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Title: Secret History - or, the Horrors of St. Domingo
Author: Sansay, Leonora
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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I am fearful of having been led into an error by my friends, when
taught by them to believe that I could write something which would
interest and please; and it was chiefly with a view to ascertain what
confidence I might place in their kind assurances on this subject, that
I collected and consented, though reluctantly, to the publication of
these letters.

Should a less partial public give them a favourable reception, and
allow them to possess some merit, it would encourage me to endeavour to
obtain their further approbation by a little work already planned and
in some forwardness.


_Philadelphia, Nov. 30th, 1807._


_Cape Francois._

We arrived safely here, my dear friend, after a passage of forty
days, during which I suffered horribly from sea-sickness, heat and
confinement; but the society of my fellow-passengers was so agreeable
that I often forgot the inconvenience to which I was exposed. It
consisted of five or six French families who, having left St. Domingo
at the beginning of the revolution, were now returning full of joy
at the idea of again possessing the estates from which they had been
driven by their revolted slaves. Buoyed by their newly awakened hopes
they were all delightful anticipation. There is an elasticity in the
French character which repels misfortune. They have an inexhaustible
flow of spirits that bears them lightly through the ills of life.

Towards the end of the voyage, when I was well enough to go on deck,
I was delighted with the profound tranquillity of the ocean, the
uninterrupted view, the beautiful horizon, and wished, since fate has
separated me from those I love, that I could build a dwelling on the
bosom of the waters, where, sheltered from the storms that agitate
mankind, I should be exposed to those of heaven only. But a truce to
melancholy reflections, for here I am in St. Domingo, with a new world
opening to my view.

My sister, whose fortunes, you know, I was obliged to follow, repents
every day having so precipitately chosen a husband: it is impossible
for two creatures to be more different, and I foresee that she will be

On landing, we found the town a heap of ruins. A more terrible picture
of desolation cannot be imagined. Passing through streets choaked with
rubbish, we reached with difficulty a house which had escaped the
general fate. The people live in tents, or make a kind of shelter, by
laying a few boards across the half-consumed beams; for the buildings
being here of hewn stone, with walls three feet thick, only the roofs
and floors have been destroyed. But to hear of the distress which these
unfortunate people have suffered, would fill with horror the stoutest
heart, and make the most obdurate melt with pity.

When the French fleet appeared before the mouth of the harbour,
Christophe, the Black general, who commanded at the Cape, rode through
the town, ordering all the women to leave their houses--the men had
been taken to the plain the day before, for he was going to set fire to
the place, which he did with his own hand.

The ladies, bearing their children in their arms, or supporting the
trembling steps of their aged mothers, ascended in crowds the mountain
which rises behind the town. Climbing over rocks covered with brambles,
where no path had been ever beat, their feet were torn to pieces and
their steps marked with blood. Here they suffered all the pains of
hunger and thirst; the most terrible apprehensions for their fathers,
husbands, brothers and sons; to which was added the sight of the town
in flames: and even these horrors were increased by the explosion of
the powder magazine. Large masses of rock were detached by the shock,
which, rolling down the sides of the mountain, many of these hapless
fugitives were killed. Others still more unfortunate, had their limbs
broken or sadly bruised, whilst their wretched companions could offer
them nothing but unavailing sympathy and impotent regret.

On the third day the negroes evacuated the place, and the fleet entered
the harbour. Two gentlemen, who had been concealed by a faithful slave,
went in a canoe to meet the admiral's vessel, and arrived in time to
prevent a dreadful catastrophe. The general, seeing numbers of people
descending the mountain, thought they were the negroes coming to oppose
his landing and was preparing to fire on them, when these gentlemen
informed him that they were the white inhabitants, and thus prevented a
mistake too shocking to be thought of.

The men now entered from the plain and sought among the smoaking
ruins the objects of their affectionate solicitude. To paint these
heart-rending scenes of tenderness and woe, description has no powers.
The imagination itself shrinks from the task.

Three months after this period we arrived and have now been a month
here, the town is rapidly rebuilding, but it is extremely difficult to
find a lodging. The heat is intolerable and the season so unhealthy
that the people die in incredible numbers. On the night of our arrival,
Toussaint the general in chief of the negroes, was seized at the
Gonaives and embarked for France. This event caused great rejoicing.
A short time before he was taken, he had his treasure buried in the
woods, and at the return of the negroes he employed on this expedition,
they were shot without being suffered to utter a word.

Clara has had the yellow fever. Her husband, who certainly loves her
very much, watched her with unceasing care, and I believe, preserved
her life, to which however she attaches no value since it must be
passed with him.

Nothing amuses her. She sighs continually for the friend of her youth
and seems to exist only in the recollection of past happiness. Her
aversion to her husband is unqualified and unconquerable. He is
vain, illiterate, talkative. A silent fool may be borne, but from a
loquacious one there is no relief. How painful must her intercourse
with him be; and how infinitely must that pain be augmented by the
idea of being his forever? Her elegant mind, stored with literary
acquirements, is lost to him. Her proud soul is afflicted at depending
on one she abhors, and at beholding her form, and you know that form
so vilely bartered. Whilst on the continent she was less sensible of
the horrors of her fate. The society of her friend gave a charm to her
life, and having married in compliance with his advice, she thought
that she would eventually be happy. But their separation has rent the
veil which concealed her heart; she finds no sympathy in the bosom of
her husband. She is alone and she is wretched.

General Le Clerc is small, his face is interesting, but he has an
appearance of ill health. His wife, the sister of Buonaparte, lives in
a house on the mountain till there can be one in town prepared for her
reception. She is offended, and I think justly, with the ladies of the
Cape, who, from a mistaken pride, did not wait on her when she arrived,
because having lost their cloaths they could not dazzle her with their

Having heard that there were some American ladies here she expressed a
desire to see them; Mr. V---- proposed to present us; Clara, who would
not walk a mile to see a queen, declined. But I, who walk at all times,
merely for the pleasure it affords me, went; and, considering the
labour it costs to ascend the mountain, I have a claim on the gratitude
of Madame for having undertaken it to shew her an object which she
probably expected to find in a savage state.

She was in a room darkened by Venetian blinds, lying on her sofa, from
which she half rose to receive me. When I was seated she reclined again
on the sofa and amused general Boyer, who sat at her feet, by letting
her slipper fall continually, which he respectfully put on as often as
it fell. She is small, fair, with blue eyes and flaxen hair. Her face
is expressive of sweetness but without spirit. She has a voluptuous
mouth, and is rendered interesting by an air of languor which spreads
itself over her whole frame. She was dressed in a muslin morning gown,
with a Madras handkerchief on her head. I gave her one of the beautiful
silver medals of Washington, engraved by Reich, with which she seemed
much pleased. The conversation languished, and I soon withdrew.

General Le Clerc had gone in the morning to fort Dauphin.

I am always in good spirits, for every thing here charms me by its
novelty. There are a thousand pretty things to be had, new fashions and
elegant trinkets from Paris; but we have no balls, no plays, and of
what use is finery if it cannot be shewn?

The natives of this country murmur already against the general in
chief; they say he places too much confidence in the negroes. When
Toussaint was seized he had all the black chiefs in his power, and,
by embarking them for France, he would have spread terror throughout
the Island, and the negroes would have been easily reduced, instead
of which he relies on their good faith, has them continually in his
house, at his table, and wastes the time in conference which should
be differently employed. The Creoles shake their heads and predict
much ill. Accustomed to the climate, and acquainted with the manner of
fighting the Negroes, they offer advice, which is not listened to; nor
are any of them employed, but all places of honour or emolument are
held by Europeans, who appear to regard the Island as a place to be
conquered and divided among the victors, and are consequently viewed by
the natives with a jealous eye. Indeed the professed intention of those
who have come with the army, is to make a fortune, and return to France
with all possible speed, to enjoy it. It cannot be imagined that they
will be very delicate about the means of accomplishing their purpose.

The Cape is surrounded; at least the plain is held by the Negroes; but
the town is tranquil, and Dessalines and the other black chiefs are on
the best terms with general Le Clerc.

We are to have a grand review next week. The militia is to be
organized, and the general is to address the troops on the field. He
has the reputation of being very eloquent, but he has shocked every
body by having ordered a superb service of plate, made of the money
intended to pay the army, while the poor soldiers, badly cloathed, and
still more badly fed, are asking alms in the street, and absolutely
dying of want.

A beggar had never been known in this country, and to see them in
such numbers, fills the inhabitants with horror; but why should such
trifling considerations as the preservation of soldiers, prevent a
general in chief from eating out of silver dishes?

We have neither public nor private balls, nor any amusement except now
and then a little scandal. The most current at this moment is, that
Madame Le Clerc is very kind to general Boyer, and that her husband
is not content, which in a French husband is a little extraordinary.
Perhaps the last part of the anecdote is calumny.

Madame Le Clerc, as I learned from a gentleman who has long known her,
betrayed from her earliest youth a disposition to gallantry, and had,
when very young, some adventures of eclat in Marseilles. Her brother,
whose favourite she is, married her to general Le Clerc, to whom he
gave the command of the army intended to sail for St. Domingo, after
having given that island, as a marriage portion, to his sister. But her
reluctance to come to this country was so great, that it was almost
necessary to use force to oblige her to embark.

She has one child, a lovely boy, three years old, of which she
appears very fond. But for a young and beautiful woman, accustomed
to the sweets of adulation, and the intoxicating delights of Paris,
certainly the transition to this country, in its present state, has
been too violent. She has no society, no amusement, and never having
imagined that she would be forced to seek an equivalent for either in
the resources of her own mind, she has made no provision for such an
unforeseen emergency.

She hates reading, and though passionately fond of music plays on no
instrument; never having stolen time from her pleasurable pursuits to
devote to the acquisition of that divine art. She can do nothing but
dance, and to dance alone is a triste resource; therefore it cannot
be surprising if her early propensities predominate, and she listens
to the tale of love breathed by General Boyer, for never did a more
fascinating votary offer his vows at the Idalian shrine. His form
and face are models of masculine perfection; his eyes sparkle with
enthusiasm, and his voice is modulated by a sweetness of expression
which cannot be heard without emotion. Thus situated, and thus
surrounded, her youth and beauty plead for her, and those most disposed
to condemn would exclaim on beholding her:

     "If to her share some female errors fall,
     Look in her face, and you'll forget them all."

I suppose you'll laugh at this gossip, but 'tis the news of the day,
nothing is talked of but Madame Le Clerc, and envy and ill-nature
pursue her because she is charming and surrounded by splendor.

I have just now been reading Madame De Stael on the passions, which she
describes very well, but I believe not precisely as she felt their
influence. I have heard an anecdote of her which I admire; a friend,
to whom she had communicated her intention of publishing her memoirs,
asked what she intended doing with the gallant part,--Oh, she replied,
je ne me peindrai qu'en buste.


_Cape Francois._

What a change has taken place here since my last letter was written!
I mentioned that there was to be a grand review, and I also mentioned
that the confidence General Le Clerc placed in the negroes was highly
blamed, and justly, as he has found to his cost.

On the day of the review, when the troops of the line and the guarde
nationale were assembled on the field, a plot was discovered, which
had been formed by the negroes in the town, to seize the arsenal and
to point the cannon of a fort, which overlooked the place of review,
on the troops; whilst Clairvaux, the mulatto general, who commanded
the advanced posts, was to join the negroes of the plain, overpower
the guards, and entering the town, complete the destruction of the
white inhabitants. The first part of the plot was discovered and
defeated. But Clairvaux made good his escape, and in the evening
attacked the post General Le Clerc had so imprudently confided to him.
The consternation was terrible. The guarde nationale, composed chiefly
of Creoles, did wonders. The American captains and sailors volunteered
their services; they fought bravely, and many of them perished. The
negroes were repulsed; but if they gained no ground they lost none,
and they occupy at present the same posts as before. The pusillanimous
General Le Clerc, shrinking from danger of which his own imprudence
had been the cause, thought only of saving himself. He sent his plate
and valuable effects on board the admiral's vessel, and was preparing
to embark secretly with his suite, but the brave admiral La Touche de
Treville sent him word that he would fire with more pleasure on those
who abandoned the town, than on those who attacked it.

The ensuing morning presented a dreadful spectacle. Nothing was heard
but the groans of the wounded, who were carried through the streets
to their homes, and the cries of the women for their friends who were

The general, shut up in his house, would see nobody; ashamed of the
weakness which had led to this disastrous event, and of the want of
courage he had betrayed: a fever seized him and he died in three days.

Madame Le Clerc, who had not loved him whilst living, mourned his death
like the Ephesian matron, cut off her hair, which was very beautiful,
to put it in his coffin; refused all sustenance and all public

General Rochambeau, who is at Port au Prince, has been sent for by the
inhabitants of the Cape to take the command. Much good is expected from
the change, he is said to be a brave officer and an excellent man.

Monsieur D'Or is in the interim Captain General, and unites in himself
the three principal places in the government: Prefect Colonial,
Ordonnateur, and General in Chief.

All this bustle would be delightful if it was not attended with such
melancholy consequences. It keeps us from petrifying, of which I was in

I have become acquainted with some Creole ladies who, having staid in
the Island during the revolution, relate their sufferings in a manner
which harrows up the soul; and dwell on the recollection of their long
lost happiness with melancholy delight. St. Domingo was formerly a
garden. Every inhabitant lived on his estate like a Sovereign ruling
his slaves with despotic sway, enjoying all that luxury could invent,
or fortune procure.

The pleasures of the table were carried to the last degree of
refinement. Gaming knew no bounds, and libertinism, called love, was
without restraint. The Creole is generous hospitable, magnificent,
but vain, inconstant, and incapable of serious application; and in
this abode of pleasure and luxurious ease vices have reigned at which
humanity must shudder. The jealousy of the women was often terrible in
its consequences. One lady, who had a beautiful negro girl continually
about her person, thought she saw some symptoms of _tendresse_ in the
eyes of her husband, and all the furies of jealousy seized her soul.

She ordered one of her slaves to cut off the head of the unfortunate
victim, which was instantly done. At dinner her husband said he
felt no disposition to eat, to which his wife, with the air of a
demon, replied, perhaps I can give you something that will excite
your appetite; it has at least had that effect before. She rose and
drew from a closet the head of Coomba. The husband, shocked beyond
expression, left the house and sailed immediately for France, in order
never again to behold such a monster.

Many similar anecdotes have been related by my Creole friends; but
one of them, after having excited my warmest sympathy, made me laugh
heartily in the midst of my tears. She told me that her husband was
stabbed in her arms by a slave whom he had always treated as his
brother; that she had seen her children killed, and her house burned,
but had been herself preserved by a faithful slave, and conducted,
after incredible sufferings, and through innumerable dangers to the
Cape. The same slave, she added, and the idea seemed to console her for
every other loss, saved all my madrass handkerchiefs.

The Creole ladies have an air of voluptuous languor which renders
them extremely interesting. Their eyes, their teeth, and their hair
are remarkably beautiful, and they have acquired from the habit of
commanding their slaves, an air of dignity which adds to their charms.
Almost too indolent to pronounce their words they speak with a drawling
accent that is very agreeable: but since they have been roused by the
pressure of misfortune many of them have displayed talents and found
resources in the energy of their own minds which it would have been
supposed impossible for them to possess.

They have naturally a taste for music; dance with a lightness, a grace,
an elegance peculiar to themselves, and those who, having been educated
in France, unite the French vivacity to the Creole sweetness, are the
most irresistible creatures that the imagination can conceive. In the
ordinary intercourse of life they are delightful; but if I wanted a
friend on any extraordinary occasion I would not venture to rely on
their stability.


_Cape Francois._

The so much desired general Rochambeau is at length here. His arrival
was announced, not by the ringing of bells, for they have none, but by
the firing of cannon. Every body, except myself went to see him land,
and I was prevented, not by want of curiosity, but by indisposition.
Nothing is heard of but the public joy. He is considered as the
guardian, as the saviour of the people. Every proprietor feels himself
already on his habitation and I have even heard some of them disputing
about the quality of the coffee they expect soon to gather; perhaps
these sanguine Creoles may find that they have reckoned without their

However, _en attendant_, the General, who it seems bears pleasure as
well as conquest in his train, gives a grand ball on Thursday next. We
are invited, and we go.

Clara is delighted! for the first time since our arrival her eyes
brightened at receiving the invitation, and the important subject of
what colours are to be worn, what fashions adopted, is continually
discussed. Her husband, whose chief pleasure is to see her brilliant,
indulges all the extravagance of her capricious taste. She sighs for
conquest because she is a stranger to content, and will enter into
every scheme of dissipation with eagerness to forget for a moment her
internal wretchedness. She is unhappy, though surrounded by splendor,
because from the constitution of her mind she cannot derive happiness
from an object that does not interest her heart.

My letter shall not be closed till after the ball of which I suppose
you will be glad to have a description.

But why do you not write to me?

I am ignorant of your pursuits and even of the place of your abode, and
though convinced that you cannot forget me, I am afflicted if I do not
receive assurances of your friendship by every vessel that arrives!

Clara has not written, for nothing has hitherto had power to rouse
her from the lethargy into which she had sunk. Perhaps the scenes of
gaiety in which she is now going to engage may dispell the gloom which
threatened to destroy all the energy of her charming mind. Perhaps too
these scenes may be more fatal to her peace than the gloom of which I
complain, for in this miserable world we know not what to desire. The
accomplishment of our wishes is often a real misfortune. We pass our
lives in searching after happiness, and how many die without having
found it!

_In Continuation._

Well my dear friend the ball is over--that ball of which I promised you
a description. But who can describe the heat or suffocating sensations
felt in a crowd?

The General has an agreeable face, a sweet mouth, and most enchanting
smile; but

     "Like the sun, he shone on all alike,"

and paid no particular attention to any object. His uniform was _a la
hussar_, and very brilliant; he wore red boots:--but his person is bad,
he is too short; a Bacchus-like figure, which accords neither with my
idea of a great General nor a great man.

But you know one of my faults is to create objects in my imagination on
the model of my incomparable friend, and then to dislike every thing I
meet because it falls short of my expectations.

I was disappointed at the ball, because I was confounded in the crowd,
but my disappointment was trifling compared with that felt by Clara.
Accustomed to admiration she expected to receive it on this occasion
in no moderate portion, and to find herself undistinguished was not
flattering. She did not dance, staid only an hour, and has declared
against all balls in future. But there is one announced by the Admiral
which may perhaps induce her to change her resolution.

Madame Le Clerc has sailed for France with the body of her husband,
which was embalmed here.

The place is tranquil. The arrival of General Rochambeau seems to have
spread terror among the negroes. I wish they were reduced to order
that I might see the so much vaunted habitations where I should repose
beneath the shade of orange groves; walk on carpets of rose leaves
and frenchipone; be fanned to sleep by silent slaves, or have my feet
tickled into extacy by the soft hand of a female attendant.

Such were the pleasures of the Creole ladies whose time was divided
between the bath, the table, the toilette and the lover.

What a delightful existence! thus to pass away life in the arms of
voluptuous indolence; to wander over flowery fields of unfading
verdure, or through forests of majestic palm-trees, sit by a fountain
bursting from a savage rock frequented only by the cooing dove, and
indulge in these enchanting solitudes all the reveries of an exalted

But the moment of enjoying these pleasures is, I fear, far distant.
The negroes have felt during ten years the blessing of liberty, for a
blessing it certainly is, however acquired, and they will not be easily
deprived of it. They have fought and vanquished the French troops, and
their strength has increased from a knowledge of the weakness of their
opposers, and the climate itself combats for them. Inured to a savage
life they lay in the woods without being injured by the sun, the dew or
the rain. A negro eats a plantain, a sour orange, the herbs and roots
of the field, and requires no cloathing, whilst this mode of living is
fatal to the European soldiers. The sun and the dew are equally fatal
to them, and they have perished in such numbers that, if reinforcements
do not arrive, it will soon be impossible to defend the town.

