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Crête à Pierrot. In the contest that followed Toussaint at first outgeneralled Rochambeau and defeated him with severe loss. But the assistance he looked for from his subordinates failed to reach him, and at length he was forced to retreat.
The French, however, despite their superior numbers and the military experience of their leaders, found that they had no mean antagonist in the negro general, and Leclerc again resorted to negotiation, offering the blacks their freedom if they would submit. Toussaint, seeing that he was unable to hold his own against his powerful foe, and convinced that the terms offered would be advantageous to his country, now decided to accept them, saying, “I accept everything which is favorable for the people and for the army; as for myself, I wish to live in retirement.”
The negro liberator trusted his enemies too much. The pride of Napoleon had not yet digested the affront of Toussaint's message, “From the First of the Blacks to the First of the Whites,'' and he sent crders to Leclerc to arrest and send him to France. In June, 1802, a force was sent secretly at night to Toussaint's home, where he was dwelling in peace and quiet. The house was surrounded, two blacks that sought to defend him were killed on the spot, and he was dragged from his bed and taken to the coast. Here he was placed on board a man-of-war, which at once set sail for France.
Napoleon's treatment of Toussaint was one of the dark deeds in his career. Reaching France, the captive was separated from his wife and children and confined in the dungeon of a dreary frontier castle. Here, one morning in April, 1803, Toussaint L'Ouverture, the negro liberator, was found dead. He had been starved to death, if we may accept the belief of some authors.
The Haytien patriot died in poverty, though he might easily have accumulated vast wealth. In his official position he had maintained a degree of magnificence, and Napoleon believed that he had concealed great riches somewhere in the island. He sent spies to question him, but Toussaint's only reply was, “No, the treasures you seek are not those I have lost.” The lost ones were his wife, his children, and his liberty.
Treachery is often an error, and Napoleon was soon to find that he had made a fatal mistake in his treatment of the leader of the blacks. Alarmed at his seizure, and having no one to control them, the negroes flew to arms, and soon the revolt spread over the whole island. Yellow fever came to the aid of the blacks, raging in Leclerc's army until thousands of soldiers and fifteen hundred officers found graves in the land they had invaded. In the end Leclerc himself died, and Pauline was taken back to France. When Napoleon heard the story of the fate of his expedition, he exclaimed in dismay,
“Here, then, is all that remains of my fine army; the body of a brother-in-law, of a general, my right arm, a handful of dust! All has perished,
all will perish! Fatal conquest ! Cursed land ! Perfidious colonists ! A wretched slave in revolt. These are the causes of so many evils."
He might more truly have said, “My own perfidy is the cause of all those evils.”
A few words must conclude this tale. General Rochambeau was sent large reinforcements, and with an army of twenty thousand men attempted the reconquest of the island. After a campaign of ferocity on both sides, he found himself blockaded at Cape Haytien, and was saved from surrender to the revengeful blacks only by the British, to whom he yielded the eight thousand men he had left. As he sailed from the island he saw the mountaintops blazing with the beacon-fires of joy kindled by the blacks. From that day to this the island of Hayti has remained in the hands of the negro race.
BOLIVAR THE LIBERATOR, AND
THE CONQUEST OF NEW GRANADA.
One dark night in the year 1813 a negro murderer crept stealthily into a house in Jamaica, where slept a man in a swinging hammock. Stealing silently to the side of the sleeper, the assassin plunged his knife into his breast, then turned and fied. Fortunately for American independence he had slain the wrong man. The one whom he had been hired to kill was Simon Bolivar, the great leader of the patriots of Spanish America. But on that night Bolivar's secretary occupied his hammock, and the “Liberator”' escaped.
Bolivar was then a refugee in the English island, after the failure of his early attempt to win freedom for his native land of Venezuela. He was soon back there again, however, with recruited forces, and for years afterwards the war went on, with variations of failure and success, the Spanish general Morillo treating the people who fell into his hands with revolting cruelty.
It was not until 1819 that Bolivar perceived the true road to success. This was by leaving Venezuela, from which he had sought in vain to dislodge the Spaniards, and carrying the war into the more promising field of New Granada. So confident of
victory did he feel in this new plan that he issued the following proclamation to the people of New Granada : “The day of America has come ; no human power can stay the course of Nature guided by Providence. Before the sun has again run his annual course altars to Liberty will arise throughout your land.”
Bolivar had recently been strengthened by a British legion, recruited in London among the disbanded soldiers of the Napoleonic wars. He had also sent General Santander to the frontier of New Granada, and General Barreiro, the Spanish general, had been driven back. Encouraged by this success, he joined Santander at the foot of the Andes in June, 1819, bringing with him a force of twentyfive hundred men, including his British auxiliaries.
Bolivar in this expedition had as bitter a foe to conquer in nature as in the human enemy. In order to join Santander he was obliged to cross an enormous plain which at that season of the year was covered with water, and to swim some deep rivers, his war materials needing to be transported over these streams. But this was child's play compared with what lay before him. To reach his goal the Andes had to be crossed at some of their most forbidding points, a region over which it seemed next to impossible for men to go, even without military supplies.
When the invading army left the plains for the mountains the soldiers quickly found themselves amid discouraging scenes. In the distance rose the