Toussaint letter to Napoléon from Fort de Joux (1802)

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Signature of Toussaint Louverture
Toussaint Louverture wrote the following letter from captivity in the dungeon at Fort de Joux to Napoléon Bonaparte.

In the dungeon of Fort Joux, this 30 Fructidor, an XI. (17th September, 1802)


The respect and the submission which I could wish forever graven on my heart [here words are wanting as if obliterated by tears (Beard)]. If I have sinned in doing my duty, it is contrary to my intentions; if I was wrong in forming the constitution, it was through my great desire to do good; it was through having employed too much zeal, too much self-love, thinking I was pleasing the Government under which I was; if the formalities which I ought to have observed were neglected, it was through inattention. I have had the misfortune to incur your wrath, but as to fidelity and probity, I am strong in my conscience, and I dare affirm, that among all the servants of the state no one is more honest than myself. I was one of your soldiers, and the first servant of the Republic in St. Domingo; but now I am wretched, ruined, dishonored, a victim of my own services; let your sensibility be moved at my position. You are too great in feeling and too just not to pronounce a judgment as to my destiny. I charge General Cafarelli, your aide-de-camp, to put my report into your hands. I beg you to take it into your best consideration. His honor, his frankness have forced me to open my heart to him.

Salutation and respect,


  • Beard, J. R. (John Relly) (1863). Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication (p. 279)

See also