The country is entirely in the hands of the negroes, and whilst their
camp abounds in provisions, every thing in town is extremely scarce and
enormously dear.

Every evening several old Creoles, who live near us, assemble at our
house, and talk of their affairs. One of them, whose annual income
before the revolution was fifty thousand dollars, which he always
exceeded in his expenses, now lives in a miserable hut and prolongs
with the greatest difficulty his wretched existence. Yet he still
hopes for better days, in which hope they all join him. The distress
they feel has not deprived them of their gaiety. They laugh, they sing,
they join in the dance with the young girls of the neighbourhood, and
seem to forget their cares in the prospect of having them speedily


_Cape Francois._

The ball announced by the admiral exceeded all expectations and we are
still all extacy. Boats, covered with carpets, conveyed the company
from the shore to the vessel, which was anchored about half a mile
from the land, and on entering the ball room a fairy palace presented
itself to the view. The decks were floored in; a roof of canvas was
suspended over the whole length of the vessel, which reached the floor
on each side, and formed a beautiful apartment. Innumerable lustres of
chrystal and wreaths of natural flowers ornamented the ceiling; and
rose and orange-trees, in full blossom, ranged round the room, filled
the air with fragrance. The seats were elevated, and separated from the
part appropriated to dancing, by a light balustrade. A gallery for the
musicians was placed round the main-mast, and the whole presented to
the eye an elegant saloon, raised by magic in a wilderness of sweets.
Clara and myself, accompanied by her husband and Major B----, were
among the first who arrived. Never had I beheld her so interesting. A
robe of white crape shewed to advantage the contours of her elegant
person. Her arms and bosom were bare; her black hair, fastened on the
top with a brilliant comb, was ornamented by a rose which seemed to
have been thrown there by accident.

We were presented to the admiral, who appeared struck by the figure
of Clara, and was saying some very flattering things, when a flourish
of martial music announced the arrival of the General in chief. The
admiral hastened to meet him, and they walked round the room together.

When the dances began the general leaned against the orchestra opposite
Clara. Her eyes met his. She bent them to the ground, raised them
timidly and found those of the general fixed on her: a glow of crimson
suffused itself over her face and bosom. I observed her attentively
and knew it was the flush of triumph! She declined dancing, but when
the walses began she was led out. Those who have not seen Clara walse
know not half her charms. There is a physiognomy in her form! every
motion is full of soul. The gracefulness of her arms is unequalled, and
she is lighter than gossamer.

The eyes of the general dwelt on her alone, and I heard him inquire of
several who she was.

The walse finished, she walked round the room leaning on the arm of
Major B----. The general followed, and meeting her husband, asked
(pointing to Clara) if he knew the name of that lady. Madame St. Louis,
was the reply. I thought she was an American said the general. So she
is, replied St. Louis, but her husband is a Frenchman. That's true,
added the general, but they say he is a d----d jealous fool, is he
here? He has the honour of answering you, said St. Louis. The general
was embarrassed for a moment, but recovering himself said, I am not
surprised at your being jealous, for she is a charming creature. And
he continued uttering so many flattering things that St. Louis was in
the best humour imaginable. When Clara heard the story, she laughed,
and, I saw, was delighted with a conquest she now considered assured.

When she sat down, Major B---- presented the General to her, and his
pointed attention rendered her the object of universal admiration.
He retired at midnight: the ball continued. An elegant collation was
served up, and at sunrise we returned home!

The admiral is a very agreeable man, and I would prefer him, as a
lover, to any of his officers, though he is sixty years old. His
manners are affable and perfectly elegant; his figure graceful and
dignified, and his conversation sprightly. He joined the dance at the
request of a lady, with all the spirit of youth, and appeared to enjoy
the pleasure which his charming fête diffused.

He told Clara that he would twine a wreath of myrtle to crown her, for
she had vanquished the General. She replied, that she would mingle it
with laurel, and lay it at his feet for having, by preserving the
Cape, given her an opportunity of making the conquest.

Nothing is heard of but balls and parties. Monsieur D'Or gives a
concert every Thursday; the General in chief every Sunday: so that from
having had no amusement we are in danger of falling into the other
extreme, and of being satiated with pleasure.

The Negroes remain pretty tranquil in this quarter; but at
Port-au-Prince, and in its neighbourhood, they have been very

Jeremie, Les Cayes, and all that part of the island which had been
preserved, during the revolution, by the exertions of the inhabitants,
have been lost since the appearance of the French troops!

The Creoles complain, and they have cause; for they find in the army
sent to defend them, oppressors who appear to seek their destruction.
Their houses and their negroes are put under requisition, and they are
daily exposed to new vexations.

Some of the ancient inhabitants of the island, who had emigrated,
begin to think that their hopes were too sanguine, and that they
have returned too soon from the peaceful retreats they found on the
continent. They had supposed that the appearance of an army of thirty
thousand men would have reduced the negroes to order; but these
conquerors of Italy, unnerved by the climate, or from some other cause,
lose all their energy, and fly before the undisciplined slaves.

Many of the Creoles, who had remained on the island during the reign of
Toussaint, regret the change, and say that they were less vexed by the
negroes than by those who have come to protect them.

And these negroes, notwithstanding the state of brutal subjection in
which they were kept, have at length acquired a knowledge of their
own strength. More than five hundred thousand broke the yoke imposed
on them by a few thousand men of a different colour, and claimed
the rights of which they had been so cruelly deprived. Unfortunate
were those who witnessed the horrible catastrophe which accompanied
the first wild transports of freedom! Dearly have they paid for
the luxurious ease in which they revelled at the expense of these
oppressed creatures. Yet even among these slaves, self-emancipated, and
rendered furious by a desire of vengeance, examples of fidelity and
attachment to their masters have been found, which do honour to human

For my part, I am all anxiety to return to the continent. Accustomed
from my earliest infancy to wander on the delightful banks of the
Schuylkill, to meet the keen air on Kensington bridge, and to ramble
over the fields which surround Philadelphia, I feel like a prisoner in
this little place, built on a narrow strip of land between the sea and
a mountain that rises perpendicularly behind the town. There is to be
sure an opening on one side to the plain, but the negroes are there
encamped; they keep the ground of which general Le Clerc suffered them
to take possession, and threaten daily to attack the town!

There is no scarcity of beaux here, but the gallantry of the French
officers is fatiguing from its sameness. They think their appearance
alone sufficient to secure a conquest, and do not conceive it
necessary to give their yielding mistresses a decent excuse by paying
them a little attention. In three days a love-affair is begun and
finished and forgotten; the first is for the declaration, the second is
the day of triumph if it is deferred so long, and the third is for the

The Creoles do not relish the attacks made on their wives by the
officers. The husband of Clara in particular is as jealous as a Turk,
and has more than once shewn his displeasure at the pointed attentions
of the General-in-chief to his wife, which she encourages, out of
contradiction to her husband rather than from any pleasure they
afford her. The boisterous gaiety and soldier-like manners of general
Rochambeau, can have made no impression on a heart tender and delicate
as is that of Clara. But there is a vein of coquetry in her composition
which, if indulged, will eventually destroy her peace.

A tragical event happened lately at Port-au-Prince. At a public
breakfast, given by the commandant, an officer just arrived from
France, addressing himself to a lady, called her _citoyenne_.--The
lady observed that she would never answer to that title. The stranger
replied that she ought to be proud of being so called. On which her
husband, interfering, said that his wife should never answer to
any mode of address that she found displeasing. No more passed at
that time, but before noon Monsieur C---- received a challenge: the
choice of weapons being left to him, he said that it was absolutely
indifferent: the stranger insisted on fighting with a rifle; Monsieur
C---- replied that he should have no objection to fight with a cannon:
it was however, finally settled, that the affair should be decided
with pistols; and at sun-rise next morning they met: the officer fired
without effect. Monsieur C----, with surer aim laid his antagonist
lifeless on the ground.

On what trifles depends the destiny of man! but the Europeans are so
insolent that a few such lessons are absolutely necessary to correct

Monsieur C---- is a Creole, and belonged to the Staff of the general
who commands at Port-au-Prince, from which he has been dismissed in
consequence of this affair, which is another proof of the hatred the
French officers bear the inhabitants of this country.

We have here a General of division, who is enriching himself by
all possible means, and with such unblushing rapacity, that he is
universally detested. He was a blacksmith before the revolution, and
his present pursuits bear some affinity to his original employment,
having taken possession of a plantation on which he makes charcoal, and
which he sells to the amount of a hundred dollars a day. A carricature
has appeared in which he is represented tying up sacks of coal. Madame
A----, his mistress, standing near him, holds up his embroidered coat
and says, "Don't soil yourself, General."


_Cape Francois._

Three of your letters arriving at the same time, my dear friend, have
made me blush for my impatience, and force me to acknowledge that I
have wronged you. But your friendship is so necessary to my happiness
that the idea of losing it is insupportable. You know what clouds of
misfortune have obscured my life. An orphan without friends, without
support, separated from my sister from my infancy, and, at an age when
the heart is most alive to tenderness and affection, deprived by the
unrelenting hand of death, of him who had taught me to feel all the
transports of passion, and for whose loss I felt all its despair--Cast
on the world without an asylum, without resource, I met you:--you
raised me--soothed me--whispered peace to my lacerated breast! Ah! can
I ever forget that delightful moment when your care saved me? It was so
long since I had known sympathy or consolation that my astonished soul
knew not how to receive the enchanting visitants; fleeting as fervent
was my joy: but let me not repine! Your friendship has shed a ray of
light on my solitary way, and though removed from the influence of your
immediate presence, I exist only in the hope of seeing you again.

In restoring me to my sister, at the moment of her marriage, you
procured for me a home not only respectable, but in which all the
charms of fashionable elegance, all the attractions of pleasure are
united. Unfortunately, Clara, amidst these intoxicating scenes of
ever-varying amusement, and attended by crowds, who offer her the
incense of adulation, is wretched, and I cannot be happy!

You know her early habits have been different from mine; affluence
might have been thought necessary to her, yet the sensibility of her
heart rejects the futile splendour that surrounds her, and the tears
that often stain her brilliant robes, shew that they cover a bosom to
which peace is a stranger!

The fortune of her husband was his only advantage. The friend who had
been charged with Clara from her infancy had accustomed her to enjoy
the sweets of opulence, and thought nothing more desirable than to
place her in a situation where she could still command them. Alas her
happiness has been the sacrifice of his mistaken, though well meant,
intentions. St. Louis is too sensible of the real superiority of his
wife not to set some value on that which he derives from his money, and
tears of bitterest regret often fill her eyes when contemplating the
splendor which has been so dearly purchased. Though to me he has been
invariably kind yet my heart is torn with regret at the torments which
his irascible temper inflict on his wife. They force her to seek relief
in the paths of pleasure, whilst destined by nature to embellish the
sphere of domestic felicity.


_Cape Francois._

General Rochambeau has given Clara a proof of his attention to her
wishes at once delicate and flattering. She dined with a large party
at the Government-house, where, as usual, he was entirely devoted
to her. After dinner, he led her, followed by the company, to a
saloon, that was fitting up for a dining-room. It was ornamented with
military trophies, and on every pannel was written the name of some
distinguished chief.

On one Buonaparte, on another Frederic, on another Massena, &c.

Clara said it was very pretty, but that Washington should also have
found a place there!

A few days after, a grand ball was given, and, on entering the
ball-room, we saw, on a pannel facing the door,

     Washington, Liberty, and Independence!

This merited a smile, and the general received a most gracious one. It
was new-year's eve. When the clock struck twelve, Clara, approaching
the general, took a rose from her bosom, saying, let me be the first to
wish you a happy new-year, and to offer you les etrennes.

He took the rose, passed it across his lips, and put it in his bosom.

The next morning, an officer called on her, and presented her a
pacquet in the name of the general in chief. On opening it she found a
brilliant cross, with a superb chain, accompanied by an elegant billet,
praying her acceptance of these trifles.

Take it back, she exclaimed, I gave the general a flower, and will
accept nothing of greater value.--The officer refused, and, as the eyes
of her husband expressed no disapprobation, she kept it.

We have since learned that it is customary to make at this season,
magnificent presents, and this accounts for the passiveness of St.
Louis on this occasion.

Shortly after, at a breakfast given by Madame A----, Clara appeared
with her brilliant cross: the General was there.

When they sat down to table, he offered her an apple, which she
declined accepting. Take it, said he, for on Mount Ida I would have
given it to you, and in Eden I would have taken it from you.

She replied laughing, no, no; since you attach so much value to your
apple I certainly will not accept it, for I wish equally to avoid
discord and temptation.

Her husband looked displeased, and withdrew as soon as possible.

On their return home, he told her that her flirting with the General,
if carried much farther, would probably cost her too dear. She became
serious, and I foresee the approaching destruction of all domestic

Clara, proud and high spirited, will submit to no control. If her
husband reposed confidence in her she would not abuse it. But his
soul cannot raise itself to a level with that of his wife, and he will
strive in vain to reduce her to that of his own.

He has declared that she shall go to no more balls; and she has
declared as peremptorily, that she will go where she pleases. So on the
first public occasion there will be a contest for supremacy, which will
decide forever the empire of the party that conquers.

Their jarrings distress me beyond measure. I had hoped to find
tranquillity with my sister, but alas! she is herself a stranger to it.

I have no pleasure but that which the recollection of your friendship
affords, which will be dear to my heart whilst that heart is conscious
of feeling or affection.


_Cape Francois._

The brigands have at length made the attack they so long threatened,
and we have been terribly alarmed.

On Thursday last, one party approached the fort before day break,
whilst another, passing behind the barrier, which is at the entrance
of the plain, unobserved by the guard, surprised fort Belleair, which
stands on an elevation adjoining the town, and killed the officer and
twelve soldiers. The wife of the officer, who commanded that post, had
gone, the day before to stay with her husband. Herself and her child
were pierced by the same bayonet. The body of the officer lay across
the bed, as if he had died in the act of defending them.

The negroes were advancing silently into the town, when they were
discovered by a centinel who gave the alarm.

The troops rushed to arms. The Brigands were repulsed: but those who
had taken possession of fort Belleair made a vigorous resistance.

St. Louis, who commands a company in the guarde nationale, was the
first on the field. It was discovered that the negroes in the town
intended to join those who attacked it from without and to kill the
women and children, who were shut up in their houses, without any one
to defend them; but the patroles of the guarde d'honneur prevented, by
their vigilance, the execution of this design.

At nine o'clock the general sent to tell Clara that the part of the
town she lived in being very much exposed, she had better come to his
house and he would send her on board the admiral's vessel.

She replied that it was impossible for her to go, her husband having
desired her on no account to leave the house; therefore she added,
"Here I must stay if I am sure to perish."

The action continued at the barrier and advanced posts during the day.
The negroes, depending on their numbers, seemed determined to decide at
once the fate of the town, and we passed the day in a situation which I
cannot describe.

In the evening the general sent an officer to tell Clara that he had
some news from her husband which he could communicate to none but

The first idea that presented itself was, that St. Louis had been
killed. She seized my arm and without waiting to take even a veil
hurried out of the house.

A gloomy silence reigned throughout the streets. She arrived breathless
at the government house. The general met her in the hall, took her
gravely by the hand and led her into a parlor.

What have you to tell me? she cried, where is St. Louis?

Calm your spirits said the general. Your agitation renders you unfit to
hear any thing! But seeing that his hesitation encreased her distress,
he said, laughing, your husband is well, has behaved gallantly, and
seems invulnerable; for though numbers have been killed and wounded at
his post, he has remained unhurt!

Then why, she asked, have you alarmed me so unnecessarily, and made me
come here, when you knew he had desired me not to leave the house? He
will never believe my motive for coming, and I shall be killed!

The general strove to soothe her, said that it would be highly improper
to pass the night in her house, that several ladies had embarked, and
that she must go on board, which she positively declined.

At that moment the officer who had accompanied us, entered, and
presenting some papers to the general, they both went into another room.

Directly after the general called Clara. She went, and I followed
her. He was alone, and looked as if he thought me an intruder, but I
continued at her side.

The papers he held in his hand were dispatches from the camp. He told
her that St. Louis would remain out all night, and again requested her
to think of her own safety. But she would not listen to his proposal of
sending her on board; and, attended by the officer who had accompanied
us, we returned home.

Whilst the general was talking with Clara, I examined the apartment,
which had been Madame Le Clerc's dressing-room.

The sofas and curtains were of blue sattin with silver fringe. A door,
which stood open, led into the bedchamber. The canopy of the bed was in
the form of a shell, from which little cupids descending held back with
one hand, curtains of white sattin trimmed with gold, and pointed with
the other to a large mirror which formed the tester. On a table, in the
form of an altar, which stood near the bed, was an alabaster figure
representing silence, with a finger on its lips, and bearing in its
hand a waxen taper.

The first thing we heard on our return was that a soldier, sent by
St. Louis, had enquired for Clara, and not finding her, had returned
immediately to the camp.

She was distressed beyond measure, and exclaimed, "I had better go
forever, for St. Louis will kill me!"

I endeavoured to console her, though I felt that her apprehensions were
not groundless. She passed the night in agony, and awaited the return
of her husband in the most painful agitation.

At ten the next morning he arrived, having left his post without
orders, and thus exposed himself to all the rigours of a court-martial.

He was trembling with rage, transported with fury, and had more the air
of a demon than a man.

I know your conduct madam, he cried, on entering, you left the house
contrary to my desire; but I shall find means of punishing you, and of
covering with shame the monster who has sought to destroy me!

He seized her by the arm, and dragging her into a little dressing-room
at the end of the gallery, locked her in, and, taking the key in his
pocket, went to the government house, and without waiting till the
officers in the antichamber announced him, entered the room where the
general was alone, reclining on a sofa, who arose, and approaching
him familiarly said, "St. Louis, I am glad to see you, and was just
thinking of you; but did not know that you had been relieved."

I have not been relieved, replied St. Louis, but have left a post
where I was most unjustly placed and kept all night, to give you an
opportunity of accomplishing your infernal designs. You expected, no
doubt, that I would have shared the fate of my brave companions, which
I have escaped, and am here to tell you what every body believes but
which no body dares utter, that you are a villain!--I know to what I am
exposed in consequence of leaving my post. You are my superior, it is
true; but if you are not a coward you will wave all distinction, and
give me the satisfaction due to a gentleman you have injured.

He then walked hastily away, before the general could recover from his

The officer, who had accompanied us the night before, followed and
attempted to soothe him.

He said that he had been sent by the general to take Clara to his house
because the part of the town in which she lived was absolutely unsafe,
and that he had used a little stratagem to induce her to come, but that
she had absolutely refused staying;--that Mademoiselle, (meaning my
ladyship) had gone with her, and that he had not left her till he had
conducted her home.

This a little softened the rage of St. Louis! He has a good opinion of
this young man, who by the bye, is a charming creature. They entered
the house together. I was alone, and joined my assurances to those of
the officer, that we had not quitted Clara an instant.

He was now sorry for having treated her so harshly; but did not regret
the scene that had passed at the general's.

At this moment a soldier entered, who told him that they had been
relieved directly after he had left them, and that no notice had been
taken of his departure.

