Wanted: Emigrants to ‘Hayti’

To the Blacks, Men of Color, and Indians in the United States and British North American Provinces:

FRIENDS: I am authorized and instructed by the Government of the Republic, to offer you,individually and by communities, a welcome, a home, and a free homestead, in Hayti.

Such of you as are unable to pay your passage will be provided with the means of defraying it.

Two classes of emigrants are especially invited—laborers and farmers. None of either class, or any class, will be furnished with passports, who cannot produce, before sailing, the proofs of good character for industry and integrity.

To each family of emigrants, five carreaux (a carreaux is 3 acres and 3 1-3 rods) of fresh and fertile land, capable of growing all the fruits and staples of the tropics, will be gratuitously given, on the sole condition that they shall settle on it and cultivate it and declare their intention of becoming citizens of Hayti. To unmarried men, on similar conditions, two carreaux will be granted.

Board and lodging, free of cost, will be furnished to the emigrants for at least eight days after their arrival in the island.

The government also will find remunerative work for those of you whose means will not permit yon to begin immediately an independent cultivation.

Emigrants are invited to settle in communities.

Sites for the erection of schools and chapels will be donated by the State, without regard to the religious, belief of the emigrants.

The same protection and civil rights that the laws give to Haytians are solemnly guaranteed to the emigrants.

The fullest religious liberty will be secured to them: they will never be called on to support the Roman Catholic Church.

No military service will be demanded of them, excepting that they shall form military companies and drill themselves once a month.

All the necessary personal effects, machinery and agricultural instruments introduced by the emigrants, shall be entered free of duty.

The emigrants a all be at liberty to leave the country at any moment they please; but those whose passage shall be paid by government, if they wish to return before the expiration of three years will be required to refund the money expended on their account. A contract, fixing the amount, will be made with each emigrant before leaving the continent.

I have been commissioned to superintend the interests of the emigrants and charged with the entire control of the movement in America,and all persons, therefore, desiring to avail themselves of the invitation and bounty of the Haytian Government, are requested to correspond with me.

I shall at once, as directed by the Government,establish a bureau of emigration in Boston,and publish a Guide Book for the use of those persons of African or Indian descent who may wish to make themselves acquainted with the resources of the country and the disposition of its authorities.

I shall also appoint Agents to visit such communities as may seriously entertain the project of emigration.

Immediate arrangements, both here and in Hayti can be made for the embarkment and settlement of one hundred thousand persons.

By order of the Government of the Republic of Hayti.

General Agent of Emigration

Collection: African American Newspapers
Source: Douglass’ Monthly – May 1861
Title: Emigration To Hayti

Period Background Information

In 1843, a revolt, led by Charles Rivière-Hérard, overthrew Boyer and established a brief parliamentary rule under the Constitution of 1843. Revolts soon broke out and the country descended into near anarchy, with a series of transient presidents until March 1847, when General Faustin Soulouque, a former slave who had fought in the rebellion of 1791, became President. In 1849, taking advantage of his popularity, he proclaimed himself Emperor Faustin I. His iron rule succeeded in uniting Haiti for a time, but it came to an abrupt end in 1858 when he was deposed by General Fabre Geffrard, styled the Duke of Tabara.

Geffrard’s military government held office until 1867, and he encouraged a successful policy of national reconciliation. In 1860, he reached an agreement with the Vatican, reintroducing official Roman Catholic institutions, including schools, to the nation. In 1867 an attempt was made to establish a constitutional government, but successive presidents Sylvain Salnave and Nissage Saget were overthrown in 1869 and 1874 respectively. A more workable constitution was introduced under Michel Domingue in 1874, leading to a long period of democratic peace and development for Haiti. The debt to France was finally repaid in 1879, and Michel Domingue’s government peacefully transferred power to Lysius Salomon, one of Haiti’s abler leaders. Monetary reform and a cultural renaissance ensued with a flowering of Haitian art.


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