By Philippe R. Girard (auth.)

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French troops would once again act as heralds of freedom; France would acquire a lucrative colony at little cost; and the expedition would deal a mortal blow to British commerce. In public, Louverture acquiesced; in private, he notified British authorities of Roume’s bellicose plans. England arrested France’s secret agent in Jamaica—a French Jew named Sasportas—and executed him. Roume spent months in prison The Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) ● 43 before he finally embarked on a France-bound ship.

Whites executed and deported each other with abandon, oblivious to the fact that the immense black majority was on the verge of launching a general offensive. The free population of color formed another privileged, discontented group. The dearth of available French women, male owners’ complete control over their slaves, and the colony’s dissolute morals had resulted in widespread miscegenation. Following in that regard a provision of the Code Noir, masters often manumitted their mixed-blood offspring.

Mosquitoes would soon decimate French ranks and help set the slaves free. Slave Culture: Voodoo No part of Haitian culture is more famous or more misunderstood than Voodoo (vaudou). Voodoo, whose etymology goes back to a Dahomean word for “spirit,” is simply a syncretic, polytheistic religion, which borrowed some of its many gods from West African and Congolese pantheons, and others from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French Catholicism and mysticism. But Voodoo’s secretive nature, vivid ceremonies, and association with revolutionary movements have given this 26 ● Paradise Lost: Haiti’s Tumultuous Journey religion a bad name.

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