I now learned that St. Louis, with sixty men, had been placed in the
most advanced post, on the very summit of the mountain, where they
were crowded together on the point of a rock. In this disadvantageous
position, they had been attacked by the negroes; forty men were killed;
and the troops of the line, who were a little lower down, had offered
them no assistance. It being the first time that the guarde nationale
had been placed before the troops of the line the common opinion is,
that it was the general's intention to have St. Louis destroyed, as it
was by his order that he was so stationed, and kept there all night,
though the other posts had been relieved at midnight.

St. Louis forgot his rage and his sufferings in the assurance that
Clara had not been faithless. He went to the room in which he had
confined her, threw himself at her feet, and burst into tears.

Clara, affected by his pain, or ashamed of having so tormented him,--or
fatigued with their eternal broils, leaned over him, and mingled her
tears with his.

When the violence of her emotion subsided, she entreated him to forgive
the inconsiderateness of her conduct, and vowed that she would never
again offend him.--But you have destroyed yourself, she continued, the
general will never pardon you: let us leave this hated country, where
tranquillity is unknown.

After much debate, it was agreed that he should send us to
Philadelphia, and that he would follow himself as soon as he had
arranged his affairs.

Clara keeps her room and sees nobody, her husband is in despair at
parting with her, but proposes following her immediately.

We embark in ten days. What power shall I invoke to grant us favourable
winds? Whose protection solicit to conduct me speedily to my native
shores, and to the society of my friends?


_Cape Francois._

We are still here, my dear friend, and my disappointment and vexation
have been so great, that ten days have passed since I have written a
single line.

The general, thinking Clara was sent away against her will, and
determined to thwart the intentions of her husband, laid an embargo on
all the vessels in the port.

St. Louis raved, and swore she should not leave her room till he
conducted her on board.

To prevent all intercourse from without, he keeps her locked up in a
small room, adjoining her chamber.--Nobody, not even myself, can see
her, except in his presence; and thus all confidence is at an end
between them.

She weeps continually, and I am afraid the torments she suffers will
destroy her health.

St. Louis is unworthy of her: he thinks it possible to force her to
love him:--How much more would a generous confidence influence a heart
like her's!

Many of his friends have represented to him the impropriety of his
conduct. The challenge he gave general Rochambeau filled every body
with terror, for it exposed him to certain death. To have left his post
without orders was a crime equally serious; and, if the general has
passed them both over in silence, it is supposed that his vengeance
only slumbers for a time to be more sure in its effect.

He thinks Clara attached to the general. I know she is not! her vanity
alone has been interested. To be admired was her aim, and she knew
that, by attracting the notice of the general in chief, her end would
be accomplished. She succeeded even beyond her wishes, but it has been
a dangerous experiment; and will cost her, I fear, the small portion of
domestic _peace_ she enjoyed.--Domestic _felicity_ she never knew! I am
convinced that she has never been less happy than since her marriage!

Nothing can be more brutal than St. Louis in his rage! The day of his
affair with the general, he threw her on the ground, and then dragged
her by the hair:--I flew to her, but his aspect so terrified me that
I was obliged to withdraw: and when his fits of tenderness return he
is as bad in the other extreme. He kneels before her, entreats her
pardon, and overwhelms her with caresses more painful to her than the
most terrible effects of his ill-humour. And then his temper is so
capricious that he cannot be counted upon a moment. I have seen him
oblige her to stay at home and pass the evening alone with him, after
she had dressed for a ball.

This does not accord with the liberty French ladies are supposed to
enjoy. But I believe Clara is not the first wife that has been locked
up at St. Domingo, yet she excites little sympathy because she has not
the good fortune to be one of the privileged.

_In Continuation._

Certain events, which shall be related, prevented me from finishing my
letter. The same events have produced an entire change in our affairs,
and we are now fixed at St. Domingo for some time.

The embargo is raised:--the general in chief is gone to Port-au-Prince;
all the belles of the Cape have followed him. Clara is at liberty, and
her husband content!

As soon as we had an opportunity of conversing together, Clara related
to me occurrences which seem like scenes of romance, but I am convinced
of their reality. Under the window of the little apartment in which she
was confined, there is an old building standing in a court surrounded
by high walls. The general informed himself of the position of Clara's
chamber, and his intelligent valet, who makes love to one of her
servants, found that it would not be difficult to give her a letter,
which his dulcinea refused charging herself with. He watched the
moment of St. Louis's absence, entered the deserted court, mounted the
tottering roof, and, calling Clara to the window, gave her the letter,
glowing with the warmest professions of love, and suggesting several
schemes for her escape, one of which was, that she should embark on
board a vessel that he would indicate, and that he would agree with the
captain to put into Port-au-Prince, whither he would speedily follow
her.--Another was, to escape in the night by the same window, and go
to his house, where he would receive and protect her. But the heart of
Clara acknowledged not the empire of general Rochambeau, nor had she
even the slightest intention of listening to him.

If her husband knew all this it would cure him, I suppose, of his
passion for locking up. But, incapable of generosity himself, he cannot
admire it in another, and would attribute her refusal of the general's
offers to any motive but the real one.

How often has she assured me that she would prefer the most extreme
poverty to her present existence, but to abandon her husband was not to
be thought of. Yet to have abandoned him, and to have been presented
as the declared mistress of General Rochambeau, would not have been
thought a crime nor have excluded her from the best society!

Madame G----, who has nothing but her beauty to recommend her, (and
no excess of that) lives with the admiral on board his vessel. She
is visited by every body; and no party is thought fashionable if not
graced by her presence, yet her manners are those of a poissarde and
she was very lately in the lowest and most degraded situation. But she
gives splendid entertainments: and when good cheer and gaiety invite,
nobody enquires too minutely by whom they are offered.

Clara laughs at the security St. Louis felt when he had her locked
up. Yet in spite of bolts and bars love's messenger reached her. The
general's letters were most impassioned, for, unaccustomed to find
resistance, the difficulty his approach to Clara met added fuel to his

You say, that in relating public affairs, or those of Clara, I forget
my own, or conceal them under this appearance of neglect. My fate
is so intimately connected with that of my sister, that every thing
concerning her must interest you, from the influence it has on myself;
and, in truth, I have no adventures. I described in a former letter,
the gallantry of the French officers, but I have not repeated the
compliments they sometimes make me, and which have been offered,
perhaps, to every woman in town before they reach my ear. But a civil
thing I heard yesterday, had so much of originality in it that it
deserves to be remembered. I was copying a beautiful drawing of the
graces, when a Frenchman I detest entered the room. Approaching the
table he said. What mademoiselle do you paint? I did not know that you
possessed that talent. Vexed at his intrusion, I asked if he knew I
possessed any talents. Certainly, he replied, every body acknowledges
that you possess that of pleasing. Then looking at the picture that lay
before me, he continued: The modesty of the graces would prevent their
attempting to draw you. Why? I asked. Because in painting you, they
would be obliged to copy themselves.

With all this _bavardage_ receive my affectionate adieu!


_Cape Francois._

We have had some novelty here my dear friend, for general Closelle,
who commands during the absence of the general in chief, has taken a
new method to amuse the people, and courts popularity under the veil
of religion. He gives no balls, no concerts; but he has had the church
fitted up, and the fete dieu has been celebrated with great order,
magnificence and solemnity.

At break of day the fete was announced by the firing of cannon: at
eight o'clock the procession left the church, and passed through
the principal streets, which were strewn with roses; the fronts of
the houses were decorated with green branches, formed into arches,
intermingled with wreaths of flowers. The troops under arms were placed
in double ranks on each side of the street. The procession was opened
by a number of young boys dressed in white surplices, singing a hymn
in honour of the day. They were followed by young girls, crowned with
myrtle, bearing in their hands baskets of flowers, which they strewed
on the ground as they passed along. The band of music followed, and
then the priests, bearing golden censors, in which were burning the
most exquisite perfumes, preceded by four negroes, carrying on their
shoulders a golden temple, ornamented with precious stones, and golden
angels supporting a canopy of crimson velvet, beneath which the sacred
host was exposed in a brilliant sagraria. After them marched general
Closelle, and all the officers of the civil and military departments.
The procession was closed by a number of ladies, covered with white
veils. As the temple passed along, the soldiers bent one knee to
the ground; and when it returned to the church, high mass was sung,
accompanied by military music.

Clara and myself, attended by her everlasting beau, major B----, went
all over the town, and so fatigued our poor cavalier, that he actually
fell down; but he is fifty years old, and at least five hundred in
constitution; he has been very handsome, has still the finest eyes in
the world, is full of anecdote, and infinitely amusing.

General Closelle is very handsome, tall, and elegantly formed, but not
at all gallant, consequently not a favourite with the ladies; and for
the same reason, a great one with the gentlemen, particularly those who
are married. Since the departure of the general in chief he has put
every thing on a new footing: the fortifications are repairing, and
block-houses are erecting all round the town.

A few days since the negroes attacked a block-house which was nearly
finished. A detachment commanded by general Mayart, was instantly sent
out to support the guard. As he passed under my window, I told him to
hasten and gather fresh laurels. He replied, that at his return he
would lay them at my feet; but, alas! he returned no more. The negroes
were retreating when he arrived: a random shot struck him, and he fell
dead from his horse. This young man came from France about a year ago,
a simple lieutenant; he was very poor, but being powerfully protected,
advanced rapidly in the army; and, what is infinitely surprising,
thirty thousand dollars, and a great quantity of plate, were found in
his house at his death.

Madame G----, a pretty little Parisian, who was his favourite, is
inconsolable. She faints when any body enters the room, and repeats his
name in gentle murmurs. In the evening she languishingly reposes on a
sopha placed opposite the door, and seems to invite by the gracefulness
of her attitudes, and the negligence of her dress, the whole world to
console her.

The most distressing accounts arrive here daily from all parts of the

The general in chief is at Port-au-Prince, but he possesses no longer
the confidence of the people. He is entirely governed by his officers,
who are boys, and who think only of amusement. He gives splendid balls,
and elegant parties; but he neglects the army, and oppresses the

A black chief and his wife were made prisoners last week, and sentenced
to be shot. As they walked to the place of execution the chief seemed
deeply impressed with the horror of his approaching fate: but his wife
went cheerfully along, endeavoured to console him, and reproached his
want of courage. When they arrived on the field, in which their grave
was already dug, she refused to have her eyes bound; and turning to
the soldiers who were to execute their sentence, said "Be expeditious,
and don't make me linger." She received their fire without shrinking,
and expired without uttering a groan. Since the commencement of the
revolution she had been a very devil! Her husband commanded at St.
Marks, and being very amorously inclined, every white lady who was
unfortunate enough to attract his notice, received an order to meet
him. If she refused, she was sure of being destroyed, and if she
complied she was as sure of being killed by his wife's orders, which
were indisputable. Jealous as a tygress, she watched all the actions
of her husband; and never failed to punish the objects of his amorous
approaches, often when they were entirely innocent.

How terrible was the situation of these unfortunate women, insulted
by the brutal passion of a negro, and certain of perishing if they
resisted or if they complied.

This same fury in female form killed with her own hand a white man who
had been her husband's secretary. He offended her; she had him bound,
and stabbed him with a penknife till he expired!

How often, my dear friend, do my sighs bear my wishes to your happy
country; how ardently do I desire to revisit scenes hallowed by
recollection, and rendered doubly dear by the peaceful security I there
enjoyed, contrasted with the dangers to which we are here exposed. Yet
the Creoles still hope; for

     "Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die."

They think it impossible that this island can ever be abandoned to
the negroes. They build houses, rebuild those that were burned, and
seem secure in their possession. The measures of general Closelle
inspire them with confidence; and they think that if he was commander
in chief, all would go well. But when general Rochambeau was second in
command, he was a favorite with every body; and it is only since he
has attained the summit of power that he has appeared regardless of
public opinion! He is said to have the talents of a soldier, but not
those of a general. Whatever may be the fate of this country, here I
must wait with patience, of which mulish virtue I have no great share,
till some change in its affairs restores me to my own. Yet when there,
I can hope for nothing more than tranquillity. The romantic visions of
happiness I once delighted to indulge in, are fading fast away before
the exterminating touch of cold reality.--

     The glowing hand of hope grows cold,
     And fancy lives not to be old.

But whilst your friendship is left me life will still have a charm.


_Cape Francois._

It is not often in the tranquillity of domestic life that the poet or
the historian seek their subjects! Of this I am certain, that in the
calm that now surrounds us it will be difficult for me to find one for
my unpoetical pen.

Clara is dull, St. Louis contented, and I pass my time heavily,
complaining of the fate which brought me here, and wishing to be
away. We go sometimes to the concerts given by monsieur d'Or, where
madame P----, a pretty little Parisian sings; and where madame
A----, accompanied by her daughter, presides with solemn dignity.
This lady, who is at present a most rigid censor of female conduct,
and not amiable either in person or manners, lived many years with
monsieur A----, who raised her from the rank of his housekeeper, to
that of his mistress. But he fell in love with another lady, whom he
was going to marry. The deserted fair one threw herself in despair
at the feet of Toussaint, with whom she had some influence, and so
forcibly represented the injustice of the proceeding, that Toussaint
ordered A---- to be confined, saying he should not be released till he
consented to marry the lady he had so long lived with. A---- resisted
some time, but at length yielded, and exchanged his prison for the
softer one of her arms.

Before the revolution there was a convent at the Cape. The nuns in
general were very rich, and devoted themselves chiefly to the education
of young ladies: some of their pupils, I have heard, would have done
honour to a Parisian seminary.

When religion was abolished in France, the rage for abolition, as well
as that of revolutionizing reached this place, and the nuns were driven
from the convent by Santhonax, a name which will always fill every
Frenchman's breast with horror: he caused the first destruction of
the Cape. On the arrival of general Galbo, who was sent to supercede
him, he said, "if Galbo reigns here, he shall reign over ashes," and
actually set fire to the town. The convent was not then burned; but the
society was dissolved, the habit of the order laid aside; and some of
the nuns, profiting by the license of the times, married. One of these
became the wife of a man who, during the reign of the negroes committed
crimes of the deepest die. He has not yet received the punishment due
to them; but he awaits in trembling the hour of retribution. I often
see her. She has been very handsome, but her charms are now in the
wane; she has a great deal of vivacity, and that fluency of expression
in conversing on the topics of the day, which gives to a French woman
the reputation of having _beaucoup d'esprit_.

I know also the lady abbess, who is an excellent woman of most engaging
manners. She lives in a miserable chamber, and supports herself by her
industry. The greatest part of the community have perished; and general
Le Clerc found it more convenient to have the convent fitted up for his
own residence, than to restore it to its owners, the government house
having been entirely destroyed.

There are also here two hospitals, neither of which have been injured,
though the town has been twice burned. The _Hopitale de la Providence_
is an asylum for the poor, the sick and the stranger; the building
is decent: but the _Hopitale des Peres de la Charite_ is superb,
surrounded by gardens, ornamented with statues and fountains, and
finished with all the magnificence which their vast revenues enabled
its owners to command.

The streets of the town cross each other at right angles, like those of
Philadelphia, and there are several public squares which add greatly
to the beauty of the place. In the centre of each is a fountain,
from which the water, clear as crystal, flows into marble basons.
The houses are commodious, particularly those of two stories, which
have all balconies; but the streets are narrow, and the heat would be
intolerable if it was not for the relief afforded by bathing, which is
here an universal custom, and for the sea-breezes which, rising every
afternoon, waft on their wings delicious coolness.

The mulatto women are the hated but successful rivals of the Creole
ladies. Many of them are extremely beautiful; and, being destined from
their birth to a life of pleasure, they are taught to heighten the
power of their charms by all the aids of art, and to express in every
look and gesture all the refinements of voluptuousness. It may be said
of them, that their very feet speak. In this country that unfortunate
class of beings, so numerous in my own,--victims of seduction, devoted
to public contempt and universal scorn, is unknown. Here a false step
is very rarely made by an unmarried lady, and a married lady, who does
not make one, is as rare; yet of both there have been instances: but
the _faux pas_ of a married lady is so much a matter of course, that
she who has only one lover, and retains him long in her chains, is
considered as a model of constancy and discretion.

To the destiny of the women of colour no infamy is attached; they
have inspired passions which have lasted through life, and are
faithful to their lovers through every vicissitude of fortune and
chance. But before the revolution their splendor, their elegance,
their influence over the men, and the fortunes lavished on them by
their infatuated lovers, so powerfully excited the jealousy of the
white ladies, that they complained to the council of the ruin their
extravagance occasioned to many families, and a decree was issued
imposing restrictions on their dress. No woman of colour was to wear
silk, which was then universally worn, nor to appear in public without
a handkerchief on her head. They determined to oppose this tyranny,
and took for that purpose a singular but effectual resolution. They
shut themselves up in their houses, and appeared no more in public.
The merchants soon felt the bad effects of this determination, and
represented so forcibly the injury the decree did to commerce, that it
was reversed, and the olive beauties triumphed.

But the rage of the white ladies still pursued them with redoubled
fury, for what is so violent as female jealousy? The contest however
was unequal, and the influence of their detested rivals could not be
counteracted. Some of them were very rich. There is a friendliness
and simplicity in their manners which is very interesting. They are
the most caressing creatures in the world, and breathe nothing but
affection and love. One of their most enviable privileges, and which
they inherit from nature, is that their beauty is immortal--they never

The French appear to understand less than any other people the delights
arising from an union of hearts. They seek only the gratification of
their sensual appetites. They gather the flowers, but taste not the
fruits of love. They call women the "_beau sexe_," and know them only
under the enchanting form of ministers of pleasure. They may appear
thus to those who have only eyes; by those who have hearts they will
always be considered as sacred objects of reverence and love. A man who
thinks and feels views in woman the beneficent creature who nourished
him with her milk, and watched over his helpless infancy; a consoling
being who soothes his pains and softens his sorrows by her tenderness
and even by her levity and her sports. But here female virtue is
blasted in the bud by the contagious influence of example. Every girl
sighs to be married to escape from the restraint in which she is held
whilst single, and to enjoy the unbounded liberty she so often sees
abused by her mother. A husband is necessary to give her a place in
society; but is considered of so little importance to her happiness,
that in the choice of one her inclination is very seldom consulted.
And when her heart, in spite of custom, feels the pain of being alone,
and seeks an asylum in the bosom of her husband, she too often finds
it shut against her; she is assailed by those whose only desire is to
add another trophy to their conquests, and is borne away by the torrent
of fashion and dissipation till all traces of her native simplicity
are destroyed. She joins with unblushing front, the crowd who talk of
sentiments they never feel, and who indulge in the most licentious
excesses without having the glow of passion to gild their errors. These
reflections were suggested by a most preposterous marriage, at which
I was present. A girl of fifteen was sacrificed by her grandmother
to a man of sixty, of the most disagreeable appearance and forbidding
manners. The soul of this unfortunate victim is all melting softness;
she is of the most extraordinary beauty; she is now given to the world,
and in those who surround her she will find the destroyers of her
delicacy, her simplicity, and her peace.


_Cape Francois._

To give you some idea of the despotism that reigns in this country,
I must relate an event which, though it originated with Clara, was
certainly carried farther than she either expected or desired.

