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they were embarked; on board the corvette, LA VAILLANTE, which failed with them from the road of Rochelle, on the evening of the 23d of September 1797, under the command of a Captain LA PORTE, who seems to have fully justified the confidence which the agents of the Directory had reposed in him. Their treatment on board this vessel perfectly corresponded with that which they had experienced on fhore ; and nothing can be more clear, than that it was intended to put an end to their existence during the voyage. They were kept below decks, in a narrow confined situation, without light, and almost without air, till the 29th, when they were permitted to go upon deck for one hour; but were prohibited from speaking:
* The detachments which had been put on board the Vaillante to guard us, chiefly consisted of marines sent home from the islands of France and Bourbon by Merś. de Circey, together with the com. miffaries of the Directory, who had been sent to those colonies to carry out the decrees which had disorganized and deftroyed the French fettlements at the Antilles. These men had formerly been selected from among the revolutionary bands of the committee of Nantes, fo famous in the annals of terror by the massacres, and the drownings of the priets who were fentenced to deportation !
“ We heard them relate to each other their various exploits. One boaited of having, during a march, ftabbed his captain in the back, and thrown him into a ditch, because he fufpected him of aril. tocracy; another coolly enumerated how many priests he had drowned in the Loire; a third explained to his comrades how these dicwo. ings were performed, and the grimaces of the unfortunate wretches at the moment of submersion : several of them bragged of having killed with their oars those who, after paling through the trap-door in the drowning-vessels, endeavoured to save their lives by swimming; and they acknowledged that those who had sent them back from the island of Bourbon had done well, for that otherwise they would have put that colony à la hanteur de la révolution!
“ If these monsters suspended for'a moment their horrid conversa. tions, it was to sing disgusting songs. They chose the ti.ne of our reft, to place themselves by the hatchway, and howl out their obsceni. ties, their blasphemies, and their songs of cannibals. If we requefted their indulgence, they loaded us with abuse, and immediately refurred their infernal chorusses.
Their fole food consisted of rotten biscuit, and a few beans, and their only beverage was die water, which, joined to the wretchedness of the place i they were confined, and the insults and injuries of d to which they were exposed, must have proved em, but for the humanity of the master, named Do and of a cabin-boy, who,
according to the 'revolutionary fashion, had been named ARISTIDES; and who, indeed, appeared so juft in his sentiments and conduct, that he deserved this pompous appellation much better than the different revolutionary heroes deserved those which they had the arrogance and the folly to assume. It is remarked, as a singular circumstance, that this corvette had been named by General WILLOT, himself, who was now a prisoner on board her, and who was Commandant at Bavonar, where she was built, at the time she was launched. Fortua nately La Vaillante was a prime failor, so that they had a very quick passage, having anchored in the great road of Cayenne, on the roth of October. They were here sent on shore and delivered into the hands of Jeannet, the Agent-General of the Colony, who was nephew to Danton, who made so conspicuous a figure at an early part of the revolution. This man, at first, evinced a disposition to treat the prisoners with humanity and attention ; but, after an interview which he had with the Captain, La Porte, his conduct changed, and he was afterwards as severe as he had before been indulgent. We cannot here avoid remarking a singular instance of retributive justice. The father of the French Republic, the man whose voice had proclaimed the destruction of a monarchy which had subsisted for fourteen centuries, and had, consequently, consigned his Sovereign to the scaffold, perished, by a miserable death, in a wretched hospital at Cayenne. This miscreant, COLLOT D'HERBOIS, who was originally a strolling-player, had been transported to Cayenne, with his worthy colleague, BILLAUD DE VARENNEs; and, instead of feeling any remorse for his past crimes, determined to add to the black cao; talogue; by initigating the negroes to massacre all the white persons in the colony. The rebellion was suppressed by the energy of JEANNET ; Collot was thrown into prison, and foon after died in an hospital.
In order to increase the rigour of their confinement, the fixteen prisoners were on the 22d of November sent from Cayenne to a fort in the canton of Sinamary, about 30 league diftant, where they arrived the next day. Here it was intended they should pass the remainder of their days, in seven miser.' able rooms destined for their habitation ; an eighth adjoining room was occupied by Billaud de Varennes.
“ The Co.nınandant, addressing himself to M. de Murinais, as the eldest of us, pointed to one of the rooms which was to contain only one prisoner, and said, 'this room will do for you,' Lead me,' repliet the old general, to that which is nearest to the ceinetery i for that will suit me best.”
“ After having obliged our worthy general to go into this forft
Toom alone, the others were divided between the remaining afteeb
" Second, Aubry alone.
« The Commandant ordered a hamınock for each of us; for these dungeons contained neither bed, table, not chair, nor any one piece of furniture or utenfil.
" Our only food vías an allowance of biscuit
; a pound of falt meat; and a glass of rum, to correct the extreme bad quality of the walki Sometimes we had bread that we could not eat, because it was full of worms and ants, and some portions of wine that had grown four in the magazines.
“ Our first occupation was to clean out our rooms, which were full of venomous infects, that rendered them uninhabitable, although we had no other shelter. No European; perhaps, had ever been thrown into, such a den, in such a climate; there to be given as a prey to scorpions, millepedes, gnats, mosquitoes, and many other species of infects, equally numerous, dangerous, and disgusting! We were not even secure from the serpents that frequently crept into the Fort. Pichegru found one of uncommon size, which he killed ; it was thicker than his' arm, and lay concealed in the folds of his cloak, which served him for a pillow to his hammock.
