Dessalines Reader, 23 June 1803 (2)

Many thanks to Andrew Walker, a PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan, for bringing the digital version of this document to my attention.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines to the President of the United States [Thomas Jefferson], 23 June 1803, Series 1: General Correspondence. 1651-1827, Microfilm Reel: 028, The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib012521

0666 0667

Many thanks to Paul Clammer for notifying me of this translation from The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Vol 40

Editors’ Translation
Headquarters, Frère plantation,
Cul-de-Sac plain
23 June 1803

MISTER PRESIDENT,

The American schooner The Federal, under Captain Nehemiah Barr, forced by our patrol boats to enter the port of Petit-Goâve, provides me the honor of informing you of the events that have occurred on our unfortunate island since the arrival of the French and the revolution caused in France by the tyranny of their oppressive government.

The people of Saint-Domingue, tired of paying with our blood the price of our blind allegiance to a mother country that cuts her children’s throats, and following the example of the wisest nations, have thrown off the yoke of tyranny and sworn to expel the torturers.

Our countryside is already purged of their sight. A few cities are still under their domination but have nothing further to offer their avid rapacity.

Commerce with the United States, Mister President, offers a market for the huge harvests we have in storage and the even more abundant ones that are now growing. Your country’s shippers are calling for it. Your nation’s long-standing relations with Saint-Domingue are evidence of the loyalty and good faith that await your ships in our ports.

The return of the schooner The Federal will prove to your country our current disposition.

Please be sure, Mister President, of the eagerness with which I will exert all my authority for the safety of the United States’ ships and the benefits they will reap from trading with us.

Accept, Mister President, the expression of my highest consideration.

DESSALINES

About Julia Gaffield, PhD

Assistant Professor of History, Georgia State University
This entry was posted in Documents. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dessalines Reader, 23 June 1803 (2)

  1. Volume 41 of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/) has a good English translation of this letter printed next to the French original. It’s the most recent published volume in the series, so one can only hope that the next few volumes contain more correspondence relating to Haiti in the early independence period.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s