Citation
Slavery, Coffee, and Family in a Frontier Society: Jeremie and Its Hinterland, 1780-1789

Material Information

Title:
Slavery, Coffee, and Family in a Frontier Society: Jeremie and Its Hinterland, 1780-1789
Copyright Date:
2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children ( jstor )
Coffee industry ( jstor )
Coffee plantations ( jstor )
Creoles ( jstor )
Merchants ( jstor )
Parishes ( jstor )
Plantations ( jstor )
Slavery ( jstor )
Sugars ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Embargo Date:
7/30/2007

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text










SLAVERY, COFFEE, AND FAMILY IN A FRONTIER SOCIETY:
JEREMIE AND ITS HINTERLAND, 1780-1789














By

KEITH ANTHONY MANUEL


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005





























Copyright 2005

by

Keith Anthony Manuel















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many people helped this thesis along from start to finish. I must first thank my

committee chair, David Geggus, for his assistance throughout the life of this project,

especially his patient editing just prior to my oral defense. This manuscript would also

not be what it is without the perceptive comments of my two readers, Jeffrey Needell and

Jon Sensbach. I must also give much credit to the staff of the Department of Area and

Special Collections and the Latin American Collection of the University of Florida

Libraries for their assistance in gathering together the primary and secondary material I

used in this project. Particular gratitude is due to Bruce Chappell for key professional

and, at times, critical personal support. Others who have helped one way or another

(some more than they can know) include Peter Wolf, David Wheat, Maury Wiseman, Mil

Willis, and Julia Frederick. Finally, I must thank my family for supporting me, especially

in the last frantic stages of writing. My wife, Bridget, who deserves much credit for her

patience with my preoccupation, and my daughter, Rebecca, have given me the strength

to carry it through.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... ................................................................................... iii

LIST OF TABLES ..................... .. .. .................. ................ ............ vi

LIST OF FIGURES ...................... .......... ................ ....... ........viii

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ...... .......... .......... ix

CHAPTER

1. INTRODUCTION AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW.................................... 1

2. GOVERNANCE, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY .......................................................8

G geographical O v erview ..................................................................... .....................9
S o city ............................................................................... 16
E c o n o m y ........................................................................... 2 1
Planters and Plantations .................. ............................ .. ...... .. ............ 32
C o n c lu sio n s..................................................... ................ 3 7

3. PLANTATION SLAVERY IN THE GRANDE-ANSE ..........................................38

The N aming of Slaves and Ethnicity .................................... ............ ............... 43
The Slaves' D iet ........................... ........ .......... ................. ............ 49
Occupational M obility on Coffee Plantations ................................. ................ 53
H housing and Com m unity ................................................... ........................ .55
C o n c lu sio n s..................................................... ................ 5 7

4. FAMILY, RACE, AND PATRONAGE IN THE GRANDE-ANSE BEFORE THE
FREN CH REVOLU TION ............................................................................ 59

R elig iou s B elief ................................................... ................ 7 3
T he F ree C oloreds R ise U p .............................................................. .....................74
Conclusion .............. ............................ .......................... ... 75

5. C O N C L U SIO N ............................................................................... 77













L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ........................................................................ .....................80

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ...................................................................... ..................83
























































v
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1. Population Increase in the Parish of Jeremie.............................. ..........9

2-2. Militia Enrollment by Race, 1751-1789................................. ...............20

2-3. Summary of Property Ownership in Saint-Domingue, Listed by Major Ports of
Em barkation, 1788 .................................... ... ........ ...............22

2 -4 E x p ort Statistics, 17 88 ....................................................................... ..................2 5

2-5. Annual Commodity Production in the Grande-Anse, 1788 (Thousands of
P o u n d s) ...................... .. .............. .. ....................................................2 5

2-6. Sample of Slaving Vessels Calling at Jeremie, 1788-1791 ....................................26

2-7. Immigrants to the Grande-Anse, 1780-1789.................................. .................28

2-8. Slave and Landholding on 13 Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-
A nse, 1780-1792 ......................................................................33

2-9. Real property Owned by the Berquier Family, ca. 1803, for which the Family
R received C om sensation ......... ................. ................... ................... ............... 36

3-1. Numbers of Africans and Creoles on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop
Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=551).................... ..................40

3-2. Summary of the Origins of Slaves on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the
Grand'Anse (N=606)..................... ............ ..... ........ .. ......41

3-3. Some Factors Bearing on Slave Life on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop
Plantations, 1780-1792, Based on Notarized Plantation Inventories....................42

3-4. Slave Fertility Indexes on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations by Size
of Plantation W orkforce, 1782-1792.................... ................. .... ............... 43

3-5. The Origins of Slaves on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the
Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=606) ............................................... ............... 45

3-6. Profiles of Commandeurs on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-
A n se, 17 8 0 -17 9 2 ................................................... ................ 5 5









