Marck 1807 - March 1818
Died in office
ALEXANDER PETION'S REJECTION OF FRENCH RECOLINIZATION: 1816
Reprinted in: NILES’ WEEKLY REGISTER. Baltimore, Jan. 4, 1817. p. 308.
From the Baltimore Patriot.
A respectable merchantile friend has put into our hands a French copy of the correspondence between Petion and the commissioners sent by Louis 18th to negociate (sic) with him me concerning the recolozination (sic) of Hayti. The following proclamation may be considered as exhibiting the spirit in which that negotiation was treated by Petion, and his resolute rejection of any attempt to encroach upon the liberty and independence of the people of whom he is the chief.
REPUBLIC OF HAiTI
Alexander Petion, president of Haiti, to the people and the army.
The French flag has appeared on our coast, and the king of France has sent commissioners to Haiti.
Under what circumstances did they present themselves at the moment that we were about consecrating the edifice of our laws --At the moment that I was called by your choice to defend it! -- at the height of the enthusiasm of a nation the most jealous of its rights, have they proposed to compromise them! for what advantages? Are there any preferable to those we enjoy? -There does not exist a Haitian whose soul is sufficiently lukewarm to consent to retrace his steps in the path our glory has urged us on; our duties are pointed out; nature gave them birth; she has created us equal with other men; we will sustain them against all who dare conceive the criminal desire of subjecting us. They will find only on these shores ashes mixt in blood, the sword, and an avenging climate.
On this occasion, as on that which preceded it you have shewn the same circumspection and the same respect for the rights of men. You have calculated your strength, and in leaving to your magistrates the task of explaining your dearest interests, you have patiently awaited until they explain what they had done for you; your confidence shall never be betrayed.
The authority rests on your will, and it is your will to be free and independent; you shall be so; and we will give the terrible example to the universe of burying ourselves under the ruins of our country, sooner than return to servitude even in its most modified form.
Whilst Europe entire unites at the call of philanthropy to annihilate even the trace of that most dishonorable traffic; whilst the most polished nations meditate and plan a general emancipation of those who still groan under oppression; we observe with grief; governments, who style themselves the most religions, nourishing principles which justice and humanity condemn.
Haitians, your protection is your arms; reserve them for those that may disturb you, and let your labour enrich a soil whose fruits you only shall collect.
I have had printed my correspondence with the commissioners of the king; it will be placed under your eyes – I have done my duty and my duty is yours.
Signed at the national palace of Port au Prince, 12th November, 1816 the 13th year of the independence of Haiti.