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Imported Englishness

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    Karen Racine

    Haitis King Henry Christophe may never have heard of theEnlightenment, but he understood its message just the same. His proud

    country was bom from a revolution that embodied the French ideals of

    liberty, equality, and fraternity. Back in France Abb Grgoire and his

    associates in the abolitionist group Les amis des noirs had pointed out

    that Africans were indeed humans who were endowed with the same

    reason and faculties as Europeans. Members of the politically-moderate

    Gironde faction had made tentative steps toward extending the franchise

    to propertied mulattos in their overseas colonies. Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau had ridiculed stodgy education that took the form of

    religious indoctrination, and instead advocated practical secular training

    that was designed to enhance a citizens usefulness to the national well

    being. The Haitian King did not need to read pamphlets or broadsides to

    arrive at these same conclusions; however, he only had to observe condi

    tions around him. His people were poor. They had recently emerged from

    captivity, slavery and oppression, yet their example would become theredemption of the African race. Haiti would be the laboratory of the

    Enlightenment and its people would prove that all mankind was, indeed,


    In the so-called Age of Improvement, no arena of the human activ

    ity was more frequently held up as a measure of progress than public

    education. British abolitionists and educational reformers looked to Haiti

    as a perfect testing ground for their new pedagogical theories. In their

    view, if formerly-enslaved Africans who had laboured for centuries under

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    206 Karen Racine

    the control of superstitious Catholic priests and venal French overseers

    could be resurrected into industrious, obedient, model citizens, then their

    pro-abolition arguments would be proven. Success in Haiti also would

    have the additional benefits of lending weight to reformists domesticprescriptions for the British working class, and elevating Britain morally

    in comparison to its national rival France. At the same time, both Chris

    tophe and the British elite viewed education as a way to depoliticize and

    direct their citizemy toward their rightful place in a paternalistic, hier

    archical social order. If everyone played their assigned roles, harmony

    would prevail and eveiyone would reap the benefits. Knowledge was in

    no way intended to be democratic.King Henry Christophe understood that a post-colonial society like

    Haiti could not embrace the culture of its hated former French masters;

    justice demanded a complete cultural renovation. Just as British re

    formers used Haiti to advance their ends and to feel good about them

    selves, so too did Henry Christophe accept foreign sponsorship in order

    to advance his own domestic agenda. He asked William Wilberforce,

    Thomas Clarkson, and other members of Englands African Institution to

    send teachers, professors, doctors, textbooks, scientific equipment, and

    agricultural machinery. Together they would prove to a disbelieving

    world that, given the proper social environment and economic opportun

    ities, Africans could govern themselves just as effectively as Europeans

    could. In a conscious effort to distance Haiti from its former French colo

    nial heritage, Christophe wished to turn his citizenry into an outpost of

    Englishness, an unprecedented cultural experiment which included the

    introduction of the English language and the Anglican religion along withthe Lancasterian school system. During Christophes short reign, British

    teachers, pedagogical methods, and classroom materials were imported to

    support the Kings social agenda. Imported Englishness characterized the

    complicated cultural agenda of the first post-colonial French Caribbeannation.

    Throughout the colonial period, formal education in Haiti was practic

    ally non-existent.1

    The very nature of an island economy based upon ex-

    1 Edner Brutus,Instruction publique en Hati 492-1945(Port-au-Prince: EditionsPanorama, 1979); Maurice Dartigue,L'enseignment en Hati (1804-1938)(Port-au-

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    Imported Englishness 207

    port agriculture and enslaved labour meant that little attention was paid to

    the development of local cultural infrastructure. To be sure, there were

    various private efforts to instill religious beliefs and to train youths in

    practical skills needed to keep plantations functioning, but those types oflessons could never have been mistaken for a traditional comprehensive

    education. Most instruction was left in the hands of local religious offi

    cials and lay preachers, a practice which was expedient but also poten

    tially subversive. There is some evidence, for example, that from the

    earliest days enslaved Muslim Africans operated clandestine madrassas

    [Islamic schools] in their own languages as they toiled in the fields.2

    Overseers clearly were aware of the dual role that religious trainingplayed both as a site for resistance among slaves, but also as a method to

    tame and domesticate them. For this reason, French colonial policy

    toward religious education was conflicted and inconsistent. Overseers

    wanted to acculturate their black slaves, but also viewed them as little

    more than animals, unfit for the sublimities of the Christian faith. At the

    same time, colonial officials were aware that access to the French lan

    guage would mean power for the enslaved people, and attempted to keep

    them as isolated as possible. As an example of this conflicted attitude

    toward slave education, Article 2 of the Code Noir (1685) specifically

    stated that [a]ll the slaves in our islands will be baptized and instructed

    in the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion.3 In 1717 a local ordin

    ance of the Cap-Franais Administrative Council affirmed the primacy of

    officially-sanctioned religious education by banning private tutors who

    had not received the written approval of the parish priest.*4In practice,

    however, when priests were discovered to have taught slaves how to read

    Prince: Imprimerie de PEtat, 1939); George P. Clark & Donald Purcell, TheDynamic Conservatism of Haitian Education, inPhylon36 (1975), 1, pp. 46-54.

    2 Max H. Dorsinville, Haiti and its Institutions from Colonial Times to 1957, in TheHaitian Potential: Research and Resources of Haiti, ed. by Vera Rubin & RichardSchaedel (New York: Teachers College Press, 1975), pp. 183-220, p. 196; Job B.Clment, History of Education in Haiti, 1804-1915, in Revista de la Historia de

    Amrica, 86 (1979), pp. 141-181, p. 153; Jean Fouchard, Les marrons du syllabaire(Port-au-Prince: Editions Henri Deschamps, 1988), pp. 13-24.

    3 Clment, History of Education, p. 154.

    4 Mayor Robineau, Ordinance dated 4 October 1717. Reprinted in Ibid., p. 155.

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    208 Karen Racine

    the Bible, they would be arrested and the slave group broken up and sold

    to different plantation owners.

    Where it did exist, formal education was most common among the

    upper classes. For most of the colonial era, male children of the grand-

    blancelite families were tutored at home until they reached an age where

    they could be sent to France.5Occasionally European missionaries would

    arrive and attempt to create schools for the islands children who typ

    ically were segregated by racial category. In the eighteenth centuiy, both

    the Dominican and Jesuit orders expanded their missions from other

    French territories to Saint-Domingue and opened small schools in Cap-

    Franais. The Reverend Father Boutin operated a boarding school thatwas ambitious and relatively successful, housing 145 regular students

    organized into seven different grade levels. In 1780, the nuns of the

    Sisters of Notre Dame de la Rochelle assumed control of his operation

    and expanded its educational mission. Race and ethnicity always re

    mained an issue for educators, however. When the nuns began to offer

    classes three times per week to 300-400 young free black girls as day

    students, however, white parents withdrew their daughters from the institution amid storms of protest.6According to Moreau de St.Mry, the

    only other option for white girls at the end of the eighteenth century, was

    another small school in Cap-Franais run by Monsieur Dorseuil. When

    the island descended into civil war and revolution during the 1790s,

    educational institutions ceased to function and vyere not reopened until

    Toussaint Louverture and his forces defeated the French troops in 1800.

