Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Leclerc, Charles (1772-1802) to General Jean Rochambeau [in French]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04032 Author/Creator: Leclerc, Charles (1772-1802) Place Written: Haiti Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 6 August 1802 Pagination: 2 p. ; 31.7 x 19.9 cm.

Summary of Content: Dated 18 Thermidor, year ten. Written during the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). Leclerc, French commander at Haiti, informs Rochambeau that General Antoine Richepanse has reestablished slavery in Guadeloupe, and there are slight signs of unrest. Predicts that the insurrection is in its final stage. Advises using examples of severity to inspire terror. Written on Armee de Saint-Domingue stationery. LeClerc died of Yellow Fever in November 1802; Rochambeau was his successor.

Background Information: LeClerc died of Yellow Fever in November 1802; Rochambeau was his successor.

Full Transcript: I have received, Citizen General, your letter with the list of the troubling subjects with which you contend. Show no mercy with anyone that you suspect.... One must be unflinching ...and inspire great terror; it is the only thing that will suppress the blacks.
General [Antoine] Richepanse has very unwisely reestablished slavery in Guadaloupe. Here and there one sees signs of unrest. A division of boats is addressing the insurrection. Most of the troops of General [Jean-Baptiste] Brunet [who was responsible for Toussaint Louverture's arrest] are ill. I have ordered Jacques Dessalines [the black leader who is in a temporary alliance with the French against insurgents] to use the most violent means to frighten the rebels....
Reinforcements have now arrived.... But illness is ravaging the battalion so badly that I am obliged to send almost all back to France....
This insurrection is in its last crisis. By the first month of the revolutionary calendar, with a month of campaigning, all will be over....
Frequently inform me about your position. I need to be informed as often as possible. Use examples of severity to inspire terror.
See More

People: Leclerc, Charles, 1772-1802
Rochambeau, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de, 1725-1807
Richepanse, Antoine, 1770-1802

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Haitian RevolutionRebellionCaribbeanGovernment and CivicsMilitary HistoryGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsFranceAfrican American HistorySlave RebellionSlavery

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources