"Forsaken by the United States" by Placide David​​

​An excerpt from David’s Sur le rives du passe (1947). David was a historian who wrote numerous works on Haiti and helped to create la Société d’Histoire et de Geographie d’Haïti.

With feverish haste, Dessalines stocked the army’s arsenals and depots, and armed our fortifications. On 4 September 1804, he went from Marchand to Gonaïves, where on a ship, "the Connecticut," he met an American merchant and signed a contract to obtain [gun] powder, [bed] sheets, linens, clothes for the troops, etc. In compliance with this accord, [American] convoys... docked in our wharves. They unloaded their war cargo and took in exchange coffee and other commodities. The Yankee merchants and shippers prospered. And they spared no praise for the young black nation that paid them so generously.

On 18 May 1805 one of these convoys was received by a brilliant celebration in New York harbor. On board the Hindustan there was a banquet with one hundred attendants, even top city officials like [United States Senator] Rufus King.

[The French Foreign Minister, Charles] Talleyrand, wrote a letter to General Armstrong, the United States plenipotentiary in Paris, to protest. But it had no impact. The Americans would not stop their lucrative trade with Haiti. For an entire year, the two chanceries exchanged notes. The more Talleyrand pressured his [American] counterpart, the more [Armstrong] became evasive. In December, however, [Napoleon triumphed over the Russians and the Austrians at the Battle of] Austerlitz. The [European] coalition [to stop France] was at bay. If England had made peace [with France] then [it would not police] the seas. And the United States would not be able to avoid [Napoleon’s] fury. It had to act quickly to prevent this setback. [Napoleon,] the conqueror of Europe had decided to punish the United States... But President Thomas Jefferson not only asked Congress to outlaw trade with [Haiti], he also provided the State Department with the bill already written that Congress passed without amendment on 18 February 1806.