Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor.
At the end of the bloody uprising of the slaves of the island of St. Domingue against their French masters, on January 1, 1804 General Dessalines, leader of the uprising after the arrest of Toussaint L’Ouverture, read this Act of Independence on the Place d'Armes of Gonaïves. The actual author of the text was Dessalines’ secretary, Boisrond Tonerre. Dessalines was soon to have himself crowned emperor, and was assassinated in 1806.
Today, January 1, 1804, the General in Chief of the Indigenous Army, accompanied by generals and army chiefs convoked in order to take measures tending to the happiness of the country:
After having made known to the assembled generals his true intention of forever ensuring to the natives of Haiti a stable government — the object of his greatest solicitude, which he did in a speech that made known to foreign powers the resolution to render the country independent, and to enjoy the liberty consecrated by the blood of the people of this island; and, after having gathered their opinions, asked each of the assembled generals to pronounce a vow to forever renounce France; to die rather than to live under its domination; and to fight for independence with their last breath.
The generals, imbued with these sacred principles, after having with one voice given their adherence to the well manifested project of independence, have all sworn before eternity and before the entire universe to forever renounce France and to die rather than live under its domination.
Christophe, Pétion, Clerveaux, Vernet, Gabart
P.Romain, G. Gérin, L. Capois, Jean-Louis Francois, Férou, Cangé, G. Bazelais, Magloire Ambroise, J.J. Herne, Toussaint Brave, Yayou
Bonet, F. Paplier, Morelly, Chevalier, Marion
Chaperon, B. Goret, Macajoux, Dupuy, Carbonne, Diaquoiainé, Raphael, Malet, Derenoncourt