Rare autograph letter signed by the leader of the Haitian Revolution, François-Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture

  • François-Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture Autograph Letter Signed.
  • François-Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture Autograph Letter Signed.

François-Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture Autograph Letter Signed.

$8,500.00

Item Number: 100201

April 28, 1800.

Rare original letter signed and in the hand of the leader of the Haitian Revolution, François-Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture. One page, folded, bearing the original wax seal on the verso, containing both the original message sent by Toussaint L’Ouverture and a forwarded reply by its original recipient Michel Etienne Descourtilz to General Augustin Honore d’Hebecourt. The letter in Toussaint L’Ouverture’s hand translates as, “The Passport requested by the Petitioner cannot be granted at this time. Le Général en Chef Toussaint Louverture.” Descourtilz has written in reply, “Citizen, Our friend Huin, more occupied with general interest than his own in particular, reminded me when he left that he had forgotten to recommend that you obtain a passport to pick up animals in the Spanish section. He is economically and socially linked to one of my uncles to whom he has left the task of reinforcing the product of his cabin in Grand Islet. It is therefore for the same relative, and the men necessary for this voyage that I serve as interpreter to impose on your good graces. RSVP. Yours, Descourtilz P.S. My difficulty meeting you required me to write to you.” On the verso Descourtilz has also written, “If your care allows you to meet my three requests, you would very much oblige me to tell me at what time I can find you Décadi [part of the Republican calendar], my plans being to leave for Artibonite on Monday of the Décadi, where business awaits me.” Descourtilz was a French botanist, physician, taxonomist and historiographer of the Haitian Revolution. A passport from Toussaint L’Ouverture allowed him to serve as a physician with the forces of Jean-Jacques Dessalines in Haiti, where he arrived in 1799. In very good condition. Exceptionally rare.

Born on the plantation of Bréda at Haut de Cap in Saint-Domingue, West African slave Toussaint L'Ouverture was freed in 1776 to become a paid employee of the plantation, allowing him to negotiate with both slaveholders and rebels. He soon became the leader of the growing resistance of the slave population in Haiti which culminated in the the 1791 slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue and ultimately liberated his nation from enslavement. Throughout his years in power, he worked to improve the economy and security of Saint-Domingue by restoring the plantation system using paid labor, maintaining a large and well-disciplined army, and negotiating trade treaties with the United Kingdom and the United States.

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