Notes on CITIZEN TOUSSAINT
By Ralph Korngold. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1945.
Bob Corbett's notes on the book. Feb. 1991.
Korngold is widely read, but he seems to rely a great deal on Baron de Wimpffen's book of 1790 for his early material.
Korngold tell the story with great clarity, making sense of each move with the most plausible constructs I've yet read. Other reports often fail to do this. For example, Toussaint retired. Why? Either nothing is offered to explain this, or the rather lame and unconvincing (and non-Toussaintian) reply is given: He was tired.
Korngold argues the whole surrender was a sham.
On the one hand he is the most detailed--in keeping the whole story in front of the reader's eye. Yet he has relatively few dates. It's easy to lose sight of time. It was all so compressed and almost never mentions sources. He has no footnotes. But there is a long and useful bibliography at the end.
His book is an odd mix: extremely popular style of writing, careful, yet popular, yet no sources given, except now and again the name of a book. Excellent bibliography.
- He claims Toussaint entered into a secret treaty with Maitland and the Americans on July 13, 1799. This was so that he would not send out troops against any possession of his Britainnic Majesty or the United States of America.
- P. 29. The slaves "...did not, as is generally supposed, rebel to obtain their liberty. At the beginning of the rebellion not even Toussaint Louverture believed emancipation possible. Their principal demand was for one additional day a week in which to cultivate their allotments of land."
- P. 35. Heavy importation of slaves was because 1/9 died each year at the hands of cruel masters.
- P. 66. Korngold makes the startling claim that the slave rebellion was staged by France's officials. This was to wean the colonists from independence. Toussaint was the leader and organizer.
- 1799 Roume again raised the issue of an attack on Jamaica and sent agents to stir trouble. Sasportas died a heroic death in Jamaica, but frightened the British about Toussaint.
- P. 189. Korngold should a Machievellian but still relatively humane side of Toussaint. After Roume was locked by a mob in a chicken coup, Korngold says Toussaint was "...apparently ignorant of the indignity inflicted upon the representative of the French Republic. His ignorance last nine days then he allowed himself to be informed and professed to be greatly shocked."
- Gen Age was a white chief of Toussaint's staff.
- Korngold repeats over and over that Toussaint needed the plantation system in order to have money for arms, munitions and supplies to resist the French.
- P. 233. Korngold thinks Napoleon feared Toussaint's role in a Toussaint-led French west-empire.
- Leclerc was on 29. Rigaud, Villate, Petion, Boyer--all part of Leclerc's group.
- P. 263. At Leclerc's landing, Toussaint knew his strategy:
"Do not forget that while we await the rainy season, which will deliver us of our enemies, fire and destruction remain our only resource."
- tactic of scorched earth.
- counted on fever. (After British).
- P. 290. Toussaint had no intention of retiring. Neither side intended to keep its agreements.