The six pamphlets that make up the next installment of A Colony in Crisis bring to the fore of this project a number of pressing concerns about the kind of knowledge about life under slavery that can be gleaned from the colonial archive.
Written by an unnamed ship captain preparing to return to Cap Français, this letter recounts the violence that has consumed Saint-Domingue during various revolts, and the beginning of the Haitian Revolution. The author intimates the numerous ways the Whites and Creole planters retaliated against the enslaved and other people of color through various acts of torture and extermination tactics.
This is a speech by the Mayor of Port-au-Prince delivered before an audience of white colonists, free people of color, and military men on October 23, 1791, which hereby eliminated all distinction between race and social status, naming every man simply “citizen.”
These Reflections on the Code Noir challenge the National Assembly’s stance on slavery and, the code in general The Society of the Friends of Blacks implores the Assembly to abolish the slave trade in its entirety, but not slavery itself, which they see as a given.
Delivered by the likes of Julien Raimond, Vincent Ogé, and others, this Request and Petition narrated a long history of legal discrimination of Free People of Color in Colonial Saint-Domingue.This petition calls for political enfranchisement and representation of Free People of Color in the Colonial Assembly as a way of countering a long history of racial discrimination.
This supplement to the Réplique, or “counter argument”, made by the Deputies representing the French merchants and manufacturers, argues that the rhetoric of the Deputies of Saint-Domingue is not only petulant, but that it also serves as an attempt to deceive the Metropole.
Sipleman pou Replik la, oubyen “Diskisyon kont sa yo di” ke Depite ki reprezante machann Franse yo ak mèt faktori yo bay di ke depite Sendomeng yo te sèvi ak yon bèl langaj ki te sèvi tou tankou yon fason pou bay Metwopòl la koutba. Dokiman sa a retire pwen santral la de kiltivatè kolonyal yo pou mete li sou machann Fransè rich yo, li mande pou yo mete yon regleman sevè konsènan komès ke Asanble Nasyonal la ap fè nan koloni an.
Sa se repons depite Pwodiksyon ak Komès Lafrans yo. Repons sa a bay yon revizyon klè sou lejislasyon ki antoure dispit konsènan grenn nan 1789. Li pèmèt depite Komès yo, reprezantan konpayi agrikòl ak ekspòtatè lafrans yo, defann tèt yo kont akizasyon depite koloni yo ki di ke yo pèpetye grangou.
This response from the Deputies of Manufactures and Commerce of France to MM. de Cocherel and de Reynaud offers a detailed rebuttal to the Colonial Deputies’ claims that the French government and National Commerce perpetuated famine in Saint-Domingue. This later section provides evidence as to how MM. de Cocherel and de Reynaud misled the French government with regard to the merchants’ commercial activity on the island.
This response from the Deputies of Production and Commerce of France provides a comprehensive review of the legislation surrounding the grain dispute of 1789 in order for the Commercial Deputies to defend themselves from the Colonial Deputies’ accusations that they have perpetuated famines.
This “précis,” or summary, sent to the Commissioners appointed by the National Assembly to examine the needs of the colony, outlines the efforts made by the deputies and the governor of Saint-Domingue to acquire much-needed provisions to sustain life on their plantations.
In his official motion to the National Assembly, M. de Cocherel proclaims that he can no longer sit idly while the Assembly ignores the famine that has besieged the colony of Saint-Domingue. The time has come for the colonial deputies of Saint-Domingue, led by Cocherel, to act on their own behalf, disregard the chain of command, and make a direct appeal to the Assembly.
This decision from the State Council of the King struck down le Marquis du Chilleau’s May 27th Ordinance allowing the importation of foreign grain and provisions to Saint-Domingue in exchange for colonial goods, although not sugar cane or coffee.
While the Island of Saint-Domingue was long considered part of the French Empire, the ten Colonial Deputies of Saint-Domingue felt in 1789 that they had become separated from the colonial Metropole. On June 8th 1789, this request was presented in Paris before Louis XVI’s committee of the Estates General.
Le Marquis Marie-Charles du Chilleau, Governor of Saint-Domingue, proposed this Ordinance to the French legislature one year after his appointment to allow foreign grain to be legally imported into Saint-Domingue. This is the second ordinance issued by the governor in response to the grain shortages in Saint-Domingue, which threatened the planters with famine and malnutrition.