On our arrival here she engaged a young Frenchman to give her lessons
in his language, which she spoke tolerably before, but in which she
wished to acquire perfection. After he had attended her some time she
perceived that his lessons were considerably lengthened and that he
chose for his themes the most amorous and affectionate pieces. Some
observations made on the subject, drew from him a confession of the
extraordinary passion she had inspired. After laughing at his folly,
she dismissed him, and thought of him no more; but shortly after
was informed that he had circulated reports highly injurious to her.
General Rochambeau, whose ears they had reached, asked her from whence
they arose? and she related to him with great simplicity the whole
affair. The general said he should be embarked, and the next morning
he was actually sent on board an armed vessel which was to sail in
a few days. Whilst there he wrote a pathetic and elegant little
poem in which he represented himself as the victim of the general's
jealousy, who thus sought to destroy him for having interfered, and
not unsuccessfully, with his pursuits. This paper was sent to the man
with whom he had lived, and who handed it to every body. Clara was
in despair. She informed the general in chief that he had rendered
the affair, which was at first only ridiculous, seriously provoking:
in consequence of which the house of this man was surrounded by
guards, who, without giving him time to take even a change of clothes,
conducted him on board the vessel where his friend was confined; it
sailed immediately for France, and his house and store, which were
worth at least thirty thousand dollars became the prey of the officers
of the administration: but the poem was heard of no more.


_Cape Francois._

The general in chief has returned from Port-au-Prince. Three days after
his arrival the Cape was blockaded by five British ships, and news was
received of war having been declared between England and France.

Every body is in the greatest consternation, for inevitable ruin
threatens the place. The English will no doubt prevent all vessels
from entering the port, and take all that go out; at the same time the
negroes are said to be preparing another attack.

The general brought in his train all the belles of Port-au-Prince, and
has given a ball, at which, incredible as it may appear to you, Clara
and myself appeared. When the cards of invitation were brought, St.
Louis declared that they should not be left; but major B----, who was
present, represented so forcibly the danger of irritating the general,
who has shewn some symptoms of a disposition to tyrannize, since his
return which were never remarked in him before, that he consented to
our going. When we entered the room attended by B, every eye was fixed
on Clara, who never was so lovely. Dressed in a robe ornamented with
wreaths of flowers, she joined the sweetness of Flora to the lightness
of the youngest of the graces, and the recollection of certain late
events gave an air of timidity to her looks which rendered her
enchanting. General Rochambeau, by the warmth of his manner encreased
her confusion, and fixed on her more pointedly the attention of every
beholder. He was surprized at seeing her without her husband, and
enquired what had wrought so wonderful a change? She replied that he
had found a very good representative in major B----, and that he had
acquired a little confidence in herself. She waltzed with more than
her usual grace, and the general seemed flattered by the notice she

Most of the ladies from Port-au-Prince are widows

     "Who bear about the mockery of woe
     To midnight dances and the public shew."

None of them are remarkable for their beauty or elegance. The only new
face worth looking at was a madame V----, lately arrived from France;
her hair was dressed _a la Ninon de l'Enclos_, part of it fastened on
the top of the head, the rest hanging about her neck in loose curls.

The ball room had been newly furnished with regal splendor; all the
chairs were removed, and long sophas with large cushions offered
delightful seats. A recess at one end of the room had been fitted up _a
la Turc_; the walls were entirely concealed with large looking glasses,
which reached the ceiling; the floor was covered with carpets and the
only seats were piles of crimson sattin cushions thrown on the ground.
The lustres, veiled with green silk, gave a soft light, imitating that
of the moon, and the _ensemble_ breathed an air of tranquillity that
invited to repose after the fatigue of dancing, and offered a retreat
from the heat which it was almost impossible to resist. To this retreat
general Rochambeau led Clara. A lady was lolling in one corner, and I
entered at the same moment. He looked as if he wished us both away, but
I never attend to looks that I am resolved not to understand.


_Cape Francois._

A few days after the ball mentioned in my last, St. Louis determined to
send Clara and myself to St. Jago de Cuba, and to follow us as soon as
possible. This measure was opposed by major B----; but Clara insisted,
and the day of our departure was fixed. The next day B---- breakfasted
with us; and as soon as we were alone, told Clara that she was wrong in
being so entirely governed by her husband. She replied, that she had
suffered much in consequence of coquetting with general Rochambeau, in
which her only intention had been to find amusement; but she was now
convinced of its being highly dangerous and improper; and that it had
been productive of much ill. She added, that she lived in continual
inquietude, and that nothing would induce her to stay in the Cape if
she could get away.

B---- spoke of the passion of the general,--said he had seen him
that morning, and as a proof of her having been the subject of their
conversation, gave her a letter from him. Is it possible, (she
exclaimed) you in whom my husband has so much confidence? You are
a fool, replied B----, and your husband is no better: and if his
insolence to the general has not been punished it is owing to my

Clara read the letter. It was filled with professions of admiration and
unalterable love. He begged her not to think of leaving the Cape, which
was in no danger; and further said he had taken measures to prevent
her being sent away. He requested her to write to him, but this she
positively refused.

Towards noon a proclamation was issued ordering all the passports which
had been granted during the last three months to be returned. St. Louis
was in despair: he had intended sending Clara off without eclat, having
procured passports before, but B---- betrayed him. Yet in B---- he
has the most unbounded confidence; and suffers Clara to receive nobody
else. She walks with him when she pleases, and he never fails on such
occasions to give the general an opportunity of speaking to her.

A few days ago we went to Picolet, to see the fort. The road to it
winds along the seashore at the foot of the mountain. The rocks are
covered with the Arabian jessamin, which grows here in the greatest
profusion. Its flexible branches form among the cliffs moving festoons
and fantastic ornaments, and its flowers whiter than snow, fill the
air with intoxicating fragrance. After having visited the fort we
were preparing to return, when we saw a troop of horsemen descending
the mountain. They came full speed. We soon discovered they were the
general and his suite; and as they followed the windings of the road,
with their uniform _a la mameluc_, and their long sabres, they appeared
like a horde of Arabs.

The general arrived first, and jumping from his horse, told Clara that
he had left the table an hour sooner than usual to have the pleasure
of seeing her. Then, said she, looking reproachfully at B----, you
have a familiar spirit who informs you of my movements! Why not, he
replied, are you not an enchantress, and have you not employed all the
powers of magic to enslave me? You are in an error said Clara; I was
flattered by your admiration, and gratified by the attentions with
which you honoured me; but I used no art to attract the one, and am
too sensible of my own defects not to feel that I am indebted for the
other entirely to your goodness. That is too modest to be natural,
cried the general. Nobody who possesses your charms can be ignorant
of their power; nor could any one mistake the passion I have evinced
for you, for the common attention every lady receives as her due. Then
you do not believe a woman can be modest? asked Clara. Modest if you
please, but not insensible, he replied. And suffer me to observe,--Oh
no observations, I entreat, interrupted Clara; for this interview will,
I fear, occasion too many.--But tell me, how did you learn I was to be
here; and why have you left the table where you so often sacrifice
till a late hour to the rosy god, to wander among these rugged rocks
where despairing lovers alone would seek a retreat? And are you of that
number? he enquired. No, she replied: but I have not your motives for
staying at home: I was led here by curiosity; It is my first visit to
this spot. Then believe, said the general, that I came here to offer at
your feet that homage which envious fate has hitherto deprived me of
an opportunity of paying. During this conversation, he had drawn her
to a point of the rock; and the officers of his suite, surrounding me,
sought to divert my attention by all the common place compliments of
which they are so profuse. I had forgotten Clara for a moment, when,
turning, I beheld the general, who bending one knee to the ground,
seized her hand passionately, and at the same time I saw St. Louis
ascending the mountain.

Pressing through the crowd I flew to her, saying, are you mad? Rise
general, for heaven's sake! her husband approaches! what means this
exhibition of folly? Yes I am mad, he replied, I adore your sister,
and she refuses to listen to me. My sister is married, I answered.
But, said he, she loves not her husband. At least I love no one more
than him, said Clara, trembling at the idea of having been seen by St.
Louis. Fortunately I had discovered him at the foot of the mountain,
and the road winds round its base with so many turnings that it is of
considerable length and before he arrived she was tolerably composed.

You have deceived me, said the general. I never listened to you, she
replied. But you have read my letters.--I could not avoid receiving,
but I never answered them. Still, he observed, interrupting her, I
will hope; for your eyes cannot utter falsehood, and from them I have
received encouragement.

At that instant St. Louis arrived; he appeared astonished at seeing
Clara so surrounded, and advancing involuntarily, as if to defend her,
took her arm.

The general, with his usual levity, told St. Louis, that he came in
time to prevent him from running away with his wife. Then twining round
her arm a wreath of jessamin he had taken from my hand, said, with
such fetters only you should be bound! Does she find those that bind
her too heavy? asked her husband. No, replied the general, she seems
content. Then casting a look of disappointment at Clara, he mounted his
horse and rode off.

Major B---- engaged St. Louis in a conversation on the situation of the
colony, which made him forget the dangerous one in which he had found
his wife.

Clara, leaning on my arm, seemed oppressed by a variety of sensations,
among which indignation predominated. The security and presumption
of the general shocked her, and the recollection of having, at least
negatively encouraged him, gave an additional pang to her heart. We
returned slowly home. Our meeting with general Rochambeau was thought
accidental by St. Louis, and was taken no notice of.


_Cape Francois._

Ah, my dear friend, where shall I find expressions to convey to you an
idea of the horror that fills my soul; how describe scenes at which I
tremble even now with terror?

Three negroes were caught setting fire to a plantation near the town.
They were sentenced to be burnt alive; and the sentence was actually
executed. When they were tied to the stake and the fire kindled, one
of them, I understand, held his head over the smoke and was suffocated
immediately. The second made horrible contortions, and howled
dreadfully. The third, looking at him contemptuously said, Peace! do
you not know how to die? and preserved an unalterable firmness till the
devouring flames consumed him. This cruel act has been blamed by every
body, as giving a bad example to the negroes, who will not fail to
retaliate on the first prisoners they take. But it has been succeeded
by a deed which has absolutely chilled the hearts of the people. Every
one trembles for his own safety, and silent horror reigns throughout
the place.

A young Creole, who united to the greatest elegance of person the most
polished manners and the most undaunted courage, had incurred, I know
not how, the displeasure of general Rochambeau, and had received a
hint of approaching danger, but neither knew what he had to fear, nor
how to avoid it, when he received an order to pay into the treasury,
before three o'clock, twenty thousand dollars on pain of death. This
was at ten in the morning. He thought at first it was a jest; but when
assured that the order was serious, said he would rather die than
submit to such injustice, and was conducted by a guard to prison. Some
of his friends went to the government-house to intercede for him.
Nobody was admitted. His brother exerted himself to raise the sum
required; but though their house has a great deal of property, and
government is indebted to them more than a hundred thousand dollars,
it was difficult, from the scarcity of cash, to raise so large a sum
in so short a time, and nobody thought there was any danger to be
apprehended. At half after two o'clock he was taken to the fosset,
where his grave was already dug. The captain of the guard sent to know
if there was no reprieve: and was told that there was none. He sent
again, the same answer was returned, with an order to perform his duty,
or his life would be the forfeit of his disobedience. He was a Creole,
the friend, the companion of the unfortunate Feydon. Ah! how could he
submit to be the vile instrument of tyranny? how could he sacrifice his
friend? Why did he not resign his commission on the spot, and abide by
the consequence? Approaching Feydon, he offered to bind his eyes; but
he refused, saying, No, let me witness your horrors to the last moment.
He was placed on the brink of his grave. They fired: he fell! but from
the bottom of his grave cried, I am not dead--finish me! My heart
bleeds: I knew him; and while I live, the impression this dreadful
event has made on me will never be effaced. At the moment he was killed
his brother, having collected the required sum, carried it to the
general, who took the money, and sent the young man, who was frantic
when he heard of his brother's fate, to prison. It is said a reprieve
had been granted, but had been suppressed by Nero the commandant de la
place, who is as cruel, and as much detested as was the tyrant whose
name he bears.

A few days after, nine of the principal merchants were selected. One
hundred thousand dollars was the sum demanded from them; and they were
imprisoned till it should be found. It was then the virtuous Leaumont
approached, fearless of consequences, the retreat of the tyrant,
and obliged him to listen to the voice of truth. He represented the
impossibility of finding the sum demanded from these unfortunate men,
and entreated to have a tax laid on every individual of the place in
proportion to his property, which, after much debate was consented to.
The money was soon furnished, and the prisoners released.

Since the death of Feydon the general appears no more in public. A
settled gloom pervades the place, and every one trembles lest he should
be the next victim of a monster from whose power there is no retreat.
St. Louis, above all, is in the greatest danger, for he has the
reputation of being rich, and, having excited the aversion of general
Rochambeau, it is not probable that he will escape without some proof
of his animosity.

Clara is in the greatest dejection. She repents bitterly the levity
of her conduct, and is torn with anxiety for the fate of her husband.
She loves him not, it is true, but would be in despair if through her
fault the least evil befel him, and feels for the first time the danger
of awakening the passions of those who are capable of sacrificing all
considerations to gratify their wishes or revenge their disappointment.
She requested the general to give her a passport for St. Jago de Cuba.
He replied that he could only grant them to the old and ugly, and she,
not being of this description, he was obliged to refuse her; however,
after much solicitation, she obtained one for herself for me and her
servants, and we shall sail in a few days. All the women are suffered
to depart, but no man can procure a passport. Some it is true, find
means to escape in disguise, and they are fortunate, for it is much
feared that those who remain will be sacrificed. Every vessel that
sails from hence is seized and plundered by the English; but, as we are
Americans, perhaps we may pass.

Our intention is to stay at St. Jago till St. Louis joins us. God knows
whether we shall ever see him again. With what joy I shall leave this
land of oppression! how much that joy would be increased if I was going
to the continent; but in all places, and in all countries I shall be
affectionately yours,



You will no doubt be surprised at receiving a letter from hence, but
here we are my dear friend, deprived of every thing we possessed,
in a strange country, of whose language we are ignorant, and where,
even with money, it would be impossible to procure what we have been
accustomed to consider as the necessaries of life. Yet here we have
found an asylum, and met with sympathy; not that of words, but active
and effectual sympathy, from strangers, which, perhaps, we should have
sought in vain in our own country, and among our own people.

We embarked at the Cape, Clara, myself and six servants, in a small
schooner, which was full of women, and bound to St. Jago. As soon as
we were out of the harbour a boat from a British frigate boarded us,
condemned the vessel as French property, and, without further ceremony,
sent the passengers on board another vessel which was lying near us,
and was going to Barracoa, where we arrived in three days, after having
suffered much from want of provisions and water. Every thing belonging
to us had been left in the schooner the English made a prize of. St.
Louis, having forseen the probability of this event, had made Clara
conceal fifty doubloons in her corset.

On our arrival at Barracoa, a Frenchman we had known at the Cape came
on board. He conducted us ashore, and procured us a room in a miserable
hut, where we passed the night on a board laid on the ground, it
being impossible to procure a mattrass. The next morning the first
consideration was clothes. There was not a pair of shoes to be found in
the place, nor any thing which we would have thought of employing for
our use if we had not been obliged by the pressure of necessity. Clara
had given a corner of our hut to a lady who, with two children, was
without a shilling.

While we were at breakfast, which we made of chocolate, served in
little calabashes, lent us by the people of the house, a priest of most
benign aspect entered, and addressing Clara in French, which he speaks
fluently, told her that having heard of our arrival and misfortunes,
he had come to offer his services, and enquired how we had passed the
night? Clara shewed him the boards on which we had slept. He rose
instantly, and calling the mistress of the house, spoke to her angrily.
I afterwards learned that he reproached her for not having informed him
of our distress as soon as we arrived. He took his leave and returned
in half an hour with three or four negroes who brought mattrasses, and
baskets filled with fowls, and every kind of fruit the island produces.
Then, telling Clara that his sister would call on her in the evening,
and begging her to consider him as her servant, and every thing he
possessed at her disposal, he went away. In the afternoon he returned
with his sister. She is a widow. Her manners are interesting, but she
speaks no language except her own, of which not one of us understood a

Father Philip sent for the only shopkeeper in the place, who furnished
us with black silk for dresses, and some miserable linen. By the next
day we were decently equipped. We were then presented to the governor,
whose wife is divinely beautiful. Nothing can equal the lustre of her
eyes, or surpass the fascinating power of her graceful and enchanting
manners. The changes of her charming countenance express every emotion
of her soul, and she seems not to require the aid of words to be
understood. She conceived at once a fervent friendship for Clara, and
having learned our misfortunes from father Philip, insisted on our
living in her house whilst we remained at Barracoa. This point was
disputed by Donna Angelica, who said she had provided a chamber for
us in her own. But madame la Governadora was not to be thwarted; she
seized Clara by the arm, and drawing her playfully into another room,
insisted on dressing her _a la Espagnole_, which is nothing more than
a cambric _chemise_, cut very low in the bosom, an under petticoat of
linen, made very stiff with starch, and a muslin one over it, both very
short. To this is added, when they go out, a large black silk veil,
which covers the head and falls below the waist. By this dress the
beauty of the bosom, which is so carefully preserved by the French is

Clara looked very well in this costume, but felt uncomfortable. As
Donna Jacinta would not hear of our leaving her we consented to stay;
and a chamber was prepared for us. In the evening we walked through
the town, and were surprised to see such extreme want in this abode
of hospitality. The houses are built of twigs, interwoven like basket
work, and slightly thatched with the leaves of the palm tree, with no
other floor than the earth. The inhabitants sit on the ground, and eat
altogether out of the pot in which their food is prepared. Their bed is
formed of a dried hide, and they have no clothes but what they wear,
nor ever think of procuring any till these are in rags.

There are only three decent houses in the place, which belong to the
governor, to father Philip, and his sister; yet these good people are
happy, for they are contented. Their poverty is not rendered hideous
by the contrast of insolent pride or unfeeling luxury. They dose away
their lives in a peaceful obscurity, which if I do not envy, I cannot
despise. There are many French families here from St. Domingo; some
almost without resource; and this place offers none for talents of any
kind. It is not uncommon to hear the sound of a harp or piano from
beneath a straw built shed, or to be arrested by a celestial voice
issuing from a hut which would be supposed uninhabitable.

Clara studies with so much application the Spanish language that she
can already hold with tolerable ease a conversation, especially with
the seignora Jacinta, whose eyes are so eloquent that it would be
impossible not to understand her. She is a native of the Havanna, was
married very young, and her husband having been appointed governor of
Barracoa, was obliged to leave the gaiety and splendour of her native
place for this deserted spot, where fashion, taste or elegance had
never been known. It has been a little enlivened since the misfortunes
of the French have forced them to seek in it a retreat.

Jacinta has too much sensibility not to regret the change of situation;
but she never repines, and seeks to diffuse around her the cheerfulness
by which she is animated. From early prejudice she loves not the French
character. Fortunately Clara is an American; and the influence of her
enchanting qualities on the heart of her fair friend is strengthened by
the charm of novelty.

We are waiting for a vessel to carry us to St. Jago, and its arrival, I
assure you will fill us with regret.


_St. Jago de Cuba._

We have left Barracoa, the good father Philip, his generous sister, and
the beautiful Jacinta. Removed from them for ever, the recollection
of their goodness will accompany me through life, and a sigh for
the peaceful solitude of their retreat will often heave my breast
amid the mingled scenes of pleasure and vexation in which I shall
be again engaged. Fortunate people! who, instead of rambling about
the world, end their lives beneath the roofs where they first drew
breath. Fortunate in knowing nothing beyond their horizon; for whom
even the next town is a strange country, and who find their happiness
in contributing to that of those who surround them! The wife of the
governor could not separate herself from us. Taking from her neck a
rosary of pearls, she put it round that of Clara, pressed her in
her arms, wept on her bosom, and said she never passed a moment so
painful. She is young, her soul is all tenderness and ardour, and
Clara has filled her breast with feelings to which till now she has
been a stranger. Her husband is a good man, but without energy or
vivacity, the direct reverse of his charming wife. She can never have
awakened an attachment more lively than the calmest friendship. She
has no children, nor any being around her, whose soul is in unison
with her own. With what devotion she would love! but if a stranger to
the exquisite pleasures of that sentiment she is also ignorant of its
pains! may no destructive passion ever trouble her repose.

