Toussaint Louverture 1801
Source: Francois Roc, Dictionnaire de la Révolution Haitienne. 2006, Les Editions Guildives, Montreal;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2007.
I have learned that there are malicious ones in your midst – among whom one was just arrested – who, loving only disorder, provoke the disunity of citizens and the disorganization of the current state of affairs; who, jealous of all I’ve done for the prosperity of this colony seem to desire nothing else than seeing French blood flow.
Since the news of the peace between France and England, which cannot be considered certain as long as the government doesn’t announce it to me officially, these malicious ones spread the rumor that France will be coming with thousands of men to annihilate the colony and freedom. Are they not ashamed to say before officers and soldiers who, since the beginning of the Revolution, have shed their blood for the triumph of liberty and the prosperity of this island that France will reduce them, will again plunge these soldiers into slavery and destroy the officers? How can they maintain such language? Do they think that France for no reason wants to destroy its children of Saint-Domingue who, victors over all their enemies – internal as well as external – have preserved this colony for it and, by wresting it from the hands of anarchy, have made it flourish; that they will pay with ingratitude men who have never ceased deserving well of it?
Fortunately the wish loudly manifested by a few evil men is not that of the majority of citizens. In the midst of the sorrows their evil intentions cause me it is consoling for me to be able to tell myself that among the inhabitants of this colony there are good landowners, courageous people, and good fathers who do not share their wickedness and who, friends of both the colony and France and attached to the liberty as well as the prosperity of Saint-Domingue, desire only peace, which alone can return this colony to its former splendor. The hope they placed in me and my comrades in arms will not be betrayed. They will always find in us ardent protectors, true friends, zealous defenders. But you who, to fan the flames of discord impute liberticide intentions and destructive projects to the French government and who, in order to provide these claims with some foundation, say that the government did not want to return my sons to me because they wanted to keep them as hostages until they could carry out their plans; who, in order to embitter spirits and increase the number of the wicked assure with the same shamelessness that the government will gather together all the men of color and Blacks in France to send them to Saint-Domingue and have them march before the army which has been sent to annihilate them: you who say this will obtain nothing but our contempt. It is true that I sent for my children and that they have not yet arrived. But though I am quite annoyed with this delay – for I asked for nothing but what belongs to me – nevertheless I am far from thinking in the same way as the wicked. Confident in the principles of honor and dignity of the French government it would never enter my heart to suppose it has the projects you impute to it.
People of good faith, those attached to the prosperity of this country, the impartial who will reflect on what you say can also not believe that if France abandoned this colony to its own devices at a time when its enemies disputed its possession, that today, when its own children have rid it of all its enemies, it should want to send an army there to destroy those men who have never ceased to serve it well and bring about the annihilation of the landowners and land of the colony. They will feel that such a project could only have been given birth to by the enemies of Saint-Domingue who, like you, are jealous of its prosperity; by men who have not shared the suffering of those who there combated the enemies of the Republic, or who collaborated in bringing calm order and public prosperity there. But in the case that the injustice you suppose on the part of the French government is real, it is enough for me to tell you that a child who knows the rights that nature gave him over the authors of his days demonstrates his obedience to his father and mother, and that if despite his submission and obedience his father and mother are unnatural enough to want to wipe him out he has nothing left to him but to place vengeance in the hands of God. I am a soldier and I don’t fear men: I fear only God. If I must die I will die like a soldier of honor who has nothing to reproach himself for.
While waiting for the events whose evil threatens us I will nonetheless continue, as usual and in conformity with the constitution, to see to it that persons and property are respected, to see to the prosperity of the colony, to protect all individuals. But while the greatest protection has been accorded to peaceful individuals it is my obligation to pursue the malicious and the disturbers of public peace. Consequently, the constituted authorities of the colony are invited to denounce to me all those who, by their statements or conduct, are capable of troubling the good order and tranquility we enjoy so that their deportation can be ordered by me as unworthy to remain in a country they want to overturn. I also recommend to all the generals and commanders of departments, arrondissements, and quarters the full and entire execution of my proclamation of 4 Frimaire and to think well on all its points in order not to stray from the dispositions it contains.
Brave military personnel, generals, officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers, do not listen to the evil ones who ask nothing better than to do you harm in order to have a pretext to dishonor you. Attached to the soil of this country, unite yourselves with your chief to render it fruitful and to preserve it in its current state of prosperity. Ever on the path of honor, I will show you the route you must follow. You are soldiers; you must be faithful observers of the subordination and military virtues, and must vanquish or die at your posts.
The current address shall be printed, read, published, and posted wherever need be, transcribed in the registers of administrative judicial bodies and sent throughout the colony.