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While Napoleon had initially been sympathetic to the cause of the Haitian Revolution, after Toussaint Louverture declared that all of Saint-Domingue's citizens would be both "free" and "French", Napoleon felt that his desire for a colonial Saint-Domingue was challenged. In October 1801, he sent Leclerc to Saint-Domingue to remove Louverture from power and destroy the former slaves' resistance movement.
Leclerc's orders were to persuade the rebels to put down their arms, lying that France had no intention of restoring the old racial hierarchy. By May 1802, Leclerc had managed to secure the surrender of most of the rebellion's leaders, including Louverture. The Assassin Eseosa poisoned Leclerc using one of François Mackandal's recipes, causing Leclerc to pass away on 1 November 1802, while he was believed to have died of Yellow Fever.