She walked with us to the shore and waited on the beach till we
embarked. She shrieked with agony when she clasped Clara for the last
time to her breast, and leaning against a tree, gave unrestrained
course to her tears.

The good father Philip accompanied us to the vessel, and staid till
the moment of our departure. He had previously sent aboard every
thing that he thought would be agreeable to us during the voyage. His
friendly soul poured itself forth in wishes for our happiness. May all
the blessings of heaven be showered on his head!

It is Clara's fate to inspire great passions. Nobody loves her
moderately. As soon as she is known she seizes on the soul, and centres
every desire in that of pleasing her. The friendship she felt for
Jacinta, and the impression father Philip's goodness made on her,
rendered her insensible to all around her.

The vessel was full of passengers, most of them ladies, who were
astonished at beholding such grief. One of them, a native of Jeremie,
was the first who attracted the attention of Clara. This lady, who
is very handsome, and very young, has three children of the greatest
beauty, for whom she has the most impassioned fondness, and seems to
view in them her own protracted existence. She has all the bloom of
youth, and when surrounded by her children, no picture of Venus with
the loves and graces was ever half so interesting. She is going to
join her husband at St. Jago, who I hear, is a great libertine, and
not sensible of her worth. An air of sadness dwells on her lovely
countenance, occasioned, no doubt, by his neglect and the pain of
finding a rival in every woman he meets.

There is also on board a beautiful widow whose husband was killed by
the negroes, and who, without fortune or protection, is going to seek
at St. Jago a subsistence, by employing her talents. There is something
inconceivably interesting in these ladies. Young, beautiful, and
destitute of all resource, supporting with cheerfulness their wayward

But the most captivating trait in their character is their fondness for
their children! The Creole ladies, marrying very young, appear more
like the sisters than the mothers of their daughters. Unfortunately
they grow up too soon, and not unfrequently become the rivals of their

We are still on board, at the entrance of the harbour of St. Jago,
which is guarded by a fort, the most picturesque object I ever saw. It
is built on a rock that hangs over the sea, and the palm trees which
wave their lofty heads over its ramparts, add to its beauty.

We are obliged to wait here till to-morrow; for this day being
the festival of a saint, all the offices are shut. No business is
transacted, and no vessel can approach the town without permission.

This delay is painful; I am on the wing to leave the vessel, though it
is only four days since we left Barracoa.--I wish to know whether we
shall meet as much hospitality here as in that solitary place. Yet why
should I expect it? Hearts like those of father Philip and the lovely
Jacinta do not abound.--How many are there who, never having witnessed
such goodness, doubt its existence?

We have letters to several families here, from the governor of Barracoa
and father Philip, and St. Louis has friends who have been long
established at this place. Therefore, on arriving, we shall feel at
home; perhaps too, we may find letters from the Cape;--God grant they
may contain satisfactory intelligence.


_St. Jago de Cuba._

A month has passed, since our arrival in this place, in such a round
of visits and such a variety of amusements, that I am afraid, my
dear friend, you will think I have forgotten you. We were received
by the gentleman, to whom Clara was directed, with the most cordial
friendship. He is an ancient Chevalier de St. Louis, and retains, with
much of the formality of the court of France, at which he was raised,
all its elegance and urbanity; and having lived a number of years in
this island, he is loved and respected by all its inhabitants.

The letters which father Philip and the governor of Barracoa gave us to
their friends, have procured us great attention.

The people here are much the same as at Barracoa; perhaps they are
a little more civilized. There is some wealth, with much poverty.
The women have made great progress towards improvement since such
numbers of French have arrived from St. Domingo.--They are at least a
century before the men in refinement, but women are every where more
susceptible of polish than the lords of the creation. Those of this
town are not generally remarkable for their beauty. There are some,
however, who would be admired even in Philadelphia, particularly the
wife of the governor; but they are all remarkable for the smallness of
their feet, and they dress their hair with a degree of taste in which
they could not be excelled by the ladies of Paris.

We arrived in the season of gaiety, and have been at several balls;
but their balls please me not!--Every body in the room dances a
minuet, which you may suppose is tedious enough; then follow the
country dances, which resemble the English, except that they are more
complicated and more fatiguing.

There are in this town eleven churches, all of them splendid, and the
number of priests is incredible! Many of them may be ranked among the
most worthless members of the community. It is not at all uncommon to
see them drunk in the street, or to hear of their having committed
the most shocking excesses. Some, however, are excellent men, who do
honour to their order and to human nature. But the thickest veil of
superstition covers the land, and it is rendered more impervious by the
clouds of ignorance in which the people are enveloped!

Clara, who speaks the language with the facility of a native, asked
some of her Spanish friends for books, but there was not one to be
found in the place. She complained some days ago of a head-ache, and a
Spanish lady gave her a ribbon, which had been bound round the head of
an image of the Virgin, telling her it was a sovereign remedy for all
pains of the head.

The bishop is a very young man and very handsome. We see him often at
church, where we go, attracted by the music. But one abominable custom
observed there, destroys our pleasure. The women kneel on carpets,
spread on the ground, and when they are fatigued, cross their legs, and
sit Turkish fashion; whilst the men loll at their ease on sofas. From
whence this subversion of the general order? Why are the women placed
in the churches at the feet of their slaves?

The lower classes of the people are the greatest thieves in the world,
and they steal with so much dexterity, that it is quite a science. The
windows are not glazed, but secured by wooden bars, placed very close
together. The Spaniards introduce between these bars long poles, which
have at one end a hook of iron, and thus steal every thing in the room,
even the sheets off the beds. The friars excel in this practice, and
conceal their booty in their large sleeves!

In the best houses and most wealthy families there is a contrast of
splendour and poverty which is shocking. Their beds and furniture are
covered with a profusion of gilding and clumsy ornaments, while the
slaves, who serve in the family, and even those who are about the
persons of the ladies, are in rags and filthy to the most disgusting

How different were the customs of St. Domingo! The slaves, who served
in the houses, were dressed with the most scrupulous neatness, and
nothing ever met the eye that could occasion an unpleasant idea.

The Spanish women are sprightly, and devoted to intrigue. Their
assignations are usually made at church. The processions at night,
and the masses celebrated before daylight, are very favourable to the
completion of their wishes, to which also their dress is well adapted.
They wear a black silk petticoat; their head is covered with a veil of
the same colour, that falls below the waist; and, this costume being
universal, and never changed, it is difficult to distinguish one woman
from another. A man may pass his own wife in the street without knowing
her. Their attachments are merely sensual. They are equally strangers
to the delicacy of affection or that refinement of passion which can
make any sacrifice the happiness of its object may require.

To the licentiousness of the people, more than to their extreme
poverty, may be attributed the number of children which are
continually exposed to perish in the street. Almost every morning, at
the door of one of the churches, and often at more than one, a new-born
infant is found. There is an hospital, where they are received, but
those who find them, are (if so disposed,) at liberty to keep them.
The unfortunate little beings who happen to fall into the hands of the
lower classes of the people, increase, during their childhood, the
throng of beggars, and augment, as they grow up, the number of thieves.

The heart recoils at the barbarity of a mother who can thus abandon her
child; but the custom, here, as in China, is sanctioned by habit, and
excites no horror!


_St. Jago de Cuba._

We have received no news from the Cape, my dear friend, but it is
generally expected that it will be evacuated, as several parts of the
island have been already.

This place is full of the inhabitants of that unfortunate country,
and the story of every family would offer an interesting and pathetic
subject to the pen of the novelist.

All have been enveloped in the same terrible fate, but with different
circumstances; all have suffered, but the sufferings of each individual
derive their hue from the disposition of his mind.

One catastrophe, which I witnessed, is dreadfully impressive! I saw
youth, beauty and affection sink to an untimely grave, without having
the power of softening the bitterness of their fate.

Madame C----, a native of Jeremie, had been sent by her husband to
Philadelphia, at the beginning of the revolution, where she continued
several years, devoting all her time to improving the mind and
cultivating the talents of her only child, the beautiful Clarissa.

Sometime after the arrival of the French fleet, Madame C----, and her
daughter returned to Jeremie. She had still all the charms of beauty,
all the bloom of youth. She was received by her husband with a want of
tenderness which chilled her heart, and she soon learned that he was
attached to a woman of colour on whom he lavished all his property.
This, you may suppose, was a source of mortification to Madame C----,
but she suffered in silence, and sought consolation in the bosom of her

When the troubles of Jeremie encreased, and it was expected every day
that it would be evacuated, Monsieur C---- resolved to remove to St.
Jago de Cuba. He sent his wife and child in one vessel, and embarked
with his mistress in another. Arriving nearly at the same time, he
took a house in the country, to which he retired with his superannuated
favourite, leaving his family in town, and in such distress that they
were often in want of bread.

Madame C----, too delicate to expose the conduct of her husband, or to
complain, concealed from her friends her wants and her grief.

A young Frenchman was deeply in love with her daughter, but his fortune
had been lost in the general wreck, and he had nothing to offer to the
object of his adoration except a heart glowing with tenderness. He made
Madame C---- the confidant of his affection. She was sensible of his
worth, and would willingly have made him the protector of her daughter,
had she not been struggling herself with all the horrors of poverty and
therefore thought it wrong to encourage his passion.

He addressed himself to her father, and this father was rich! He
lavished on his mistress all the comforts and elegancies of life,
yet refused to his family the scantiest pittance! He replied to the
proposal that his daughter might marry, but that it was impossible for
him to give her a shilling.

Clarissa heard the unfeeling sentence with calm despair. She had
just reached the age in which the affections of the heart develope
themselves. The beauty of her form was unequalled, and innocence,
candour, modesty, generosity, and heroism, were expressed with
ineffable grace in every attitude and every feature. Clarissa was
adored. Her lover was idolatrous. The woods, the dawning day, the
starry heavens, witnessed their mutual vows. The grass pressed by
her feet, the air she respired, the shade in which she reposed, were
consecrated by her presence.

Her mother marked, with pity, the progress of their mutual passion,
which she could not forbid, for her own heart was formed for
tenderness, nor could she sanction it, seeing no probability of its
being crowned with success. But the happiness of her daughter was her
only wish, and moved by her tears, her sighs, and the ardent prayers
of her lover, she at length consented to their union. They were
married and they were happy. But alas! a few days after their marriage
a fever seized Clarissa. The distracted husband flew to her father
who refused to send her the least assistance. She languished, and her
mother and her husband hung over her in all the bitterness of anguish.
The impossibility of paying a physician prevented their calling one,
till it was too late, and, ten days after she had become a wife, she
expired. I have held this disconsolate mother to my breast, my tears
have mingled with hers: all the ties that bound her to the world are
severed, and she wishes only for the moment that will put a period to
her existence, when she fondly hopes she may be again united to her
daughter. To the husband I have never uttered a word. His sorrow is
deep and gloomy. He avoids all conversation, and an attempt to console
him would be an insult on the sacredness of his grief. He has tasted
celestial joys. He has lost the object of his love, and henceforth the
earth is for him a desert.

For the brutal father there is no punishment. His conscience itself
inflicts none, for he expressed not the least regret when informed of
the fate of his daughter.

But when the story became known, the detestation his conduct excited
was so violent, that the friends of Madame C---- have caused her
to be separated from him, and obliged him to allow her a separate
maintenance. Unfortunately their interest has been exerted too late. A
few weeks sooner it might have saved her daughter.

How terrible is the fate of a woman thus dependent on a man who has
lost all sense of justice, reason, or humanity; who, regardless of his
duties, or the respect he owes society, leaves his wife to contend with
all the pains of want, and sees his child sink to an untimely grave,
without stretching forth a hand to assist the one or save the other!


_St. Jago de Cuba._

I write continually, my dear friend, though the fate of my letters
is very uncertain. If they arrive safe they will prove that I have
not forgotten you, and that I suffer no opportunity to pass without
informing you that I exist.

I understand that, after our departure from the Cape, the tyranny
of the general in chief encreased, and that the inhabitants were
daily exposed to new vexations. St. Louis, in particular, was the
distinguished object of his hatred. Eternally on guard at the most
dangerous posts, it was finally whispered that something, more
decidedly bad, was intended him, and he thought it was time to try to
escape from the threatening danger. Being informed of a vessel, that
was on the point of sailing, he prevailed on a fisherman to put him
outside of the fort in his boat, and wait till it came out, the captain
not daring to take him on board in the harbour. On the day appointed,
St. Louis, disguised as a fisherman, went into the boat, and, working
at the oar, they were soon beyond the fort. The vessel approached
shortly after, and St. Louis, embarking, thought himself out of danger.
As soon as they were in reach of the English ships they were boarded,
plundered and sent to Barracoa.

St. Louis had no trunk, nor any clothes but what were on him, in which
however was concealed gold to a great amount.

A gentleman, who left the Cape the day after him, informed us of his
escape, and of his having been sent to Barracoa, and also that, as soon
as the general had heard of his departure, he had sent three barges
after the vessel with orders to seize him, take him back, and, as soon
as he was landed, shoot him without further ceremony.

The whole town was in the greatest consternation. The barges were well
manned and gained on the vessel, but a light wind springing up put it
soon beyond their reach, and it was even believed that the officer, who
commanded the barges, did not use all possible diligence to overtake

We were rejoiced to hear of the fortunate escape of St. Louis but felt
some anxiety at his not arriving, when lo! he appeared and gave us
himself an account of his adventures.

He is in raptures with the governor of Barracoa, his charming wife and
the good father Philip, who, hearing that he was the husband of Clara,
shewed him the most friendly attention. He brought us from them letters
glowing with affectionate recollection.

He talks of buying a plantation and of settling here. If he does I
shall endeavour to return to the continent, but poor Clara! she weeps
when I speak of leaving her, and when I consider the loneliness to
which she will be condemned without me, I have almost heroism enough to
sacrifice my happiness to her comfort.

Before the arrival of St. Louis we lived in the house of the gentleman
to whose care he had recommended us. He is a widower, the most
cheerful creature in the world, but he lives in the times that
are past; all his stories are at least forty years old. He talks
continually of the mystification of Beaumarchais, and of the magic of
Cagliostro. He told me, with all the solemnity of truth, that a lady
at the court of France, who was past fifty, bought from Cagliostro,
at a great price, a liquid, a single drop of which would take off, in
appearance, ten years of age. The lady swallowed two drops, and went
to the opera with her charms renewed, and her bloom restored to the
freshness of thirty.--At her return she called her waiting woman, who
had been her nurse and was at least seventy. She was nowhere to be
found, but a little girl came skipping in. The lady, enquiring who
she was, learned that old Ursula, intending to try the effect of the
drops, had taken too large a dose, and was skipping about with all the
sprightliness of fifteen.

Nothing enrages the old gentleman so much as to doubt the truth of what
he relates, or even to question its probability. He assured me that he
knew the lady, and that he witnessed the effect of the drops on herself
and the chambermaid. As I can discover no purpose the invention of such
a tale would answer, I listen without reply, and almost suffer myself
to be persuaded of its reality.

Nothing can equal the unpleasantness of this town: it is built on the
declivity of a hill; the streets are not paved; and the soil, being of
white clay, the reflection is intolerable, and the heat insupportable.
The water is brought on mules, from a river three miles off, and is a
very expensive article. The women never walk, except to church, but
every evening they take the air in an open cabriolet, drawn by mules,
in which they exhibit their finery, and, not unfrequently, regale
themselves with a segar.

Every body smokes, at all times, and in all places; and from this
villanous custom arises perhaps, the badness of their teeth, which is

The American consul, who has lived here many years, says that the
people are much improved since he resided among them. At his arrival
there was not a gown in the place. They are now generally worn.

This old consul is the greatest beau in the place. He gives agreeable
parties, and makes love to every body, but I believe with little
success. His very appearance would put all the loves to flight.


_St. Jago de Cuba._

The French emigrants begin to seek in their talents some resource
from the frightful poverty to which they are reduced, but meet with
very little encouragement. The people here are generally poor, and
unaccustomed to expensive pleasures. A company of comedians are
building a theatre; and some subscription balls have been given, at
which the Spanish ladies were quite eclipsed by the French belles,
notwithstanding their losses.

Madame D----, of Jeremie, who plays and sings divinely, gave a concert,
which was very brilliant.

The French women are certainly charming creatures in society. The
cheerfulness with which they bear misfortune, and the industry they
employ to procure themselves a subsistence, cannot be sufficiently
admired. I know ladies who from their infancy were surrounded by
slaves, anticipating their slightest wishes, now working from the dawn
of day till midnight to support themselves and their families. Nor do
they even complain, nor vaunt their industry, nor think it surprising
that they possess it. Their neatness is worthy of admiration, and their
taste gives to their attire an air of fashion which the expensive,
but ill-chosen, ornaments of the Spanish ladies cannot attain. With
one young lady I am particularly acquainted whose goodness cannot be
sufficiently admired. Ah! Eliza, how shall I describe thy sweetness,
thy fidelity, thy devotion to a suffering friend. Why am I not rich
that I could place thee in a situation where thy virtues might be
known, thy talents honoured. Alas! I never so deeply regret my own want
of power as when reflecting that I am unable to be useful to you.

This amiable girl was left by her parents, who went to Charleston at
the beginning of the revolution, to the care of an aunt, who was very
rich, and without children. At the evacuation of Port-au-Prince, that
lady embarked for this place. Her husband died on the passage; and they
were robbed of every thing they possessed by an English privateer. The
father of Eliza wrote for them to join him in Carolina; but the ill
health of madame L---- would not suffer her to undertake the voyage,
and Eliza will not hear of leaving her, but works day and night to
procure for her aunt the comforts her situation requires. She is young,
beautiful and accomplished. She wastes her bloom over the midnight
lamp, and sacrifices her health and her rest to soothe the sufferings
of her infirm relation. Her patience and mildness are angelic. Where
will such virtues meet their reward? Certainly not in this country; and
she is held here by the ties of gratitude and affection which, to a
heart like hers, are indissoluble.

In the misfortunes of my French friends, I see clearly exemplified the
advantages of a good education. Every talent, even if possessed in a
slight degree of perfection, may be a resource in a reverse of fortune;
and, though I liked not entirely their manner, whilst surrounded by
the festivity and splendour of the Cape, I now confess that they excite
my warmest admiration. They bear adversity with cheerfulness, and
resist it with fortitude. In the same circumstances I fear I should be
inferior to them in both. But in this country, slowly emerging from a
state of barbarism, what encouragement can be found for industry or
talents? The right of commerce was purchased by the Catalonians, who
alone exercise it, and agriculture is destroyed in consequence of the
restraints imposed on it by the government. The people are poor, and
therefore cannot possess talents whose acquisition is beyond their
reach; but they are temperate, even to a proverb, and so hospitable
that the poorest among them always find something to offer to a
stranger. At the same time they are said to be false, treacherous, and
revengeful, to the highest degree. Certainly there are here no traces
of that magnanimous spirit, which once animated the Spanish cavalier,
who was considered by the whole world as a model of constancy,
tenderness and heroism.

They feel for the distressed, because they are poor; and are hospitable
because they know want. In every other respect this is a degenerate
race, possessing none of the qualities of the Spaniards of old except
jealousy, which is often the cause of tragical events.

