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Governor of Cuba, two autographs letters, 1798.

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€4.500,00 EUR
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Governor of Cuba gets involved in the Haitian Slave Revolt


Juan Procopio Bassecourt y Bryas, Count of Santa Clara (1740-1820), Captain General of Cuba.

Two autographs letters and their French transcripts, signed.

Havana, May 23, 1798.


2 bifolia and 2 single folio sheets: 3; 1; 2; 1 pp. Each ca. 30,5 x 21 cm. The bifolia in Spanish manuscript in ink, written and signed by the Count of Santa Clara; the single sheets in French manuscript in ink in a different, notarial hand.  

Primary evidence of the direct involvement of the Cuban colonial government in the suppression of the Haitian Slave Revolt. These two letters from the Governor of Cuba were sent to his French allies who were fighting the rebels led by Toussaint Louverture. The first is an introductory letter addressed to the recently appointed 'extraordinary commissioner' of Saint Domingue, Gabriel de Hédouville (1755-1825). The Cuban Governor implores for the removal of 'armed French privateers' in the port of Havana, who were intercepting local trade with the United States and causing significant economic harm. Until then he denies any requests for financial support. However, in the other letter he grants the supply of rifles and flintlocks as requested by the aide-de-camp Crublier, which were to be used in the fight against the black freedom fighters.
These pivotal documents were drafted during a crucial juncture in Haitian history and that of the West Indies as a whole. It is noteworthy that De Hédouville did not hold the actual leadership of the country at that time; that authority lay with Toussaint-Louverture, the successful leader of the Slave Revolt. De Hédouville, known for his military rigor, was dispatched to Haiti (Saint-Domingue) with the mandate to restore order in the colony and quell the insurgents, a mission in which he ultimately faltered, departing within a mere seven months. The looming specter of widespread unrest across the colonial Caribbean islands and beyond intensified concerns. During his tenure as Governor of Cuba, Santa Clara oversaw the construction or enhancement of numerous fortifications in Havana, notably including the Santa Clara Battery. He pinned his hopes on De Hédouville, albeit unsuccessfully.
With these letters come the handwritten French translations, probably done at the office of the Cuban governor.

Condition: one bifolium partially split at the fold, corners a little creased, minor spots on one of the French sheets, otherwise in excellent condition.



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