Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LECLERC, Yictor Emmanuel (leh-clairk'), French soldier, born in Pontoise, 17 March, 1779; died in Tortugas, 2 December, 1802. He enlisted in the army as a private in 1790, became a captain in 1793, and in 1796 a major-general. He served in Italy under Bonaparte, did good service at the battles of Roveredo and Rivoli, and married, in Milan in 1797, Pauline Bonaparte, sister of the future emperor. Through his timely arrival with his grenadiers, Bonaparte was enabled successfully to carry out his coup d'etat in 1799, and Leclerc was rewarded with the commission of lieutenant-general. In 1801 Leclerc defeated the Prince of Brazil at Badajoz, and in December following he was appointed commander-in-chief of the expedition to Santo Domingo, which was then in possession of the negro insurgents under Toussaint l'Ouverture. An army of 83,000 veterans was assembled at Rochefort, and a fleet of eighty sail under Villaret Joyeuse (q. v.) transported the troops and co-operated in the campaign. Madame Leclerc accompanied her husband to participate in his triumph, and several poets were in the retinue of the general to celebrate his victories. On 28 January, 1802, the fleet anchored in the Bay of Samana. Three divisions were immediately sent to different parts of the island, while Leclerc himself set sail for Cape Francais, where he arrived on 3 February Henry Christophe, then in command at Le Cap, tried to negotiate with the French while awaiting instructions from Toussaint l'Ouverture; but Leclerc refused, and on 6 February landed his forces, whereupon Christophe set fire to the town and withdrew with his troops to the mountains. Leclerc afterward entered into negotiations with Toussaint, and through the sons of the latter, whom he had brought from France, tried to win him to the French cause. Failing in this attempt, he issued proclamations to the inhabitants, endeavoring to enlist them against Toussaint, and, joined by a considerable number of negroes, opened the campaign, which lasted three months and devastated the country. Leclere was besieged at Cape Francais so closely that a large number of his forces fell a prey to a pestilence; but after receiving re-enforcements by sea from the other generals, who had so far been successful, he defeated Toussaint, and on 9 May the latter signed a treaty, acknowledging the dominion of Pranee over the whole island. In spite of the treaty, Leclerc ordered the arrest of Toussaint a few days later, and sent him to Prance as a prisoner. Then, assuming the rank of governor-general, he began to carry out his plan of re-enslaving the negroes. A rising took place in the interior, and the whole island was soon ablaze with the fires of the insurrectionists. The negroes now committed horrible acts of vengeance, and the French retaliated with revolting cruelties. The latter were soon worn out and decimated by yellow fever and want of provisions. The blacks gained ground, and Leclerc retired to the island of Tortugas, where he died of yellow fever. See Thomas Madion's "Histoire d'Haiti" (Port au Prince, 1847); Pamphile Lacroix's "Memoires pour servir a l'histoire de la rdvolution de Saint Domingue" (Paris, 1819); and "Ardouin's " Etudes sur l'histoire d'Haiti" (1833).
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