A young gentleman of this place fell in love with a beautiful girl
who rejected him because she was secretly attached to another. Her
lover was absent; and she feared to avow her passion lest his rival
might use some means to destroy him, for she knew he was cruel and
vindictive; but her lover returning, she declared her attachment, and
declined receiving the visits of him who had pretended to her hand.
A few evenings previous to that fixed on for her marriage, she was
returning from church with her mother, when at the door of her house a
man, wrapped in a large cloak, seized her arm, and plunging a dagger
in her breast, fled, leaving her lifeless on the ground. The cries of
her affrighted mother brought people to her assistance, but the blow
was directed by a secure hand; she breathed no more. Every body was
convinced that the perpetrator of this abominable act was her rejected
lover; but, as no proofs existed, the law could not interfere. Shortly
after he was found dead in the street; and probably it was the hand of
him he had driven to despair, that inflicted the punishment due to his

Nothing is more common than such events. They excite little attention,
and are seldom enquired into. How different is this from the peaceful
security of the country in which I first drew breath, and to which I so
ardently, but I fear hopelessly, desire to return.


_St. Jago de Cuba._

General Rochambeau, after having made a shameful capitulation with the
negroes, has evacuated the Cape. He presented his superb horses to
Dessalines, and then embarked with his suite, and all the inhabitants
who chose to follow him, intending to fight his way through the British
ships. They were, however, soon overpowered and taken. The English
admiral would not admit the general in chief into his presence. He has
been sent to Jamaica, from whence he will be transported to England.

Many of the inhabitants of the Cape have arrived here, after having
lost every thing they possessed. Numbers have remained. After the
articles of capitulation were signed three days were allowed for the
evacuation, during which the negroes entered the town, and were so
civil and treated the inhabitants with so much kindness and respect,
that many who had embarked their effects, allured by the prospect
of making a fortune rapidly, paid great sums to have them relanded,
supposing they would be protected as they had been in the time of
Toussaint. But in less than a week they found that they had flattered
themselves with false hopes. A proclamation was issued by Dessalines,
in which every white man was declared an enemy of the _indigenes_,
as they call themselves, and their colour alone deemed sufficient to
make them hated and to devote them to destruction. The author of this
eloquent production, a white man, became himself the first sacrifice.

The destined victims were assembled in a public square, where they were
slaughtered by the negroes with the most unexampled cruelty. One brave
man, who had often distinguished himself in the defence of the Cape,
and who had been weak enough to stay in it, seized with desperate fury
the sword of one of the negroes, and killing several, at length fell,
overpowered by numbers. A few were preserved from this day's massacre
by their slaves. Some were concealed by the American merchants, though
it was very dangerous to venture on such benevolent actions. One vessel
was searched, and several inhabitants being found on board, they were
taken and hanged. The mate of the vessel, though an American, shared
their fate. The captain saved himself by declaring that he was ignorant
of their being on board. Major B----, whom I have so often mentioned,
had also the folly to stay. One of his slaves concealed him on the day
of the massacre, and, shut up in a hogshead, he was put on board an
American vessel. After many perilous adventures he has arrived here,
and relates scenes which cannot be thought of without horror.

The women have not yet been killed; but they are exposed to every kind
of insult, are driven from their houses, imprisoned, sent to work on
the public roads; in fine, nothing can be imagined more dreadful than
their situation.

Two amiable girls, whom I knew, hung to the neck of their father when
the negroes seized him. They wept and entreated these monsters to spare
him; but he was torn rudely from their arms. The youngest, attempting
to follow him, received a blow on the head with a musquet which laid
her lifeless on the ground. The eldest, frantic with terror, clung to
her father, when a ruthless negro pierced her with his bayonet, and she
fell dead at his feet. The hapless father gave thanks to God that his
unfortunate children had perished before him, and had not been exposed
to lingering suffering's and a more dreadful fate.

Some ladies have found protectors in the American merchants, who
conceal them in their stores. Some have been saved by the British
officers; but the greatest number have been driven into the streets,
and many are forced to carry on their heads baskets of cannon balls
from the arsenal to the fosset, a distance of at least three miles.

I enquired after a most accomplished and exemplary woman, who with
three beautiful daughters remained at the Cape after the evacuation,
and I have wept at the story of their sufferings till I am unable to
relate them.

What could have induced these infatuated people to confide in the
promises of the negroes? Yet to what will not people submit to avoid
the horrors of poverty, or allured by the hope of making a rapid

During the reign of Toussaint the white inhabitants had been generally
respected, and many of them, engaging in commerce, had accumulated
money which they sent to the United States, where they are now living
at their ease. Even at the arrival of the French fleet, the lives of
the people, except in a few solitary instances, had been spared. These
considerations had without doubt great weight, but alas! how soon were
their hopes blasted, and how dearly have they paid for their credulity.
Yet even these monsters, thirsting after blood, and unsated with
carnage, preserved from among the devoted victims those whose talents
could be useful to themselves. A printer and several artists have been
suffered to live, but are closely guarded, and warned that their lives
will be the forfeit of the first attempt to escape. With the sword
suspended over their heads they still cherish perhaps a secret hope of
eluding the vigilance of their savage masters.


_St. Jago de Cuba._

Madame G----, a native of the Gonaives, having lost her husband at the
beginning of the revolution, left St. Domingo, and sought a retreat
from the horrors that ravaged that devoted island in the peaceful
obscurity of Barracoa. Three infant daughters cheered her solitude; and
she found in cultivating their minds a never failing source of delight.
Some faithful slaves who had followed her, supplied by their industry
her wants. The beauty of her person, the elegance of her manners and
the propriety of her conduct, rendered her the admiration of all
who beheld her, whilst her benevolence, which shared with the poor
the scanty pittance she possessed, made her the idol of those whose
wants she relieved. Thus she lived, contented, if not happy, till the
arrival of the French army at St. Domingo recalled its inhabitants to
their deserted homes.

Madame G----, lured by the hope of reinstating her children in their
paternal inheritance, left Barracoa, followed by the blessings and
regret of all to whom she was known. On arriving at the Cape she found
a heap of ashes, and shuddered with horror at the dreary aspect of her
native country. But she viewed her children, recollected that on her
exertions they depended, and determined to sacrifice every thought of
comfort to their advancement. Some houses she owned in the Cape, upon
being rebuilt, promised to yield her a handsome revenue; and she passed
in anxious expectation the time during which the army kept possession
of the Cape. At length the moment of the evacuation arrived, and the
wretched Creoles were again reduced to the dreadful alternative of
perishing with want in foreign countries, or of becoming victims to
the rage of the exasperated negroes in their own. Whilst Madame G----
hesitated, she received a letter from one of the black chiefs, who had
been a slave to her mother. He advised her not to think of leaving the
country; assured her that it was the intention of Dessalines to protect
all the white inhabitants who put confidence in him, and that herself
and her children would be particularly respected. The dread of poverty
in a strange country with three girls, the eldest of whom was only
fifteen, induced her to stay. Many others, with less reason to expect
protection, followed her example.

When the time allowed for the evacuation had expired, the negroes
entered as masters. During the first days reigned a deceitful calm
which was followed by a dreadful storm.

The proclamation of Dessalines, mentioned in my last letter was
published. Armed negroes entered the houses and drove the inhabitants
into the streets. The men were led to prison, the women were loaded
with chains. The unfortunate madame G----, chained to her eldest
daughter, and the two youngest chained together, thus toiled, exposed
to the sun, from earliest dawn to setting day, followed by negroes
who, on the least appearance of faintness, drove them forward with
whips. A fortnight later the general massacre took place, but the four
hopeless beings of whom I particularly write, were not led to the field
of slaughter. They were kept closely guarded, without knowing for what
fate they were reserved, expecting every moment to hear their final
sentence. They were sitting one day in mournful silence, when the door
of their prison opened, and the chief, whose letter had induced them to
stay, appeared. He saluted madame G---- with great familiarity, told
her it was to his orders she owed her life, and said he would continue
his friendship and protection if she would give him her eldest daughter
in marriage. The wretched mother caught the terrified Adelaide, who
sunk fainting into her arms. The menacing looks of the negro became
more horrible. He advanced to seize the trembling girl. Touch her not,
cried the frantic mother; death will be preferable to such protection.
Turning coldly from her he said, You shall have your choice. A few
minutes after a guard seized the mother and the two youngest daughters
and carried them out, leaving the eldest insensible on the floor. They
were borne to a gallows which had been erected before their prison,
and immediately hanged. Adelaide was then carried to the house of the
treacherous chief, who informed her of the fate of her mother, and
asked her if she would consent to become his wife? ah! no, she replied,
let me follow my mother. A fate more dreadful awaited her. The monster
gave her to his guard, who hung her by the throat on an iron hook in
the market place, where the lovely, innocent, unfortunate victim slowly


_St. Jago de Cuba._

I finished my last letter abruptly, my dear friend, but a good
opportunity offered of sending it, and the story of madame G---- had so
affected me that I could think of nothing else.

St. Louis is determined to buy a plantation here, and establish himself
on it till he can return to St. Domingo. His old disease has seized
him with fresh violence, and he intends to carry his wife beyond the
reach of men. He is jealous of an interesting Spaniard who has lately
been very assiduous towards my sister; and who is, I believe, much
more dangerous than the redoubted general Rochambeau. His person is
perfectly elegant; his face beautiful; his large black eyes seem to
speak every emotion of his soul, but I believe they express only what
he pleases. Clara listens to him, and looks at him as if she was fully
sensible of his advantages, and frequently holds long conversations
with him in his own language, which, if gestures deceive not, are on
no uninteresting subject. But I hope, and would venture to assert,
that she will never, to escape from the domestic ills she suffers,
put her happiness in the power of a Spaniard. She is violent in her
attachments, and precipitate in her movements, but she cannot, will
not, be capable of committing such an unpardonable act of folly. All
idea of her going to the continent is abandoned; and when I only
breathe a hint of leaving her, she betrays such agony that I yield and
promise to stay; yet I render her little service, and destroy myself,
being wearied of this place, which has no charm after the gloss of
novelty is gone, and that has been long since worn off.

A company of French comedians had built a theatre here, and obtained
permission from the governor to perform. They played with eclat,
and always to crowded houses. The Spaniards were delighted. The
decorations, the scenery, above all the representation of the sea,
appeared to them the effect of magic. But the charm was suddenly
dissolved by an order from the bishop to close the theatre, saying,
that it tended to corrupt the morals of the inhabitants. Nothing can
be more ridiculous, for the inhabitants of this island have long since
reached the last degree of corruption; devoted to every species of
vice, guilty of every crime, and polluted by the continued practice of
every species of debauchery. But it is supposed the order was issued to
vex the governor, with whom the bishop is at variance, and the orders
of the latter are indisputable. It is impossible for him not to know
that even the vices of the French lose much of their deformity by the
refinement that accompanies them, whilst those of his countrymen are
gross, disgusting, and monstrously flagrant. Gaming is their ruling
passion; from morning till night, from night till morning, the men are
at the gaming table. They all wear daggers, and a night very seldom
passes without being marked by an assassination, of which no notice
is taken. The women have recourse to intrigue, sipping chocolate, or
reciting prayers on their rosaries. The custom is to dine at twelve,
then to sleep till three, and this is the hour favourable to amorous
adventures. Whilst the mother, the husband or the guardian sleeps, the
lover silently approaches the window of his mistress, and in smothered
accents breathes his passion. It is not at all uncommon to see priests
so employed; nor are there more dangerous enemies to female virtue, or
domestic tranquillity, than these pretended servants of the Lord.

I was at first shocked beyond measure, at their licentiousness, for
I had been taught to consider priests as immaculate beings; but when
I reflect that they are men, and doomed to an unnatural condition,
I pardon their aberrations, and abhor only their filth, which is
abominable. Consider how agreeable a monk must be in this hot country,
clothed in woollen, without a shirt, without stockings, and his legs
so dirty that their colour cannot be distinguished, to which is added
a long beard; and yet these creatures are favourites with women of all
ranks and all descriptions.

There are many religious orders here, among which the Franciscan friars
are the richest, and they are also the most irregular in their conduct.
They had begun, a number of years since, to build a church, which
they were obliged to discontinue for want of funds. Shortly after our
arrival here the wife of a very rich merchant fell dangerously ill.
When her life was despaired of by the physicians, she made a vow to St.
Francis, that if she recovered, she would finish his church. The saint,
it seems, was propitious, for she was restored to health, and her
husband instantly performed the promise of his wife, which has cost him
a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The church was consecrated last
week, with great pomp and due solemnity. The lady, who is certainly
very beautiful, assisted at the ceremony, covered with diamonds, and
displaying in her dress almost regal splendour. She kneeled on the
steps of the great altar, and more than shared the adoration offered to
the saint by the admiring multitude.

Half the money expended in this pious work would have raised thousands
of the inhabitants of this place, who are in the greatest want, to
comparative ease. But it would not if thus employed, have had such an
effect on the minds of the people; nor would the lady have had any hope
of becoming herself a saint, an honour to which she aspires, and which
she may perhaps attain.


_St. Jago de Cuba._

Clara and her husband are separated for ever! St. Louis is frantic, and
I am distressed beyond measure. My heart is torn with anxiety for her
fate, and I shall know no tranquillity till I hear that she is at least
content. Being acquainted with many of the circumstances which led to
this event, I pity and pardon her. As for the world, its sentence is
already pronounced, and she will be condemned by those who possess not
a thousandth part of her virtues. Her husband spares neither pains nor
expense in searching after her retreat; but, though I am absolutely
ignorant of it, I believe she is beyond his reach. His house is so
disagreeable to me, since she left it, and the wry faces made by all
our friends, seeming to involve me in the scandal occasioned by her
elopement, excite such unpleasant sensations that it will be impossible
for me to remain here. Therefore I shall leave this place immediately
with a lady who is going to establish herself in Jamaica. I have always
desired to see that island, and there I intend to stay till I have some
positive information of Clara. If she is gone to the continent I shall
follow her immediately; if she is in Cuba my friendship, my presence
will console her, and they shall not be wanting. One of my friends,
a man of intelligence and discretion, has promised to find her, if
possible, and has promised also not to betray her, for she must never
be restored to the power of her husband. Far from being an advocate for
the breach of vows so sacred as those which bound her to St. Louis, I
have always expressed with unqualified warmth, my disapprobation of the
levity of many women who had abandoned their husbands. But there are
circumstances which palliate error. Many of those which led to Clara's
elopement plead for her; but if she has sought protection with another,
if she will not accompany me, my heart renounces her, and she will no
longer have a sister.

We sail in three days. St. Louis makes no objection to my going, and
I leave Cuba without regret, for in it I have never been happy. Write
to me at Kingston. Never was the assurance of your friendship more
necessary to my heart than at this moment.


_Kingston, Jamaica._

We arrived at Kingston after a passage of twenty-four hours. On
entering the harbour our little vessel, as it passed near the admiral's
ship, appeared like an ant at the foot of a mountain. Nothing is more
delightful than the bustle and continual movement that strikes the eye
on entering this port. Innumerable boats are continually plying round
the vessels, offering for sale all the fruits of the season. I like the
town. There is an air of neatness in the houses which I have no where
seen since I left my own country; but the streets are detestable; none
of them are paved, and at every step you sink ankle deep in sand.

I have found numbers of my French friends here, and among others madame
M----, who was more than gallant at the Cape, and who at St. Jago
appeared not insensible to the pleasure of being loved. She left her
sister in a fit of jealousy and went to Jamaica, hoping to captivate
some Englishman, or at least to rival him in his attachment to roast
beef and Madeira. But it seems she has been disappointed, no lover
having yet offered his homage to her robust attractions. She accuses
them of wanting taste, and hates the place and all who inhabit it.

I have also met here my little friend Coralie, whose adventures since I
parted with her at the Cape, have been distressing and romantic.

Her mother and herself had been persuaded to remain at the Cape, after
the evacuation, by a brother on whom they entirely depended, and
who, seduced by the hope of making a fortune, staid and shared the
melancholy fate of the white inhabitants of that place. Coralie and her
sister were concealed by an American merchant in his store, among sacks
of coffee and boxes of sugar. Their mother had been led, with the rest
of the women, to the field of slaughter.

The benevolent man who concealed these unfortunate girls at the risk
of his life, after some weeks had elapsed, and the vigilance of the
negroes a little relaxed, entreated the captain of an English frigate
to receive them on board his vessel, to which he readily agreed.
Disguised in sailors' clothes, and carrying baskets of provisions
on their heads, they followed the captain to the sea side. As they
approached the guard placed on the wharf to examine all that embarked,
they trembled, and involuntarily drew back. But their brave protector
told them that it was too late to recede and that he would defend them
with his life. As the English were on the best terms with the negroes,
the supposed boys were suffered to pass. On entering the ship the
captain congratulated them on their escape, and Coralie, overpowered by
a variety of sensations, fainted in the arms of her generous protector.

A few days after, they sailed for Jamaica. On entering Port Royal,
the frigate was driven against a small vessel, and so damaged it,
that it appeared to be sinking. The boat was instantly hoisted out,
and the captain of the frigate went himself to the assistance of the
sufferers. The passengers and crew jumped into the boat, and were
making off, when the screams of a female were heard from below, and it
was recollected that there was a sick lady in the cabin. The English
captain descended, brought her up in his arms, and put her in the boat.
Then, saying that the vessel was not so much injured as they imagined,
ordered some of his people to assist him in saving many things that lay
at hand. Four sailors jumped on board, and followed their commander to
the cabin, where they had scarcely descended, when the vessel suddenly
filled and sunk. They were irrecoverably lost.

Coralie, standing on the deck of the frigate, beheld this catastrophe,
saw perish the man to whom she owed her life, and whose subsequent
kindness had won her heart.

The lady found in the sinking vessel was her mother, who had
escaped almost miraculously from the Cape, fully persuaded that her
daughters existed no longer. The joy of their meeting was damped by
the melancholy fate of their deliverer, which has been universally

The scenes of barbarity, which these girls have witnessed at the
Cape, are almost incredible. The horror, however, which I felt on
hearing an account of them, has been relieved by the relation of some
more honourable to human nature. In the first days of the massacre,
when the negroes ran through the town killing all the white men they
encountered, a Frenchman was dragged from the place of his concealment
by a ruthless mulatto, who, drawing his sabre, bade him prepare to die.
The trembling victim raised a supplicating look, and the murderer,
letting fall his uplifted arm, asked if he had any money. He replied,
that he had none; but that if he would conduct him to the house of an
American merchant he might probably procure any sum he might require.
The mulatto consented, and when they entered the house, the Frenchman
with all the energy of one pleading for his life, entreated the
American to lend him a considerable sum. The gentleman he addressed
was too well acquainted with the villainy of the negroes to trust to
their word. He told the mulatto, that he would give the two thousand
dollars demanded, but not till the Frenchman was embarked in a vessel
which was going to sail in a few days for Philadelphia, and entirely
out of danger. The mulatto refused. The unfortunate Frenchman wept, and
the American kept firm. While they were disputing, a girl of colour,
who lived with the American, entered, and having learned the story,
employed all her eloquence to make the mulatto relent. She sunk at
his feet, and pressed his hands which were reeking with blood. Dear
brother, she said, spare for my sake this unfortunate man. He never
injured you; nor will you derive any advantage from his death, and by
saving him, you will acquire the sum you demand, and a claim to his
gratitude. She was beautiful; she wept, and beauty in tears has seldom
been resisted. Yet this unrelenting savage did resist; and swore,
with bitter oaths to pursue all white men with unremitting fury. The
girl, however, hung to him, repeated her solicitations, and offered
him, in addition to the sum proposed, all her trinkets, which were of
considerable value.

