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NAPOLEON'S SECRET INSTRUCTIONS TO GENERAL LECLERC

by Napoleon Bonaparte Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Wonder where the US got its strategic thinking towards Haiti from? Read on...

NAPOLEON'S SECRET INSTRUCTIONS TO GENERAL LECLERC

Found in: DIE KOLONIALPOLITIK NAPOLEONS I

By Dr. Gustav Roloff

Munchen und Leipliz: Drud und Berlag von R. Oldenbourg, 1899.

The “Anlagen” pp. 244-257.

Unpublished translation by Jacques C. Chicoineau

Department of Foreign Language, Webster University, August 1990

Edited by Bob Corbett, April 2003

NOTES

To be used as directions to be given to Major General Leclerc

Brumaire 9, Year 10 (October 31, 1801)

The directions to be given to general in chief Major General Leclerc are divided

into military directions.

directions of foreign policy, relating to Americans and to neighboring powers.

directions on internal policy relating to the blacks and their chief.

internal policy relating to the formerly Spanish part of St. Domingue.

administration relating to former landholders.

administration relating to civil servants, military personnel, public education, clergy, commerce.

CHAPTER 1

The general in chief in St. Domingue is necessarily the Major General. Should General Leclerc die, General Rochambeau will succeed him as General-in-Chief and from that time onwards as Major General The latter dying, General Dugua will succeed him as General-in-Chief and Major General. Then, after this one, General Boudet.

FLEET

Admiral Villaret Joyeuse is named General Commander of all naval forces of the Republic in America and is in charge of all the first dispositions relating to the landing.

He will follow his mission in America with part of his squadron only when the Major General will be so well established that he would not need anymore the assistance of crews to maintain the garrison in the places. It is therefore necessary that we should have taken the Cap, Port au Prince, Port de la Paix, Puorto Plata, the Mole, Fort Dauphin, the Cayes, Sto. Domingo, Gonaives, St. Marc, Jeremie and that the five divisions which are the main part of the army had arrived.

Then, Rear Admiral Latouche will be promoted Commander of the Cruises of St. Domingue and Admiral Villaret will go with five or six ships, among those which will be the better organized, in the seas of the United States in order to get some supplies and to display his colors in the main harbors. After that he will manage his return to St. Domingue where he will receive his orders, either to go back to France, or to go to take over Martinique, according to the progresses of the negotiations in Europe.

The Major General and the Admiral should act in concert for their operations. The Rear Admiral, commander of the cruises of St. Domingue will be under the orders of the Major General.

LAND ARMY

The land army is made of 7,000 men embarking in Brest ca. 7000

3,000 who embark in Rochefort

1,200 in Nantes and Lorient

1,000 in Le Havre

1,500 in Cadix

3,000 in Toulon

1,500 in Flessingue

800 in Guadeloupe

-----------------

19,000

The three divisions of Brest, Lorient, and Nantes and Rochefort will meet and leave together. If the ones of Le Havre and Flessingue are not ready to leave with these three divisions, they will get under way within ten days.

Before being in sight of the land at St. Domingue they will send two frigates with 400 men, under the command of General Kerversau, having on board the Government Commissioner in the Spanish part.

These two frigates will proceed to Santo Domingo, will take over the city, will move the inhabitants of the country against the negroes of the French part, will publish the printed proclamations joined to the present instruction.

In the event when, in view of the great number of Toussaint's troops, and feeling not strong enough to help the inhabitants, one would judge that it would not be appropriated to land, the frigates will cruise in front of the harbor, cut off all communications, will not let any ship enter or go out, and will establish secret correspondence in the country, waiting for the effect which it will have on the garrison Toussaint had left in Santo Domingo in the view of taking over of Cap.

A frigate, from the same point of departure will be sent to the Mole with a field-officer who would have secret correspondence with the negroes who, in that country, are Toussaint's enemies. He will take possession of the Mole.

The squadron of Rear Admiral Latouche, with the forces embarked from his squadron, and all those reunited within the army and which make more than 8,000 men, that one judges necessary to the division of the Cap, will go straight to Port au Prince.

When arrived at the Cap, one will immediately take possession of the Isle de la Tortue, by sending there a vessel, and establishing there an base.

The squadron will arrive at the Cap, under a secure wind, in such manner that it would be possible to disembark during the same day that the squadron had been seen for the first time.

Two frigates will present themselves to the Cap and the Admiral and the Major General will instruct the General Commander of the place of their arrival in the colony. A frigate will present itself very close to Fort Piccolet in order to assure itself about the state of mind of the garrison at that fort, and if, as everything inclines to presume, one is received as friends, or if, at this unexpected moment the Republic should find some at St Domingue, didn't have time to prepare their defense, the squadron will enter the harbor, disembark some troops and take over the city. The attack would consist in arriving three leagues from the Cap before sunrise, and to have 6,000 men on the ground before sunset.

