Ogé’s Rebellion in An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti

Rainsford’s sympathy for the revolt in Haiti did not seem to extend to the influence of ideas imported from revolutionary France, which appear to have been at the heart of Ogé’s rebellion.


But, no sooner was one cause of commotion removed, than another supplied its place, of a more hostile complexion and with less occasion—the rebellion of Ogé, a mulatto; whose mother had a coffee plantation about thirty miles from Cape François. During his residence at Paris, for the purpose of education, he had imbibed, in addition to the natural feelings of his class, all the prejudices entertained at this period against the white planters in the mother country. Having become connected with the society of Amis des Noirs, and inflated with an idea of his own capacity, he was easily persuaded by Robespierre, and other violent members, to attach himself to a conspiracy, supposed to be already ripe in St. Domingo, and requiring only the talents of an active leader to produce the effects desired, in behalf of the people of color. Armed by their means, and charged with all the inveteracy of the party, Ogé arrived in St. Domingo about two months after the Assembly bad left it, and immediately prepared to assume an imaginary command, for which he had no foundation. He found means to convey a quantity of arms and ammunition to a place called Grand Rivière, about fifteen miles from the Cape, where his brother had been prepared to receive it, and, having collected about two hundred followers, exerted himself every where in spreading disaffection; he wrote imperiously to M. Peynier, stating the inattention which had been paid to the execution of the Code Noir [the laws for the protection of the Blacks, instituted by Louis XIV], demanding its enforcement, and also an extension of the privileges enjoyed by the whites to all persons without distinction. He took upon himself the character of Protector of the Mulattoes, and declared his intention, if necessary, of arming in their behalf. He established his camp where he had deposited his stores, and appointed his two brothers, and another mulatto, of a ferocious character, named Mark Chavane, his lieutenants. These men commenced their unruly operations by the murder of two white men, whom they met accidentally, and by punishing with extreme cruelty those of their own complexion not disposed to revolt; one who excused himself on account of a wife and six children, they murdered, with the whole of his family. Fortunately their reign was not long, for a body of regular troops, and the Cape Militia, were dispatched to invest their camp, when, with a weak resistance, they were totally routed; many were killed, sixty were taken prisoners, and the chiefs escaped into the Spanish part of the island.

Source: Marcus Rainsford, An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti: Comprehending a View of the Principal Transactions in the Revolution of Saint-Domingo; with its Ancient and Modern State (London, 1805), 121–22.