Haiti 1793

Decree of the National Convention

Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.

In March 1793 revolutionary France was at war with England and Spain, a war that also involved the colony of Saint-Domingue. During this period Toussaint was leading troops fighting for Spain, which he and other black leaders thought was the best way to obtain freedom. The liberation of the slaves of Saint-Domingue occurred in August 1793, in part to obtain black support for France against its enemies.

March 5, 1793, Second year of the French Republic

Which declares that all the French colonies are in a state of war

The National Convention, on the report of its committee of general defense, decrees:

Article 1

Until otherwise decreed all French colonies are in a state of war. Nevertheless, all governors general and other military agents, as well as the civil administration, are enjoined to act in concert with the national civil commissioners and to obey all their requisitions.

Art II

All the free men of the colony who wish to take up arms for the internal and external defense of the colonies are authorized to gather in free legions or companies, that will be organized by the governors general and the national civil commissioners in keeping with the existing laws, which cannot be departed from.


Said national commissioners and governors general are authorized to provisionally make all the changes they deem necessary to the rules governing the police and discipline in the work gangs in order to maintain the internal peace of the colonies.

Art IV

The minister of the marine will give the orders necessary to have transported to France the regiment of Le Cap, which will take its place in the line

Art V

Those citizens transported from Saint-Domingue by order of the national commissioners Ailhaut, Santhonax [sic], and Polverel, or who will be, can only return there upon cessation of the troubles in that colony, and after having obtained a special authorization from the legislative body. The minister of the marine is charged with giving the necessary orders to all ports for the execution of this order.

Art VI

The National Convention approves the formation of free companies of free men in Saint-Domingue under the orders of the national commissioners.


The minister of the marine is similarly charged with organizing in free companies all those native to the colonies currently in France, in conformity with the existing laws, and to have them passed as quickly as possible to Saint-Domingue.