    From the earliest days, the leaders of the future Haitian nation recognized

    the subversive nature of knowledge, and attempted to link the educationproject to the states goals. Education was used to depoliticize the

    citizenry, not to train them in the free exercise of their own ideas. This

    trend is linked to the general militarization of Haitian society in the

    nineteenth and twentieth centuries.7

    5 Klber Vilot, Primary Education in Haiti, in Rubin &Schaedel,Haitian Potential,p. 115.

    6 Gabriel Debien, Une maison dducation Saint-Domingue Les religieuses duCap, inRevue dHistoire de lAmrique franaise2 (1949), 4, pp. 564-565.

    7 See the link between the military and the state, developed in Michel-Rolph Trouillot,Nation, State, and Society in Haiti 1804-1984(Washington: The Wilson Center,

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    Imported Englishness 209

    Toussaints moderate and conciliatory Haitian Constitution of 1801

    greatly expanded the scope of permissible educational activity, while still

    attempting to guarantee some sort of state-directed control. One Haitian

    historian describes Toussaints approach to government and society as a

    return to the previous paternalistic and authoritarian system.8Just like his

    predecessors, Toussaint feared the anarchy that would result from free-

    thinking citizenry and intended to direct their intellectual efforts to state-

    sanctioned purposes. Article 68 declared that

    [all] persons have the right to open establishments for the education andinstruction of youth, under the authorization and general supervision of themunicipal administration.9

    Toussaints constitution collapsed when he was arrested and sent to

    France in 1803, but expanded education remained a clear goal for all

    Haitian leaders in the post-colonial nation-state. In 1804, Article 19 of the

    first constitution of independent Haiti mandated that [for] each military

    district, there shall be a public school for the youth.10Dessalines and his

    advisers thereby fused education with the military organization of the

    country, drawing an overt link between the expansion of knowledge and

    defence of the state. After Dessalines was assassinated in 1806, his successor Henry Christophe assumed control and rewrote the educational

    provisions of the constitution to permit space for more private entrepre

    neurship. Christophes first constitution aimed to expand access to educa

    tion throughout the country, this time administered through civilian ar-rondissements, and making it permissible for any citizen to establish aprivate school.11To a very great degree, however, all constitutional ar

    rangements for education, then and now, have been rendered meaninglessby the lack of financial resources and skilled personnel.

    1985) and David Nicholls, From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Color and NationalIndependence in Haiti(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).

    8 Luc-Joseph Pierre,duquer contra la barbarie: Construire la cit ducative etdmocratique(Port-au-Prince: Imprimerie Henri Deschamps, 1996), p. 89.

    9 [Toussaint LOuverture],La Constitution de 1801(Port-au-Prince: BibliothqueNationale dHati, Edition des Presses Nationales dHati, 2001), p. 25.

    10 Clment, History of Education, p. 163 (note 2); Rayford Logan, Education inHaiti, inJournal of Negro History(1930), pp. 401-460, pp. 410-412.

    11 Article 34 of the 1807 Constitution, reprinted in Clment, History of Education, p.


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    210 Karen Racine

    Henry Christophe assumed power in 1806 and subsequently raised

    himself to Emperor in a lavish coronation ceremony held in June 1811.

    From the earliest days, he made consistent and strenuous efforts to cultiv

    ate good relations with English reformers. He had always idealized GreatBritain as the home of constitutional monarchy, an active abolitionist

    movement, and the avowed enemy of France. It was also not unimportant

    that Great Britain had the worlds strongest navy and was the country

    from which the greatest practical technological innovations were emerg

    ing (particularly in naval and agricultural matters). On a more personal

    level, Christophe himself had a moralistic, domesticated disposition that

    responded to overtures from the growing Christian evangelical movementin England.12For all these reasons and more. King Hemy Christophe and

    his advisors very quickly fixated on the hope that an alliance with Britain

    would afford some protection from a French invasion; he further anticip

    ated that British commercial and cultural investment might help raise up

    his own Haitian people to their rightful place in the community of

    nations. In this grand project, education was one of Christophes most

    cherished goals. Although the Teacher-King would be the one to bestow

    knowledge and virtue upon his own people, he was also willing to cast

    himself as a student. He knew that a privileged position brought with it

    the responsibility to behave well and set an example for the rest of soci

    ety. Christophe once chastised his young son Jacques Victor Henri for

    mistreating servants and disrespecting his tutors; he reminded the boy to

    be docile to the counsel and advice of those who have a right to offer

    them to you.13 In the Kings case, those who had a right to offer him

    advice were Englands great abolitionists William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson.

    Henry Christophe sent his first letter to Wilberforce unsolicited in

    1814. It weighed an astonishing eighty-five ounces and cost the recipient

    12 See Karen Racine, "Britannias Bold Brother: British Cultural Influence in Haiti

    during the Reign of Henry Christophe (1811-1820), in Journal of Caribbean History30 (1999), pp. 125-145.

    13 Henry to his son, the Prince Royal Jacques Victor Henri (Palace of San Souci, 17October 1813), British Library, Add. Mss. 41266, ff. 1-9.

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    Imported Englishness 211

    37.10.14 The Haitian King chose his audience well. Wilberforce had

    been the driving force behind British abolitionism for over twenty years,

    and had taken a particularly intense interest in Haiti. In 1803, he had de

    manded that then Prime Minister William Pitt decry the French

    atrocities in St. Domingo and stop the tacit support Bonapartes forces

    received from commercial intercourse with British merchants.15

    Wilberforce lavishly praised James Stephens brief biography of Tous

    saint Louverture which was intended to shame the Pitt administration for

    its toleration of the horrible cruelties, and detestable perfidy of

    Buonaparte and his agents toward the St. Domingo blacks and wrote to

    the author [l]et it be to both of us a comfort that we have laboured to

    resist the wicked and cruel system of the slave trade.16 WhenChristophes letter reached him, Wilberforce was overjoyed and more

    than ready to take on the role of benefactor, tutor, and publicist for the

    Black King. Together, they would engage in an experiment that would

    prove once and for all that humans were endowed with equal capacity; it

    had only been the degrading condition of enslavement that had reduced

    Africans to a brutal life.

    Wilberforce immediately set out to publicize the goals of the wise newHaitian monarch who wanted to recreate his people in the English mold.

    Wilberforce feverishly wrote to his friend Zachary Macaulay that not a

    day has passed that I have not prayed for Christophe and even wished

    that he was a younger man so that he could go to Haiti and open a school

    there himself. It would be, in his estimation, a noble undertaking to be

    sowing in such a soil the seeds of a Christian and moral improvement and

    to be laying also the foundation of all kinds of social and domestic insti-

    14 Introduction to Henry Christophe and Thomas Clarkson: A Correspondence, ed. byEarl Leslie Griggs & Clifford Prator (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University ofCalifornia Press, 1952), p. 62.

