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No. 88.] SEPTEMBER 10, 1831. [Vol. iv. No. 16.

Journal of a Traveller in that Island.)

I. — Recent Communications from Hayti, — Continued from
No. 79, p. 246.

November 27th.* " I departed this day from Port-au-Prince, on
iny journey to the North, at about four o'clock, with a gentle stirring
breeze and starry sky, and the moon just setting. The Portail of St.
Joseph not being opened at this hour, I was compelled to ascend the
marly heights near by, availing myself of a circuitous track, before I
could get beyond the barrier. The morning being Saturday, the weekly
market-day, a large concourse of the country people had assembled
ready for the opening of the gates. The horses and asses Vt^ere resting
beneath the loaded Macontes, and men, women, and children, were
seated dozing in groups to the amount of some hundred persons, by
the side of their wearied animals. We were obliged to pick our way,
through these knots of persons, and did not find the obstructions less
Avhen we got fairly on the road, the continued companies of marke-
ters, pressing on in cavalcades of twenties, thirties, and fifties, cover-
ing the whole space of the highway five deep, with horses and asses
burthened to treble their natural bulk, crossing and recrossing our
path, as they sought their road through the more beaten tracks after
the recent autumnal rains. I attempted to form some calculation of
the number of loaded animals I had passed, between the city gate
and the cross road of Drouillard, when I quitted to the West, the
principal thoroughfare of the plains — and found they must have
amounted to no less than three hundred.

" There was some cultivation to the right-hand and the left of the
road leading to the ford of the Grande Rivifere. It ceases here to
flow a wide shallow current through unembowered borders. The
stream was narrow and deep above and below the ford, entirely
sheltered with full foliaged forest-trees, making altogether a pretty
road scene. Some spacious well-built newly erected cottages were
on its northern bank, and some very respectable looking provision
plantations, with a few cane fields."

* The portion of the journal from this date to that of the 29th of November
inclusive, viz. the journal of the 27th, 28tli, and 29lh, of November 18.30, vras
accidentally omitted in its proper place. It ought to have come in, in No. 79,
at p. 238, between tlio journal of the 1.5th of November and .the 9tli of Decem-
hax 18.']0.

3 V.

4'2'2 Recent Communications frmn Haifti.

*' Wi- now ljep;aii to approvicli llie dark purple mouuluiiis t luil run
east and west, northward ol" tlic plain, hul turned westward, parallel
to theui at Cibert.

'■ Cibert is a place celebrated by the contest which after the death of
Dessalines, proved disastrous to Petion, in his struggle with Chris-
toplie for the presidency of the repui)lic. The Old Trench Colony
was after this event divided into two states under the governnient of
the liival Chieftains. It was throuj^h the neij^hbouring morass, ex-
tending;- to the foot of the mountains as they stretch out in headlands
to seaward, that Petion made his perilous escape in a fisherman's
boat, without a sinj::le adventurer to accompany liim. Gainini;' the
opposite shores of the bay, he there icathereil a little army of followers,
wh(j soon after triumphed, in the south, over his more powerful an-

"On risings from the marsh lands of the Cul-dc-Sac, to gain the road
at the foot of the first marly promontory, we arrive at the ' stinking
springs,' or ' sourcis puantes.' Their appearance immediately im-
])resses the mind with their extraordinai*)' qualities. Beneath the
rocks of the mountains issues, with a bubbling motion, water clear as
a spotless crystal, flowing over a bed of earth so brightly green, that
the most brilliant emeralds cannot exceed it in lustre. As the waters
flow on with a silent rapid current, amid small jagged rocks, con-
creted from its own deposit, breaking and diversifying its course, it
throws up, from the green slime of its channel, masses of yellow
earth. These accumulate on its surface, sink again into the depths
from which they rose, or stopping, then moving suddenly onward
adhere to the banks. A sepulchral odour scents the whole atmo-
sphere. There springs no vegetation on its banks, but in the midst
of the little islands which the meandering waters make, the sombre
red mangrove, a tree of elegant foliage, with crimson bark and olive
tinted leaves, grows here and there solitarily, like a tree of life planted
by the waters of death. Neither bird, nor beast, nor insect is seen
there; and no creature, but the solitary traveller speeding away from
the spot as if it bore a curse. The sound of the freshening sea is
heard, but not seen, murmuring with a constant roll. Behind, the
bright Idue mountains stretch far away, seeming a perilous journey
into unknown plains; and before, the rocky road winds into a wilder-

"A rocky promontory, a small bay with pellucid waters, a few
mangroves standing into the sea; palms and agaves ; torch thistles,
opuntias, lobed cartuses and acacias, with the distant mountains, and
the ocean; a picture just beyond the 'sources puantes,' form the
last pleasingly extensive prospect, between the Cul-de-Sac and Arca-
haye. A hill by the road-side near it, just within the barren district,
bears vestiges of the encaiupment of Christophe's rear guard when he
retreated before Port-au-Prince, in March, 1812. After a hot and
dreary ride, large many-coloured troops of goats, lying out in the
road and browziu'j; in the wilds, where they thrive on the aromatic
plants, brought us to some poor looking dwellings, where a good
stream of water was sufficient to nourish patches of provisions and

Traveller's Journal. 423

grass for a few cattle. Here beneath a rock of marl, barren and
parched, a fine spring called Source Malta, pours out another tran-
sparent dood. The grove of tall trees, which shadow this rivulet, was
the resort of the animals of the neighbourhood.

