I am kind; I am humane. I open to you my fatherly arms. Come, all of you; I will receive you all – no less those of the South than those of the West, and of the North, who, gained over by Rigaud, have deserted your firesides, your wives, your children, to place yourselves at his side.
I am faithfully devoted to the Republic but will not serve it at the expense of my conscience and my honor.
The whites have resolved to destroy our liberty and have therefore brought a force commensurate to their intentions. The Cape, after a proper resistance, has fallen into their hands, but the enemy found only a town and plain in ashes; the forts were blown up, and all was burnt.
At the beginning of the troubles of Saint Domingo, I felt that I was destined to great things. When I received this divine intimation, I was four and fifty years of age; I could neither read nor write.
I have published a proclamation: ‘Forgive us our transgressions as we forgive those who transgress against us.’ I have ordered all citizens to return to their parishes to enjoy the benefits of this general amnesty.
Citizens, not less generous than myself, let your most precious moments be employed in causing the past to be forgotten; let all my fellow-citizens swear never to recall the past; let them receive their misled brethren with open arms, and let them, in future, be on their guard against the traps of bad men.
The revolution of Saint Domingo was taking its course. I saw that the whites could not endure, because they were divided and because they were overpowered by numbers; I congratulated myself that I was a black man.
When it shall be known that, at the time which I was accused of wishing to sunder this island from France – my benefactress – I repeated the oath of fidelity to her, I take pleasure in believing that the government I own, and my fellow-citizens, will render me the justice I merit, and that the enemies of my brethren will be reduced to silence.
I have undertaken vengeance. I want Liberty and Equality to reign in Saint-Domingue. I work to bring them into existence. Unite yourselves to us, brothers, and fight with us for the same cause.
I took up arms for the freedom of my color. It is our own – we will defend it or perish.