    15 Wilberforce to Pitt (Broomfield, 4 February 1803), Cambridge University Library,Department of Manuscripts, Pitt Papers, Add. 6958/15/2924.

    16 Wilberforce to Stephen (Lyme, 20 December 1804), in Correspondence of WilliamWilberforce, ed. by Robert Isaac Wilberforce & Samuel Wilberforce (Philadelphia:Henry Perkins, 1841), vol. 1, pp. 257-258.

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    212 Karen Racine

    tutions, habits and manners.17 Christophe and his English patrons both

    likened young minds to fertile but uncultivated soil; indeed, educational

    pamphlets on both sides of ftie Atlantic abound with agricultural meta-

    phors. For example, in 1810, representative of the British and ForeignBible Society left some New Testaments in Haiti to be used as part of the

    Kings generalized programme of education and moral uplift. The happyagent reported that

    [t]hrough the exertions of the Bible Society, the seed is now sown in thisbenighted land; its success must be committed to Him, without whose graciousassistance a Paul and an Apollos may plans and water in vain. That the Lord ofthe harvest may be pleased to give an abundant increase, is the [my] earnest


    Two years later, another correspondent implicitly compared the gener-

    ally low level of moral education in Haiti to a famine when he stated that

    there is at present a real hunger and thirst after the Word of God... [your

    efforts] will doubtless be crowned with success, and bring forth fruit to

    his glory.19 Education and agriculture were Christophes two great

    visions, and for advancements in both, he looked to England, where Tory

    reformers hoped to recapture a pastoral ideal, dutiful workers obedientlygoing about their business and respecting their social betters. Internalized

    discipline is more effective than externally imposed control.20

    At the same time as he was exchanging lofty sentiments about moral-

    ity and education with William Wilberforce, Christophe also approached

    Thomas Clarkson for more explicitly political advice. Clarkson too seems

    to have relished the opportunity to bestow his wisdom on the Haitian

    King; from 1815 onward, he acted as a sort of unofficial agent for the

    Haitian government, providing useful information, acting as a liaison

    with sympathetic members of the press, and recruiting teachers and

    17 Wilberforce to Zachary Macaulay (c. 1814), quoted in Griggs & Prator,Introduction, in Christophe and Clarkson, p. 62.

    18 From a Correspondent in St. Domingo, November 1810, inBritish and ForeignBible Society Annual Report7 (1811), p. 103.

    19 From the Island of St.Thomas, dated November 14, 1812, inBritish and Foreign

    Bible Society Annual Report9 (1813), p. 459.20 Michel Foucault,Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison(New York: Vintage,

    1995), discusses the militaristic nature of the Lancasterian monitorial method in achapter called The Means of Correct Training.

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    skilled emigrants for the island.21Christophe told Clarkson that educationwas

    the first duty of sovereigns. I am completely devoted to this project. The edificesnecessary for the institutions of public instruction in the city and in the country areunder construction... I hope the inhabitants of Haiti, overcoming the shameful

    prejudice which has too long weighed upon them will soon astonish the world bytheir knowledge. It is this I should like to refute the calumny of our detractors, and

    justify the high opinion our friends, the philanthropists, have conceived of us.

    Sincerely flattering his teacher-benefactor, Christophe went on torecognize

    [t]he British Nation has long since earned a right to the gratitude of all Haitians...

    the gratitude which I feel toward you, and toward our good and virtuousdefenders, will never be effaced from my heart, and I shall ever seize all occasionsto give you proof of it.22

    Around the same time. Prince Sanders, a black teacher from Boston

    visited Wilberforce in London hoping to secure his sponsorship for a

    school for returned African Americans in Sierra Leone. Obsessed with his

    Caribbean experiment, Wilberforce instead engaged Sanders to travel to

    Haiti to deliver some supplies and conduct a survey of schools and the

    general moral condition there. The Bostonian accepted the mission andundertook some preparatoiy visits before leaving London. Prince

    Sanders from America appears in the Register of Student Teachers and

    Joseph Lancasters Borough Road school in September 1815, with the

    notation that he had been trained and sent to Santo Domingo [Hayti].23

    Interestingly, although Sanders himself was black, his race was never

    held up as a reason for his suitability for the job.

    Sanders returned to London early in 1816 as an enthusiasticpropagandist for Christophes wise and benevolent rule. Christophe wrote

    in a letter to Clarkson that he had,

    deemed it necessary to re-send Mr Prince Sanders to England to bring back withhim the Institutions that I have beseeched Mr. Wilberforce to procure for me withthe goal of education our Youth under the approved system of English Edu-

    21 Betty Fladeland,Men and Brothers: Anglo-American Anti-Slavery Co-operation,

    (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1972), p. 98.22 Christophe to Clarkson (Sans Souci, 5 February 1816, in the 13thyear of our

    Independence), printed in Christophe and Clarkson, pp. 91-93 (note 14).23 Brunei University, British and Foreign School Society Archives, Borough Road

    Training College Register of Male Students, 10 September 1815.

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    214 Karen Racine

    cation... Mr Sanders is also charged with giving you my sincere thanks for yourefforts on behalf of Africans and their descendants.24

    The tone of prostrated dignity was perfectly calculated to appeal to

    Clarksons national pride and activist inclinations. Wilberforce andClarkson helped Prince Sanders secure a publisher for his memoir, a best

    selling book called Hayticm Papers, which they used to recruit teachers

    who would be willing to go to Haiti to superintend the implantation of

    English values.

    In his account of Christophes Haiti, Sanders opened by appealing to

    the best impulses of his English readers:

    But to the immortal honour of noble and generous Englishmen be it said, theirhearts are in general attuned to the exercise of more humane, and more rationallyillumined views and experiments. O happy England! to thee most appropriatelybelong the exalted appellations of protectress of the Christian world; the stronghold of rational freedom; the liberatress as well as the genuine asylum foroppressed humanity, and the promulgatress of civilization, knowledge, and pietyto every region of the globe.25

    The narrative includes many documents from Christophes long

    career, which were intended to prove his legitimacy as a ruler and his

    credentials as a humanitarian worthy of patronage by the English nation.Christophes proclamation, dated 18 September 1814, specifically ap

    pealed for help from the brave and loyal British nation which was the

    first to take action against the odious slave trade.26Lauding Christophes

    achievements, Sanders reported that the King h^d kept a watch out for the

    plots of jealous Frenchmen and their partisans, while introducing into

    the kingdom the lights of learning, [and] by affording his protection to the

    arts and sciences.27 Education would be the peoples defence against

    French counterrevolution, arid the leaders defence against a democratic,

    participatory citizenry.

    24 Christophe to Clarkson (5 fvrier 1816, lanne 13 du lindpendance), BritishLibrary, Add. Mss. 41266, ff. 12-13.

    25 Prince Sanders, Haytian Papers, A Collection of the Very Interesting Proclamations

    and Other Official Documents; Together with Some Account of the Rise, Progress,and Present State of the Kingdom of Hayti(London: W. Reed, 1816), p. iv.