"Other travellers who had been making their repast by these shades
descended like myself to refresh themselves and horses at this fountain
in the desert. Here we found the birds chanting their wild songs,
and insects and reptile life rejoicing, amid flower and foliage, that they
had found a green island in the wilderness. The freshness and fra-
grancy of this spot was a striking contrast to the scene we had so
lately left by the waters of the ' stinking springs.'

"To Boucassin is a sultry journey, not long but tedious, occasionally
with more depth of soil, but for the want of streams to irrigate it,
producing the same desert vegetation."

" Boucassin was formerly a small nucleus of houses and lime kilns.
The canals of irrigation crossing the road here gave it a little cultiva-
tion, but the soil is stony and sterile. There are yet some large
bananeries, and some few cottages, but finding that I could not obtain
grass for my horses, I was obliged to proceed on and rest, through the
sultry noon, within the confines of what is properly called the plain
of Arcahaye.

"The principal portion of this once fertile plain lies desolate. The
amphitheatre of dark verdureless hills that bound it, bearing on their
brows the evidence of irreclaimable sterility, would scarcely lead to
the supposition that it had been once the most abundantly produc-
tive district of the Colony. The sombre yellow and purple crags, the
wild and dismal precipices that rise with a commanding elevation,
served then however to heighten, by contrast, the green beauty of
fields which patient labour and artificial canals had rendered fertile
and fresh. The earth is a deep alluvial soil, very light, a mixture of
marl and vegetable mould. It is traversed by large ravines which
we twice crossed in the journey. The frequent small bridges that
covered the water courses were broken, and no longer receive the col-
lected streams of the uplands. During the divisions of the monarchy
of the North and the Republic of the South, all the lands that lay
by the borders of the sea, between Montroni and Boucassin, were a
sort of neutral ground, abandoned to waste and destruction. The
President has however established, since the union, three sugar pro-
perties between Boucassin and Arcahaye, called Manegre, Guariche,
and Torcelle. Menagre and Guariche, are passed on either hand, the
former having a good set of works, and both are well fenced in with
campeche hedges, in the best verdure and condition. The stream.s
here pour abundant floods through the fields, and keep the roads
moist in the driest season. These cultivated spots, amid the hungry
wilds around them, were like Milton's light, serving to make dark-
ness visible. Were it not for them, such is the abandoned condition
of fields said to have produced heretofore 20,0001bs. weight of sugar
to the carreau, that scarcely a demarcation would exist at this day be-
tween fertility and baiTenness.

" L'Arcahaye is a little town on the sea, pleasantly commanding a

404 Recent Com ntuuicutiuns from Hay ti.

view ol till- i^iilf betwon Leogane and its own shores, and rendered
ii-^reeable by the passing; and repassinj; of the ships to the port of the
titv. In tlie time of the Colony it contained seventy honses covered
witli shinijles; some spacious, and i2:alleried all round. The hi^h roiid
to St. Mark's lav throuijh it. Its great resource was its embarcadiere
for the produce of the plains ; the nuirchandes or shopkeepers, find-
ing here also an advantageous market for tht-ir commodities among its
large popidation of cultivators, and the numerous fishermen, who re-
sorted to it as a convenient locality for Port-au-Prince. At present it
contains none of its ancient buildnigs except its church, a large edifice,
situated in the centre of the town. The broad slanting buttresses
which support its walls, give it the appearance of an immense tent,
the temporary encampment of some shiek of the desert, with his
hord of bedouin retainers arranged about him ; for the enclosure of
ill looking huts which forms the square, is the most miserable speci-
men of a town I have yet witnessed. A few of the trees which bordered
the place d'arjnes yet remain, and the ruins of the old foundations
break through the earth, and enable the eye to trace the lines of its
former streets. There are now some half a dozen well built houses
erected in it. There is no Commune, the principal body of its popu-
lation being the provision gardeners, who take advantage of the sea,
on whose confines their lands are situated, to convey in small sailing
boats their produce to the weekly market of Port-au-Prince. It is
estimated a distance of about twenty-six miles of water. It was here
that some of the earliest meetings of the planters were held when they
determined to invite the occupation of St. Domingo by the British
troops ; — an occurrence that brought nothing but misfortune, dis-
grace and disappointment, undertaken as it was, to bring back the
Colony to the domination of the slave master, after years of successful
revolt had shaken his authority to the dust.'*

