War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0312 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

by Lieutenant General Baron Pamphile de Lacroix, the population of the island is put at 501,000, of whom only 1,000 are set down as white. a In 1825 M. Placide Justin estimates the population at 700,000. b But in 1826 Charles Mackenzie, British consul-general in Hayti, obtained an official population return, not published, which had recently been made to the Haytien Chamber of Commerce. It gives the population of each commune separately, making the total population of the island at that time 423,042. c This return Mr. Mackenzie considers more reliable than any other. It affords proof how little trustworthy are vague estimates of population, which usually overrun the truth, in consequence probably of the desire of a nation or its government, in the absence of an undeniable census, to represent its numerical strength as great as possible.

Some very partial returns of an authentic character, furnished by Mackenzie, d give the rate of natural increase in the population in certain communes at about three-quarters of 1 per cent. only per annum. But not trustworthy deductions can be made from returns so limited. The actual rate of increase from 1836 [1826] to 1860-thirty-four years-is probably double this, say 1 1/2 per cent. a year.

Allowing for omissions e and for Mackenzie's opinion that the census given, though the most reliable document he could obtain, may be and underestimate, f let us, instead of the total of 423,042, there given as the population in 1826, assume the black and colored population of Hayti in 1826 at Bardon de Lacroix's estimate of 500,000, adding thereto, to bring it up to 1860, 1 1/2 per cent. a year for thirty-four years-that is, 51 per cent.- and we have the total negro and mulatto population of the island at 755,000. g

---------------

a The estimate is:

Blacks............................................... 480,000

Mulattoes............................................ 20,000

Whites............................................... 1,000

--------

Total................................................ 501,000

b Notes on Hayti, by Charles Mackenzie, F. R. S., London, 1830, Vol.2, p.112.

c Notes on Hayti, above cited, Vol.2, pp.113,114. The population is thus divided:

Population of the north, west and south (late

French part) of the island.......................... 351,819

Population of the east (Spanish part)................ 71,223

--------

Total............................................... 423,042

d These returns show an annual excess of births over deaths of eighty on an average of five years, in the commune of Saint Jago, containing 11,056 inhabitants; and again, a similar excess of 75 per annum, on an average of six years, in the commune of Cape Haytien, on 12,151 inhabitants; in neither case reaching three-quarters of 1 per cent. (Notes on Hayti, Vol.2, pp.117,119.

e Grands Bois, the residence of the Maroons or refugee negroes, then inhabiting the mountains which stretch from the neighborhood of Mirebalais to the coast on the east of Jacmel, is omitted, as that wandering people could not be reached, so as to enumerate them. Their number at that time is commonly estimated at 6,000.

f Notes on Hayti, Vol.2, p.116.

g Victor Scholcher, who in 1842 published Les Colonies Francaises, is the author of two volumes, published in 1843, entitled Colonies Etrangeres et Haiti. The spirit in which his works are written may be judged from the motto: "It would be as easy to regulate humanely assassination as slavery," and his opinions on Hayti are entitled to the more weight, as they are the result of a personal visit to that island and exploration of its interior. He says:

"There has been no census taken for the last fifteen years. * * * Though children swarm in the cabins, those who speak in good faith concur in the admission that the population does not increase. The Government, indeed, puts the

---------------