If by any accident, it would happen that Toussaint would be warned of the arrival of the fleet, and be able to receive the army at the Cap, and that from that time onwards the Admiral judged that the squadron would be in danger to confront the fire of the batteries and the forts, the army would be able to disembark on the beach in front of fort Piccolet or in the Acul bay, in case one would suspect some resistance.

Being masters of the Cap, one will placard and publish the printed proclamations. One would make the teacher of Toussaint's children to leave with his two children, and will mail the letter enclosed with the present instructions. Some vessels from the squadron will go in front of Port de la Paix, Fort Dauphin, and all other points of the Island in order to take possession of them, or to blockade them, to communicate everywhere and diffuse some proclamations.

All the whites of the Cap, the colored men and the faithful men among the blacks should be armed and organized.

All the coastal batteries will be disarmed meanwhile in such manner that they could be promptly rearmed if some unforseen circumstances would make it that we would lose superiority at sea.

The army will occupy positions in order to cover all Cap's plain and if one judges it convenient, the plain of Plaisance.

It is only then that it will be possible for the Major General to see if he must decide to send by sea 1,200 men in order to occupy the post of the Gonaives, so as to find himself there in communication with the Division of Port au Prince; or, if he would content himself with the blockade of the Gonaives by some frigates, he might prefer to keep his forces together and occupy the Gonaives by a detachment backed by his advanced guard.

The Rear Admiral Latouche, who should take possession of Port au Prince, will dispatch a vessel and two frigates carrying at least 500 men of French troops, being careful to assign several officers knowing the country. These troops will go to the Cayes. This separation will be made out of sight of land and at a point from where they can arrive at the Cayes one or two days after the arrival at Port au Prince.

The Rear Admiral Latouche will take possession of the Isle La Gonave before arriving at Port au Prince in order to establish a base. The landing at Port au Prince will be conducted in the same spirit as at the Cap. Masters of the city and of the fort, they will secure Leogane and Gonaives. They will establish cruises in front of St. Marc and, if they have sufficient forces, will take over that post at the same time as Port au Prince. Every where they will diffuse the proclamation and organize the national guard, arm the whites, the colored men, and use the negroes on whom they can count.

The General commander of the expedition at Port au Prince, when disembarked, will write to general Toussaint in order to let him know that the Major General disembarked at the Cap should have written to him in order to invite him to surrender.

The division which will arrive at Cayes will occupy the isle des Vaches, Cayes, Fort St. Louis, and will arm the whites, the colored men and the faithful negroes and will manage to communicate by land with Port au Prince.

If the inhabitants behave well a part of the vessel crews can hold garrison at the post of the Cayes and 500 troops will rejoin by land the General who would have occupied Port au Prince.

Be careful to take possession of Jeremie and to keep small armed ships on cruise in front of the posts occupied by the rebels.

At time when different reinforcements will arrive, it seems that the organization of the army can be managed in five divisions of 3,000 men each: two in the Northern part, one in St. Marc, one in Port au Prince and the fifth in the Spanish part.

The squadron will provide 6,000 men from the detachment of its vessels, taken among the crews if necessary. These 6,000 men will have a garrison at Cap, Fort Dauphin, Port de Paix, the Mole, Gonaives, St. Marc, Port au Prince, Jeremie, Cayes, St, Domingue, Porto de la Plata, etc. The reserves of the divisions will also have a garrison in the different harbors. The division in the Spanish part of St. Domingue will reunite at St. Yago, part landing in Sto. Domingo, part in Porto Plata.

In order to understand the instructions, it is necessary to divide the time of the expedition in three periods:

The first will cover the 15 to 20 first days, necessary in order to occupy the places, to organize the national guards, to reassure the well disposed, reunite the ships under escort, to organize the artillery transport, to accustom the mass of the army to the customs and to the physiognomy of the country and take possession of the plains.

The second period is the one when the two armies being separated, one would pursue the rebels to the knife, one would "take them out of the nest", first in the French part, and successively in the Spanish part.

If the French part was an island, the rebels would soon be brought into submission; but one presumes that it will be in the Spanish part, where one will be far from the harbors, that they will try to hold for a longer time. The main resources must be then the colored men of the Spanish part. It seems that one wages war to the blacks almost the same way that in the Alps, eight or ten columns at the same time, combining their movements to a single position. The strength of these columns seems not to be over 3 to 400 men.

