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

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

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

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

Synopsis

Toussaint L'Ouverture (1743-1803) won international renown in the Haitian fight for independence. He led thousands of former slaves into battle against French, Spanish, and English forces, routing the Europeans and seizing control of the entire island of Hispaniola. L'Ouverture became governor and commander-in-chief of Haiti before officially acknowledging French rule in 1801, when he submitted a newly written constitution to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and the French legislature for ratification. In response, Bonaparte sent an army to depose L'Ouverture, who was taken prisoner in June of 1802 and shipped to France, where he died of pneumonia in April 1803. The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture (1853) was first published in London on the fiftieth anniversary of L'Ouverture's death and remained the authoritative English-language history of L'Ouverture's life until the late twentieth century.

Throughout the text, John Relly Beard compares L'Ouverture to famously successful white generals, argues for his supremacy, and states that his ultimate failure to liberate Haiti and untimely death are the products of unfortunate circumstances--not an indictment of his character or leadership abilities.

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Excerpt

The life which is described in the following pages has both a permanent interest and a permanent value. But the efforts which are now made to effect the abolition of slavery in the United Sates of America, seem to render the present moment specially fit for the appearance of a memoir of toussaint L’OUVERTURE. a hope of affording some aid to the sacred cause of freedom, specially as involved in the extinction of slavery, and in the removal of prejudices on which servitude mainly depends, has induced the author to prepare the present work for the press. If apology for such a publication were required, it might be found in the fact that no detailed life of touissaint L’OVERTURE is accessible to the English reader, for the only memoir of him which exists in our language has long been out of print.

The sources of information on this subject are found chiefly in the French language. To several of these the author acknowledges deep obligation.

The tone taken on the subject of negro freedom in Hayti, by recent writers in two French reviews, is partial and unjust. Possibly this may be attributable to a mulatto pen. the blacks have no authors; their cause, consequently, has not yet been pleaded. in the authorities we possess on the subject, either French or mulatto interests, for the most part, predominate. Specially predominant are mulatto interests and prejudices, in the recently published Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, by saint remy, a mulatto: this writer obviously values his caste more than his country or his kind.

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