The mulatto, enraged, asked if the Frenchman was any thing to her?
Nothing, she replied; I never saw him before; but to save the life of
an innocent person how trifling would appear the sacrifice I offer.
She continued her entreaties in the most caressing tone, which for
some time had no effect, when softening all at once, he said, I will
not deprive you of your trinkets, nor is it for the sum proposed that
I relent, but for you alone, for to you I feel that I can refuse
nothing. He shall be concealed, and guarded by myself till the moment
of embarking; but, when he is out of danger, you must listen to me in
your turn.

She heard him with horror; but, dissembling, said there would be always
time enough to think of those concerns. She was then too much occupied
by the object before her.

The American, who stood by and heard this proposal, made to one to whom
he was extremely attached, felt disposed to knock the fellow down,
but the piteous aspect of the almost expiring Frenchman withheld his
hand. He gave the mulatto a note for the money he had demanded, on the
conditions before mentioned, and the Frenchman was faithfully concealed
till the vessel was ready to sail, and then embarked.

When he was gone, the mulatto called on the girl, and offering her the
note, told her that he had accepted it as a matter of form, but that
he now gave it to her; and reminded her of the promise she had made to
listen to his wishes. Her lover entering at that moment told him that
the vessel was then out of the harbour, and that his money was ready.
He took it, and thus being in the power of the American gentleman,
who had great weight with Dessalines, he probably thought it best to
relinquish his projects on the charming Zuline, for she heard of him no

The same girl was the means of saving many others, and the accounts I
have heard of her kindness and generosity oblige me to think of her
with unqualified admiration.


_Kingston, Jamaica._

I pass my time agreeably enough here, though I am obliged to stay in a
boarding house till madame L---- can be fixed in her own. A few days
ago a Spanish sloop of war was captured by a British frigate, and
brought into Jamaica. The officers were suffered to land, and came to
lodge in the house where I stay. When called to dinner I was surprized
at finding myself among a group of strangers. As the mistress of the
house never dines at table, and madame L---- was abroad, I would have
retreated, but curiosity prompted me to remain.

The Spanish captain is an elderly man of most respectable appearance.
All the rest are young, full of spirits, and two of them remarkably
beautiful. Taking it for granted that I was French, and not imagining
I could understand their language, as soon as they were seated at
table they indulged very freely in their remarks on myself. One said
I was not pretty; another, that I was interesting; another, that I
resembled somebody he had seen before; and one elegant young man, who
sat next me, having brushed his arm against mine made in Spanish an
apology, which I appeared not to understand. He then asked me if I
spoke English? I shook my head; and he observed to his companions,
that he had never so much regretted his ignorance of the French. They
laughed; and he continued lamenting the impossibility of making himself
understood. After dinner I withdrew, and having been engaged by Coralie
to pass the evening at her house, I forgot the strangers, and thought
of them no more till the next morning at breakfast, where they were
all assembled, and where madame L---- related to me an adventure she
had met with the day before. She spoke English, and as I was answering
her my eyes met those of the young officer, and his look covered me
with confusion. Ah! he said, you speak English, and were cruel enough
to refuse holding converse with a stranger and a prisoner. I speak
so little, I replied. No, no, he cried, your accent is not foreign;
I could almost swear that it is your native language. He looked at
the others with an air of triumph; and the one who had said I was not
pretty, observed, that he was glad I did not speak Spanish; but I
understand it perfectly, I answered in the same language.

He looked petrified; and the old captain was delighted. He made many
inquiries after his friends at Cuba, with all of whom I was acquainted.
The young officer who speaks English, is by birth an Irishman. He
entered the Spanish service at the age of fifteen; had been several
years at Lima; had returned to Europe, and was on his way to Vera Cruz
when they were taken by the English. With him my heart claimed kindred,
for in every Irishman I fancy I behold a brother and a friend. His
manners are elegant and interesting beyond expression. There is an
appearance of sadness in his face, which heightens the interest his
fine form creates; and if I had an unoccupied heart, and he a heart to
offer, I believe we should soon forget that he is a prisoner and I a

I have learned from him, that on his arrival at Lima, he was lodged in
the house of a gentleman who had a beautiful daughter. She was a widow,
though very young. The seclusion in which the ladies of this county
live rendered such a companion as Don Carlos doubly dangerous, and the
beauty and sweetness of Donna Angelina, made an indelible impression on
his heart. Their mutual passion was soon acknowledged; but obstacles,
which appeared insurmountable, seemed to deprive them even of hope.

Angelina had inherited the immense fortune left by her husband, on
condition of remaining a widow. Her father was very rich, but avarice
was his ruling passion. He had sacrificed his only child at the age of
thirteen to an old man, merely because he was wealthy, and there was no
reason to expect that he would suffer her to abandon the fortune she
had so dearly acquired, and marry a man who had no inheritance but
his sword. Though these considerations cast a cloud over their mutual
prospects, they still cherished their mutual affection, and hoped that
some fortunate event would at length render them happy. The father of
Angelina never suspected the situation of his daughter's heart, and her
intercourse with Don Carlos was without restraint. Delightful moments
of visionary happiness how quickly ye passed; delivering in your flight
two victims to the gripe of despair!

A new viceroy arrived from Spain and Angelina was obliged to appear at
a ball given to celebrate his entry into Lima.

She danced with Don Carlos, and her beauty, eclipsing all other beauty,
attracted universal notice, but particularly that of the viceroy, who
went the next day to offer at her feet the homage of his adoration.
She received him coldly, but the father was transported with joy,
and when, a few days after, the viceroy demanded her hand, without
hesitation favoured his suit. Angelina declined, and acquainted him
with the conditions on which she inherited her husband's wealth, and
her resolution to remain a widow. He told her that his own fortune was
more than sufficient to replace that he wished her to sacrifice, but
her evident aversion raised a suspicion of other reasons than those she
avowed, and his jealous watchfulness soon discovered her attachment to
Don Carlos. He informed her father of his discovery, who, furious at
seeing his hopes of aggrandizing his family thwarted by a boy, forbad
all intercourse between them.

The means employed by the viceroy to separate them were still more
effectual. A vessel was on the point of sailing for Spain, and Don
Carlos received orders to embark instantly to bear dispatches of
importance to the court. Resistance would have been vain. He sailed
without being permitted to see the object he had so long adored.

When he arrived in Spain, he learned that his rival had taken every
precaution to prevent his return to Lima. Fortunately he knew the heart
of his Angelina, and felt assured that the hopes of that detested rival
would never be crowned with success; nor was he disappointed.

She had been deprived by her father and the viceroy of the man she
loved, but their power extended no farther. There was an asylum to
which she could retreat from their tyranny; that asylum was a convent.
She entered one, took the vows, and gave her immense fortune to the
society of which she became a member.

On the eve of entering the convent she wrote to Don Carlos, informing
him of her intention; of the impossibility of preserving herself for
him, and her determination never to belong to another. He received this
letter the day on which he sailed for Vera Cruz, and I believe, does
not regret being a prisoner, since he has found in the place of his
captivity a kind being who listens to his tale of sorrows and seeks to
pour the balm of consolation into his wounded heart.

He amuses me continually with his stories of Lima; describing the
splendour of its palaces, the magnificence of its churches, filled with
golden saints and silver angels, and the beautiful women with which it
abounds. He tells me there can be nothing more fascinating than their
manners; nor more singular and picturesque than their dress, which
consists of a petticoat, reaching no lower than the knee, and a veil
that covers the head and waist, but through which a pretty face is
often shewn in a most bewitching manner. At the same time I perceive
that he talks on every subject with reluctance, except on that nearest
his heart; and when speaking of this, he seems animated by all the
energy of despair.

I have heard of Clara by a person just arrived from Cuba, and have
written to her. My heart is torn with anxiety for her fate, and
will remain a stranger to repose till I receive more satisfactory
intelligence. I fear she was not born to be at ease. She lives
continually in an ideal world. Her enthusiastic imagination filled
with forms which it creates at pleasure, cherishes a romantic hope of
visionary happiness which never can be realized.

Yet with all my fine sentiments of correctness and propriety, and
the duty of content and resignation, my heart refuses to condemn her
for having left her husband. Never was there any thing more directly
opposite than the soul of Clara, and that of the man to whom she
was united. Their tempers, their dispositions, were absolutely
incompatible. And should I abandon this poor girl to misfortune? should
I leave her to perish among strangers? ah! no, she is twined round my
heart, and I love her with more than a sister's affection. As soon as I
hear from her again, you shall be informed of my intentions. If I can
induce her to return with me to Philadelphia, in rejoining you I shall
think myself no longer unhappy.



_Kingston, Jamaica._

I have received the message, sent me by Anselmo, my dear Clara, and my
joy at hearing of your welfare, made me forget for a moment, the many
causes you have given me of complaint. Yet what more have I learned
than that you exist? of all that concerns you I remain ignorant. Unkind
Clara! thus you repay my friendship! thus console me for all the
solicitude I have felt for you! To have staid with St. Louis, after
you left him, was not possible, for he did not conceal his suspicions
of my having been in your secret, nor could I find in Cuba an eligible
retreat; for all my friends were his, and all disposed to condemn you.
I accepted therefore, with pleasure, the offer made by Madame L----,
to take me with her to Jamaica.

Write to me, my dear sister, immediately. Tell me every thing. Does not
your heart require the affectionate sympathy it has been accustomed
to receive from mine? Can you live without me?--without me who have
followed you, and love you with an affection so tender? Dearest Clara,
speak, and I will fly to you! Means shall be found to return to
Philadelphia, where, in peaceful obscurity we may live, free from the
cares which have tormented you, and filled myself with anxiety.

Anselmo will be careful of your letter. Write fully, and remember that
you are writing to more than a sister; to a friend, who loves you, who
adores your virtues, and who pardons, while she weeps, your faults!


TO MARY ----.

_Bayam, 20 leagues from St. Jago._

I know your heart, my dear Mary! On the affection which glows for me
in that heart, I have counted for the pardon of my errors, and your
letter convinces me that I have not been deceived. You know, for you
witnessed, my domestic infelicity; yet, how many of my pains did I not
conceal, to spare you the anguish of lamenting sorrows which you could
not alleviate!

St. Louis, after his arrival at St. Jago, had connected himself with
a company of gamesters, and with them passed all his time.--Often
returning at a late hour from the gaming table, he has treated me
with the most brutal violence,--this you never knew; nor many things
which passed in the loneliness of my chamber, where, wholly in his
power, I could only oppose to his brutality my tears and my sighs. To
his intolerable and groundless jealousy at Cape Francois you were no
stranger: it embittered my days. Since our arrival in this island it
increased. In every man that approached me he saw a rival! and the more
amiable the object, the more terrible were his apprehensions.

He became acquainted, at some of the haunts of gaming, with Don Alonzo
de P---- and brought him to our house, but, when his visits had been
repeated two or three times, all the tortures of jealousy were awakened
in the breast of St. Louis.

If I received this young stranger with pleasure, it was because I found
him interesting. If I avoided him it was an acknowledgement of his

He had insisted on my learning the Spanish language, yet if I spoke in
that language it was to express sentiments I sought to conceal from
him. How often, in the bitterness of anguish, have I thought that the
direst poverty would be preferable to the ease I had purchased at the
expence of my peace! but alas! the colour of my fate was fixed,--I
was united to St. Louis by bonds which I had been taught to consider
sacred, and, though my heart shuddered at the life-long tie, yet I
always recoiled with horror from the idea of breaking it.--That tie
however is broken; those bonds are dissolved! and there is no fate so
dreadful to which I would not submit, rather than have them renewed.

Believe me when I assure you that my flight was not premeditated. It is
true, the eloquent eyes of Don Alonzo often spoke volumes, but I never
appeared to understand their language, nor did a look of encouragement
ever escape me. For some days previous to my elopement the ill humour
of St. Louis had been intolerable. My wearied soul sunk beneath the
torments I endured and death would have been preferable to such a state
of existence. The night before I left him he came home in a transport
of fury, dragged me from my bed, said it was his intention to destroy
me, and swore that he would render me horrible by rubbing aqua-fortis
in my face. This last menace deprived me of the power of utterance;
to kill me would have been a trifling evil, but to live disfigured,
perhaps blind, was an insufferable idea and roused me to madness. I
passed the night in speechless agony. The only thought I dwelt on was,
how to escape from this monster, and, at break of day, I was still
sitting, as if rendered motionless by his threats. From this stupor I
was roused by his caresses, or rather by his brutal approaches, for
he always finds my person provoking, and often, whilst pouring on my
head abuse which would seem dictated by the most violent hatred, he
has sought in my arms gratifications which should be solicited with
affection, and granted to love alone.

You must recollect my unusual sadness that day; for well do I remember
the kind efforts you made to divert me.

I awaited the approach of night with gloomy impatience, determined that
the dawn of day should not find me beneath that hated roof. When I
left you in the evening it was with difficulty I restrained my tears.
My heart was breaking at the idea of being separated from you, if not
forever at least for a considerable time, and the thought of the pain
my flight would occasion you almost determined me to relinquish it.

But St. Louis was in my chamber, and his presence dispelled every idea,
except that of avoiding it forever. After seeing me undressed, he
left me, as usual, to pass the greatest part of the night abroad. His
vigilant guard, the faithful Madelaine, lay down near the door of my
apartment, and I, taking a book, appeared to read. At eleven o'clock I
knew by her breathing that she was asleep.

Taking off my shoes, I passed her softly--opened the door that leads
into the garden, and was instantly in the street.

The moments were precious, for I had the whole town to pass, in order
to gain the road to _Cobre_, where I intended to request an asylum of
Madame V----.

I flew with the rapidity of lightning, nor stopped to breathe till I
had passed the town. Beginning to ascend the mountain, I paused, and
leaning against a tree, reflected for a moment on the singularity of
my situation.--Alone, at midnight, on the road to an obscure village,
whose inhabitants are regarded as little better than a horde of
banditti!--Flying from a husband, whose pursuit I dreaded more than
death; leaving behind me a sister, for whom my heart bled, but whom I
could never think of involving in my precarious fate!

The night was calm. The town, which lies at the foot of the mountain,
was buried in profound repose. The moon-beams glittered on the waves
that were rolling in the bay, and shed their silvery lustre on the
moving branches of the palm trees. The silence was broken by the
melodious voice of a bird, who sings only at this hour, and whose
notes are said to be sweeter than those of the European nightingale.
As I ascended the mountain, the air became purer. Every tree in this
delightful region is aromatic; every breeze wafts perfumes! I had six
miles to walk, and wished to reach the village before day, yet I could
not avoid frequently stopping to enjoy the delightful calm that reigned
around me!

I knew that, as soon as I was missed, the town would be diligently
searched for me, but of the retreat I had chosen St. Louis could have
no idea, for he was totally unacquainted with the residence of Madame
V----. To this lady I had rendered some essential services at the Cape,
which gave me a claim on her friendship. She left that place before
us, and on her arrival here, bought a little plantation in _Cobre_,
where she lives in the greatest retirement. I had heard of her by
accident, and thought it the surest retreat I could find. As the day
broke I perceived the straggling huts which compose this village, and,
approaching the most comfortable one of the group, found to my great
satisfaction, that it was inhabited by the lady I sought. She had just
risen, and was opening the door as I drew near it. Her surprise at
seeing me was so great, that she doubted for a moment the evidence of
her senses; but, seizing my hand, she led me to her chamber, where,
pressed in her arms, I felt that I had found a friend, and the tears
that flowed on her bosom were proofs of my gratefulness.

I began to explain to her my situation. "I know it all!" she cried,
"you have escaped from your husband. My predictions are verified,
though a little later than I expected.--But where" continued she, "is
your sister?" I replied that my flight had not been premeditated, and
that you had not been apprised of it. There was no necessity for giving
her a reason for having left my husband. She had always been at a loss
to find one for my staying with him so long. The next consideration
was my toilette. I was bare-headed, without stockings:--my shoes were
torn to pieces by the ruggedness of the road, and I had no other
covering than a thin muslin morning gown. The kind friend, who received
me, supplied me with clothes, and checked her eagerness to learn the
particulars of my story till I had taken the repose I so much required.

Towards evening she seated herself by my bedside, and I related to her
all that I had suffered since she left me at the Cape.

But when I spoke of the threat which had determined me to the step I
had taken, she made an exclamation of horror.

I told her that my intention was to remain concealed till the search
after me was over, and then to embark for the continent.

She approved the project, and said, that I could be no where in greater
security than with her; for, though the village is only six miles from
town, it is as much secluded as if it was in the midst of a desert,
except at the feast of the holy Virgin which is celebrated once a year.

The festival lasts nine days, and all the inhabitants of St. Jago come
to assist at its celebration. Unfortunately the season of the feast
was approaching, during which it would have been impossible for me to
remain concealed in the village. However, as there was still time to
consider, she bade me be tranquil, and promised to find me a retreat.
Two days after she went to town and at her return I learned that
nothing was talked of but my elopement.

St. Louis, in the first transports of his rage, has entered a complaint
against Don Alonzo and, declaring that he had carried me off, had him

It was feared this step would be attended with ill consequences, for
this young Spaniard, being related to the bishop and some of the
most distinguished families, it was supposed the indignity of his
imprisonment would be resented by them all!

Besides, he was entirely innocent of the charge exhibited against him,
not having had the slightest idea of my flight.

This information filled me with alarm. I felt insecure so near the town
and entreated madame V---- to indicate a more remote and safe asylum.

She told me that she had a friend, twenty leagues from town, to whom
she had often promised a visit; that the inconvenience of travelling
in this barbarous country, had hitherto prevented her going, but that
these considerations vanished before the idea of obliging me, and that
the pleasure of making the journey in my company would be a sufficient

Two days were past in procuring horses and making preparations for our
departure. In the evening we walked among the rocks, which surround the
village, and, had my heart been at ease, I should have wandered with
delight in these romantic regions.

The place was once famous for its valuable copper mines, from which it
takes its name, but they have been long abandoned. The inhabitants,
almost all mulattos, are in the last grade of poverty, and too indolent
to make an exertion to procure themselves even the most necessary
comforts. Yet, in this abode of wretchedness, there is a magnificent
temple, dedicated to the blessed Virgin. Its ornaments and decorations
are superb. The image of the Virgin, preserved in the temple, is
said to be miraculous and performs often wonderful things. The faith
of these people in her power is implicit. The site of the temple is
picturesque, and the scenery, that surrounds it, beautiful beyond
description, standing near the summit of a mountain, at the foot of
which lies the village. You ascend to it by a winding road, and see its
white turrets, at a great distance, glittering beneath the palm trees
that gracefully wave over it.

After passing through the miserable village and following the winding
path through craggy cliffs, over barren rocks and precipices which
the eye dares not measure, the mind almost involuntarily yields to the
belief of supernatural agency. On entering the church the image of the
Virgin, fancifully adorned and reposing on a bed of roses, appears
like the presiding genius of the place. The waxen tapers, continually
burning, the obscurity that reigns within, occasioned by the
impenetrable branches of the trees which overshadow it, and the slow
solemn tone of the organ, re-echoed by the surrounding rocks, fill the
mind with awe; and we pardon the superstitious faith of the ignorant
votaries of this holy lady, cherished as it is by every circumstance
that can tend to make it indelible!

