"The Praslin Manifesto" by Beaubrun Ardouin (1796-1865)
An excerpt from Ardouin’s Etudes sur l’histoire d’Haïti, volume 11 (1860). Ardouin was a historian and politician who supported Boyer. Below, Ardouin recalls how Boyer tried to exclude his rival, Hérard Demesle, from the national legislature and how, in response, Hérard and his cousin, Charles Rivière, proclaimed a revolution with their manifesto written at Praslin, an estate near Les Cayes, a city in the south.
On September 1st, 1842, a meeting of the so-called "Society of the Rights of Man and Citizen" took place in les Cayes. Under the leadership of Hérard Dumesle an act titled "Manifesto or a Call from the
Citizens of les Cayes to their Fellow Citizens" was finalized and signed. It announced the grievances of the opposition against President Boyer.
[The manifesto] then conferred powers on this [new] government to form a "constituent assembly" in order to create "a democratic constitution that would openly proclaim the sovereignty of the people and the principle of timely elections for most public positions," including most notably the presidency.
Citizen Charles Hérard… the leader of the Cayes artillery regiment, was chosen [to become president]. He signed the act as the Chief Executive.
The Praslin insurgents were on their way to Anse-d’Eynaud on January 31st when the rebels in Jérémie declared themselves against the government [too] and rose up in arms.
The [government] troops had already arrived to Léogane. But their attack on this city was not serious. [Boyer’s] infantry fought for only a moment. Then the national guard from Port-au-Prince and other regiments joined the insurgents.
At 2 o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday, March 12th, Boyer was informed of what had happened in Léogane. Given the political implications of the battle, Boyer proceeded to prepare for his departure aboard an English ship. I [Ardouin] went to the palace and found him alone. No civil servants had come to see him for several days. It is a curious and otherwise sad spectacle that here was a political leader who fell to a revolution that succeeded because he was abandoned. Everyone tried to hide the best they could in order not to appear conspicuous to the new rising power. The rising sun shines brighter than the one about to set.