The United States Magazine
J. B.
New York: 15 October 1854


  [THE following sketch of Soulouque, or Faustin First, is furnished by a correspondent of the Evening Post, writing from Port au Prince. The whole article is racy and interesting, and the story about the flints is decidedly rich.]

  THE Emperor has the weakness of his race for dress, and probably few, if any, of his imperial or royal brothers in any quarter of the globe have a more costly wardrobe. He never appears in public except in full toilet. Even at private receptions he commonly wears his sword and cocked hat. His taste for dress is almost the only one upon which he is extravagant. He has one coat, made in Paris, which cost him $1,200--I quote the well-authenticated gossip of the court circle--and a pair of boots, made in New York, decorated with brilliants and gold, which cost $200. The cane with which he commonly walks cost $400. He has several swords, the handles of which are richly jeweled. He has seven stars composed of diamonds, which he wears on great occasions, each of which cost over $4,000. He will wear nothing but the best of its kind, and has a special aversion to anything plebian or unimperial. Hence his indignation at the proposition to sell him Queen Adelaide's second-hand coach. Hence also his reply to an artist who wished to make a bust of him. He consented, but said:--"Mind, now, you must ask a high price for me; I'll not be sold cheap; take care."

  Soulouque has about as little education as it is possible for a man to have, with his talent, in his position. Since he reached his present dignity he is said to have learned to read French, and his panegyrists say that he speaks and reads it elegantly. I presume he made some progress under his instructors, and speaks it with about as much ease and elegance as the president of an American college talks the Latin in which he confers its degrees and honors. Both would be sorely puzzled if they were called upon to say anything more than they had prepared for. I was told that he had "Uncle Tom's Cabin" read to him twice, he was so delighted with it; but no one intimated that he read it himself. I was also told that he sent an autograph letter to Mrs. Stowe, thanking her for the pleasure he had derived from her famous book. If he wrote the letter himself, he must have made more proficiency in his studies than he has generally the credit of.