« 上一頁繼續 »
Before the conference broke up M. Le Page had heard enough to know that eight of his men, including the three in the cabin, already were in the secret, and that they had determined to say nothing to the others until certain of the hands who were then up the river in the Illinois country, and who, it was thought could influence a great many of their friends to join in the plot, should return to the plantation. Of the eight engaged in the affair M. Le Page so far knew the names of only six.
When the plotters separated they bade each other good-night, with the promise to meet at the same place at the same hour on the next night.
The next morning M. Le Page wrote to M. Périer, informing him of his discovery and suggesting that the eight men be arrested promptly, and on the same day, so as to prevent the further spread of the agitation. The Governor replied to his note, saying that as soon as he should request assistance a detachment of soldiers would be sent to the plantation with such officers as M. Le Page might name.
The same night, about 10 o'clock, the watchful M. Le Page was again at his post. On this occasion the little cabin was quite crowded, as the entire eight were gathered there. The result of the meeting was that the plotters decided to limit the number of those admitted to a knowledge of what was in prospect to their own circle until the harvest season should be over, at which time they could obtain hundreds of recruits.
That night, before going to bed, M. Le Page arranged with his French overseer for the arrest, separately, on the next day, of the eight culprits. He instructed him to distribute the plantation hands in six different localities about the place, assigning to each detachment one of the plotters, whose name was given to the overseer, together with the gang to which he was to be assigned.
At daybreak he wrote to Governor Périer, informing him that he knew the names of the eight men concerned in the plot, and that he had taken steps to cause the arrest of each one of them without the knowledge of the others. “I do not need,” he wrote further, “ either troops or officers, but I should like to have the co-operation of the captain of the port, in whom we both have confidence. I beg you, in addition, to order the officer of the guard to be careful to station four strong and active soldiers in front of the prison, with instructions to make a pretense of wrestling and throwing each other about as if in play. As soon as these soldiers shall perceive the captain of the port pass by them, they are to seize, as if in sport, Zamba, who will be following this officer, and push him into the prison. After dark I will have the other prisoners brought over the river.” On the receipt of this letter the Governor gave orders to the captain of the port, a gentleman named Livandais, and to the officer of the guard, to carry out the requests of M. Le Page.
When M. Le Page's canoe had left the plantation for New Orleans with his letter to the Governor, he sent word to the blacksmith of the plantation, who already had prepared the manacles intended for the men whom it was intended to arrest, to meet him at the landing. When the blacksmith came in response to the summons, M. Le Page directed him to conceal himself in a store-house near the landing, wherein were kept axes, picks, and other implements of labor. He then despatched his young servant to where one of the gangs of laborers was at work, with orders to the plotter, who was with that special gang, to report at once at the landing. When the man came in obedience to the order, M. Le Page told him to go to the store-house and bring him an ax. As the man entered the building, the blacksmith, who knew what he had to do, stopped him, and at the saine moment M. Le Page, appearing at the threshold of the door, with pistol in hand, ordered the blacksmith to put the manacles on his wrists. He was then taken to a retired spot.
The five other plotters were secured and ironed as the first one had been, and so quietly had all the proceedings been conducted that none of their companions was able to solve the mystery of their sudden disappearance. By ten o'clock all the preliminaries had been completed, and at eleven M. Livandais arrived from the city and joined M. Le Page at the plantation landing.
“What means the Governor?" asked M. Livandais as he greeted M. Le Page. “He has informed me that you purpose, with my assistance alone, to arrest eight men whom you suspect of being engaged in a plot to massacre and pillage.”
“The Governor has told you the truth,” replied M. Le Page. “We shall have no trouble in getting the plotters to prison. Six of them are secured already. The seventh I will attend to myself. I will only ask you to see to the arrest of Zamba, my first overseer and the ring-leader in the plot.”
M. Le Page then proceeded to lay before M. Livandais the details of a plan that he had devised to secure Zamba's arrest without exciting any suspicion or raising an alarm. This plan was, in brief, that M. Livandais should return to New Orleans at four o'clock that afternoon, having Zamba in his canoe with him. On reaching New Orleans, and making a landing at the foot of the Rue du Gouvernement, M. Livandais was to manage so as to pass in front of the prison, followed by Zamba, whom the soldiers stationed there should playfully seize and hurry into the prison. The plan, as thus outlined, was carried out to the letter. Zamba was made a prisoner without his knowing it, and what had seemed to him a playsul freak of romping soldiers proved to be in the end his death-warrant. As to Guey, the eighth and last of the plotters, M. Le Page caused him to be put in irons in the course of the day; and after dark the seven prisoners were sent to New Orleans. They were met at the landing, at the foot of the Rue du Corps-de-Garde, by the officer of the guard and eight musketeers, and were conducted to prison. During these proceedings the Gov. ernor, the Criminal-Lieutenant and all the officers of the post were at the Government House, in readiness for any emergency. But so carefully had the details of the secret arrest of the leaders of the plot been carried out, that none of the population, either black or white, knew of what had happened, except the few who were aware of what was to be done.
The next day the prisoners were put to the torture of what was called the mèches ardentes to extort from them a confession. They would say nothing, however, to implicate themselves, notwithstanding the torture was applied to them several times.
