Comte de Lavaux

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General Étienne Maynard Bizefranc, comte de Lavaux (also: comte de Laveaux; Maynard is sometimes spelled: Magneaud or Maynaud) (August 8, 1751 Digoin, France -1828 Cormatin (Saône & Loire), France) was commander of the French forces under Commissioners Sonthonax, et al. In October 1793 he became Governor-General of Saint-Domingue a post he held until 11 May 1796. In [[1799] he was sent to Guadeloupe.

"A man who was not only a brave soldier, but possessed a disarmingly attractive personality and that quality known as charm. He was unusually sensitive, a man who was to become one of the greatest friends that Toussaint would ever have..." Proud and honorable, he refused a considerable bribe from Colonel Whitelocke with particular zest. (Parkinson, p. 74) He spoke "perfect punctilious French." (Parkinson, p. 102)

"Laveaux felt a natural affinity towards the Negro; he had no sentimentality born of guilt, he just liked the black race." (Parkinson, p. 81) He and Toussaint Louverture developed a close friendship.

The mulattos, jealous of Toussaint's influence over Laveaux and humiliated by the Laveaux's exposure of Jean Baptiste Villatte's corruption and disloyalty, plotted to remove the governor. They seized him on March 20, 1796 and threw him in jail for five days before Toussaint effected his release. Parkinson writes that he was elderly at this point, but he would have been only 45; possibly he had a weak constitution as he was apparently quite shaken by the ordeal. (Parkinson, pp. 99-101)

Toussaint gently nudged him out of the country on the pretext of Laveaux's value as Saint-Domingue's representative to the French Chamber of Deputies and to the Senate. (Parkinson, pp. 104-105) Markus Rainsford quotes Laveaux as having said about Toussaint: "[Toussaint Louverture is] the negro, the Spartacus, foretold by Raynal, whose destiny it was to avenge the wrongs committed on his race." (Rainsford)

See also


  • Marcus Rainsford, (1805), An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti: Comprehending a View of the Principal Transactions in the Revolution of Saint-Domingo; with its Ancient and Modern State, London,
  • Parkinson, Wenda (1978). This Gilded African. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-2187-4