seems ever to have been taken. Inasmuch as the master class was obliged to pay a tax on each slave, it is believed that there was a tendency to evasion in giving full returns in some cases, especially where slaves were unfit for service, so that the popularly accepted census puts the negro population down at a round half million at that time. It must be remembered, too, that at that period the annual importations of African slaves amounted to about 30,000, the exact number returned for the year 1787 being 30,839.

It is not thought that any full and accurate census has been taken since 1791, or at any rate since the colonial days. Gen. Geffrard, who was President from 1859 to 1866, caused an enumeration of the population to be undertaken, but it only went far enough to establish the fact that the footing up would show considerably less than a million. This was about thirty years ago. Lately, however, the Roman Catholic clergy, who are scattered about here and there in all the communes of the Republic, and who are nearly all educated Europeans, have taken an approximate census of population for their own purposes, under the direction of their resident central head, the Archbishop of Port au Prince. They had ample opportunity for their work. Their figures show


the present population of Haiti to be somewhat more than a million. This indicates a substantial increase within the past thirty years.

It does not appear that distinctions of age or sex were observed in this approximate census, but the universal impression in Haiti is that the female sex greatly predominates. Some estimate the proportion as high as two to one, and even higher than that, and although the estimate may be correct, still it appears to be very much a matter of observation and conjecture. In colonial times, the males outnumbered the females. In the same way, it is estimated that less than one-tenth of the population consists of white foreigners, mulattoes, quadroons, and octoroons, the remaining nine-tenths being what would, in the United States, be called persons of unmixed African blood, though they have names out there to designate and define the various degrees of admixture from the mulatto toward the pure black, and whenever the matter is brought up to a Haitian in his own country, he seems to prefer to have the correct designation applied to him and his. Thus, the child of a mulatto and a black is a griffe (feminine griffonna), the child of a griffe or griffonna and a black, is a marabou, or marabout and so on. (See Ouvrage de Moreau de St.-Méry sur l'Ile de St. Domingue, Vol. I; page 83, et seq.)

Two notable attempts have been made to increase the population by inviting immigration from abroad, of persons of African or Indian origin, more especially of colored people from the United States. The first attempt was made under the Presidency of Gen. Boyer in 1824, when the whole island was under one government. Thousands of these people availed themselves of Boyer's invitation and settled in different parts of the country. Only a few of them, however, became prosperous, but some of them and quite a number of their descendants are still living there, and it is a fact worthy of mention that these have preserved the love of the American Union and their knowledge of the English language.

The other attempt to secure immigration was made in 1860 under the government of President Geffrard, which offered quite liberal terms to colored settlers from the United States. Their passages were to be paid, land was to be placed at their disposal; they were to be housed and cared for during a reasonable period, and were to be exempt from military service by the Government; and to further still more the end in view, an imposing and fully equipped emigration bureau was opened at Boston under the direction of Mr. James Redpath. Enticing circulars were issued by Government authorities at Port au Prince, but all the essential results which characterized the similar movement of 36 years before followed this second attempt to induce immigration from the United States. It is therefore not at all likely that any further direct measures will be put forward by the Government of Haiti to induce wholesale immigration.

During the past few years, a strong current of colored people has been flowing into that country from the neighboring islands, especially from those where the English language prevails, and it is altogether probable that when good government shall bring about an established order of things, the lines of internal transportation are put in better condition, and new industries, for which there is ample room and which are sure sooner or later to come, shall be opened up, considerations of intelligent self-interest will induce immigration, which all direct Government persuasion and influence in the past have failed to secure.

Intermarriage among all colors and races in Haiti is common and excites neither special attention nor comment. It is claimed that there is no racial hostility to respectable foreigners of any class or color, but that, on the contrary, the popular disposition toward them is one of respect. There are, however, or were until very recently, some features in the constitution and the laws not favorable to the foreigner; but these grew very naturally out of the condition of things prevailing at the time when Haiti achieved

« AnkstesnisTęsti »