Books on Haiti and the
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New
York: The Viking Press, 1967.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Caribbean Doscourse (2004)
/ Barbara Harlow.
Resistance Literature (1987)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda.
The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime
Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.
Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
David P. Geggus, ed.
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.
University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
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Written in a French Prison
Fort-de-Joux (French Jura)
It is my duty to render to the French Government
an exact account of my conduct. I shall relate the facts with
all the simplicity and frankness of an old soldier, adding to
them the reflections that naturally suggest themselves. in
short, I shall tell the truth, though it be against myself.
The colony of Saint Domingo, of which I was commander,
enjoyed the greatest tranquility; agriculture and commerce
flourished there. The island had attained a degree of splendor
which it had never before seen. And all this--I dare to say--was
my work. . . .
[Then] Gen. Leclerc came. Why did he not inform me of his
powers before landing? Why did he land without my order and in
defiance of the order of the Commission? Did he not commit the
first hostilities?. Did he not seek to gain over the generals
and other officers under my command by every possible means? . .
In regard to the Constitution, the subject of one charge
against me: Having driven from the colony the enemies of the
Republic, calmed the factions and united all parties;
perceiving, after I had taken possession of St. Domingo, that
the Government made no laws for the colony, and feeling the
necessity of police regulations for the security and tranquility
of the people, I called an assembly of wise and learned men,
composed of deputies from all the communities, to conduct this
When this assembly met, I represented to its members
that they had an arduous and responsible task before them; that
they were to make laws adapted to the country, advantageous to
the Government, and beneficial to all--laws suited to the
localities, to the character and customs of the inhabitants.
The Constitution must be submitted for the sanction of the
Government, which alone had the right to adopt or reject it.
Therefore, as soon as the Constitution was decided upon and its
laws fixed, I sent the whole, by a member of the assembly, to
the Government to attain sanction. The errors or faults which
this Constitution may contain cannot therefore be imputed to me.
At the time of Leclerc's arrival, I had heard nothing from the
Government upon this subject. Why today do they seek to make a
crime of that which is no crime? Why put truth for falsehood,
and falsehood for truth? Why put darkness for light and light
for darkness? . . .
If Gen. Leclerc went to the colony to do evil, it should not
be charged upon me. it is true that only one of us can be
blamed; but however little one may wish to do me justice, it is
clear that he is the author of all the evils which the island
has suffered, since, without warning me, he entered the colony,
which he found in a state of prosperity, fell upon the
inhabitants, who were at their work, contributing to the welfare
of the community, and shed their blood upon their native soil.
That is the true source of the evil.
If two children were quarreling together, should not their
father or mother stop them, find out which was the aggressor,
and punish him, or punish the, if they were both wrong? Gen
Leclerc had no right to arrest me; Government alone could arrest
us both, hear us, and judge us. Yet Gen Leclerc enjoys liberty,
and I am in a dungeon.
* * *
Having given an account of my conduct since the arrival of
the fleet at St. Domingo, I will enter into some details of
Since I entered the service of the Republic, I have not
claimed a penny of my salary; Gen Laveaux, Government agents,
all responsible persons connected with the public treasury, can
do me this justice, that no one has been more prudent, more
disinterested than I. I have only now and then received the
extra pay allowed me; very often I have not asked even this.
Wherever I have taken money from the treasury, it has been for
some public use; the governor (l'ordonnateur) has used it as the
service required. I remember that once only, when far from home,
I borrowed six thousand francs from Citizen Smith who was
governor of the Department of the South.
I will sum up, in a few words, my conduct and
the results of my administration. At the time of the evacuation
of the English, there was not a penny in the public treasury;
money had to be borrowed to pay the troops and the officers of
the Republic. When Gen. Leclerc arrived he found three millions,
five hundred thousand francs in the public fund. When I returned
to Cayes, after the departure of Gen. Rigaud, the treasury was
empty; Gen Leclerc found three millions there; he found
proportionate sums in all the private depositories on the
Thus it is seen that I did not serve my
country from interested motives; but, on the contrary, I served
it with honor, fidelity, and integrity, sustained by the hope of
receiving, at some future day, flattering acknowledgements from
the government; all who know me will do me this justice.
I have been a slave; I am willing to own it;
but I have never received reproaches from my masters.
I have neglected nothing at Saint Domingo for
the welfare of the island; I have robbed myself of rest to
contribute to it; I have sacrificed everything for it. I have
made it my duty and pleasure to develop the resources of this
beautiful colony. Zeal, activity, courage--I have employed them
The island was invaded by the enemies of the
Republic; I had then but a thousand men, armed with pikes. I
sent them back to labor in the field, and organized several
regiments, by the authority of Gen. Leveaux.
The Spanish portion had joined the English to
make war upon the French. Gen. Desfourneaux was sent to attack
Saint Michel with well-disciplined troops of the line; he could
not take it. General Laveaux ordered me to the attack; I carried
it. It is to be remarked that, at the time of the attack by Gen.
