Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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POLVEREL, Etienne, French revolutionist, born in Beam, France in 1742 ; died in Paris, 6 April, 1795. He was a lawyer, and was sent as deputy to the states-general in 1789. He belonged to the extreme party in the revolution, and was appointed public prosecutor in 1791. In 1792 he was sent, with two other commissioners, to Santo Domingo to reorganize the colony. The three commissioners were invested with arbitrary power, and soon adopted measures that led to a war of extermination between the whites and negroes. The French colonists that escaped from the island accused the commissioners of cruel and arbitrary acts, while they in turn accused the whites of conspiring to deliver Santo Domingo to the English. The acquittal by the revolutionary tribunal of General d'Esparbos, whom they had sent to France as a criminal, created more enemies, who accused them of being friends of the Girondists. An order for the arrest of Polverel was sent out in 1793, but, owing to the distance of the island and the difficulty of communications, he was not brought to Paris until after the fall of Robespierre. Although he was set at liberty, the opposition of the colonists prevented him from obtaining a bill of indemnity for his actions in Santo Domingo.
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