While the prisoners were thus suffering at the hands of the authorities, M. Le Page was investigating the history of some of the plotters. In this way he learned that Zamba, in his own country, had given the French a good deal of trouble in heading a revolt that had driven away the French from Fort d'Arguin, and that when this fort was recovered by M. Périer de Salvert (a brother of Governor Périer), one of the principal articles of the treaty that followed was that Zamba should be sold into slavery in America. He also learned that Zamba, while on his way to Louisiana on board the ship Annibal, had plotted with others of his race aboard to kill the ship's officers and crew; but the latter, becoming aware of this, had put them all in irons until the arrival of the vessel at New Orleans.
The facts thus developed regarding Zamba were set forth by M. Le Page in a statement which he submitted to the Criminal-Lieutenant. The next day this functionary had Zamba brought before him. He read to him M. Le Page's statement, again threatening him with the torture of the inèches ardentes in case of a refusal to confess.
“Qui mouri dit vous ça ?" (Who told you that?) asked Zamba when the Criminal-Lieutenant had read the statement to him.
“Never mind who told me of these things,” replied the officer. “Are they not true?"
Zamba, however, persisted in asking him for his source of information. Finally he was told that it was M. Le Page.
“Ah!” he exclaimed, “ Miché Li Page-li djabe !” (Ah! M. Le Page is the devil!) “ Li connait tout !” (He knows everything!)
Having thus admitted tacitly the truth of the accusations against him, Zamba made a clean breast of the plot in all its ramifications. The other prisoners were then brought forward, and they in their turn confessed. Thereupon sentence was passed upon them. The men were condemned to be broken on the wheel, and the woman was sentenced to be hanged in their presence. They were executed in the public square of the cityafterward called the Place d'Armes, and now known as Jackson Squarewhere in the colonial days all the executions took place. With their death the alarm and perturbation of spirit that the plot had caused passed away.
Some evidence of the extent of this plot may be obtained from the pages of “Martin's History of Louisiana.” After describing how emissaries had been sent from the negroes who, after the Natchez massacre, had taken refuge among the Chickasaws, to those of their race in Mobile, New Orleans, and along the coast, urging them to rise against the French, the author continues:
“On the plantation opposite the city, lately the property of the Company, but now of the King, there were upward of two hundred and fifty hands. Several of these were seduced, and the contagion spread with considerable rapidity up the coast, where, in the vicinity of the city, there were some estates with gangs of from thirty to forty slaves. Meetings were held without the notice of the French, the blacks improving the opportunity, unsuspectingly furnished them by their owners, to assemble in nightly parties for dancing and recreation.
“At last, a night was fixed on, in which, on pretexts like these, the blacks of the upper plantations were to collect on those near the city, at one time, but on various points, and entering it from all sides, they were to destroy all white men, and securing and confining the women and children in the church, expecting to possess themselves of the King's arms and magazine, and thus have the means of resisting the planters when they came down, and carrying on conflagration and slaughter on the coast. * * * Fortunately, the motions of an incautious fellow were noticed by a negro woman, belonging to a Dr. Brasset; she gave such information to her master as led to the discovery of the plot. Four men and a woman, who were the principal agents in it, were detected and seized. The men were broken on the wheel, and their heads stuck on posts at the upper and lower end of the city, the Tchoupitoulas and the King's plantation : the woman was hung. This timely severity prevented the mischief.”
NEW ORLEANS, La.
“TOM THE TINKER” IN HISTORY
The aim of this paper is to avoid theorizing upon the tariff question. The public are sated with that mode of treatment. It is proposed to briefly exhibit the continual changes in tariff legislation which have occurred since the formation of the government, and to indicate what kind of protection it was that statesmen and thinkers supported during various national crises. Although the great crime of nullification or secession cannot be palliated, and although the Southern people may have desired by the establishment of free trade to supply their slaves with cheap clothing and cheap food-to make free trade, in short, a prop beneath the tottering institution of slavery—still it may be suggested that burying their motives and forgetting their act, their leaders did advance some telling arguments against the “American system.” The further attempt is here made to group some historical facts and present them in unassuming sequence, demonstrating that protection, gauged by the light of events and common sense, cannot be called a “system "-since the tariff laws have been changed on an average once in every three years from the meeting of the first Congress of the United States. It cannot be proved that when protection has been the highest the prosperity of the country has always been at the lowest ebb; for neither protection nor free trade can alone decide a country's condition, but rather a happy combination of such forces as public and private confidence, bountiful crops, good and plentiful money, widely extended and cheap transportation facilities, and a sufficient and steady demand for home products and manufactures. Several of these elements combined may produce "good times” in spite of high protective duties or pure free trade; if several of them are missing, neither policy might bring prosperity; if all of them are absent, neither of them possibly could.
The first Congress under the constitution met at New York City, March 4, 1789. For twenty-five days the House of Representatives was without a quorum, and the Senate failed to organize for twenty-nine days. Finally on the IIth of April, the Chief Justice administered the oaths of office in the Lower House ; but before the rules of order had been perfected and while the solemn measure was pending “ to regulate the appointment of chaplains,” a species of legislation was rudely precipitated upon the country which has vexed it ever since and at times well nigh ruined it as a nation. The first action ever taken by Congress in response