Extracts from Mr Francisco Brenes Memoirs and The Origin of The Dominican Republic

Mr Francisco Brenes was the Secretary of the Provincial Deputy of Santo Domingo for the Spanish Monarchy. With the initiation of the Haitian Domination on February 9, 1822; Mr Francisco Brenes witnessed the changing situation in the Spanish part of the island of Santo Domingo, today the Dominican Republic. He presents his memoirs of the situation in Santo Domingo to the closest Spanish authorities in neighboring Puerto Rico.

Several details that must be kept in mind.

  • The RAE had yet to create the standardization of written Spanish. As a consequence, several words are written with a spelling that today would be considered incorrect (bacuno instead of vacuno, llugo instead of yugo, etc.) This is very common in very old documents in Spanish.
  • The memoirs written by the Santo Domingo resident Mr Francisco Brenes are included in a letter written by Mr Francisco González de Linares, governor of Puerto Rico.
  • The first year of the Haitian Domination haven’t pass yet before the Dominicans wished to end the Haitian rule. As will be seen, this desire to free themselves from Haitian rule is rooted on the mistreatments from the Haitian military.
  • Between 1820 and 1823 the first constitution of Spain (Constitución de Cádiz of 1812) was reinstated by the Spanish Monarchy. This was applied in the entire Spanish Empire (including the current Dominican Republic.) On article 5 it says who were the Spaniards and on article 10 what constituted the Spanish territory. At that time most Dominicans, including most blacks, were free since before the start of the Haitian Domination. In consequence, when in the documents it makes reference to the Spaniards, in reality it’s making reference to the Dominicans of all races and colors. As proof see the following articles of the Constitución de Cádiz (only the relevant parts and those circled or highlighted in yellow will be translated.)
Translations. “The Spaniards are:

First: All free people born and living in the Spanish dominions and their children.

Fourth: All slaves as soon as they gain their liberty in Spain
.”
Translation. “The territory of Spain.
Translation. “The Spanish part of the island of Santo Domingo…” (modern Dominican Republic.)

Document

Translations. “Letter of Mr Francisco González de Linares, Governor of Puerto Rico, remitting the memoirs presented by Mr Francisco Brenes, Secretary of the Provincial Deputy of Santo Domingo, regarding the current state of the island of Santo Domingo. A general discontent of the Spaniards of this island [Dominicans] is manifested, they are oppressed by the Haitian government...”
September 22, 1822 Audiencia Santo Domingo.

Notice that it mentions Spaniards referring to Dominicans.

Another detail to note is that the letter is from September 22, 1822. The Haitian Domination started on February 9, 1822. In other words, Dominicans were being oppressed by the Haitians practically from the beginning of the Haitian Domination.
Translations: “Insults of the freed slaves to their masters, the sexual debauchery that the Haitian troops began to impose on a religious people; the differences in customs, language, and the momentary change from one government to another caused such a manifest dislike among the Dominican whites, blacks, and mulattoes… …[Boyer] tried to use propaganda to gain the approval of Dominicans towards Haitian rule, but nothing was acheived…

In this part, he mentions some of the abuses that Dominicans suffered by the Haitian troops. He mentions that slave masters were insulted by their freed slaves and that white, black, and mulatto Dominicans were offended by those and other actions by the Haitian troops. In other words, the freed slaves had to be a very small part of the population if what characterized black and mulatto Dominicans was a rejection of Haitian rule. If most Dominican slaves had not been freed in 1801, the dominant image among black Dominicana in particular had to be of insulting their masters in 1822, yet that was not the case.

Also, it mentions that the Haitian authorities attempted to use propaganda in trying to make Dominicans pro-Haitian and, by consequence, in favor of the Haitian Domination. Only a very small part of Dominicans back then became pro-Haitians, in fact even today the vast majority of Dominicans aren’t pro-Haitians. Another example of the Dominican refusal of Haitian rule is language, not even during the 22 years of the Haitian Domination did Dominicans learn to speak French or Haitian Creole, but rather continue to speak their mother tongue of Spanish despite the Spanish language was outlawed by the Haitian government.
Translations. “[The Haitian authorities] were convinced that given the pacific nature of the Spaniards of that island (Dominicans), they will get used to and accept Haitian rule. For that reason, the Haitian government made promises to Dominicans and offered land, commercial rights, and liberties in an attempt to create a favorable atmosphere. How can Dominicans become favorable to the Haitians if they are seeing a contradiction between what the Haitian government says and what it does? The beneficiaries of these offerings are seeing their rural settlements lacking vigor, their haciendas felled, their urban properties confiscated, their religious belief trampeled, and the freed slaves united with the Haitian troops constantly insulting them? How can Dominicans be accepting of Haitian rule and a government that has proven to be contradictory when they are seeing their wives and daughters raped or killed for resisting being raped? Under no circumstance will they become accepting of Haitians when the offerings are compared with the reality. Dominicans are seeing Haitians taking from them their heards of cattle, horses, sheeps, and pigs; and even facing hunger. Due to this forced consequence (Haitian Domination) it creates, supports, and makes stronger the Dominican desire to put an end to Haitian rule, which has proven to be so severe and repugnantly hateful…


What can be understood from this part is that the Haitian government knew that Dominicans were a calm people and took that characteristic to impose the Haitian Domination. Moreover, it mentions other abuses committed by the Haitians against the Dominicans. What is abundantly clear is that the mistreatment that Dominicans were subjected to by the Haitians on their land and their homes is what gave origin to a general desire to end Haitian rule.

Another interesting detail is that on not a single occasion does it makes any mention that the desire for the Dominicans wanting to liberalize themselves from the Haitian Domination was due to Haitians being blacks. This was the case despite considering that at that time it was normal for international newspapers and other written mediums to publish anything that was done against the blacks if the reason was simply for being black. This type of thing was not hidden or omitted. Not to mention that at that time black Dominicans were a sizeable part of the population, but most Dominicans of every color were not freed slaves, because they already were free when the Haitian Domination started.

The real origin of the Dominican Republic is the general mistreatment that Dominicans were subjected to by the Haitians and where it was clear that Dominicans were second class citizens and nobodies on their own land. To put it shortly, the Dominican Republic exist due to Haitian politicians and the Haitian army ruining what could had been so different. They secure the Dominican rejection by being totally unfair to a people that never posed a threat to Haitian liberty and the creation of Haiti as a country. The Dominicans gave Haitians a chance to rule the entire island and very quickly became aware that this was a grave mistake. Rather then uniting the two peoples under the leadership of one government and maintaining the conservation of both parts, instead it meant the destruction and long term elimination of the Dominicans. Dominicans were not receptive to their own dissappearance from the island of Santo Domingo or Hispaniola.