From the Otsego Herald
for Thursday, July 7, 1814
Compiled, with comments
The Baltimore American (extra) of the 22d, contains translations from the Royal Gazette of Hayti of the 23d of March; being official details of the capture of Fort Sabourin, by the troops of Christophe, from those of Petion, in a report of the Prince of Limbe, minister of war and marine, having under him the Duke of l’Arbonila and Duke of Grand Reviere, and 8 battalions of troops.
The whole of the enemy, amounting to 1500 men, were killed, wounded or taken; and the officers who commanded the expedition were invested with knighthood of the order of St. Henry, on their return.
The whole description, speeches, &c. are so ridiculously bombastic, that nothing could appear more directly calculated to burlesque the bulletins, proclamations and manifestoes of royalty in Europe, were we to publish them; which our circumscribed limits, if not our inclination, at present forbid. – Columbian.
COMMENT: Alexandre Petion (1770-1818), the son of a Haitian mother and a French father, was at this time president of the democratic Republic of Haiti, which occupied the southern part of what is now Haiti. He was engaged in a civil war against the northern part, then controlled by Henri Christophe (1767-1820), who in 1811 had proclaimed himself King Henry I, created a local nobility with titles like the Duke of Marmalade, coats of arms, etc.
Cristophe’s regime prospered through large plantations worked by forced labor. It was his pretensions to European styles of royalty and nobility that were considered so amusing (and possibly threatening) in countries like the United States where slavery continued. Christophe had built a huge palace (Sans Souci), and a gigantic fortress (the Citadel) which are today designated as World Heritage sites. In 1820, his health failing and fearing a coup d’etat, he committed suicide.