The posts of St. Yago, of Plaisance, of the Croix, of the Bouquets are indicated as the main points where it would be good to have entrenched posts, secured from the forays of the blacks. Not knowing the art of attack and the art of fortification, it is necessary to use against the blacks the ancient fortifications, towers, defensive walls which can be built promptly and which inspire more respect than the fortifications at the level of the ground.

The third period is the one when Toussaint, Moyse and Dessalines will not exist anymore and when 3 to 4000 Blacks, withdrawn in the hillock of the Spanish part will form what is called in the islands the Maroons and whom one can succeed in destroying them with time, steadfastness and a well combined system of attack.

CHAPTER 2

Instructions on foreign policy relating to the Americans and the neighboring powers.

The Spaniards, the British and the Americans are equally worried to see a Black Republic. The admiral and the major general will write memorandums to the neighboring establishments in order to let them know the goal of the government, the common advantage for the Europeans to destroy the black rebellion and the hope to be seconded.

If one needs it, one must ask for some supplies in America, in the Spanish islands or even in Jamaica. One must ask at Havana if one needs a thousand or so men, in order to help to occupy the Spanish part of St. Domingue.

One must sequester for the benefit of the army, all the goods found in the harbors, and which belong to the blacks, until one knows the conduct they will display.

Declare the state of blockade of all the harbors where the rebels will be, and confiscate all the vessels which will enter or go out.

Jefferson has promised that as soon as the French army would arrive, all dispositions will be taken in order to starve Toussaint and to help the army.

CHAPTER 3

Instructions on internal policy relating to the blacks and their leader

The French nation will never give irons to men it had recognized as free. Therefore all the blacks will live in St. Domingue as they are today in Guadeloupe.

The conduct to be observed relating to the three periods of which it was spoken above:

During the first period, one will disarm only the blacks who would be rebels.

During the third, one will disarm all the blacks.

During the first period one will not be exacting: one will negotiate with Toussaint, one will promise everything he may ask for, in order to take possession of the places and to get in the country.

When that first goal will be achieve, one will become more exacting. One will intimate to him the order to categorically answer the proclamation and my letter. One will enjoin him to come to the Cap.

In the interview which one can have with Moyse, Dessalines and the other generals of Toussaint, one will treat them well.

Win over Christophe, Clairveaux, Maurepas, Felix, Romain, Jasmain etc. and all the other blacks well disposed towards the whites. During the first period, confirm them in their grades, and their employments. During the third period, send all of them to France with their grades if they well served during the second.

All the principal agents of Toussaint, whites and colored men, must, during the first period, be indistinctly heaped by kindness, confirmed in their grades, and, during the last period, be all sent to France, with their grades, if they had behave during the second period, and as deported if they misbahave during that same period.

All the blacks who are in place must, during the first period be flattered, well treated, but generally one should try to take out their popularity and their power. Toussaint, Moyse and Dessalines must be well treated during the first period and sent to France during the last period, arrested or with their grades, depending the behaviour they will display during the second.

Raymond has lost the trust of the government, one will seize him and one will send him to France, at the beginning of the second period, as a criminal.

If the first period lasts 15 days, there will be no drawback. If it will last longer, one would be duped.

Toussaint will be subdued only when he will come to the Cap or to Port au Prince, amidst the French army, to pledge fidelity to the Republic. That day, it is necessary, without any scandal, without any insult, but with honor and consideration, to put him on board of a frigate and send him to France. If possible, arrest at the same time Moyse and Dessalines, or pursue them to the bitter end and then, send to France all the white followers of Toussaint, all the blacks having had positions and suspected of malevolence. Declare Moyse and Dessalines traitors to the country and enemies of the French people. The troops will take the field, and take no rest before getting their heads and disperse and disarm all their partisans.

If after the first 15 or 20 days it is impossible to bring back Toussaint, it is necessary, in a proclamation, to declare that if during so many days, he is not coming to take the oath to the Republic, he is declared traitor to the country and, at the end of the delay, one will start war to the knife.

A few thousands blacks, wandering in the hillocks and looking for refuge in these rustic lands, must not prevent the Major general from considering the second period as ended and to arrive quickly to the third one. Then the moment to assure for ever the ownership of the Colony to France had arrived. And the same day, one must on all points of the Colony, arrest all the men in place who would be suspected, whatever their color be, and embark at the same time all black generals whatever their manners, their patriotism, and the services they had rendered, observing meanwhile to let them go with their grades, and with the assurance that they will be well treated in France.

All the whites who served under Toussaint, and who, in the scenes of St. Domingue were covered with crimes, will be sent to Guyana.

All the blacks who behaved, but that their grades don't allow anymore to remain on the island will be sent to Brest.

