[Important collection of pamphlets relating to the slave uprising in Saint-Domingue and other French colonies in the West Indies]
Paris: 1791-1795. 114 works in 3 volumes, 8vo. Detailed listing upon request.
Contemporary orange paper boards, early manuscript labels on spines
Comprehensive collection of pamphlets relating to the Haitian Revolution.
In the late 18th century, nearly half of the Caribbean's slave population resided in Saint-Domingue and produced nearly half of the world-wide supply of sugar, making it the most economically profitable and important of the French colonial possessions. Demographically, the slave population outnumbered the controlling white elite by eleven to one. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the French Revolution would be the spark which lit the fuse: as the French white elite sought to take control of the island from their colonial parent, the island's free men of color petitioned the National Assembly for full equality and began an insurgency in 1790. In August 1791, the over 450,000 slaves of Saint Domingue revolted, quickly taking control of much of the island and sending shockwaves across the Atlantic.
The following year, in an attempt to protect France's economic interests, the General Assembly granted civil and political rights to free men of color on the island. However, the slave revolt continued and foreign nations began involving themselves to take the colony. Fearful of losing the island completely to Great Britain or Spain, the National Convention abolished slavery. "In the second half of 1793, slavery was abolished in the French colony of Saint Domingue or present day Haiti. This was one of the most radical events of the French Revolution and one of the great moments in Caribbean history. Saint Domingue became the first land in the New World to outlaw slavery and to offer full rights to non-whites" (Stein).
The present collection of pamphlets, largely published by the General Assembly, relate nearly entirely to the troubles on Saint Domingue, including eyewitness testimony on the uprising, petitions by both free men of color and white plantation owners, reports from the Commissioners sent to Saint Domingue, and arguments by members of the Assembly on how to proceed. With contributions from key figures including abolitionists Sonthonax and Polverel, revolutionary leader Julien Raimond, and Philibert François Rouxel de Blanchelande, the governor of Saint Domingue at the start of the revolution. An incredible collection, presenting the history of the Revolution during its peak.