The “Indemnity” of 1825 : The Haitian Receipts

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by Celucien L. Joseph, PhD

((rezonodwes.com))–

As a sequel to my recently published essay, “Shame on US scholars, writers for intellectual imperialism against Haitians,” published (June 2022) in The Haitian Times, I thought

I would write a follow-up post to show the historical accounts penned by Haitian historians and writers who have provided detailed accounts about the indemnity of 1825, which Haitian president Jean-Pierre Boyer (1818-1843), in recognition of Haitian independence by Haiti’s former master, France, paid an indemnity of 150 million francs to the imperial France.

The literature on this issue in Haitian studies in the French language is voluminous; for the sake of convenience, I have selected the works of fourteen major Haitian historians and writers to substantiate my previous claim that Haitians have not been silent about their own history.

Hopefully, this will serve as an archival reference for the New York Times to acknowledge Haitians in public about their own stories and histories and to cite them next time they write a piece on Haitian political history or the diplomatic relations between Haiti and the United States or the West. All the sources listed below are accessible online for free. For each referenced work, I provide the page numbers to locate the history of the indemnity.

Thomas Madiou, the father of Haitian history, in a volume published in 1848, was the first Haitian writer to recount the history of the indemnity. Probably, the second major Haitian historian to have written on the issue in 1860 was Beaubrun Ardouin.

Two early Haitian diplomats and lawyers, Joseph Anténor Firmin and Jacques Nicolas Leger, wrote in 1905 and 1907 respectively about the indemnity. Hence, good people: we just have to dig deeper and go to “the source,” that is, the “Haitian archive” to find the receipts of what we are looking for.

  1. Thomas Madiou, Histoire d’Haiti: 1819-1826 (1848); pp. 507-510, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Histoire_d_Ha%C3%AFti_1819_1826/LW8KAQAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=1.%09Thomas+Madiou,+Histoire+d%E2%80%99Haiti:+1819-1826&pg=PA78&printsec=frontcover (Free Google book)
  2. Baubrun Ardouin, Études sur l’Histoire d’Haïti. Tome Dixième (1860) ; pp. 333-339, https://www.google.com/books/edition/%C3%89tudes_sur_l_histoire_d_Ha%C3%AFti_suivies/sMUtAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Baubrun+Ardouin,+sur+la+debte+de+l%27independance+haitienne&pg=PA334&printsec=frontcover (Free Google Book)
  3. Joseph Anténor Firmin, M. Roosevelt, président des États-Unis, et la République d’Haïti (1905) ; pp. 323-324, http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/firmin_antenor/Roosevelt_et_Republique_Haiti/Roosevelt.html (Free PDF version)
  4. Jacques Nicolas Leger, Haiti: her History and Her Detractors (1907); pp. 180-183, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Haiti_Her_History_and_Her_Detractors/cRVnAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Jacques+Nicolas+Leger,+Haiti:+her+History+and+Her+Detractors&printsec=frontcover (Free Google book)
  5. Jean Price-Mars, La République d’Haïti et la République dominicaine. Les aspects divers d’un problème d’histoire, de géographie et d’ethnologie (1953) pp. 176-195, http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/price_mars_jean/Republique_Haiti_t2/Republique_Haiti_t2.html (Free PDF version)
  6. Dantès Louis Bellegarde, Histoire du peuple haïtien (1492-1952) (1953) ; pp. 131-2, http://classiques.uqac.ca/classiques/bellegarde_dantes/histoire_du_peuple_haitien/histoire_du_peuple_haitien.html (Free PDF version)
  7. Benoît Joachim, Les racines du sous développement en Haïti (1979) ; pp. 75-81, http://classiques.uqac.ca/contemporains/joachim_benoit/Racines_sous-developpement_Haiti/Racines_sous-developpement_Haiti.html (Free PDF version); also, see the major article on the same issue by the same author, Benoît Joachim, « La reconnaissance d’Haïti par la France (1825) : naissance d’un nouveau type de rapports internationaux » (1979) ; pp. 369-396, https://www.persee.fr/doc/rhmc_0048-8003_1975_num_22_3_2324 (Free PDF version)
  8. Alex Dupuy, Haiti in the World Economy: Class, Race, and Underdevelopment Since 1700 (1989); 93-95, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Haiti_In_The_World_Economy/FKubDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Alex+Dupuy,+Haiti+in+the+World+Economy:+Class,+Race,+and+Underdevelopment+Since+1700&pg=PT13&printsec=frontcover (Free Google book)
  9. Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Haiti: State Against Nation: Origins and Legacy of Duvalierism (1990); pp. 60-61, https://books.google.com/books?id=xd1WCgAAQBAJ&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover&dq=Michel-Rolph+Trouillot,+State+Against+Nation,+pdf&hl=en&source=newbks_fb#v=onepage&q&f=false (Free Google book)
  10. Leslie F. Manigat, Eventail d’Histoire vivante d’Haiti, tome 1 (2001) ; pp. 261-278, https://ia802600.us.archive.org/25/items/eventaildhistoir01mani/eventaildhistoir01mani.pdf
  11. Wien Weibert Arthus, Les grandes dates de l’histoire diplomatique d’Haïti : De la période fondatrice à nos jours (2017) ; pp. 13-28, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Les_grandes_dates_de_l_histoire_diplomat/3fgSDgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Wien+Weibert+Arthus,+les+grandes+dates+de+l%27histoires&pg=PP1&printsec=frontcover (Free Google book)
  12. Marlene Daut, “When France extorted Haiti – the greatest heist in history” (2020), The Conversation https://theconversation.com/when-france-extorted-haiti-the-greatest-heist-in-history-137949
  13. Gusti-Klara Gaillard, (2021), Le Nouvelliste, https://lenouvelliste.com/article/230931/il-y-a-196-ans-la-dette-de-lindependance ; also, read another essay by her: Independence debt: 28 billion dollars to be repaid by the France to Haiti?! (2020), Le Nouvelliste, https://lenouvelliste.com/article/211786/dette-de-lindependance-28-milliards-de-dollars-a-rembourser-par-la-france-a-haiti; and listen to her interview: Gusti Gaillard: “The External debt,” https://repository.duke.edu/dc/radiohaiti/RL10059-RR-0664_01
  14. Robert Fatton Jr., The Guise of Exceptionalism: Unmasking the National Narratives of Haiti and the United States (2021), pp. 61-62, https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Guise_of_Exceptionalism/aYESEAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=The+Guise+of+Exceptionalism:+Unmasking+the+National+Narratives+of+Haiti+and+the+United+States&pg=PT3&printsec=frontcover (Free Google book)

About the author

Celucien L. Joseph, PhD, is Associate Professor of English at Indian River State College. His most recent books include Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa (2018) and Revolutionary Change and Democratic Religion: Christianity, Vodou, and Secularism (2020). He is the Board Secretary of the Haitian Studies Association.

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