" On my arrival in Arcahaye, I had waited at the Commandant's for
the purpose of having my passport examined, but learning from a
female reclining at length on her mat beneath the shadow of a tree
before his cottage, that he was not then in town, and not expected
before sunset, and determining, if possible, to proceed on my journey
at a seasonable hour the following day, I was willing to profit by the
day light, and rambled about examining every where, and enquiring
into every thing. I had set myself down to sketch a view of the
«'hurch, with the broad crimson glare of the setting sun flicker-
ing on the surface of the sea, and had nearly finished the drawing,
when a dragoon soldier came to me, and with a great air of deference
and respect requested I would accompany him to the commandant,
who seeing me a stranger in the town, with a book, taking notes, was
anxious to learn whence I came and what I was doing. The pro-
duction of my passport, and the assurance I had observed that was
required from me in waiting on him at the " place" immediately on
my arrival, scarcely sufficed to relax his brow of austere authority,

* See Malenfant's remarks on thi-s event, and on one of its principal promoters,
Lapoinlc, a n;i(ivc of L'Arcahayc.

Traveller's Journal. 425

inasmuch as I did not wait /or him; but the production of the presi-
dent's letter, and the secretary general's introduction to every officer
of d:::^'^-nction in my route, drew from him a shower of apologies for
his suspicion. Our mutual explanations, in all which I had no reason
to complain of any departure from the most deferential behaviour on
his side, ended in offers of service, and the sentimental declaration
(when he understood the object of my mission) that though Hayti
did not dread her enemies, she indeed, needed the helping hand of
her friends. I certainly thought Arcahaye a pretty fair evidence of
the extent to which she would have to tax their indulgence.

" November 28th. It was the Sunday market, and the village mar-
chandes had their stalls of cloths set out with cottons of the prevail-
ing patterns. A large body of well dressed country people were one
v/hile devotees at the church, and at another, sellers and purchasers
in the market place.

" The president has a fine estate, called Poids le General, near the
town, on which are located some of the Americans, brought to the
Republic and left in his care by the philanthropist Miss Frances
Wright, the rest being upon the neighbouring properties I have al-
ready mentioned. Here also are about eight families of other Ameri-
can settlers,* who have just taken up a lease of lands for about seven
years. These I visited this morning; they have now about twenty-five
acres in tillage, and as many more cleared for pasturing their cows and
asses. They are a fine race of sturdy, plain, intelligent men. Their
lands are in excellent order ; for the want of campeache only tem-
porally fenced in, but well stocked with provisions, canes and corn.
They related to me the history of their disasters since their arrival in
Hayti. Destitute of experience as agriculturists, they had expended
their little capital in fruitless endeavours to establish themselves on
the locations given them by the government. Being irritated by dis-
appointment, they imprudently abandoned their settlements and pro-
ceeded to the capital ; but finding few opportunities there, this rash-
ness aggravated their distresses to absolute destitution. In this state,
theseeightfamilies becomingaccidental acquaintances, they determined
on trying a scheme of united industry, within reach of the market of
the city, willing to be contented with moderate expectations from
patient industry. With a fund among them all of not more than ten
dollars Haytiau currency, about twenty shillings sterling, they pur-
chased tools, cleared a stretch of the forest on the borders of the cane
fields of Poids le General, and diligently pursuing the system of industry
which experience warranted them in considering the best, they have
found themselves in the enjoyment of comparative comfort and com-
parative wealth. They have cows, pigs, and poultry, adequate for their
sustenance, and their surplus produce conveyed to Port-au-Prince,
by water, and sold there, yields them the easy means of supplying
their extraordinary household wants. They had not yet reaped their
canes ; but the president's mill grinds them on a payment of one

* The niunes of three are Stokeley, Walkins, and Alexander.

4"2t) Jiccint Coynmunications from Hayli.

ijuurltT of the fabricated syrup, the other three-quarters beiuor added
to tlieir ijeneral stock. They spoke contentedly of their fortunes, but
regretted the absence of relig:ious instruction, and of schools for their
chiiilren, as serious privations to men, whose prudent and rejecting
habits had taught them to look at these thing;s as the most impor-
tant considerations of life. They however said they felt no occasion,
under all the suHerinij^s they had endured since they quitted America,
to rejiTet that they had left a country whose jxilicy towards them
had rendered their ilays a source of continued bitterness — an existence
in which the past broujjht no pleasiui^ recollections, and in which the
future was chi-ered by no redeemiui; or consolatory hope.

