Louis Boisrond Tonnerre

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Haitian stamp from 1954 with image of Boisrond-Tonerre.
Louis Félix Mathurin Boisrond Tonnerre (aka Boisrond Tonerre; Kreyòl: Bwawon Tonè) (June 6, 1776 Torbeck Saint-Domingue – October 20, 1806 Port-au-Prince, Haiti) a mulatto (Nicholls p. 36) served as Jean-Jacques Dessalines secretary. He drafted the final version of the Haitian Act of Independence which was read by Dessalines on the Place d'Armes of Gonaïves on January 1, 1804.

Boisrond-Tonnerre was born Louis Boisrond in Torbeck in southwest Haiti. He acquired the name "Tonnerre", French for "thunder", as an infant when his cradle was hit by lightning. His father, amazed that his infant son was unharmed, gave him the name "Tonnerre". Boisrond-Tonnerre studied in France before returning to Haiti.

When leaders of the Haitian Revolution were reunited at the home of Dessalines on Dec. 31, 1803, to draft the Haitian Declaration of Independence, Tonnerre felt that it was much too mild. When the same group met at 7 a.m. the next day at the Place d'Armes in Gonaives for the independence ceremony Tonnerre was missing.

Soon found, it was learned that he had spent the entire previous night rewriting the proclamation, which was the one actually read.

Tonnerre, while being drunk is said to have exclaimed, after reading a first draft of the Act of Independence by the mulatto Charéron: "All that which has been formulated is not in accordance with our true feelings; to draw up the Act of Independence, we need the skin of a white man for parchment, his skull for a writing desk [Inkwell?], his blood for ink, and a bayonet for pen." (Nicholls p. 36)

Boisrond-Tonerre is the author of Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire d'Haïti (1852), which chronicles the Haitian Revolution.

Boisrond Tonnerre was with Dessalines at Pont-Rouge north of Port-au-Prince (then Pont Larnage), on October 17, 1806 when Dessalines was assassinated in an ambush.

Further Reading

  • Boisrond Tonnerre, Louis Félix. Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire d'Haïti. Port-au-Prince, Haïti : Editions Fardin, (1981). Reprint. Originally published: 1852.

External links


  • Nicholls, David (1996). From Dessalines to Duvalier. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2239-0
  • Généalogie d'Haïti et Saint-Domingue: Boisrond Tonnerre
  • Schutt-Ainé, Patricia, Staff of Librairie Au Service de la Culture (1994). Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami, Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture, p. 90. ISBN 0-9638599-0-0