3-7. Slave Housing on Small and Middling Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the
G rande-A nse, 1780-1789 (N =9) ........................................ ......................... 56

4-1. Infants Baptized in the Parish of Jeremie, 1781 ................. ............... ............... 59

4-2. Occupations of M ale Testators (N=23) .......................................... ............... 61

4-3. Marriage Choice among the Gens de couleur libres (N=20) ..............................71
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure p

2-1. Urban Development in Jeremie, 1765-1788...................... ..... ............... 14

3-1. Population Pyramid of the Workforces on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop
Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1782-1792 (N=551).................... ..................39















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

SLAVERY, COFFEE, AND FAMILY IN A FRONTIER SOCIETY:
JEREMIE AND ITS HINTERLAND, 1780-1789

By

Keith Anthony Manuel

August 2005

Chair: David Patrick Geggus
Major Department: History

Between the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763 and the spread of the French

Revolution to the island in 1791, coffee became an important export crop in the French

colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). This crop proliferated in the colony's

mountains where sugar could not be grown profitably. The resulting coffee boom drew

thousands of new colonists from Europe, the French West Indies, and Louisiana who

imported tens of thousands of slaves.

This thesis sheds light on the conditions of life during the coffee boom in the

vicinity of the town of Jeremie in the southwestern part of Saint-Domingue. This

previously neglected region received its share of both colonists and slaves. The thesis

uncovers some details about the lives of the colonists, including to some degree their

marriage patterns (i.e., interracial vs. intraracial marriages), the degree to which they

were able to exploit their landholdings, and personal relationships between whites and

free people of color. Some light is also shed on the lives of the slaves who daily worked









the coffee groves. The thesis includes a quantitative analysis of a sample of these slaves

based on slave lists included in inventories of coffee and mixed crop estates (i.e.,

plantations planted in coffee and either cotton or cacao). Finally, the thesis also

establishes some previously unknown details about free colored men who led the local

fight against white supremacy in the early years of the revolution. Notarized documents

provide some interesting details about Noel Azor and Jacques Lafond, who led free

coloreds and slaves in revolt at Fond d'Icaque in 1791. Documentation consulted for this

thesis suggeststhat free coloreds did not own much land devoted to coffee cultivation but

rather that a few free coloreds did become coffee planters in Jeremie, largely due to

capital inherited from their white fathers.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW

The town of Jeremie in southwestern Saint-Domingue and its hinterland, known as

the Grande-Anse, experienced a frenetic expansion in coffee production in the 1770s and

1780s. This was the region's third economic boom during the eighteenth century. In the

1730s, cacao had become a major plantation staple, and in the 1750s coffee began to

expand. This latter boom apparently continued until 1774, when coffee prices fell.

Between 1783, when prices recovered, and 1791, the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution,

coffee spread through the highlands of Saint-Domingue, and the Grande-Anse was one

focus of this expanding coffee frontier.1

Jeremie was the principal urban area of one of the colony's 52 parishes and was the

seat of one of its 26 quarters, administrative (though not always judicial) units that

usually encompassed more than one ecclesiastical parish. Though it had the privilege to

engage in international commerce, Jeremie remained a second-rate port largely

subordinate to the colony's major entrep6ts, Port-au-Prince and Cap Francais, although in

the late 1780s French ships began calling at Jeremie in greater numbers. All the while,

contraband trade probably remained extensive, particularly with the English in Jamaica

and the Dutch at Curacao.

In 1788, along with other agricultural and industrial enterprises, Saint-Domingue

had 2,810 cafeteries (coffee plantations) and 792 sucreries (sugar plantations); 105 of the


1To clarify, I use the word region here and hereafter in reference to the Grande-Anse as a part of Saint-
Domingue.









former and 8 of the latter were in the quarter of Jeremie. Although only a small

contributor to the overall colonial economy, Jeremie did export the majority of the coffee

originating in the South Province, which developed in large part following the Seven

Years' War (1756-1763). Although regional trade statistics are easily accessible only for

1788 and 1789, it is clear that Jeremie and the colony's other highland regions

experienced a boom in both the production of export commodities and population.2

The immigrants who revolutionized society in the Grande-Anse in particular and

highland Saint-Domingue in general came from three quite different sources. First, the

coffee boom drew immigrants from other parts of the colony and from other possessions

of the French Crown in the West Indies. Second, immigrants from France's Atlantic

ports, both rich and poor, arrived in the Grande-Anse intent on making their fortune.

Finally, and most important numerically, were the thousands of slaves that arrived aboard

French (and foreign interloping) slave ships (negriers) from the coast of West and West-

Central Africa. Highland regions like the Grande-Anse that had once been the home

primarily of maroons, free colored smallholders, and feral pigs became by 1789 the

fastest growing sector of the colony's economy, far surpassing the sugar complex in its

rate of growth.

