Defense of the Settlers of Saint Dominique: Or, a Quick Look at the New Declaration of the Rights of Man, Particularly as it Relates to the Colonies


The French Revolution of 1789 had enormous repercussions in France’s Caribbean colonies. In August 1791, slaves in the colony of Saint-Domingue staged a massive revolt, setting in train the chain of events that ultimately led to the founding of Haiti in 1804. In 1792, the de facto government of revolutionary France sent commissioners to the colony to enforce a decree by the National Assembly that enfranchised free blacks and mulattoes, but that did not yet free the colony’s slaves. Under growing pressure from the revolt and threatened by invading British forces, in late 1793 commissioner Léger Félicité Sonthonax issued a decree freeing the slaves. An estimated 10,000 French settlers from Saint-Domingue fled to the United States, where many of them agitated for the return of their colonial properties. This work of 1796, in French but published in Philadelphia, is an appeal for the protection and restoration of the former colonists’ rights. It is written with reference to the principles in the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and of the Citizen, drafted by the National Convention and put into effect on October 26, 1795, as a modified version of the original Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted by the National Assembly in August 1789.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Moreau de St.-Méry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Title in Original Language

Défénse des colons de Saint-Domingue, ou, Examen rapide de la nouvelle Déclaration des droits de l'homme, en ce qu'elle a particulièrement de relatif aux colonies

Type of Item

Physical Description

179 pages ; 19 centimeters

Last updated: September 29, 2014