Toussaint Louverture letter to Napoléon from onboard the Heros

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Napoléon Bonaparte
Deceived and captured by the troops of French General Leclerc and put on board of the Le Heros - to be transferred to the French mountain prison Fort de Joux - Toussaint Louverture wrote this letter at the beginning of his captivity to Napoléon Bonaparte pleading for the safety of his his wife, Suzanne Louverture and his children.

On Board the [Le] Hero[s], 1 Thermidor, an X. [July 12, 1802]

General Toussaint Louverture to General Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic.

CITIZEN FIRST CONSUL: I will not conceal my faults from you. I have committed some. What man is exempt? I am quite ready to avow them. After the word of honor of the Captain-General [General Leclerc] who represents the French Government, after a proclamation addressed to the colony, in which he promised to throw the veil of oblivion over the events which had taken place in Saint Domingo, I, as you did on the 18th Brumaire, withdrew into the bosom of my family. Scarcely had a month passed away, when evil-disposed persons, by means of intrigues, effected my ruin with the General-in-chief, by filling his mind with distrust against me. I received a letter from him which ordered me to act in conjunction with General Brunet. I obeyed. Accompanied by two persons, I went to Gonaïves, where I was arrested. They sent me on board the frigate Creole, I know not for what reason, without any other clothes than those I had on. The next day my house was exposed to pillage; my wife and my children were arrested; they had nothing, not even the means to cover themselves.

Citizen First Consul: A mother fifty years of age may deserve the indulgence and the kindness of a generous and liberal nation. She has no account to render. I alone ought to be responsible for my conduct to the Government I have served. I have too high an idea of the greatness and the justice of the First Magistrate of the French people, to doubt a moment of its impartiality. I indulge the feeling that the balance in its hands will not incline to one side more than to another. I claim its generosity.

Salutations and respect,
Toussaint Louverture

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 (p. 235)