Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution

By Gordon S. Brown | Go to book overview

A RISKY TRADE

On January 1, 1804, at Gonaives, the victorious native generals who had expelled the French declared their country to be independent. It was to be a new start. Even the French name of St. Domingue was dropped; the new country was to be called by an old indigenous name, Haiti. The generals, most prominently Dessalines, Pétion, Christophe, Clairvaux, and Geffrard, swore to “renounce France forever, to die rather than live under its domination, and to combat with their last breath for Independence.”1 They also appointed Dessalines, their most dynamic and determined fighter, to be general in chief for life, for they knew that their struggle was by no means over, and that the defeat of Rochambeau's army did not mean that the French—or anybody else, for that matter—would readily accept their claim to nationhood.

The victory had been won at a terrifying cost. The brutality of the fight, already appalling under Leclerc and Toussaint, had spiraled virtually out of control under the implacable and racist leadership of both Rochambeau and Dessalines. Tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, had lost their lives in the battles, mutual atrocities, starvation, and displacements that had marked the last years of the struggle. More permanently, the infrastructure that had underpinned the island's earlier prosperity—irrigation works, mills, warehouses, port facilities—had been largely destroyed. Dessalines

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Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • July 1790 8
  • St. Domingue 23
  • White Cockade, Red Cockade 45
  • The Cost of Neutrality 66
  • Trouble with Britain 89
  • Trouble with France 106
  • Toussaint's Clause 126
  • Creating a Quarantine 144
  • The St. Domingo Station 162
  • Jefferson Equivocates 179
  • The Leclerc Expedition 199
  • St. Domingo and Louisiana 213
  • A Risky Trade 229
  • The Clearance Act Debate 245
  • The Trade Suspended 263
  • Embargo and Neglect 279
  • Epilogue 292
  • Notes 296
  • Bibliography 310
  • Index 317
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