    26 Ibid., pp. 177-78.27 Ibid., p. 193.

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    Wilberforce and Clarkson were well pleased with Sanders published

    report, which combined the credibility of an eyewitness account with the

    weight of an objective documentary collection. Making the nineteenth-

    century equivalent of a promotional book tour, Sanders appeared as the

    guest of honour at several high-profile dinners throughout London in the

    summer of 1816. John Quincy Adams, then U.S Ambassador to Great

    Britain, recorded at least three personal encounters with the curious

    African-American, including a dinner at the Freemasons Hall on Great

    Queen Street held by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manu

    factures, and Commerce.28

    Christophes state of the union address of 1 January 1816 specificallyhad identified public instruction as the states prime duty and declared

    that his administration was seeking learned professors from abroad to

    undertake the education of youth. Haitian society under Christophe

    became mobilized against potential counterrevolution, and its most

    powerful weapon, education, was restricted in content and audience to

    those who could be trusted. In the Kings view, [t]he places of educa

    tion, the colleges, the royal and military school, will become the nurseryfrom whence are to issue our statesmen, magistrates of enlightened char

    acter, and military men instructed in the art of war.29To help Christophe

    fuse Christian morality, national unity and public education, Clarkson

    recommended a Quaker named Stephen Grellet. Clarkson told Christophe

    that Quakers have long ago conceived it to be their duty to consider all

    children of Africa as their brethren... whenever you see a Quaker, you see

    a friend to the distressed, but more especially to those of the African

    race. Furthermore, he believed the Quakers would make excellent tutors

    for the Haitian people because they consider it their duty to obey the

    civil magistrate, as the ruler under God for good .. [and]... their duty

    never to go to war... Hence there is no rebellion, no insurrection, no plot-

    28 Dated 27 May 1816. Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Comprising Portions of hisDiary from 1795 to 1848, ed. by Charles Francis Adams (Philadelphia: J. B.Lippincott & Co., 1874), vol. Ill, pp. 369-70. In July, Adams attended a large dinner

    party for Sanders along with William Hickling Prescott, General Burgoyne and thenovelist Amelia Opie.Memoirs, III, 385.

    29 Christophe, Proclamation. The King to Haytians (Sans Souci, 1 January 1816).Reprinted in Sanders,Haytian Papers, p. 206-207.

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    216 Karen Racine

    ting against governments wherever the Quakers are.30The King received

    the new personnel with pleasure and even adopted their humble, egalit

    arian language and started referring to his correspondents as Friend.

    Christophe told Clarkson that he considered the sending of these mastersas the greatest favour my friends have done me.31

    Clarkson wasted no time in seeking out teachers, artists and

    agriculturists for his distant Haitian friends. Taking a personal interest in

    the Haitians success, Wilberforce, Clarkson and Zachary Macaulay

    interviewed the tutors who would be sent out to supervise the education

    of the Kings own children. In May 1816, the British and Foreign School

    Society signed on to the Haitian cause, reprinting one of Christophes

    proclamations at length for their subscribers. The philanthropists were

    thrilled to read that

    the chief of that nation seems to be convinced, that the surest means of healing thewounds of long-protracted warfare and sanguinary conflicts, of establishing andstrengthening social ties, of introducing happiness, are to be found in the generaldiffusion of knowledge, and the dissemination of the Scriptures.

    What was more, the Black King promised that professors and artists

    who ventured to Haiti would be officially protected, and that no differ

    ences of religion or nation would hinder the rise of people of merit and

    talent. In glorious terms, Christophe, praised the British people, (Ye

    virtuous philanthropists, friends of humanity!) and asked them to

    Aid then, ye friends of religion, of virtue, and of social order, -aid the great causein which we are engaged; rest not, while thousands and tens of thousands ofchildren are growing up unprovided with education, while ignorance continues tospread its gloom and wretchedness over regions which the bounty of the Creatorhas richly endowed with means which, if blessed with religious instruction, might

    soon become the scenes of real happiness. Thus may ye become the guides andinstructors of the young.32

    The King intended to replace the hated French colonial values and co

    opt the potential for egalitarian French revolutionary doctrines by im-

    30 Clarkson to Christophe (Playford Hall, Suffolk, 4 May 1816), in Griggs & Prator,Christophe and Clarkson, p. 95 (note 14).

    31 Christophe to Clarkson (Palais du Sans Souci, 18 novembre 1816), British Library,Add. Mss 41266, ff. 31-32. Christophe to Clarkson (Palace of Sans Souci, 18November 1816), in Griggs & Prator, Christophe and Clarkson, p. 98

    32 Hayti,British and Foreign School Society Annual Report(May 1816), pp. 21-25.

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    porting a domesticated version of British hierarchy, tradition, and social

    order. His citizenry would be free, and they would be trained to be happy

    and obedient.

    Wilberforce was not only a respected parliamentarian and abolitionist;he was also an Evangelical Christian who was a Director of both the

    British and Foreign School Society [BFSS] and the British and Foreign

    Bible Society [BFBS]. He looked to both benevolent organizations to

    help export English institutions and values to Haiti. Sanders had intro

    duced King Henry Christophe to Joseph Lancasters monitorial method of

    education which promised to educate large numbers of children quickly

    and inexpensively through the use of instruction by their peers. Olderpupils who had mastered a certain amount of basic literacy would be

    designated as monitors and employed to train younger children. Lancas

    ters method aimed, as he said, to cultivate reverence to God and Scrip

    ture, to train students to detest vice and love veracity, to accustom them

    to respect their parents and other authorities, and to exude a peaceable

    demeanour.33 The Lancasterian system placed as much emphasis on

    behavioural training as it did on the subject material. Monitors used re

    wards to reinforce desirable actions, and punishments to discourage

    transgressions. In this way, unruly children from the street were habitu

    ated to new norms of cleanliness, order, diligence, and respect. Lancaster

    wrote that [i]t is inconceivable what a nation this might become, if a

    proper system of education was universally adopted; combining moral

    and religious instruction with habits of subordination.34 King Henry

    Christophe could not have expressed the sentiment better himself. No

    wonder he was so receptive to Prince Sanders suggestion that Haitimight want to adopt the Lancasterian system for its new national schools.

    Christophe wrote excitedly to Wilberforce that he considered the new

    method to be the most sublime ever, and requested that his benefactor

    undertake its export to Haiti as quickly as possible. The King was sens-

    33 Joseph Lancaster, Improvements in Education, as it Respects the Industrious Classes

    of the Community; Containing, Among Other Important Particulars, an Account ofthe Institution for the Education of One Thousand Poor Children... and of the NewSystem of Education on which it is Conducted, 4thed. (London: 1806), pp. viii-ix.

