'Show no mercy' letter by Leclerc (1802)

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This 1802 letter from General Leclerc does not correspond excactly with the realities in Saint-Domingue at the time. It is unlikely that Leclerc was really thinking that the re-establishment of slavery in Guadeloupe was unwise, as he was given orders to do the same in Saint-Domingue.


I have received, Citizen General, your letter with the list of the troubling subjects with which you contend. Show no mercy with anyone that you suspect.... One must be unflinching and inspire great terror; it is the only thing that will suppress the blacks.

General [Antoine] Richepanse has very unwisely reestablished slavery in Guadaloupe. Here and there one sees signs of unrest. A division of boats is addressing the insurrection. Most of the troops of General [Jean-Baptiste] Brunet [who was responsible for Toussaint Louverture's arrest] are ill. I have ordered Jacques Dessalines [who was in a temporary alliance with the French against insurgents] to use the most violent means to frighten the rebels....

Reinforcements have now arrived.... But illness is ravaging the battalion so badly that I am obliged to send almost all back to France....

This insurrection is in its last crisis. By the first month of the revolutionary calendar [September], with a month of campaigning, all will be over....

Frequently inform me about your position. I need to be informed as often as possible. Use examples of severity to inspire terror.


See also


  • Mintz, Steven (2003). Charles Victor Emmanuel LeClerc letter. Digital History. University of Houston. [Retrieved on June 23, 2006] [1]