All the blacks or colored men who misbehaved, whatever their grades will be will be sent to the Mediterranean sea and dropped in a harbor of the island of Corsica.

If Toussaint, Dessalines or Moyse would be taken bearing arms, they will be within 24 hours judged by a military commission and shot by a firing squad as rebels.

Whatever would happen, one thinks that during the 3rd period, one must disarm all the negroes, whatever the party they will be, and to put them back to cultivation.

All the individuals who signed the Constitution should, at the 3rd period, be sent to France, some as prisoners, the others free as having been compelled to do so.

The white women who prostituted themselves to the blacks, whatever their rank will be, will be sent to Europe. The flags of the regiments of the National guard will be taken away; new flags will be distributed and the regiments will be reorganized. One will reorganize the “gendarmerie.” Do not accept that any black, having had a grade above captain remains in the island.

The Ile de la Tortue, will be used as depot for the black prisoners. Some warships or frigates can serve for the same purpose.

CHAPTER 4

Internal policy relating to the former Spanish part of St. Domingue

There will be in the Spanish part a general Commissioner who will not be dependant of the Colonial prefect.

The general in Chief will be the Major general of the two parts of St. Domingue. He will be able to ask a general officer to replace him in the Spanish part, who will be Major general of the Spanish part and who will remain under his orders.

There will be in that part a justice commissioner who will not depend upon the one in the French part. If the political goal in the French part of St. Domingue should be to disarm the blacks and to make them farmers, but free, one must in the Spanish part also disarm them but put them back into slavery. One must retake possession of that part, the taking possession by Toussaint being null and void.

The French part is divided into departments and municipalities. The Spanish one must remain divided in dioceses and jurisdictions. Administration, commerce, justice, everything must be different from the French part in the Spanish one. One would not attach himself too much to the principle that, to establish a difference of manners, and even a local antipathy, is to keep live the influence of the metropolis in that colony.

CHAPTER 5

Administration relating to the old landholders.

The policy concerning the old landholders must related to the periods and will depend upon the events which will occur during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd periods The Colony is not supposed to be French. No landholder is supposed to be in the enjoyment of his possessions and everything else as under Toussaint's administration. The product of the plantations is used to pay, feed and equip the army.

After the 3rd period the proclamation which declares at last the island of St. Domingue returned to the Republic, one will give back to all the landholders who are in France, and who never emigrated, their possessions.

Every landholder who would not stay in St. Domingue or in France during the war, and who would have lived in America, England or any other foreign country, will be able to regain ownership of his possession only by a decree of the Government. No former landholder of St. Domingue will be allowed to enter the Colony if he is coming directly from England, Spain or any other country without having passed through Paris and having obtained the authorization, not only to recover his possessions but also to enter the Colony.

All donations made by Toussaint are null, but this declaration should be publicized only during the 3rd period.

Every private possession in St. Domingue should be submitted to taxation. The amount of these taxes must be such that it will be sufficient to cover the needs of the Colony and the maintenance of the troops etc.

CHAPTER 6

Administration relating to civil servants, military personnel, public education clergy, commerce

The individuals, military or civil, composing the army are divided into two classes.

Into men having already fought the war at St. Domingue, knowing the country. These men will receive after the 3rd period, orders to return to France with rewards and tokens of satisfaction suited to services they would have rendered

The Major general should not accept any vacillation in the principle of these instructions and any individual who would discuss the right of the blacks, who shed the blood of the whites, will be under any pretext, sent back to France, whatever his rank or services will be.

No public education of any sort will be established in St. Domingue and all the creoles will be compelled to send their children in France to have them raised there.

It will be announced that 3 French bishops will be installed in the French part of St. Domingue. They will receive the canonical investiture from the Pope, and will soon go to the Colony. The parish priests will be re-installed, and a certain number of priests, who will accompany the bishops in order to re-organize the clergy, will be sent from France.

Generally speaking, every priest who served Toussaint will be send back to France, meanwhile some others will arrive in order to replace them.

Commerce must, during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd periods be accessible to Americans, but after the 3rd period, Frenchmen only will be admitted and the ancient rules from before the Revolution will be put back into force.

During the same 1st, 2nd and 3rd periods, any ship from Bordeaux or from an other harbor in France, which would carry flours, wines, and other goods necessary to the Colony, and which purchase would have be done in the name of the Republic, with the funds collected in the Colony, will have preference over the Americans.

The Major general and the Colonial Prefect should even take some dispositions, in such manner that even when the goods coming from France would make up a loss of 15 percent for the Colony over the objects purchased from the Americans, they will still give preference, considering these 15 percent as a necessary premium to foster our renascent commerce.

Paris Brumaire 9, Year 10th

The First Consul Buonaparte.

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