The Black Jacobins, 2010: Haiti, CLR James (and George Orwell)

From Airforce Amazons:

There was a story in the paper last week about the discovery of a copy of the Haiti’s Declaration of Independence from the original printing in 1804, found in the British National Archives by Julia Gaffield of Duke University. Their website has more details on the document, including a full translation.

The declaration came after over a decade of war in the French colony of St Domingue, from the slave rebellion of 1791, through the rise of Toussaint L’Ouverture as their leader, fighting against the slave-holders and the French Republic in the war with Spain, then after the abolition of slavery in 1794 on the side of the Republic against Spain and Britain, then against internal rivals for power, and finally against Napoleon as the Emperor sought to reintroduce slavery to the island. In 1803 Toussaint L’Ouverture died imprisoned in France, as the more radical Dessalines led the war of independence in St Domingue.

From The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James, Chapter 13:

On November 29th Dessalines, Christophe, and Clairveaux (Pétion was ill) issued a preliminary proclamation of independence, moderate in tone, deploring the bloodshed of the previous years. On December 31st at a meeting of all the officers held at Gonaïves the final Declaration of Independence was read. To emphasise the break with the French the new State was renamed Haiti.


The first draft of the proclamation handed to Dessalines at the Congress was rejected by him as being too moderate. The second, which met with his aproval, struck the new note, ‘Peace to our neighbours. But anathema to the French name. Hatred eternal to France. This is our cry.’

Typophiles will note that the document was set in a French typeface by Firmin Didot.

Read the rest, including why George Orwell is relevant.
Also read (via Entdinglichung):

I.L.P. Abyssinian Policy, I.L.P. Discussion, October 1935
The Voice of Africa, International African Opinion, August 1938
Sir Stafford Cripps and “Trusteeship”, International African Opinion, September 1938

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 11:31 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Really interesting post.

    I’ve been reading about how president Jefferson, was considering sending troops to help Napoleon.

  2. […] Verfasst von entdinglichung am 13. April 2010 ältere Archiv-Updates und Hinweise zu weiteren linken Archivalien unter “Sozialistika” und im Download-Archiv … Ofenschlot erinnert an den kürzlich verstorbenen Romano Alquati (“der bekannteste unbekannteste Operaist”), mehr zu Haiti 1791 bei Poumista: […]

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