Difference between revisions of "Jean François Papillon"

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*[[The Boukman Rebellion]]
*[[The Boukman Rebellion]]
*[[Toussaint letter to Biassou during Boukman Rebellion]]
*[[Toussaint letter to Biassou during Boukman Rebellion]]
* [[Decree abolishing slavery in the North of Saint-Domingue]] - Mentions Jean Françcois by name. (1793)

Revision as of 18:36, 12 May 2009

Jean François Papillon (also Jean François) (died 1820 Cádiz, Spain) Leader of the 1791 slave revolt also known as Bookman Rebellion and reportedly present at the vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman.

A maroon, he despised his former master. "Ambitious, volatile, frivolous, and charming... highly intelligent. He was not a brave man but hated violence and could only bring himself to it when drunk, at which time his normal sexual feelings turned to brutality." Desire for self-aggrandizement. Magnetic. (Parkinson, pp 39-40) "A commander with a touch of greatness" Used ruse and brutal discipline to keep the army in check, "but he also employed the velvet glove of charm of manner, gaiety and good looks which made those who served under him his willing followers." (Parkinson, p. 47) A very talented general, nearly equal to Toussaint Louverture.

Toussaint Louverture writes at the beginning of the Haitian Revolution in a 1791 letter to Biassou: "As for Jean Francois he can still go in a carriage with his ladies, but he hasn’t done me the honor of writing to me for several days. I am very surprised by this..."

"Jean-François belonged to a colonist of the name of Papillon. A young creole of good exterior, he had not been able to bear the yoke of slavery, though he had no special cause of complaint against his master; he had, long before the revolution, obtained his liberty. Flying from the plantation, he joined the maroons, or black fugitives, who wandered at large in the refuge of the mountains. He was naturally of a mild disposition, and inclined to clemency. If his career was stained by cruelties, the crime must be imputed to perfidious councils. Of no great courage, and little enterprise, he owed his command to his intellectual superiority. (Beard p. 62-63)

Edmond de Saint-Léger, a French Commissioner who arrived in Saint-Domingue on November 29, 1791, walked calmly into the middle of a crowd of rebels and greeted Jean François "with respect. He spoke graciously and quietly to all the rebels and with his Irish charm [...] placated them. Jean François showed an emotional reaction after the scene of unpleasantness and responded to such warm and unprecedented behaviour by falling on one knee before him." (Parkinson, p. 63)

"Jean François remained in the service of Spain" after the Treaty of Basle ceded the eastern portion of Hispaniola to France in 1795. "He was made lieutenant general and retired to Cadiz, later becoming Governor of Orun. He was rich and popular with the Spanish court, particularly with the women, his remarkable good looks and fine physique were considered exotic and he made a most favourable and successful impression. He forgot St. Domingue and revolutions as quickly as he could, never setting foot on the island again, but living a life of luxurious carefree pleasure until he died in 1820." (Parkinson, p. 92)

See Also


  • Beard, John Relly (1853). The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, The Negro Patriot of Hayti: Comprising an Account of the Struggle for Liberty in the Island, and a Sketch of Its History to the Present Period. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication
  • Général Nemours, (1945) Toussaint Louverture fonde à Saint-Domingue la liberté et l'égalité, Port-au-Prince
  • Parkinson, Wenda (1978). This Gilded African. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-2187-4