Plan of Attack on Caracol, 1803

I first saw this map in 2008 when I took my first research trip to Paris. It is at the Richelieu branch of the Bibliotheque Nationale (you can also see it online at Gallica). This is one of those sources that doesn’t really fit with my research project, but I really like it anyway. The watercolor painting is just beautiful! Does anyone know about this battle? Or if it even happened (the painting might be a hypothetical!).


Swa Nou Viv Lib Swa Nou Mouri, Jacques Pierre’s translation of the DOI

In the 2011 issue of the Journal of Haitian Studies, Duke Professor Jacques Pierre published a Kreyol translation of the Acte d’Indépendance. Jacques has been working hard to change the historic tendency in Haiti to favor French over Kreyol (see, for example, his op-ed in The Haitian Times).

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Hymne Haitiène

I found the “Hymne Haitiène” at the National Archives of the United Kingdom alongside the pamphlet version of the Declaration of Independence (CO 137/111). It was printed at the end of a printed version of Dessalines’s “Journal de Campagne.” The note at the bottom of the page (in Edward Corbet’s handwriting (the British Agent for Affairs in St. Domingo)) reports that it was composed and sung for Dessalines for the first time on 21 January 1804. The song was sung to the tune of the Marseillais.

I am struck by the song’s emphasis on Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s role as unifier of the country; he is able to do this because he is the “father.” Only under his leadership, the song argues, would the country remain free and independent. This theme is repeated in Couplets, performed for Emperor Jacques 1er in November 1804.

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1804 Census, Gros Morne, Haiti

This brief census report from October 1804 in Gros Morne, Haiti is in the collection at the John Carter Brown Library. It’s an amazing source, and I haven’t seen anything like it for this time period!

There are a number of really interesting features in the document, including the fact that it is a form that was ten years out of date; slavery had been abolished in 1793 but the form has a number of categories for “esclaves,” (the entries for “esclaves” are left blank except for the total population of “Nègres” at the bottom of the reverse).

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19 November 1803 Proclamation

This document is from the personal collection of Daniel Supplice. The last time I was in Port-au-Prince, a friend introduced me to Daniel and he kindly let me look at and photograph his collection.

This document, dated 27 Brumaire an XII, Au Cap (19 November 1803 – the date of the evacuation of the French from Le Cap), contains part of the longer proclamation discussed by David Geggus in his post on its publication in The Times, London.

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The 29 November 1803 declaration of independence (post by David Geggus)

This is the controversial 29 November 1803 declaration of independence as it appeared in English translation in London in the 6 February 1804 edition of The Times. This was a month after its first appearance in the United States. It thus circulated more quickly than did the 1 January declaration. Sailing times to the US and Europe were shorter from Fort Dauphin, where it was drawn up, than from Port-au-Prince. And as it probably was distributed in manuscript, it was not delayed by the need for a printer. The January declaration did not appear in The Times until 28 April 1804 (and the third section not until May 21). This appears to be the version used in Rainsford. It presumably arrived on a slow merchant ship, whereas the copy Julia Gaffield found that reached London via Jamaica on March 10 no doubt came on the packet boat.

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