"A Liberal’s Perspective" by Edmond Paul (1837-1893)

An excerpt from Paul’s Les causes de nos malheurs (1882). While in exile in Jamaica, Paul derided Salomon as a populist who misled the masses. Paul’s motto was "rule by the educated." He believed that Boyer-Bazelais were more-able leader.

Most people who live only to work and who only need better policies on economics and education to improve their condition and achieve a better destiny instead sit at home where they are made deaf by a political dispute that will never end. He runs out to intervene but is lost when he throws his sword into the balance. Those who should be a mentor and teach him the path to truth and justice instead do the opposite. Why? Because they need to lower their principles and sometimes even destroy them to have the opportunity to make themselves rich. They don’t care that the state has totally went adrift like a ship that lost its rudder in a storm. Mr. Salomon understood well but would not admit these words I wrote that hurt my political career: in Haiti the masses urgently need education.

The majority’s ignorance has been exploited in our nation in every way. First by those who let the least capable among us become the state’s chief magistrate… without any competitor, and without any check on his ambitions. Also by those with authority and without morals whose protocol is the only obstacle to taking public money and amassing their scandalous fortunes. And by the hand that strikes blindly and the mind that does not think. Such are the perilous extremes, the poles of ignorance, that Haiti has swung between for the past forty years.

In 1870, with the flag that waved in my hands, I wrote: "we must have at head of state the capacity [to govern]." We built our principles on this initial idea and invited all Haitians, every party, winners and losers, cacos and piquets, to unite and march toward a better future.