Paris: Dubroca et Bonneville, An X - 1802.
First edition. Frontispiece portrait by Bonneville. [iv], 74 pp. 12mo. Mid-nineteenth century green cloth, front cover stamped with gilt arms of Ernest Augustus I of Hanover (1771-1851) and his ink stamps on half-title and title. Fine. Quérard II, 613; Sabin 21030; Palau 76339; Streeter sale 4133; Martin & Walter 11283; Cundall 434a; M. Dict. de bib. haitienne, 5540. Item #314211
First edition of one of the first biographies of the Haitian revolutionary general Toussaint-Louverture (1743-1803), published in the year before his death. A profoundly anti-revolutionary and colonialist work, which portrays Toussaint-Louverture as violent, duplicitous and tyrannical: "Au moment où le voile est entièrement déchiré sur l'hypocrisie profonde et sur les projets ambitieux de Toussaint-Louverture; au moment où le trahison de ce chef de noirs est consommée … quel Français ne lira pas avec intérêt la vie de cet homme …?"
The author, Jean-Louis Dubroca, was hired by Napoleon's regime to produce this propagandistic and counter-revolutionary work prior to the French army's attempt to repress the Haitian slave revolt. The portrait by Bonneville is apocryphal — no portraits from life of Toussaint-Louverture exist — but is similar to the portrait in Charles Yves Cousin d'Avallon's Histoire de Toussaint-Louverture (Paris, 1802).
"Many biographies of Louverture have appeared in the past two centuries, although most of them recycled oral traditions or previous secondary works. The first full-length biography, which attacked Louverture as a pro-independence traitor to France, was Louis Dubroca, La vie de Toussaint Louverture …" (Girard, Toussaint-Louverture: A Revolutionary Life, p. 321). Among Dubroca's many other works are a Louisiana travelogue (Paris, 1802) and biographies of Napoleon (Paris, 1802) and Dessalines (Paris, 1804), leader of the Haitian revolution following Toussaint-Louverture's death in a Paris prison in 1803.
English editions of the present work were published in 1802 in London and Charleston, South Carolina — a town to which many white Haitians had fled during the revolution — as well as editions in Dutch, Danish, Swedish and German.
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