    34 Ibid., p. 172.

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    itive to the necessity of changing the manners and habits of my fellow

    citizens... and to remodel them on the manners and habits of the English:

    the culture of English literature in our schools, in our colleges, and even

    tually, I hope, the English language will prevail over the French.35Hisapproach to the formation of his citizenry was a curious mix of conser

    vatism and idealism, nationalism and universalism, hierarchy and social


    One of the most important and effective experiments in which the

    Haitian and British reformers collaborated was the creation of a new

    public education system. Both Henry Christophe in the northern prov

    inces of Haiti and his rival mulatto General-President Alexandre Ption inthe southern regions expressed intense interest in the Lancasterian

    method. Ption opened a Lancasterian school for younger children, cre

    ated the first high school on the island in 1817 (proudly named the Lyce

    Alexandre Ption), and founded Haitis first professional school of health

    and hygiene. Christophes educational policies were more ambitious and

    more fully-realized, in part because he was a more energetic leader, and

    in part because he was more adept at seeking allies for his endeavours

    both at home and abroad. Christophe imported several British teachers to

    staff the many Lancasterian schools he sponsored, and created the Royal

    College which was designed to train bureaucrats, doctors, lawyers and

    philosophers. Their work would be harnessed the Royal Courts goal of

    creating a happy, healthy, productive, obedient citizenry.

    Thomas Gulliver was an idealistic young mah who graduated from

    Lancasters Borough Road school in 1816, and accepted a contract to

    oversee the creation of Lancasterian schools in King Hemys Haitianrealm. Once on the island, Gulliver devised a curriculum that included

    instruction in the English language, hygiene, morality, ancient and

    modem history, practical sciences, physical fitness and Anglican theo

    logical principles. Gulliver and the others wanted to transplant English

    values to a foreign environment to prove their universal applicability. He

    had an important patron in the Anglophile King who told his nations

    tutor that he was astonished at the effect of this new system, and at the

    35 Henry I to William Wilberforce (Au Palais du Sans Soucy, 18 novembre 1816) inCorrespondence of William Wilberforce, vol. 1, pp; 262-266 (note 16).

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    premature intelligence which it develops in the pupils. In fact, I consider

    the sending of these masters as the greatest benefit my friends could have

    conferred upon me.36 This educational strategy had no race or colour,

    but it did have a language, a religion, and supported a distinct social hierarchy.

    In an ostentatious proclamation to the Haitian people, dated NewYears Day 1817, the King established a Royal Chamber of Instruction, a

    Royal College, and National Schools according to the Lancasterian system. In these national schools, the English language and the elements of[English] knowledge shall be taught. Hinting at his inspiration, the King

    intonedOur attention is particularly fixed on public instruction- the most powerful meansof improving the morals of a nation, and forming the nationalcharacter...Stimulated by just ideas of liberality, we have favoured and protectedforeign artists and professors, who came to engage in the instruction of youth....It

    is from these foundations that light will be diffused among the whole mass of thepopulation, and they will learn how to appreciate their duty and love their country.The moral virtues which distinguish man in a civilized state, will take the place ofthe ignorance and depraved manners which are the unhappy result of barbarityand slavery.37

    The British and Foreign School Society regularly reported on Gul

    livers success. Already, by May 1817, they advertised that Gulliver was

    using a temporary space to instruct young children in the Scriptures while

    King Henry Christophe undertook the construction of a large building

    that would be sufficient to hold 400 students. Convinced that English

    education was superior to every other method in use, the King wished

    to promote the knowledge of the English language among his people,

    being persuaded that he will thereby secure their prosperity and happiness.38He favoured British artists and professors, he implied, because

    centuries of French exploitation had left Haitians in a state of moral

    decay. He aspired to nothing less than a complete renovation of the

    36 Christophe to Clarkson (Palais du San Souci, 9 septembre 1816), British Library AddMss 41266, ff. 16-26.

    37 Henry Christophe, Royal Proclamation of King Henry to the Haytian People, in

    British and Foreign School Society Annual Report(May 1817), pp. 55-56.38 British and Foreign School Society Annual Report(May 1817), pp. 32-33. The figure

    of 400 was inflated; Gullivers letter, dated Cape Henry, 22 April 1817, reported thatthe Kings school would hold 300 young pupils.

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    Haitian character, beginning with its children, believing that if there are

    laws for the age of maturity, there should be rules for infancy. From the

    first moment of life, we should learn to deserve life ... It is not therefore

    sufficient to direct men to be good, they should be instructed how to

    become so; and to form good citizens, we must instruct children. This

    speech held out the promise of a hard-working, self-help, gradualist ap

    proach that the English abolitionists idealized in a recently emancipated

    population and in all his public addresses, Christophe showed that he had

    mastered their strategy.

    Along with Gulliver, the Quaker Grellet, and the American Sanders,

    several other English men and women travelled to Haiti at that time todevote themselves to the national educational mission. By 1818, a draw

    ing and painting master named Evans had opened an art school for the

    new Haitian aristocracy, Mr. Daniel had taken charge of the Kings chil

    dren at San Souci, and there were at least five other English schools oper

    ating in Gonaives, Port-au-Paix, St. Marcs, and Fort Royal (the latter

    operated by a young man of colour trained at the Borough Road).39

    London daily newspaper Morning Chronicle printed regular updates onHaitian schools, including glowing reports of W. who confirmed that

    the Kings enlightened and liberal policy in disseminating education,

    morality and religion ... will secure him the eternal gratitude of his


    Gulliver and the English teachers in Haiti shared the goal of spreading

    morality through personal study of the Scriptures. Haitis Minister for

    Foreign Affairs, the Comte du Limonade wrote to the President of the

    British and Foreign Bible Society to thank his organization for its noble

    and generous conduct in preparing a bilingual French-English edition of

    the New Testament for use in the nations Lancasterian schools. As soon

    as the much-wanted books arrived, the King would distribute them in the

    schools and to private families with a view to the promotion of morality,

    39 British and Foreign School Society, Hayti, inBritish and Foreign School SocietyAnnual Report {July 1818), p. 34.

    40 W., Letter to the Editor, inMorning Chronicle(24 May 1818).

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    Imported Englishness 221

    and the knowledge of the English language among his people.41 The

    Testaments arrived in Haiti in March 1817, and a politely irritated

    Limonade wrote back to enquire why the Kings explicit request for aside-by-side bilingual edition, with a view to facilitate the knowledge of

    the English language in the kingdom, was not fulfiled.42 43Nevertheless,

    King Henry and his local British aides made the best of the resources they

    had been sent. The incorrect editions were distributed throughout the

    country, to schoolchildren, to aristocratic and merchant families, and to

    members of the military.

