A call for remembrance

Daily Reading for March 13 • James Theodore Holly, Bishop of Haiti, 1911

Saint Paul tells us that “that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual.” (1 Cor. xv., 66.) I have however reversed the order of things set forth by the apostle, and spoken of those facts first which show the spiritual claims that Haiti has upon American Christians. I come lastly to speak of the natural claims of that people upon the grateful remembrance of all patriotic American citizens.

During the revolutionary war, by which the independence of the United States was triumphantly achieved, free colored men, then colonists of France, volunteered to fight in that war of freedom. A body of them, variously estimated at from 800 to 1,100 men, took part in the battle of Savannah, Ga., in 1779, and did effective service.

Inspired by the example of the American revolutionary forefathers, they inaugurated a war of independence in Haiti, then called Santo Domingo; successfully accomplished their object, and in 1804 established the second independent nation in the new world. Having thus secured their own national independence, they next lent a helping hand to Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America; by whom five other independent nations were established in the new world. Five thousand Haitians followed Bolivar from victory to victory until this end was accomplished. Twenty-five thousand dollars were contributed by the Haitian Government to meet the necessities of that great liberator. It was only when those several independent states were established in the western hemisphere, towards the accomplishment of whose independence Haitians had so largely contributed, that it became possible to formulate the Monroe Doctrine. When Washington warned his countrymen against “entangling foreign alliances,” this advice referred only to the European wars of Napoleon, then in progress. The whole of the new world, outside of the United States, was in a colonial position. But when so many other independent states had arisen here, it became necessary to formulate a new policy to meet the situation. Monroe formulated that policy to meet those modified circumstances. Haiti had done as much as, not to say more than, any other American State to create that new situation.

This policy, thus tentatively enunciated in the Monroe Doctrine, now forms an appropriate basis on which the United States, as a great power, may claim the new world as the “sphere” of her influence, and so offset the policy of the great nations of Europe, who have agreed among themselves to bring the whole continent of Africa within their respective “spheres” of influence. This simply means that Americans do not intend quietly to submit to the application of such a policy to the new world, and that they propose to resist all incipient attempts at the same on our shores. Obsta principiis.

Aid and encouragement to organize reformed autonomous churches on the primitive basis of the Anglican Reformation, will be a powerful means to establish the sphere of influence whose watchword is, “America for the Americans.” Hence, the work to which we have put our hands in Haiti, Mexico, Cuba and Brazil, should be strengthened and prosecuted with a large-hearted, patriotic zeal; and supported with an open-handed generosity.

From chapter XII, “Claims of Haiti on the American People” in Facts about the Church’s Mission in Haiti: A Concise Statement by Bishop Holly (New York: Thomas Whittaker, 1897). http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/jtholly/facts1897.html

Past Posts