Toussaint Louverture 1802

July Letter to Bonaparte

Source: Victor Schoelcher, Vie de Toussaint Louverture. Paul Ollendorff Editeur, Paris 1889;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

Captain-General Leclerc, Bonaparte’s brother-in-law and the commander of French forces in Saint-Domingue, decided to rid the colony of Toussaint in the spring of 1802. On June 6 he was captured, tricked after having answered a letter asking for his assistance in putting down banditry near his home. He and his family were soon shipped to France, removing him as a threat to French rule.

On board Le Heros

1 Thermidor , Year 10
(July 20, 1802)

Citizen First Consul:

I will not conceal from you my errors. I have committed several. What man hasn’t? I am ready to admit them. After the word of honor of the Captain-General who represents the French government; after the proclamation in which he promised to throw the veil of forgetfulness over the events that occurred in Saint-Domingue, as you did on the 18th Brumaire, I retired to the bosom of my family. Barely a month had passed before some ill-wishers were able to destroy me in the spirits of the general-in-chief. I received a letter from him ordering me to act in concert with General Brunet. I obeyed. He had me arrested. The next day my house was pillaged, and my spouse and my children were arrested. They have nothing, not even anything to wear.

Citizen First Consul, a fifty-three year old mother of a family can only merit the indulgence and benevolence of a generous and liberal nation. She has no accounts to render, and I alone should be responsible for my conduct before my government. I have too high an idea of the grandeur and the justice of the first magistrate of the French people to doubt his impartiality for one moment. I would like to believe that in his hands the balance will not lean more to one side than another. I ask for his generosity.

Salut et respect