The French Return from An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti

In this excerpt, Rainsford continues to exhalt the qualities of L’Ouverture while criticizing French behavior in the attempted reconquest of the island under Napoleon.


The prevalent sentiment seemed to be, that after the first attack, a compromise would be effected with Toussaint and the different chiefs, which would enable the French force to establish itself throughout the island, and complete the subjugation of the armed blacks.

This prison may be considered the sepulture of Toussaint. France forgot awhile the habits of a civilized nation, to entomb one she should have graced with a public triumph; and England, instead of making a common cause to annihilate a nation of heroes and depress the human intellect when rising to its level, should have guarded from violation the rights of humanity in its person. It has been the lot of him whose feeble hand attempts a tribute of gratitude, respect, and justice to his character, to regret the ill-requited life of the discoverer of the new world, and the unpropitious efforts of the enlightened and benignant D'Ogeron, to view the untimely death of many brave and exalted characters in the fluctuation of events in the different attempts to obtain possession of an island whose fate is as conspicuous as the most celebrated ancient state; but in no one instance does the mind linger with such keen sensations as on the unhappy fortune of the great, the good, the pious and benevolent Toussaint L'Ouverture.

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), 264–65.