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Gates, Horatio (1728-1806) to Robert Livingston

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06611 Author/Creator: Gates, Horatio (1728-1806) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 February 1803 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Revolutionary War general Horatio Gates, replying to a letter from Livingston, American minister to France, discusses the Haitian Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase, Napoleon, and other French notables. Writes, "I greedily devour every line that comes from your Pen, & View with anxiety the predictions you make upon the present appearance of the political conduct of The Great Man" (referring to Napoleon). Discusses Napoleon's intentions to conquer the seas and all nations, noting "This no friend to Civil Liberty can wish to see accomplished." Relates that James Monroe, Plenipotentiary to France, will deliver this letter. Declares, "The St. Domingo business is what will most seriously engage the attention of The First Consul; for by accounts from thence of a very short date we are credibly informed, that all is upon the point of being lost for the present to France..." Mentions the Louisiana "business" (possibly referring to the Louisiana Purchase). Calls for the withdrawal of troops after France reinstates government on Haiti, noting "This is a large Pill for Government to Swallow... will the high spirit of Bonaparte submit to this?" Wishes Horatio (possibly a son or other relative) had gone to France with Livingston: "you know that without being perfect in the French Language, it is in Vain to attempt being of the First Consequence in the Bustle of this Modern World..." Claims the Americans had no scientific engineer in the Revolution until a French engineer assisted the cause. Mentions Talleyrand, Liancourt, Lafayette, and several other French notables. Refers to Rufus King, ambassador to England (1796-1803), and recommends that Livingston travel in England. The Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), an extended series of slave revolts, culminated in the defeat of French forces in 1803. The former French colony of Santo Domingo (Saint Domingue) thus became the first modern republic led by people of African descent. The French defeat was due to a number of factors, including Napoleon's loss of interest in the Western Hemisphere following the sale of Louisiana to the United States.

People: Gates, Horatio, 1728-1806.
Livingston, Robert R., 1746-1813.
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821.
Monroe, James, 1758-1831.
Toussaint Louverture, 1743?-1803.
Egremont, George O\92Brien Wyndham, Earl of, 1751-1837.
Talleyrand-Perigord, Charles Maurice de, prince de Benevent, 1754-1838.
La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt,
Francois-Alexandre-Frederic, duc de, 1747-1827.
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834.
King, Rufus, 1755-1827.

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Keywords/Subjects: Revolutionary War General, Military History, Haitian Revolution, Caribbean, France, Louisiana Purchase, Westward Expansion, Land Transaction, Napoleonic Wars, Global History and Civics, Foreign Affairs, Slave Rebellion, Rebellion, African American History, Slavery

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison