Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GEFFRARD, Fabre, president of Hayti, born in Arise Veau, Hayti, 19 September, 1806; died in Kingston, Jamaica, 11 February, 1879. His father, General Nicolas Geffrard, one of the founders of the Haytian independence, died a few weeks after his birth; and the boy, who was adopted by Colonel Fabre, commanding a regiment at Aux Cayes, left the College of Aux Cayes in 1821, and enlisted as a private soldier. He rose by successive promotions to a captaincy, and, when General Herard Riviere rose in rebellion against President Boyer in 1843, he appointed Geffrard lieutenant colonel, and sent him to occupy Jeremie, where he was promoted colonel by the popular committee. He defeated Boyer near Jacmel, and pursued him as far as Tiburon. After the triumph of the revolution in 1844, he was appointed brigadier-general and commander of Jacmel. In 1845 he subdued a rebellion under General Achaau, and was promoted general of division ; but, when President Riche came into power in 1846, fearing Geffrard's popularity, he had him arrested and tried by a court-martial, which, however, acquitted him. Under Soulouque's presidency, Weffrard commanded a division of the expeditionary army against the Dominicans in 1849, being wounded in the battle of Azua. When Soulouque proclaimed himself emperor, under the title of Faustin I., in 1850, he created Geffrard Duke of Tabaro. In 1856 Geffrard took part in the unfortunate second campaign against Santo Domingo, and as commander of the rear guard protected the retreat and saved the artillery. When Soulouque's government became unpopular in 1858, he began to be suspicious of Geffrard's popularity, and deprived him of his command. Geffrard, fearing imprisonment, escaped to Gonaives. When this became known, the people of the two northern departments rose in arms, proclaiming the deposition of Soulouque, and the republic under Geffrard's presidency, 22 December 1858. Geffrard soon collected a large force, and triumphantly entered Port au Prince, 15 January 1859" but he protected the flight of the fallen emperor and his family. Under his presidency, Hayti entered upon a new era of progress, he retrenched the public expenses and reduced the taxes, especially on rural property. But on 3 September, 1859, the minister of the interior, Guerrier Prophete, headed a revolt. An attempt on Geffrard's life was frustrated, but one of his daughters was assassinated. He concluded treaties of commerce with France, England, and Spain. In 1861 his government became very unpopular, he being accused of subserviency to Spain, for not opposing the occupation of Santo Domingo by that power, and in 1862 there was a revolt under General Legros at Gonaives, and in 1864 another under Salnave in the north. In June, 1866, Salnave made a new attempt at Gonaives, and was again defeated. Geffrard now promulgated liberal laws and abolished capital punishment for political offences. But the revolt continued to increase in the interior, and on 22 February, 1867, was seconded by a pronunciamento in favor of Salnave at Port au Prince; and, although Geffrard put the capital in a state of defense, he soon saw that resistance was useless, and, taking refuge with his family on board a French vessel, 13 March, he went to Jamaica, where he died.
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