Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution

By Gordon S. Brown | Go to book overview

THE TRADE SUSPENDED

The Clearance Act, of course, did not solve the problem. Virtually everyone involved in the legislation realized that it offered too many loopholes to be able to stop the armed trade. And even if it had done so, the French persisted in considering the entire trade with the rebels, armed or not, contraband or not, an unfriendly and perhaps even illegal practice. Indeed, some of Jefferson's supporters agreed with the French position, among them Congressman Eppes, Senator Logan, and even Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin. The influential Gallatin had called the trade “altogether illegal,” and argued that the United States could only trade legally with the rebels if it took the step—both politically and diplomatically dangerous—of acknowledging their independence.1

But the act did at least buy time. The initial French response to the president's initiative, Armstrong reported from Paris early in 1805, was positive. Talleyrand, Armstrong also wrote, had even offered to promote with Bonaparte the idea of allowing innocent, noncontraband American trade with Haiti. The minister's offer, on the other hand, had been accompanied with the suggestion that he be paid a substantial bribe for rendering the service, making it seem just another duplicitous gesture by that master of insincerity.2 There was no follow-up by either side.

The Americans, for their part, continued to press the French on the harmful effects of the previous summer's decree by Governor

-263-

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Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • July 1790 8
  • St. Domingue 23
  • White Cockade, Red Cockade 45
  • The Cost of Neutrality 66
  • Trouble with Britain 89
  • Trouble with France 106
  • Toussaint's Clause 126
  • Creating a Quarantine 144
  • The St. Domingo Station 162
  • Jefferson Equivocates 179
  • The Leclerc Expedition 199
  • St. Domingo and Louisiana 213
  • A Risky Trade 229
  • The Clearance Act Debate 245
  • The Trade Suspended 263
  • Embargo and Neglect 279
  • Epilogue 292
  • Notes 296
  • Bibliography 310
  • Index 317
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