    Not content to wait for another shipment from the Bible Society, the

    Haitians set about printing their own textbook gospel, a handsome edition

    printed in the desired side-by-side bilingual columns which was called

    The Liturgy, or Form of Common Prayer, for the Use of the Royal Col-

    leges and National Schools of Haytif Part catechism, part nation-build

    ing project, the book was aimed at a new generation of young Haitians

    who could be inspired to dedicate themselves to the betterment of them

    selves and their fellow citizens through Christian morality and loyalty to

    their King. The Liturgyset out a schedule and descriptions of options forceremonies to be performed at certain hours and on certain days. As it

    was presented here, the Christian message seemed to be affirming the

    righteousness of the Haitian Revolution, and its message was both reas

    suring and empowering for its audience:He hath put down the mighty from their seats: and hath exalted the humble andthe meek./ He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sentempty away.44

    The Haitians, delivered from slavery like their Biblical counterparts,were the true Children of God, and were all the more noble for their

    humility, passivity, and willingness to receive tutelage of their British

    41 Limonade to Teignmouth (Palace of San Souci, 18 November 1816), inBritish andForeign Bible Society Annual Report13 (1817), p. 303.

    42 Limonade to [Lord Teignmouth] (2 April 1817), reprinted in British and ForeignBible Society Annual Report 14 (1818), pp. 124-125. The unacceptable Testaments

    had arrived in an edition that had sections in French, followed by sections in English.43 Church of England, The Liturgy, or Form of Common Prayer, for the Use of the Royal

    Colleges and National Schools of Hayti (Sans-Souci: At the Kings Printing Office,[1817?]).

    44 Ibid., p. 24.

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    abolitionist benefactors. It was a curious relationship, but one that worked

    well for leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Sponsored by the Church of England, this same liturgical text also set

    out several pages of prayers for various components of the new state: theKing, his family, the Haitian council and ministers, magistrates, the

    clergy and the common folkM^Iotions of servitude ran throughout the

    prayers, but they are resurrected and presented as the free actions of a

    patriot. The King, for example, despite his lofty position, was presented

    as a both a servant of God and as a father figure who knew what is best

    for his citizen-children and who laboured constantly to fulfil their needs.

    In turn, the people must faithfully serve, honour and humbly obey

    him.45Twice daily, the congregation was instructed to supplicate themselves and to ask their Lord not just for life everlasting, but also for help

    and knowledge while on earth. Specifically, the liturgy asked for deliver

    ance from all manner of evils including: pestilence, plague, famine, bat

    tle, murder, sudden death, illness, fornication, pride, vainglory, envy,

    hatred, malice and uncharitableness. It also made clear that acts of polit

    ical independence such as: sedition, privy conspiracy, rebellion, false

    doctrine, heresy, schism, and contempt for authority would put ones soulin danger.46Literacy, particularly as it was conveyed through the medium

    of religious tracts and textbooks used in the classrooms of the agents of

    the British and Foreign School society, was intimately connected both to

    Henry Christophers nation-building project and to the consolidation of his

    regime. Obedience and love for authority figures were the goal, not the

    free expression of ones intellect.

    Stories of Christophe and his educational programmes for the Haitianpeople appeared regularly in the British press throughout the years 1817

    to 1820. For example, the liberal newspaper Morning Chronicle told its

    readers that the generous Haitian government was paying for poor chil

    drens tuition in the Lancasterian schools, which promised to plans the

    first seeds of public and private morality. Because these fortunate chil

    dren would be early penetrated by a feeling of duty, they will become

    accustomed to obey laws, respect the social order, obtain mastery over

    45 Ibid., pp. 44-45.46 Ibid., pp. 56-57.

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    Imported Englishness 223

    themselves, and be welcomed into an institution in which they can raise

    themselves up by their own efforts.47 The editors were indescribably

    pleased at the salutary effects that such a noble public education pro

    gramme was having on the civilization of the island; savvy readers understood that the success in Haiti strengthened the case for providing educa

    tion to the lower classes at home as well. The Gentleman s Magazinewas

    also enthusiastic about Christophes school-building frenzy, noting that

    he has expended an immense sum on his college and predicting that [i]t

    is no small advantage to England, that [the instructors] will be nearly all

    chosen from this Country.48 Even the Tory journal Quarterly Review

    shared in the general euphoria, pointing out that Haitians had put to rest

    any notion of African inferiority, proving for all to see that human beingswere the same everywhere, and expressing pleasure that the Black King

    and his people have chosen to imitate the English example of service to

    God and nation.49 There were rumblings of discontent, however. Many

    groups whose economic interests were threatened by the prospects of a

    successful, free Haiti tried to undermine Christophes reputation by

    publicizing tales of his cruel and capricious nature, and hinting that he

    wanted to spread the anti-colonial revolution to other Caribbean islands.In May 1817, the New Monthly Magazinepublished a letter to the editor

    acidly pointing out that it does not require the gift of prophecy to foresee

    that the ascendancy of the blacks must be the destruction of the whites.

    Indeed, when an English merchant [Mr. Davidson] has been tortured by

    a black tyrant with whom the African Institution holds a

    correspondence, the writer asks, can any patriotic citizen continue to

    accept the praise heaped on the abolitionists?50

    In Haiti, Christophes Lancasterian school system continued to flour

    ish. Although the numbers of students who were able to attend classes

    remained minuscule relative to the general population, its energy and

    47 Establishment of National Schools at Hayti, after the Lancasterian British System ofEducation, inMorning Chronicle29, September 1817.

    48 Gentlemans Magazine87, October 1817, p. 357.49 Quarterly Review21, April 1819), 42, p. 433.50 Publicla, Mr. Editor.. (Dated 3 April 1817), in New Monthly Magazine 7, May

    1817, p. 306. The letter makes it clear that the pseudonymous author is an advocate of

    British planters on the island of Antigua.

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    idealism was significant. Thomas Gulliver, the schoolmaster trained atthe Borough Road academy, continued to oversee the Haitian systemsexpansion and sent regular reports back to his patrons in England. OnJanuary 1, 1818, he provided a quarterly report on the Cap-Henri schoolsaccomplishments. According to his figures, there were 189 students in thecurrent reading class, 278 others who had been promoted in reading sincethe last report and 68 who had moved up in the mathematics classes.Only one child, a boy named Clment, had left school simply because, asthe report assured its readers, he was too young.51 His race was not afactor at all. When Baron de Vastey compiled a similar report a year later,

    in January 1819, he identified five schools that had been run by Britishheadmasters in Cap-Henry, Sans-Souci, Port-de-Paix, Gonaives andSaint-Marc and which had trained 536 students at eight different levels.Vasteys description of the curriculum indicates that these buys werebeing trained in Latin, French and English composition, French andEnglish translation, geography, Biblical studies and arithmetic.52

    By January 1820, native Haitians had been trained to a level at which

    they could be appointed masters of schools in rural areas and the Englishsystem was extended to Fort Royal, Limb, Borgne, St.Louis, Plaisance,and Jean-Rabel with a total student population surpassing 1000 for thefirst time.53Thomas Gulliver confirmed that the King had extended the

    51 T. Gulliver, Quarterly Report of the State of the School at Cape Henry, for the PeriodCommencing 1 October 1817 and ending 1 January 1818 (Cape Henry, Hayti, 1January 1818), enclosed in a letter from William Hamilton to Zachary Macaulay,

    Huntington Library MY303.52 Baron de Vastey, Secrtaire du Chambre Royal dHayti, 31 January 1819, British

    Library Add Mss 41266, f. 54. Vastey engaged in a heated polemic with Frenchintellectuals and the press and vehemently defended his black brothers abilities in

    Reflexions on the Blacks and Whites, Addressed by M. Mazeres, a French ex-Colonist,toJ C. L. Sismonde de Sismondi (Liverpool: J. Hatchard, [1817]). For a discussion ofhis own career, see David Nicholls, Pompe Valentin Vastey: Royalist andRevolutionary, in Jahrbuch Jur Geschichte von Staat, Wirtschaft und GesellschaftLateinamerikas28 (1991), pp. 107-121.

