Leclerc Saint-Domingue proclamation (1802)

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General Leclerc.
The French General Leclerc, send to Saint-Domingue on the orders of his brother in-law Napoléon Bonaparte to re-establish slavery and to defeat Toussaint Louverture, addressed the people of the colony in this proclamation from his headquarters in the North of Saint-Domingue. He does not mention the true ambitions of his campaign against the Revolutionary forces. Leclerc and his troops had arrived at Le Cap on February 2, 1802.

Head Quarters of the Cape, le 28 Pluviose, an 10. [February 17, 1802]


have come hither in the name of the French Government, to bring you peace and happiness; I feared I should encounter obstacles in the ambitious views of the chiefs of the colony; I was not in error.
Those chiefs who announced their devotion to France in their proclamations, had no intention of being Frenchmen; if they sometimes spoke of France, the reason is that they did not think themselves able to disown it openly. At present their perfidious intentions are unmasked. General Toussaint sent me back his sons with a letter in which he assured me that he desired nothing so much as the happiness of the colony, and that he was ready to obey all the orders that I should give him.
I ordered him to come to me; I gave him an assurance that I would employ him as my Lieutenant-general: he replied to that order by mere words; he only seeks to gain time.
I have been commanded by the French Government to establish here prosperity and abundance promptly; if I allow myself to be amused by cunning and perfidious circumlocutions, the colony will be the theatre of a long civil war.
I commence my campaign, and I will teach that rebel what is the force of the French Government.
From this moment he must be regarded by all good Frenchmen residing in Saint Domingo only as an insensate monster.
I have promised liberty to the inhabitants of Saint Domingo; I will see that they enjoy it. I will cause persons and property to be respected.
I ordain what follows:-

Article 1. - General Toussaint and General Christophe are outlawed; every good citizen is commanded to seize them, and to treat them as rebels to the French Republic.
Article 2. - From the day when the French army shall have taken up quarters, every officer, whether civil or military, who shall obey other orders than those of the Generals of the army of the French Republic, which I command, shall be treated as a rebel.
Article 3. - The agricultural labourers who have been led into error, and who, deceived by the perfidious insinuations of the rebel Generals, may have taken up arms, shall be treated as wandering children, and shall be sent back to tillage, provided they have not endeavoured to incite insurrection.
Article 4. - The soldiers of the demi-brigades who shall abandon the army of Toussaint, shall form part of the French army.
Article 5. - General Augustin Clervaux, who commands the department of the Cibao, having acknowledged the French government, and the authority of the Captain-General [Leclerc], is maintained in his rank and in his command.
Article 6. - The General-in-chief of the Staff will cause this proclamation to be printed and published.

The Captain-General commanding the army of Saint Domingo,

[Signed) LECLERC

See also


  • J. R. (John Relly) Beard. (1853). The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, The Negro Patriot of Hayti: Comprising an Account of the Struggle for Liberty in the Island, and a Sketch of Its History to the Present Period. Chapel Hill, NC: Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH. Online Publication. (p. 179-180)