Haiti, Her History and Her Detractors


Book Details

Author  Jacques Nicolas Leger
Publication Date   February 2, 2010
Pages  414


This historic novel is from 1907 and although most of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century are not included, this volume is still informative; history is history. With
all that has happened to Haiti in the last few weeks, one can only hope that this century will bring about the economic and social changes she so deserves.

Summary from the Foreword:

Although at a comparatively short distance from the
United States, Haiti is nevertheless very little known
in this country, where in most cases books written in
English by unscrupulous travelers or authors are their
only source of information. In this manner errors and
prejudices became rooted in the minds of many Ameri-
cans, who believe that my fellow-countrymen are
addicted to all kinds of gross superstitions and are re-
verting to barbarism instead of progressing in civiliza-
tion. This rather severe arraignment of my fellow-
countrymen is founded upon slanders which everybody
repeats without taking the trouble of examining facts
in order to ascertain the truth.

One cannot pass judgment upon a nation at first
sight. In order to form an impartial appreciation of a
people one must be acquainted with its origin and cus-
toms; it is necessary to make a study of the causes
which have hindered or facilitated its evolution; and to
look carefully into the various phases of this evolution;
one must even be acquainted with the telluric and clima-
tological conditions, which exert a certain influence over
the successive changes of a country. A foreigner who
spends but a few days in a country cannot be in a posi-
tion to speak with the accuracy of thorough knowledge
of the inhabitants of this country; he is likely either to
repeat all the gossip gathered from his new-made ac-
quaintances or to give rein to his imagination. Those
who hasten to judge a nation whose history and tem-
perament they have not taken the trouble to study are
either guilty of bad faith or ignorance.

My only aim in putting this book into English is to
give to the Americans the means of forming an impar-
tial opinion on Haiti for themselves. Consequently
this work is divided in two parts. The first part is com-
posed of the entire history of the island from before
its discovery by Christopher Columbus up to the elec-
tion of General Nord Alexis to the Presidency; the
many horrors of which Haiti was the scene have been
mentioned as well as the vicissitudes of the fierce strug-
gle that occurred when its inhabitants sought to con-
quer their liberty and independence.

The second part deals with the natural conditions of
the country, its general organization, the customs and
manners of the people, and their continued efforts to
better their condition. I have of course availed myself
of the opportunity to refute the most current calumnies,
of which Haiti has of late had a full share.

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