Toussaint letter to Biassou during Boukman Rebellion

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This letter, written by Toussaint Louverture during the Boukman Rebellion, was addressed to Georges Biassou, one of the commanders of the rebellious slaves. It was under Biassou that Toussaint started his military carreer, shortly after the events at Bois Caïman, at which Biassou was present.
It was only in the 1930’s that this letter was credited to Toussaint, who functioned as a general doctor in the rebel’s camp.

Grande Riviere

This October 15, 1791

My very dear friend:

In keeping with the request I just made of the Spanish and daily awaiting the thing I asked for, I beg of you to wait until we are in a better state before going on to what you have the kindness to write me about. I have too much of a wish to go, but in all the habitations I would like to have crowbars in order to have the rocks of the mountains of Haut du Cap fall to prevent them [the slaveowner’s forces] from approaching us for I think they have no other means without exposing their people to a slaughter. I ask that you make sure with the spy you have sent to have him clearly explain where the powder works are in Haut du Cap so we can succeed in taking the powder works. Thus my friend you can see if I took precautions in this affair you can tell this to Bouqueman [Boukman]. 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. If you need tafia I will send you some when you'd like, but try to use it sparingly. They must not be given this so they won’t be disturbed. Send me a few barrows for I need them to transport wood to put up the cabins at the tannery for my people.

I ask you to assure your mother and sister of my humble respect.

I have the honor, my dear friend, of being your very humble, obedient servant.

To M. Biassou, brigadier of the King’s Army at Grand Boucan

General Doctor

Source: Général Nemours. Toussaint Louverture fonde à Saint-Domingue la liberté et l'égalité

Translated by Mitch Abidor
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.


  • Général Nemours. (1988; originally published in 1945) Toussaint Louverture fonde à Saint-Domingue la liberté et l'égalité. Port-au-Prince: Les Editions Fardin.