Desfourneaux, the place was not fortified, and that when I took
it, it was fortified by bastions in every corner. I also took
Saint-Raphaël and Hinche, and rendered an account to Gen.
The English were entrenched at Pont-de-l'Ester;
I drove them from the place. They were in possession of Petite
Rivière. Among the posts gained at Petite Rivière, was a
fortification defended by seven pieces of canon, which I
attacked, and carried by assault. I also conquered the Spaniards
entrenched in the camps of Miraut and DuBorg at Verrettes. I
gained a famous victory over the English in a battle which
lasted from six in the morning until nearly night. This battle
was so fierce that the roads were filled with the dead, and
rivers of blood were seen on every side.
I took all the baggage and ammunition of the
enemy, and a large number of prisoners. I sent the whole to Gen,
Leaveaux, giving him an account of the engagement. All the posts
of the English upon the heights of Saint Marc were taken by me;
the walled fortifications in the mountains of Fond-Baptiste and
Délices, the camp of Drouët in the Matheaux mountains, which
the English regarded as impregnable, the citadels of Mirebalais,
called the Gibraltar of the island, occupied by eleven hundred
men, the celebrated camp of l'Acul-du-Saut, the stone
fortifications of Trou-d'Eau, three stories high, those of the
camp of Decayette and of Beau-Bien--in short, all the
fortifications of the English in this quarter were unable to
withstand me, as were those of Neybe, of Saint Jean de la
Maguâna, of Las Mathas, of Banique and other places occupied by
the Spaniards; all were brought by me under the power of the
I was also exposed to the greatest dangers;
several times I narrowly escaped being made prisoner; I shed my
blood for my country; I received a ball in the right hip which
remains there still; I received a violent blow on the head from
a cannon-ball, which knocked out the greater part of my teeth,
and loosened the rest. In short, I received upon different
occasions seventeen wounds, whose honorable scars still remain.
Gen. Laveaux witnessed many of my engagements; he is too
honorable not to do me justice: ask him if I ever hesitated to
endanger my life, when the good of my country and the triumph of
the Republic required it.
If I were to record the various services
which I have rendered the Government, I should need many
volumes, and even then should not finish them; and, as a reward
for all these services, I have been arbitrarily arrested at St.
Domingo, bound, and put on board ship like a criminal, without
regard for my rank, without the least consideration. Is this the
recompense due my labors? Should my conduct lead me to expect
I was once rich. At the time of the
revolution, I was worth six hundred and forty-eight thousand
francs. I spent it in the service of my country. I purchased but
one small estate upon which to establish my wife and family.
Today, notwithstanding my disinterestedness, they seek to cover
me with opprobrium and infamy; I am made the most unhappy of
men; my liberty is taken from me; I am separated from all that
hold dearest in the world,--from a venerable father, a hundred
and five years old, who needs my assistance, from a dearly-loved
wife, who, I fear, separated from me, cannot endure the
afflictions which overwhelm her, and from a cherished family,
who made the happiness of my life.
On my arrival in France I wrote to the First
Consul and to the Minister of Marine, giving them an account of
my situation, and asking their assistance for my family and
myself. Undoubtedly, they felt the justice of my request, and
gave orders that what I asked should be furnished me. But,
instead of this, I have received the old half-worn dress of a
soldier, and shoes in the same condition. Did I need this
humiliation added to my misfortune?
When i left the ship, I was put into a
carriage. I hoped then that I was to be taken before a tribunal
to give an account of my conduct, and to be judged. Far from it;
without a moment's rest I was taken to a fort on the frontiers
of the Republic, and confined in a frightful dungeon.
It is from the depths of this dreary prison
that I appeal to the justice and magnanimity of the First
Consul. He is too noble and too good a general to turn away from
an old soldier, covered with wounds in the service of his
country, without giving him the opportunity to justify himself,
and to have judgment pronounced upon him.
I ask, then, to be brought before a tribunal
or council of war, before which, also, Gen. Leclerc may appear,
and that we may both be judged after we have both been heard;
equity, reason, law, all assure me that this justice cannot be
Source: George F. Tyson, ed.
L'Ouverture. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1973.
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Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804
A Brief History with Documents
Dubois and John D. Garrigus
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World
Reviewed by Mimi Sheller
Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804
A Brief History with Documents
Dubois and John D. Garrigu
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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a
collection of fourteen essays by scholars and
creative writers from Africa and the Americas.
Called one of two significant critical works on
Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late
1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of
Carter G. Woodson and
Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as
well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations
were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early
essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish
medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an
historical context for understanding 20th-century
creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone
writers, such as Cuban
Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist,
Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the
significance of Negritude in Latin America. This
collaborative text set the tone for later
conferences in which writers and scholars worked
together to promote, disseminate, and critique the
literature of Spanish-speaking people of African
descent. . . .
Cited by a
literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the
field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which
most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."
Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered
the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It
By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign. The Economy
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