    53 Mr. J. Daniels, Professor, Summary. Chambre Royal dinstruction Publique. Rapportde la Situation Gnrale de lAcadmie et des coles Nationales du Royaume compter du 31 janvier jusqu 31 janvier 1820, British Library Add Mss 41266,ff. 147-148. The Haitian teachers were identified as: Duchesne, Hilaire, Antoine,Thaner, Pierre-Louis, Fontaine, and Papillon.

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    benefits of education into the interior; by his count, eleven schools were

    in operation, eight of them under control of native teachers.54The Brit

    ish and Foreign School Society was pleased to report that an additional

    six monitorial schools were planned for the Haitian interior, and that the

    Holy Scriptures were in the hands of all schoolchildren in the nations

    schools.55Given this degree of success, it should not be surprising that the

    Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Comte du Limonade, was

    installed as an honorary member of the British and Foreign School Soci

    ety in 1819. His country seemed to be their greatest success story. Later

    that same year, the Society sent King Henry 100 guineas to distribute as

    merit prizes to diligent students in the Chambre Royale. English

    reformers were intent upon setting up a system of rewards so that thestudents would learn the value of hard work.

    Female education was one area of moral reform that received particu

    larly energetic attention from the white English reformers, who were

    particularly anxious to harness and control illicit behavior by inculcating

    modesty and piety in black Haitian women and girls. In 1810, a corres

    pondent for the British and Foreign Bible Society had reported that

    [t]he Indigenes, or natives of Hayti, are extremely ignorant; but few can read; theirreligion is catholic; but neither it or its priests are much respected. That they are ina most awful state of darkness is evident: mothers are actually panderers to theirown daughters, and reap the fruit of their own prostitution. The endearing name offather, is scarcely every heard; as the children but rarely know to whom they are

    indebted for their existence.56

    No civilized country could flourish if its fathers avoided their res

    ponsibilities and its daughters were forced to live by their bodies and

    desires instead of their minds and virtues. Years later, Wilberforce

    preached to King Henry that in every age and country one of the grand

    tests of civilization and refinement has been the respect in which the

    female sex has been held... They are the natural softeners and polishers of

    the roughness and the coarseness of our sex which necessitated their

    54 Gulliver, inBritish and Foreign School Society Annual Report(1820), pp. 24-25.55 British and Foreign Bible Society, Translation of a Letter or King Henry of Hayti to

    the President (Lord TeignmouthJ, Palace of Castle Henry, 29 July 1819, British and

    Foreign Bible Society Annual Report16 (1819), p. 218.56 From a Correspondent returned from St. Domingo, dated Nov. 1810, inBritish and

    Foreign Bible Society Annual Report7 ( 1811 ), p. 103.

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    inclusion in any education system as a guarantee of the nations moral

    health. Certain that the King would want to improve both the intellectual

    and moral character, as well as the manners of Haytian femmes, Wilber-

    force indicated that he was seeking instructresses for his friends peoplebecause he had witnessed personally the positive effects when women

    learned to read the Bible ahd elevate their familys morality: fathers

    sobered up and became much improved in their industry and propensity

    for domestic life.57 Throughout the years 1817 and 1818, Wilberforce

    obsessed over the morality of Haitis female population and even asked

    Zachary Macaulay to help him devise schemes for their improvement.58

    Duncan Stewart, Christophes personal physician, shared this moralizing sentiment. He sent a concerned letter to Thomas Clarkson advising

    that females are used very ill in Haiti, being often forced to submit to the

    hardest labour and the greatest iniquities, at the capricious will of their

    rulers. Very shortly afterward, Clarkson wrote to the King, gently telling

    him that in England, girls of all classes are given the same education as

    boys, which greatly inclines them to become the force of good

    example. He mused that in future, any Englishmen who would be

    recruited for the Haytian cause should be married and required to take

    their families with them to set an example of chaste, sober, moral and

    earnest living, [and in so doing] it is incalculable what good might be

    done to the Haytian female.59 Wilberforce was proud to tell the King

    that our women are much more generally faithful to their husbands than

    the ladies of any other country in Europe, Switzerland and Holland

    excepted. The English Queen never would receive at court any lady of

    blemished reputation - might it be possible for the Haitian court toinstitute a similar policy? If so, he was convinced that the standard of

    public morality would be raised [and] it would becomes disreputable for a

    women [sic] to be an intriguer. It was good news that Henry

    Christophes family sets an example of domestic virtue and attachment,

    57 Wilberforce to the King of Hayti 8 October 1818, in Correspondence of WilliamWilberforce,vol. 1, pp. 269-285 (note 16). The letter was marked private.

    58 Wilberforce to Macaulay [1817?] in Viscontess Knutsford,Life and Letters ofZachary Macaulay(London: Edward Arnold, 1900), p. 367.

    59 Stewart to Clarkson, Cape Henry, 4 December 1819, in Christophe and Clarkson,pp.184-185, 185 n.

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    Imported Ertglishness 227

    like that of our own king and queen.60Of course, Regency royals were

    not paragons of private virtue at all, but the idea that public figures had a

    duty at least to play at domesticity was a well-entrenched component of

    British political theatre by the 1810s. In his efforts to present himself as aworld-class monarch, Christophe quickly learned how to speak their

    language. Soon he too was communicating to European monarchs his

    delight that [bjy the encouragement that I give to marriage and protec

    tion to good morals, I have the satisfaction of seeing a sensible ameliora

    tion every day.61

    To all British observers, it was clear that any success arising from the

    bold new social experiment being conducted at a safe distance across theAtlantic would help to silence the critics of reforms being proposed to

    uplift and control the working-class at home as well. In this way. King

    Henry and the Haitians had a paradoxical role as both students and

    teachers. The Monthly Repository of Theology, for example, had already

    recommended adopting the clause from Christophes constitution which

    mandated that no man should hold an employment under the civil gov

    ernment unless he is married.62He, in turn, received repeated assurances

    that the introduction of religious toleration, Protestantism, regular Biblestudies, the education of women and children, the use of the English lan

    guage, and habits of industry would make him beloved among his own

    people and respected among the worlds leading powers. The Kings

    closest aides Limonade, Dupuy, Vastey, Sanders and Chanlatte (all

    blacks or mulattos) were talented indeed, and had learned much about the

    technicalities of diplomatic correspondence and proper and polite forms

    from the Englishmen who had joined the imperial inner circle as aides.63

    Although they were proud of their racial and ethnic background, their

    60 Wilberforce to King Henry of Haiti (London, 27 November 1819) in Correspondenceof William Wilberforce,vol. 1, pp. 285-288.

