This Gilded African to page 111

It is beginning to emerge that there were two factions fighting for independence in St. Domingue – Toussaint in the north and Rigaud in the south. While Toussaint instilled discipline in his troops and demanded equality and fair treatment, the efforts of Rigaud and the mulattos were marked by distrust and petty jealousies. (Parkinson p. 99) In the mulatto-dominated south, “Whites and blacks were equally badly treated, jailed for no reason and held without trial for the slightest offense. The mulattoes were so confident of their authority that they were openly corrupt and too arrogant to care who knew it.” (p. 103) Toussaint had no choice but to tolerate Rigaud’s excesses as his army was responsible for holding off the British in the south. For their part, the mulattos resented the influence that Toussaint held over Laveaux, and, as they needed Toussaint and his army, they plotted amongst themselves to remove Laveaux and install a mulatto governor. (pp. 99-101)

The mulattos were sorely disappointed, however. With Toussaint’s backing, a force of local cultivators was raised and Laveaux was released; then, in a ceremony in Le Cap on the first of April, 1796, with 10,000 troops standing at attention, Laveaux declared Toussaint Lieutenant Governor.

At Laveaux’ request, France sent another set of Commissioners. Sonthonax, having been found innocent of charges of treason returned, as did Roume, who was given charge of the Spanish sector. The mulatto Raimond completed the set. “The Commissioners landed bearing with them [as gifts to Toussaint] an ornamental sword and a brace of pistols of superb workmanship. They also carried an invitation for him to send his two sons to France where they could receive the finest education and would be the responsibility of the Republic.” (p. 103)

Sonthonax deported Villatte and launched an ill-fated attempt to investigate Laveaux’ arrest. Sonthonax’ clumsiness and Laveaux’ ill-health and yearning to return to France prompted Toussaint to nudge these two Frenchmen out of the colony. When France asked for “representatives to the new French Chamber of Deputies and to the Senate, Toussaint “volunteered” Sonthonax and Laveux. Laveaux did in fact leave, but Sonthonax refused the appointment and stayed put. (pp. 105-106)

“In the spring of 1797 [Toussaint] made a sudden attack upon several British outposts, taking them with ease and capturing valuable cannon, arms and prisoners. A grateful Sonthonax appointed him Commander in Chief in a ceremony in the Place d’Armes.” (p. 107)

Sonthonax had come to despise the whites, feelings which were equally returned in light of his efforts to emancipate and arm the slaves. He tried several times to enlist Toussaint’s help in massacring or banishing the whites and establishing an independent state. Firmly rebuked, Sonthonax pleaded with Toussaint to forget the matter, but the general knew that Sonthonax was out of control and had to be removed. (pp. 106-107)

Toussaint “wrote a long report to the Directory of all Sonthonax’ unbalanced plans.” The Directory was also hearing from planters who wanted the Commissioner recalled. Sonthonax, though, became even more determined to see his dream of an independent black state to fruition, and began to sow dissent among Toussaint’s army. After putting down a mutiny, Toussaint could no longer tolerate the Commissioner’s presence. Diplomatically, firmly, and with the force of threat behind him, he accompanied a blustering Sonthonax to the frigate L’Indien. After due consideration, Toussaint also sent his two children, Placide and Isaac, to France to be educated, finally taking up the offer that the Commissioners had brought with them the previous year. (pp. 108-111)