" The infect that tormented us most severely was the chica, or ni. guas, a species of beg, which enters the pores of the skin, and, if it is not carefully removed, breeds there, and deftroys the flesh so rapidly, as to render amputation necessary. We were covered with pimples and puftules, which deprived us of sleep, overwhelmed us with fatigue, and plunged us in the deepest dejection. Some of us had received, during our journey from the Temple to Rochefort, clothes, linen; and money ; but others, and myself among the number, were totaliġ dela titute ; our precipitate embarkation having disappointed the vigilance of our families. Jeannet fent us fome shirts and handkerchiefs, taken from the magazines froin which the negroes are supplied.”
Yet even in this wretched situation, the sense of their com: mon misery could not make them forget their political differences; they were divided into parties; and we find that their disputes were frequently violent, though the author, with more prudence than he generally displays, has very properly cast a veil over them. The marked predominance of professional habits was strongly evinced in the conduct of Tronçon du Coudray (formerly an advocate, eminent for his talents and ina tegrity, with whom the writer of this article was, in better times, personally acquainted at Paris), who, in his prison,
lõudly taxed the Directory with a scandalous violation of the laws; called for a copy of the charges prefered against him, and 's asked for judges even of the echos of Sinamary. He wrote memorials, and applied with so much afliduity, that he allowed himself no intervals of relaxation, and his health was impaired by the intenseness of his application.” The old General Múrinais having died in the fort, Du Coudray composed a funeral oration, which he delivered with such impreffive energy over the grave, that the Fort echoed with the fighs and fobs of the garrison, and the attendant negroes. This circumstance produced an order from Jeannet prohibiting, under pain of death, any attempt to excite the coinpassion of the foldiers or the negroes!! And, with a vicw to instil a very different sentiment into the minds of the latter, and to stimulate them to assassinate the prisoners, he caused them to be told, that the transported deputies were royalists, who wished to replunge them into that state of slavery from which the republicans had emancipated them. Fortunately this diabolical artifice did not succeed.
During their confinement, in April 1798, the period of the new elections, they saw “ fifteen hundred negroes and thirty or forty whites assembled, who, having received a distribution of rum, voted, by order of the Directory, for Monge (then employed as commissary for the fpoliation of Italy) as the reprelentative of the people of Cayenne !!!” It was about this time that eight of the prisoners conceived the plan of their escape, which they afterwards communicated to Marbois, Laffond, and du Coudray ; but these infatuated men remained obftinately attached to their mistaken principle of public duty, which decided them to wait quietly in prison “ until the nation should call out for justice.” 'The two latter, however, foon paid the debt of nature.
The first plan of the prisoners was to take refuge among the Indians in the neighbouring forests, in the hope of afterwards penetrating across the continent to the Portuguefe settlements. But from the execution of this fchenie they were deterred by the want of guides, and fill more by the hostile disposition of the Galabis, the tribe that lived nearest to the Fort, who, to their eternal honour be it recorded, “ had conceived a great aversion for the French nation, and, since they had heard of the assassination of the King, committed with impunity in the heart of France, their chiefs had broken off all communication," with the French. We strenuously recommend the conduct of these honest savages, thefe untutored inhabitants of the impenetrable forests of Sinamary, to the enlightened Sovereign of Prussia, and to those other princes of
Europe, who have not disdained to associate with traitors, and to admit allaflins and regicides into their confidence !
It was at last determined to seize a canoe that always lay at the foot of the Fort, and, in that flender veffel, to brave the fury of the ocean, and endeavour to reach the Dutch settlements, at about the distance of one hundred leagues. For this purpose they were provided, by a trusty friend at Cayenne, with passports, describing them, under feigned names, as French traders, figned by Jeannet himself. The arrival of an American Captain, Tilly, whose vessel had been seized by the French, facilitated the execution of their enterprize. He offered to be himself their pilot; but his offer was rejected from regard to him, and his pilot, whose name was Berwick, was subītituted in his stead; and he accordingly left the Fort on the first of June, and hid himself in the woods, whence, on a signal agreed on, he was to fally forth and seize the canoe.
Captain Poisvert had invited the Commandant of the Fort to dinner on the 3d of June, on board the American prize, in return for the kind reception lie had met with, and the assistance he had received from the garrison, which had two days before vigorously attacked an English privateer that had approached the anchorage. At the same time that he entertained the Commandant with a handsome dinner, and gave him the choicest wines he had on board, he had distributed to the garrison some conmon Bourdeaux wine. A girl, who had arrived some days before from Cayenne, did the honours, and delivered bottles of wine in profufion to the soldiers in their barracks and guardhouse, to the negroes in their rooms, to the sentinels at their posts, and to the deported under their corridor. Ah! how long this day appeared ! with what pleasure we watched this young girl thus joy. oully pouring out bumpers to the half intoxicated soldiers. Her activity and solicitude served us to our utmost wishes.
“ Every one drank freely, as we did ourselves, and, seeming to take part in these orgies, we feigned a quarrel among us while at dinner, in order to avoid giving the most trilling indication of the plor. Aubry and Larue abused Barthélemy, le Tellier also took part in the dispute, Dossonville and Pichegru threatened each other, and Willot and myself seemed desirous of pacifying the rest. Glasses and plates flew about, and the uproar was so great, that the rest of the deported persons came in to separate us. The Abbé Brothier himself endea. voured to put an end to this disturbance, which only increased the more : but Barthélemy, who was the least skilful in feigning pafsion, coolly breaking his glass in an aukward gesture of rage, a burst of laughter had nearly betrayed us.
“ Night came on, and we saw the Commandant Aimé brought in, dead drunk, like a corpse. Silence had now fucceeded to the songs and cries of intoxication, and the soldiers and negroes lay disperfed here and there. The service was forgot, and the guard house abandoned.