Memoir of Toussaint Louverture suite

Francois E - January 7 2007, 3:15 PM

It is from the depths of this dreary prison that I appeal to the justice and magnanimity of the First Consul.

He is too noble and too good a general to turn away from an old soldier, covered with wounds in the service of his country, without giving him the opportunity to justify himself, and to have judgment pronounced upon him.
I ask, then, to be brought before a tribunal or council of war, before which, also, Gen. Leclerc may appear, and that we may both be judged after we have both been heard; equity, reason, law, all assure me that this justice cannot be refused me.
In passing through France, I have seen in the newspapers an article concerning myself.

I am accused in this article of being a rebel and a traitor, and, to justify the accusation, a letter is said to have been intercepted in which I encouraged the laborers of St. Domingo to revolt.

I never wrote such a letter, and I defy any one to produce it, to tell me to whom it was addressed, and to bring forward the person.

As to the rest of the calumny, it falls of itself; if I had intended to make war, would I have laid down my arms and submitted?

No reasonable man, much less a soldier, can believe such an absurdity.


If the Government had sent a wiser man, there would have been no trouble; not a single shot would have been fired.

Why did fear occasion so much injustice on the part of Gen. Leclerc?

Why did he violate his word of honor?

Upon the arrival of the frigate Guerrière, which brought my wife, why did I see on board a number of people who had been arrested with her?

Many of these persons had not fired a shot. They were innocent men, fathers of families, who had been torn from the arms of their wives and children.

All these persons had shed their blood to preserve the colony to France; they were officers of my staff, my secretaries, who had done nothing but by my orders; all, therefore, were arrested without cause.

Upon landing at Brest, my wife and children were sent to different destinations, of both of which I am ignorant.

Government should do me more justice: my wife and children have done nothing and have nothing to answer for; they should be sent home to watch over our interests.

Gen. Leclerc has occasioned all this evil; but I am at the bottom of a dungeon, unable to justify myself.

Government is too just to keep my hands tied, and allow Gen. Leclerc to abuse me thus, without listening to me.
Everybody has told me that this Government was just; should I not, then, share its justice and its benefits?

Gen. Leclerc has said in the letter to the minister, which I have seen in the newspaper, that I was waiting for his troops to grow sick, in order to make war and take back the command.

This is an atrocious and abominable lie: it is a cowardly act on his part. Although I may not have much knowledge or much education, I have enough good sense to hinder me from contending against the will of my Government; I never thought of it. The French Government is too strong, too powerful, for Gen. Leclerc to think me opposed to it, who am its servant.

It it is true, that when Gen. Leclerc marched against me, I said several times that I should make no attack, that I should only defend myself, until July or August; that then I would commence in my turn. But, afterward, I reflected upon the misfortunes of the colony and upon the letter of the First Consul; I then submitted.

I repeat it again: I demand that Gen. Leclerc and myself be judged before a tribunal; that Government should order all my correspondence to be brought; by this means my innocence, and all that I have done for the Republic will be seen, although I know that several letters have been intercepted.

First Consul, father of all soldiers, upright judge, defender of innocence, pronounce my destiny.

My wounds are deep; apply to them the healing remedy which will prevent them from opening anew; you are the physician; I rely entirely upon your justice and wisdom!

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