    61 King Henry to Emperor Alexander, the Imperial Majesty of all the Russias 20 March1819, translation reprinted in Griggs & Prator, Christophe and Clarkson,p. 132 (note


    62 Monthly Repository of Theology10, June 1815, p. 400.63 James Franklin, Present State of Hayti (London: John Murray, 1828), pp. 212-215.

    Franklin incorrectly spelled two of the mens surnames: Lamders is Prince Sanders,and Chandlatte is Juste Chanlatte.

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    228 Karen Racine

    desire to be modem and progressive nonetheless led them to absorb the

    values and behaviours of a different group of Europeans.

    Yet even prominent English patrons and their agents could not protect

    Haitis King Henry Christophe from his own hubris and paranoia. Growing ever more fearful of a French attempt to retake control of the island,

    and certain that he was surrounded by secret rivals, King Henry set out to

    build himself a massive Citadel which drained the national budget and

    relied on conscript labour, both conditions guaranteed to fan the flames of

    resentment.64 In 1820, fearing that he was suffering a fatal, debilitating

    stroke, Christophe walked into a private room in his Citadelle and shot

    himself through the heart. This act of desperation shocked his friends,

    who tried but failed to transfer their influence to his successor. General

    Boyer, a bloody-minded military man who immediately shut down the

    English schools and converted the buildings into barracks for his battal

    ions. A least one cynical observer recognized that the new government

    seemed to consider that to keep [the rural poor] in ignorance is the most

    secure way of ensuring tranquillity and repose to the countiy.65

    As a military man with aspirations to create a functioning civic society

    from the ashes of a ruined plantation economy and slave culture, HenriChristophes administration suffered from overweening ambition. The

    revolutionary Kings agenda was riddled with inherent tensions between

    competing ideals. He may have honestly believed that the best way to

    expunge bitter memories was to replace then? with shiny dreams. He

    might have been quite sincere in his desire to resurrect Haiti from its pre

    viously degraded state under French colonial rule and refashion his

    country as a modern, British-inspired monarchy. It is even possible thathe thought his experiment would actually work.

    The reformist zeal of Haitis King Henry I was clearest and most sus

    tained in his desire to import the English system of education as set out

    64 The Citadelle La Ferrire was situated in a cliffside 900 metres above the bay whereColumbus landed on 24 December 1492. It was technologically advanced andinvulnerable to the traditional weapons of the day. See Elizabeth Abbott, Haiti: The

    Duvaliers and Their Legacy(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989), p. 22.65 Franklin, Present State of Hayti,p. 399. Franklin found evidence for this assertion inArticle 179 of Boyers Code Rural which ordered all children to return home and beraised up in their fathers condition.

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    Imported Englishness 229

    by Joseph Lancaster and propagated by the British and Foreign School

    Society. Utilizing agricultural metaphors, and importing both teachers

    and technicians, Christophe internalized the late Enlightenment percep

    tion of children as fertile soil, of education as an organic process ofgrowth that required careful shepherds. Like a carefully-tended English

    garden, Christophe used aid from his foreign friends to help him plant

    beautiful hedges and prune them into neat, orderly rows. Toward this end,

    he tried valiantly to extend the Lancasterian system as widely as his

    resources would permit, but the local Haitian conditions rejected the

    exotic transplant, and the social experiment withered. Christophe wanted

    a mobilized, yet depoliticized, citizenry, and hoped that he could intro

    duce useful knowledge among his people while ensuring their blind obe

    dience. Despite Christophes Edenic vision, the Tree of Knowledge, once

    planted among humanity, inevitably leads to awareness, questions, and


    There was always a huge discrepancy in the availability of education

    throughout the imperial domain. Christophe may have had a sincere de

    sire to diffuse education throughout Haiti, but his Lancasterian school

    project was only successful in the major cities where his military controlwas strongest. Travellers in rural areas reported that they failed to locate

    any schools in outlying areas, despite repeated enquiries made to the

    country folk.66In this way, geography perpetuated racial hierarchies that

    began under French colonial rule. Although the Haitian constitution

    deemed all citizens to be black, in practice, those who resided in urban

    areas and who benefited most from Christophes educational agenda

    tended overwhelmingly to be mulatto while those abandoned to their owndevices in the poverty-stricken countryside were much darker-skinned.

    Although one British observer rejected the notion that blacks were inher

    ently inferior to whites, he expressed dismay thatwith all the advantages, with all the opportunities which Christophe afforded tohis people to improve their minds, and to seek for knowledge in the variousbranches of science, very few indeed have been found who have raised themselves

    66 Ibid., pp. 397-398.

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    230 Karen Racine

    above mediocrity, whilst thousands have been found incapable of tuition, or have

    rejected instruction altogether.67

    Over a period of six years, he engaged in an extended correspondence

    with several of Britains most important abolitionist and conservative

    advocates of social reforms designed to contain the lower classes and

    instill habits of obedience, orderliness, and domestic virtues. Both sides

    of the partnership stood to gain from Christophes effort to import

    Englishness and diffuse it through his nation by using the monitorial

    school method. The Haitians would become healthier, more productive,

    welcome citizens of the world and would prove once and for all that

    Africans were equally equipped for arts and sciences; British reformers

    could use Haitis peaceful progress to silence the anti-abolitionists, lendweight to their proposals on behalf of religious education for the masses,

    and could feel vindicated that English generosity had saved the same

    people their enemy France had dehumanized. Intentions alone are never

    enough. On one desperate day in 1820, a single silver bullet put an end to

    their experiment.

    67 Ibid., p. 211.

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    Eugenia Roldn Vera

    From the time I set my foot on board of my voyage to South America, I haveconsidered myself as an American... You too, my dear Sir, and the members of your

    Society, are Americans... I would, therefore, call upon you, as my fellow-citizens,and would rouse you up to the mighty importance of that sacred work in which you

    are engaged. America, North and South, is the field for your operations... It is thetime for calling forth all our energy, for plying every nerve, in order to make the Light

    of Life shine from one end of the earth to the other.

    Janies Thomson to the Secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Lima, 25

    November 1823.'

    We are used to thinking about the transnational transmission of

    ideas/knowledge as processes by which some kind of message is con

    veyed from point A to point B, conceding that a number of transforma

    tions and adaptations take place in both the journey and in the appropria

    tion of the message by its final receivers. In the history of education we

    often speak of transfer of educational models or policies, and of processes of production, diffusion, and reception (when not imposi

    tion) of pedagogical innovations. In this essay I want to suggest a differ

    ent way of looking at the usual dynamics of transfer, import and ex

    port of ideas by analyzing how some ideas, especially those conceived

    within and in the service of the liberal modernity project, are actually

    1 James Thomson, Letters on the Moral and Religious State of South America, Writtenduring a Residence of Nearly Seven Years in Buenos Aires Chile Peru and