Excerpt from the Memoir of Toussaint L’Ouverture (Digital Component #3)

The following is an excerpt from the Memoir of Toussaint L’Ouverture¬†written by L’Ouverture in 1802 while imprisoned at Fort-de-Joux in France. This excerpt describes the economic growth and recovery of Haiti under the leadership of L’Ouverture while describing the hardships that L’Ouverture endured.


I will sum up, in a few words, my conduct and the results of my administration. At the time of the evacuation of the English, there was not a penny in the public treasury; money had to be borrowed to pay the troops and the officers of the Republic. When General Leclerc arrived, he found three million, five hundred thousand francs in the public funds. When I returned to Cayes, after the departure of General Rigaud, the treasury was empty; General Leclerc found three million there; he found proportionate sums in all the private depositories on the island. Thus it is seen that I did not serve my country from interested motives; but, on the contrary, I served it with honor, fidelity, and integrity, sustained by the hope of receiving, at some future day, flattering acknowledgments from the government; all who know me will do me this justice.

I have been a slave; I am willing to own it; but I have never received reproaches from my masters.

I have neglected nothing at Saint Domingo for the welfare of the island; I have robbed myself of rest to contribute to it; I have sacrificed everything for it. I have made it my duty and pleasure to develop the resources of this beautiful colony. Zeal, activity, courage, — I have employed them all.

The island was invaded by the enemies of the Republic; I had then but a thousand men, armed with pikes. I sent them back to labor in the field, and organized several regiments, by the authority of General Laveaux.