Placide Louverture

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Placide Louverture (also Placide Séraphin Louverture or Placide Séraphin Clerc) (December 28, 1781 Le Cap, Saint-Domingue - July 1, 1841 Astafford), the son of Suzanne Louverture and brother of Isaac Louverture, was adopted by Toussaint Louverture, who always treated him like his own son. Placide was Suzanne Louverture's first child and the mulatto Seraphim Le Clerc, his father. (Parkinson p. 36) Other sources give the name of Placide's father as Séraphin Clère.

Placide travels to France

Placide and his brother Isaac, were sent to France in 1797 to be educated. "A large crowd gathered to see them off, for they were popular on the island." (Parkinson, p. 111) In February of 1802, Placide and his brother arrived back in Saint-Domingue with the troops of the French General Leclerc, after Napoléon Bonaparte had given orders to expel the siblings from France.

French Captivity

After Toussaint Louverture's family was captured and their house was pillaged - in the summer of 1802 - they were sent to France into imprisonment. Placide Louverture was separated from his family upon the August 1802 arrival in Brest on the French coast, and was sent on board of the ship La Naïade to Belle-Isle-en-Mer. He was not informed that his father was to be removed from the Le Heros until the evening of the day Toussaint Louverture had been taken away. 1

Previously, he had sent the following letter to Toussaint, which was later found under Toussaint's pillow:

Letter by Placide Louverture from French Captivity to his Parents

Brest Roads, 24 Thermidor. [August 12, 1802]


I am on board the brig La Naïade. As yet, I am ignorant of my lot. Perhaps I shall never see you again. In that I do not accuse my destiny. No matter where I am, I entreat you to take courage, and sometimes to think of me. I will send you news of myself if I am not dead; give me news of yourselves if you have an opportunity. I am very well situated. I am with persons who are very good to me, and who promise to continue so. Isaac and Saint-Jean, do not forget your brother! I shall always love you. Many kind thoughts to you all; embrace my cousins for me. I embrace you as I love you.

Your son,

Source: (Beard p. 236f)

Later life

Placide rejoins his family in Agen in 1804, after his imprisonment on Belle-Isle-en-Mer ends. In 1821 he marries a French woman in Astafford (near Agen) and has one daughter, Rose Louverture, with her. (G.H.C. p. 500)

Note 1: Toussaint Louverture was taken from the Le Heros, anchored in Brest, at 5:00 am on August 13, 1802. The Le Heros was the ship that brought the family Louverture into their French imprisonment. (Beard p. 236)

See also


  • Beard, J. R. (John Relly) (1863). Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication
  • G.H.C. - Genéalogie et Histoire de la Caraïbe (January 1992). Numéro 34.
  • Schoelcher, Victor (1889). Vie de Toussaint Louverture. Paris: Paul Ollendorf. (Available online: Google books) 1882 reprint: Karthala. Paris ISBN 2-86537-043-7
  • Parkinson, Wenda (1978). This Gilded African. London: Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-2187-4