" Poids le general was but a moderate walk from the town of L'Ar-
cahaye. I was returning on foot from thence when I was overtaken on
the road by Colonel Fremont, wh, this di>tri('t was a part of the province of Cahaya,

Traveller s Journal. A2'i

a dependency of the yirincipality of Xaragua. Its agricultural capa-
bilities drew the attention of the French colonists to irrigating it, at a
time when the four rivers, des Matheux, de I'Arcahaye, des Bretelles,
and du Boucassin, had poured their streams during many years of
European domination from the ravines of its arid mountains, through
fields scarcely less parched and unproductive. By a judicious distri-
bution of these four rivers, the coerced labour of a numerous population
converted the dry waste into a magnificent garden. The plain situ-
ated in an amphitheatre, by the sea side, has five leagues from east to
west. The cantons of Les Vases, and le Boucassin, being its two ex-
tremities, and L'Arcahaye and les Bretelles its centre. Its soil was
light, a marly friable earth, the alluvial deposit of the neighbouring
mountains. It formerly contained 48 sugar estates of from forty
to twenty carreaux in extent. Indigo and cotton were also cultivated
where the earth was less reclaimable. By one species of laborious
tillage or the other, the whole plain was covered with productive vege-
tation. If what Moreau de St. Merey says be true, that they re-
planted after the second rejettons, the toil must have been excessive
to those whose destiny it was to till the fields. When I passed
through this district which, I have remarked already, comprised the
frontier of the two divisions of the north and south, when Christophe
and Petion were opposing chieftains, the agriculture was in that
abandoned condition inseparable from a long series of hostile con-
flicts, during which the population had fled. The insecurity in which
they must necessarily have lived, the uncertainty of ever reaping the
produce of their tillage, rendered it a useless hardihood to remain, or
folly to indulge a resolution to out-brave danger and disquiet, when
only success must have tempted the predatory incursions of an
enemy.* In contemplating the desolateness which now so generally
reigns, though it is melancholy to perceive how much a civil war has
with a destroying arm, wrought all this devastation, there are other
causes which inust be taken into account. Before these plains gave
their extraordinary harvest of productive industry, they yielded very
little of indigenous vegetation. They were covered with plants rather
ligneous, than arborescent. The riant foliage of those gardens which
succeeded them, was fed by never-failing springs. As soon as they
were deserted, the canals became choked up with the herbage the
waters attracted. The fruit tree, as well as the herb, perished for the
want of that care and salutary moisture, by which they might be said,
to have been created in such a soil. The earth, once more laid bare
to the action of a burning sun, on a coast where the breezes of the
sea are faint, tardy, and inconstant, beneath mountains whose dry
rocks are only at long intervals of days and months, sheltered by a
cloud, has become in some circumstances hard, in others pulverulent,
but in all desert and dry. The periodical rains, that now alone
moisten it, rapidly evaporate. Cultivation is now limited by the

* The last calamity that L' Arcahaye sustained, when it was left a complete
Iieap of ruins, wns by the retreating army of Christophe in 1812.

428 Recent Communicutions J'min Hai/ti.

sc-untiness of the inhabitiuits, and though the tranquillity ol'the coun-
try has in some instiuices induced the former proprietors to return,
and even has led adventurers among them, the poverty of the people
tnabled them to do little more than raise provisions for their own sub-
sistence, and for the city market. We have seen tliat agriculture
here depends wholly on irrigation, that the long droughts which in
this district more than any other succeed the abundance of the peri-
odical rains, renders arlihcial means absolutely essential to make the
fields productive. To restore the ancient works is a labour of vast
expense, and whatever prudence might suggest, or a wise economy
inculcate, the sight of the ruins of what the unrecjuited toil of slavery
raised, freedom which looks to an adecpiate return for its laboin-, and
without which it cannot be stimulated into action, must, as long as it
is associated with poverty, continue to gaze at the vestiges of former
laboriousness, and lament at the destruction which each day of neg-
lect increases without attempting to remedy it.

" The sun almost immediately rose after the lingering lustre of the
setting moon had faded away. The hills that I had ascended from
Les Vases, formed the high road leading to the torrent stream of
Montroni, a construction of the year 1751. It rises and sinks inces-
santly, traversing thickets of the bromelia, the aloe, the acacia, the
opuntia, the cactus, and the cercus, interspersed with the yellow
leaves of the gomier, and the dark verdure of the guiacum. The
mountains, which are a frightful scarp of precipices, covered with dry
grass and ragged arborescent vegetation, were just lighted on their
tips by the yt^How radiance of the morning sun. They range from
east to west, a little northward, so that their mighty masses were long
enveloped in shadow. The air being remarkably dry and clear, they
stood forth a huge dark embattlement, so near and distinctly shadowy
to the eye, that it seemed as if a stone cast at them might have

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