At the appointed time, before the dawn of day, our little cavalcade set
out. Madame V---- and myself on horseback, preceded by a guide, and
followed by a boy, leading two mules charged with provisions, and every
thing requisite for the journey. We wore large straw hats, to defend us
from the sun, with thick veils, according to the custom of the country.
Leaving Cobre behind us, we ascended the mountain. The road passed
through groves of majestic trees, intermingled with the orange and the
lime, which being in blossom, the senses were almost overpowered by
the odours which filled the air. We proceeded slowly and silently.--I
thought of you my dear sister!--My tears flowed at the idea of your
pain, and I trembled to think that I was not out of danger of being

About eight o'clock our guide said it was time to breakfast, and, tying
our horses, he struck a light, kindled a fire, and made chocolate. The
repast finished, we continued on our way through the same delightful
country; still breathing the purest air, but without discovering any
vestige of a human habitation.

About noon we saw a little hut. The guide, alighting, half opened the
door, saying "May the holy virgin bless this house!" This salutation
brought out a tall sallow man, who gravely taking his segar from his
mouth, bowed ceremoniously, and bid us enter. We followed him, and saw,
sitting on an ox hide, stretched on the ground, a woman, whose ragged
garments scarcely answered the first purposes of decency. She was
suckling a squalid naked child, and two or three dirty children were
lolling about, without being disturbed by the appearance of strangers.
A hammock, suspended from the roof, was the only article of furniture
in the house. Whilst the guide was unloading the mules to prepare our
dinner, I went out to seek a seat beneath some trees; for the filth of
the house, and the appearance of its inhabitants filled me with disgust.

To my infinite astonishment, the plains which extended behind the
house, as far as the eye could reach, were covered with innumerable
herds of cattle, and on enquiring of the guide to whom they belonged,
I learned, with no less surprise, that our host was their master.
Incredible as it may appear, this miserable looking being, whose abode
resembled the den of poverty, is the owner of countless multitudes
of cattle, and yet it was with the greatest difficulty that we could
procure a little milk.

A small piece of ground, where he raised tobacco enough for his own
use, was the only vestige of cultivation we could discover. Nothing
like vegetables or fruit could be seen. When they kill a beef, they
skin it, and, cutting the flesh into long pieces about the thickness
of a finger, they hang it on poles to dry in the sun; and on this they
live till it is gone, and then kill another.

Sometimes they collect a number of cattle and drive them to town, in
order to procure some of the most absolute necessaries of life. But
this seldom happens, and never till urged by the most pressing want. As
for bread, it is a luxury with which they are entirely unacquainted.
After dinner the guide, and the host, and all the family, lay down on
the ground to sleep the siesta, which, you know no consideration would
tempt a Spaniard to forget. Madame V---- walked with me under the
trees, near the house, and remarked the striking difference between
this country and St. Domingo. There, every inch of ground was in the
highest state of cultivation, and everybody was rich, here, the owners
of vast territories are in the most abject poverty.

This she ascribed to the different genius of the people, but I
think unjustly, believing that it is entirely owing to their vicious

After our guide had taken his nap he led up the horses, and bidding
adieu to our hosts, we continued our journey.

We passed during the afternoon several habitations similar to the one
where we dined. The same wretchedness; the same poverty exhibited
itself, surrounded by troops of cattle, who bathed in plains of the
most luxuriant pasturage.

As the sun declined our guide began to sing a litany to the Virgin, in
which he was joined by the boy who followed us. The strain was sweet.

     "And round a holy calm diffusing
     In melancholy murmurs died away."

At the close of day we stopped at a hut, where the guide told us we
must pass the night, and I learned that we had come ten leagues, though
we had advanced at a snail's pace. The hut we entered was inhabited
by an old man who, retiring with the guide to an adjoining shed, left
us the house to ourselves. The couch, which invited us to repose,
was a hide laid on the ground. Madame V---- had brought sheets, and,
spreading them on the hide, I soon sunk to rest. But my slumbers were
interrupted by a most unaccountable noise, which seemed to issue from
all parts of the room, not unlike the clashing of swords; and, as I
listened to discover what it was, a shriek from Madame V---- increased
my terror. In sounds scarcely articulate, she said a large cold animal
had crept into her bosom, and in getting it out, it had seized her hand.

Frightened to death I opened the door and called the guide, who
discovered by his laughing that he had foreseen our misfortune, and
guarded against it by suspending his hammock from the branches of a
tree. When I asked for a light to search for what had disturbed us, he
said it was nothing but land crabs, which, at this season, descend in
countless multitudes from the mountain, in order to lay their eggs on
the sea shore.

The ground was covered with them, and paths were worn by them down the
sides of the mountain. They strike their claws together as they move
with a strange noise, and no obstacle turns them from their course. Had
they not found a passage through the house they would have gone over
it; and one finding madame V---- in his way, had crept into her bosom.
The master of the house gave his hammock to madame V----. I mounted in
that of the guide; but the curiosity excited by our visitors, rendered
it impossible for us to sleep. I asked the guide if it was common to
see them in such numbers. He said that it was; and told me that the
English having some years ago made a descent on the island, had seized
a Spaniard whom they found in a hut, and threatened to kill him if he
would not shew them the way to St. Jago, which they had always wished
to possess, but which they could not approach by sea. The terrified
Spaniard promised to comply. In the night, as they were encamped on
the mountain, waiting for daylight in order to proceed, they heard a
noise stealing through the thickets, like that of an approaching host.
They asked their prisoner what it meant? he replied, that it could
be nothing but a body of Spaniards who, apprized of their descent,
were preparing to attack them. The noise increasing on all sides, the
English, fearful of being surrounded, embarked, and in their haste
suffered the prisoner to escape, who by his address probably prevented
them from becoming masters of the island, for the pretended host was
nothing more than an army of these crabs.

The man, I understand, received no reward; but the anniversary of this
event is still celebrated; and if the crabs have not been canonized,
they are at least spoken of with as much reverence as the sacred geese,
to which Rome owed its preservation.

During the night their noise prevented me effectually from sleeping.
They appeared like a brown stream rolling over the surface of the
earth. Towards morning they gradually disappeared, hiding themselves in
holes during the day.

At the first peep of dawn we set out, and arrived in the evening at
Bayam. The friend of madame V---- received us with great cordiality.
She lost her husband soon after her arrival in this country. She is
very handsome, and has an air of sadness which renders her highly
interesting. She was informed of my story, and requested me to think
myself at home in her house.

It was determined that I should pass for a relation of her husband; and
soothed by her kindness and attentions I began to hope that beneath her
roof I should find repose.

Madame V----, after staying with us eight days, returned to Cobre,
promising to inform herself of you, and to write me all that was
passing. She wrote me immediately that you had sailed for Jamaica: that
Don Alonzo was out of prison; that he had commenced a suit against
St. Louis for false imprisonment, and that the latter was actually
confined. Don Alonzo is powerfully supported by the bishop and all his
family, who have long been at variance with the governor, and gladly
seek this opportunity of revenging themselves. She finally told me, my
dear Mary, that she had discovered a young man who owned a small vessel
in which he goes constantly to Jamaica, and that she had entreated
him to find you, to tell you that I am well, and to charge himself
with your letter, not doubting but you would write. That kind letter I
received yesterday, and it has given me the first agreeable sensation
I have known since we parted. I am convinced of your affection for
me, but do not let that affection hurry you into imprudencies which
may perhaps betray me. Do not think of returning to St. Jago; and,
may I add, do not think of leaving Jamaica till I can join you. We
will return to the continent together, and I hope together we shall
be happy. Two or three doubloons, which I brought with me, prevent my
being dependant on the lady in whose house I am, for any thing but her

I was struck with the resemblance of a Spanish lady who lives near us
to Don Alonzo, and found, on enquiring, that she is his sister. She
spoke to me of her brother, but is as ignorant of his affairs as if he
dwelt in the moon.

This place is the abode of poverty and dullness, yet the people are so
hospitable that from the little they possess they can always spare
something to offer to a stranger. And they are content with their
lot--how many reasons have I not to be so with mine!


TO MARY ----.


I thank you a thousand times, my dear sister, for your affectionate
letter, and for the parcel that accompanied it. I knew with what
pleasure you would share with me all you possess, and to be indebted to
you adds to my happiness.

What you have heard of St. Louis is true. The affair of Don Alonzo
and himself was made up by the interposition of some of their mutual
friends who represented him as half mad; and somebody having spread a
report that I had sailed for the city of Santo Domingo, he embarked
immediately for that place. What he could think I should seek at Santo
Domingo, I am at a loss to imagine.

My retreat has been discovered, and though by one who would not betray
me, yet he is the last person on earth, except St. Louis, to whom I
could have wished it to be known.

The husband of Donna Maria, the Spanish lady whom I mentioned to you
before, had gone to St. Jago, some days previous to my arrival here.
Having, as is the universal custom, visited a gaming house, he had a
dispute with a gambler of bad reputation, and on leaving the house
received a blow with a poinard, which proved mortal.

Such occurrences are too frequent to create much public interest, and
it is considered useless to seek the assassin.

When the senora Maria expected the return of her husband, she heard
that he existed no longer. The news was brought by her brother. Her
house joins the one I live in. Hearing the most lamentable cries from
her chamber I ran in. Judge of my surprise at seeing Don Alonzo. His,
I believe, was not less, for abandoning his sister, he approached me;
but I was too much terrified at her situation, to attend to him. When
informed of the cause, I felt that in that moment she could not be
consoled, and I saw also that the violence of her sorrow would soon
exhaust itself.

Don Alonzo sought an opportunity of speaking to me, which I avoided.
Learning afterwards where I lived, he so ingratiated himself with
madame St. Clair, that he received an invitation to her house, and in
that house he now passes all his time. He has been the innocent cause
of much of my suffering, yet I cannot find fault with his conduct; and
madame St. Clair, devoting much of her time to his widowed sister, I
have no means of escaping from him. He has informed me of many of the
follies of St. Louis, of the obstinacy with which he affirmed that
Don Alonzo had aided my flight, and of the means he had employed to
discover me. And why, he sometimes asks, did you not suffer me to aid
you? why did you not repose confidence in me?

You know my dear Mary, how eloquent are his eyes! you know the
insinuating softness of his voice! Sometimes, when listening to him, I
forget for a moment all I have suffered, and almost persuade myself
that a man can be sincere.

The governor of Bayam is an Irish Spaniard, at least he is of an Irish
family, and was born in Spain. I have become acquainted with him since
the arrival of Don Alonzo, and felt, the instant I beheld him, as if
I was in the society of an old acquaintance. His Irish vivacity is a
little tempered by Spanish gravity. He speaks English as if he had
been raised in his own country, and his mind is stored with literary
treasures. He has a handsome collection of books, which he offered me.
Judge of my delight at meeting with Shakspeare in the wilds of Cuba.

What could have induced him to accept this sorry government I have
not yet learned, but he certainly possesses talents which merit a
more important employment, and his elegant manners would add lustre
to the most distinguished situation. He laughs heartily at his ragged
subjects, by whom however he is regarded as a father and a friend. He
says with better laws they would be the best fellows in the world; but
situated as they are, their indolence is their best security.

We often make excursions in the beautiful environs of this place and
dine beneath the shade of the palm tree, or the tall and graceful
cocoa, which offers us in its fruit a delicious dessert, whilst the
gaiety of the governor diffuses around us an indescribable charm.

But my dear sister, think not that I forget you in these delightful
scenes. On the contrary I long to see you, and am hastening the moment
of my departure.

Madame St. Clair, seduced by the description I have made of our
peaceful country, and wearied of a place where she has known nothing
but misfortune, where the talents she possesses are absolutely lost,
intends going with me to Philadelphia, as soon as she can arrange her
affairs, and has consented to accompany me to Kingston, from whence we
can all sail together. You will love her, I am sure, for her kindness
to me; but, independently of that consideration, her beauty, the
graceful sweetness of her manners, and her divine voice, render it
impossible to behold or listen to her with indifference.

The governor says, if he loses his two most amiable subjects, his
little empire will not be worth keeping. Don Alonzo

     "Looks and sighs unutterable things,"

and sometimes hints, in broken accents, the passion he has felt for
me since the first moment he saw me, at all which I laugh. For me,
henceforth all men are statues. I was so ill-fated as to meet that
phenomenon a jealous Frenchman, and with my wounds still bleeding,
would I put my happiness in the power of a Spaniard? Ah! no, let me
avoid the dangerous intercourse, let me fly to my sister! Why are you
so far removed from me? why did you so hastily leave the island, where
you knew I must be, and in a situation too in which your counsel, your
support is doubly necessary.

It will be impossible for me to leave Bayam in less than a month. We
shall sail for Kingston with Anselmo. Much precaution must be used, for
I must embark from St. Jago, and if I was discovered, should certainly
be arrested by the governor, who is exasperated against me. Write to
me, my dear girl, by the return of the vessel; and believe me that I
wait with the utmost impatience for the moment that will reunite us.




Let me entreat you, my dear sister, to leave Bayam as soon as possible.
I cannot describe the pain with which I heard of Don Alonzo being near
you. You pass hours, days with him; you talk of his eloquent eyes,
his sweet voice. Ah! fly, dearest creature, fly from the danger that
surrounds you. Listen not to that insinuating Spaniard. If you do you
are irrecoverably lost.

Why indeed am I not near you? yet after your flight, to stay in
Cuba was impossible, and my leaving it was, I believe, one of the
principal reasons which determined St. Louis to leave it also: so far
it was fortunate. My heart always acquitted you for having taken the
resolution to abandon your home; for though, as you say, I knew not
all, I knew enough to awaken in my breast every sensation of pity.
Yet it is not sufficient that you are acquitted by a sister, who
will always be thought partial; and if you cannot conciliate general
approbation, at least endeavour to avoid meriting general censure. Who
that hears of your being at Bayam, in the house of the sister of Don
Alonzo, knowing that he had been publicly accused of having taken you
off, and learns, that as soon as the affair was hushed up in St. Jago,
that he went to Bayam, that he passes all his time in your society,
that at home and abroad he is ever at your side, who can hear all this,
and not believe that it was preconcerted? Ah! Clara, Clara, I believe
that it was not, because I love you, and cannot think you would deceive
me. But why stay a month, a week, a day, where you are? Why not come
to me when Anselmo returns? when with me, my friendship, my affection,
will soothe and console you. I will remove from your lacerated breast
the thorns which have been planted there by the hand of misfortune.
You shall forget your sorrows, and I will aid you against your own
heart, for I believe at present _that_ is your most dangerous enemy.


TO MARY ----.


You frighten me to death, my dear sister, with your apprehensions. You
paint my situation in terrifying colours; yet could I forsee that I
should be led into it, when alone and friendless I fled at midnight
from a house where I suffered continual torture? Did I imagine that in
Bayam I should become acquainted with Don Alonzo's sister, and that
I should meet him in her house? Sentence, I know, has been passed
against me, and that sentence will be confirmed by what has happened
subsequent to my elopement. The testimony of my own heart will be of
little avail. But will you also join against me? I cannot believe it.
Condemn me not, at least suspend all opinion till we meet, which will
be in a fortnight. To avoid the danger of passing through St. Jago,
we go by land to a place called Portici, from whence we shall embark.
The journey will be delightful. We intend making it on horseback. The
governor and Don Alonzo will accompany us. Start not at this, for it
cannot be otherwise; nor could I, by refusing his services, discover
that I thought it dangerous to accept them.

In my anxiety to see you, every moment seems an age, yet I feel
something like regret at leaving this country. The friendliness of the
people can never be forgotten. Here, as in Barracoa, they are poor
but contented. They sip their chocolate, smoke a segar, and thrum the
guitar undisturbed by care. Often, when reviewing the events of my
past life, I wish that their calm destiny had been mine; but alas! how
different has been my fate.

I write this letter to prepare you for my arrival. When Anselmo goes
next, I go with him; and, when I embrace my sister, I shall be happy.


_Kingston, Jamaica._

Clara, my dear friend, is at length arrived. I have held that truant
girl to my heart, and have forgotten whilst embracing her all the
reproaches I intended to make, and which I thought she deserved. I
cannot help loving her, though I approve not of all she does; but I
will blame her fate rather than herself, for who can behold her and
not believe that she is all goodness? who can witness the powers of
her mind and withhold their admiration? Whatever subject may engage
her attention, she seizes intuitively on what is true, and by a sort
of mental magic, arrives instantaneously at the point where, even
very good heads, only meet her after a tedious process of reasoning
and reflection. Her memory, surer than records, perpetuates every
occurrence. She accumulates knowledge while she laughs and plays:
she steals from her friends the fruits of their application, and thus
becoming possessed of their intellectual treasure, without the fatigue
of study, she surprises them with ingenious combinations of their own
materials, and with results of which they did not dream. Her heart
keeps a faithful account, not only of every word but of every look,
of every movement of her friends, prompted by kindness and affection,
and never is her society more delightful than in those moments of calm
and sublime meditation, when her genius surveys the past, or wanders
through a fanciful and novel arrangement of the future. Who that thus
knows Clara, and is sensible of her worth, can have known her husband,
and condemn her?

It is true, Clara is said to be a coquette, but have not ladies of
superior talents and attractions, at all times and in all countries
been subject to that censure? unless indeed theirs was the rare fortune
of becoming early in life attached to a man equal or superior to
themselves! Attachments between such people last through life, and
are always new. Love continues because love has existed; interests
create interests; parental are added to conjugal affections; with the
multiplicity of domestic objects the number of domestic joys increase.
In such a situation the heart is always occupied, and always full. For
those who live in it their home is the world; their feelings, their
powers, their talents are employed. They go into society as they take a
ramble; it affords transient amusement, but becomes not a habit. Their
thoughts, their wishes dwell at home, and they are good because they
are happy. But if on the contrary a woman is disappointed in the first
object of her affections, or if separated from him she loved, fate
connects her with an inferior being, to what can it lead? You might as
well expect to confine a sprightly boy, in all the vigour of health to
sedate inaction, as to prevent talents and beauty, thus circumstanced,
from courting admiration. A feeling heart seeks for corresponding
emotions; and when a woman, like Clara, can fascinate, intoxicate,
transport, and whilst unhappy is surrounded by seductive objects, she
will become entangled, and be borne away by the rapidity of her own
sensations, happy if she can stop short on the brink of destruction.

If Clara's husband had been in every respect worthy of her she would
have been one of the best and happiest of human beings, but her good
qualities were lost on him; and, though he might have made a very good
husband to a woman of ordinary capacity, to Clara he became a tyrant.

Sensible of the impossibility of her leaving him, he took it for
granted that she bestowed on another those sentiments he could not
hope to awaken himself. Yet Clara never deceived him. There is in her
character a proud frankness which renders her averse to, and unfit
for intrigue. When at the Cape, she was not dazzled by splendor,
though it courted her acceptance; nor could the ill-treatment of her
husband force her to seek a refuge from it in the arms of a lover who
had the means of protecting her. At St. Jago his conduct became more
insupportable, and when at length she fled from his house, alone and
friendless, she was unseduced by love, but impelled by a repugnance
for her husband which had reached its height, and could no longer be

Delivered from the weight of this oppressive sentiment, she now enjoys
a delightful tranquillity, which even the thought of many approaching
struggles with difficulty and distress, cannot disturb.

In such a situation I am more than ever necessary to my sister; and,
perhaps, it is the consciousness of this, that has given birth to many
of the sentiments expressed in this letter.

We have learned that St. Louis sailed from the city of Santo Domingo to
France, from which I hope he may never return.

Clara and myself will leave this for Philadelphia, in the course of the
ensuing week. There I hope we shall meet you; and if I can only infuse
into your bosom those sentiments for my sister which glow so warmly in
my own, she will find in you a friend and a protector, and we may still
be happy.


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