What then? Bent for many ages under an iron yoke; the sport of the passions of men, or their injustice, and of the caprices of fortune; mutilated victims of the cupidity of white Frenchmen; after having fattened with our toils these insatiate blood suckers, with a patience and resignation unexampled, we should again have seen that sacrilegious horde make an attempt upon our destruction, without any distinction of sex or age; and we, men without energy, of no virtue, of not delicate sensibility, should not we have plunged in their breast the dagger of desperation? Where is that vile Haitian, so unworthy of his regeneration, who thinks he has not accomplished the decrees of the Eternal, by exterminating these blood-thirsty tygers? If there is one, let him fly; indignant nature discards him from our bosom; let him hide his shame far from hence: the air we breath is not suited to his gross organs; it is the pure air of Liberty, august and triumphant.
Yes, we have rendered to these true cannibals war for war, crime for crime, outrage for outrage; yes, I have saved my country; I have avenged America. The avowal I make of it in the face of earth and heaven, constitutes my pride and my glory. Of what consequence to me is the opinion which contemporary and future generations will pronounce upon my conduct? I have performed my duty; I enjoy my own approbation; for me that is sufficient. But what do I say? The preservation of my unfortunate brothers, the testimony of my own conscience, are not my only recompense: I have seen two class of men, born to cherish, assist and succour one another — mixed, in a word, and blended together — crying for vengeance, and disputing the honor of the first blow.
Blacks and Yellows, whom the refined duplicity of Europeans has for a long time endeavored to divide; you, who are now consolidated, and make but one family; without doubt it was necessary that our prefect reconciliation should be sealed with the blood of your butchers. Similar calamaties have hung over your proscribed heads: a familiar ardour to slake your enemies, has signalized you: the like fate is reserved for you: and the like interests must therefore render you fore ever one, indivisible, and inseparable. Maintain this precious concord, that happy harmony amongst yourselves: it is the pledge of your happiness, your salvation, and your success: It is the secret of being invincible…
Jean-Jacques Dessalines, “Liberty or Death. Proclamation. Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Governor General, to the People of Hayti,” Balance and Columbian Repository (June 19, 1804):