The significant changes that coffee fostered brought great change to society in the

Grande-Anse. The present study intends to assess some of these changes through an

examination of documentary sources on life in this region in the 1780s, a period in which

the coffee boom was well underway but before the French Revolution impacted the

colony.

2 discuss trade and population estimates in greater detail in Chapter 1, below. This brief exposition is
meant to be present a general vision of the effect of the coffee boom on society.









The first issue to consider is the changes that the coffee boom promoted in

economic relationships and land usage. At a very general level, the volume of shipping

visiting Jeremie quadrupled in only a few years. This increase reflects more ships calling

at Jeremie to engage in both trans-Atlantic commerce and the coasting trade cabotagee).

The boom in population that echoed the boom in coffee production yielded a six-fold

increase in the free population and nearly an eight-fold increase in the slave population

between 1751 and 1789. Landholders both sold out to newcomers as land prices rose and

engaged in virulent speculation. In many cases, landholders exchanged slaves for

marginal land what had always been a capital-scarce economy.

The second issue is the great increase in the slave population in the Grande-Anse

from a little over 2,000 individuals in 1751 to a round 17,000 in 1789 by official

estimates. Taking into consideration slave mortality during and after the seasoning

process, many more than 15,000 arrived through Jeremie, smaller ports, or, less likely,

overland from other parts of Saint-Domingue. Lacking data on the slave trade and other

striking aspects of slavery such as marronage, I constrained myself instead to an

examination of the material conditions that slaves faced in that Grande-Anse such as diet,

housing, and labor. Included in this analysis are those aspects of slave social organization

that can be derived from plantation inventories, namely work specialization and

maternity. In doing so, I have tried to engage with the scholarship on slave life,

specifically in late eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue. David P. Geggus's articles on

sugar and coffee in particular have proven useful to my analysis of coffee production in

the Grande-Anse. Geggus and Michael Craton's analyses of plantation slave labor in the

French and British Caribbean, respectively, have shown me how to analyze slave lists










quantitatively. For matters relative to the slave family, I have drawn methodological

inspiration from B. W. Higman's Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834,

and my brief discussion of slave disease and nutrition draws from Kenneth F. Kiple's The

Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Finally, I have drawn general conclusions about

slave life in Saint-Domingue from Gabriel Debien's studies of the French Caribbean that

culminated in his Les esclaves aux Antilles franCaises.3

The final locus of my analysis is the free population, both white and colored. There

is no better place to begin than Mederic-Louis-Elie Moreau de Saint-Mery's voluminous

Description topographique, physique, civil, politique et historique de la parties francaise

de l'isle Saint-Domingue, one colonial subject's portrayal of France's most important

American possession on the eve of the revolution. Part of the attraction of Moreau's work

is that it contains all the biases of a member of the white upper class. Although his

primary purpose was to write a natural history of Saint-Domingue for the colonial

scientific society, he also discusses Enlightenment-era pseudo-scientific racism, the

Atlantic slave trade, and slave culture in tantalizing detail.4

In 1982, Michel-Rolph Trouillot made open the way to more modern analyses of

Saint-Domingue's free people of color by synthesizing the available printed primary and

secondary literature in his article "Motion in the System: Coffee, Color, and Slavery in


3David P. Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and the Shaping of the Slave Labor
Force," in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the \1-i,,i of Slave
Life in the Americas (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993); Michael Craton, Empire,
Enslavement and Freedom in the Caribbean (Kingston: Randle Publishers, 1997); B. W. Higman, Slave
Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984),
364-73; Kenneth F. Kiple, The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1984).

4Mederic-Louis-Elie Moreau de Saint-MWry, Description topographique, physique, civil, politique et
historique de la parties frangaise de 1'isle Saint-Domingue, edited by Blanche Maurel and Etienne
Taillemitte (3 vols; Paris: Soci&te de L'Histoire des Colonies Francaises, 1958).









Eighteenth-Century Saint-Domingue." In his analysis of the people of color, Trouillot

integrated the top-down approach of world systems theory with a bottom-up perspective

that took into consideration the historical agency of individuals in the colony. He

concluded that demands for coffee in the core areas of the world system allowed a

middling class of coffee planters to arise to meet that need.5

Two major treatments of the socioeconomic rise of Saint-Domingue's free coloreds

have come forward since Trouillot's seminal work. In 1988, John Garrigus completed his

dissertation at Johns Hopkins University entitled "A Struggle for Respect: The Free

Coloreds of Saint Domingue, 1770-1779," in which he examined the rise of the Raimond

family of the South Province using previously untapped notarial documents. Garrigus's

remains the best analysis to date on the colony's free people of color. Based on his

analysis of notarized documents from several southern parishes, he challenges Trouillot's

contention that coffee brought great wealth to free coloreds. Garrigus found no great

increase in free colored wealth through the exploitation of coffee plantations. The free

colored elites whom he studied invested instead in indigo cultivation and received great

returns through contraband with Dutch and German merchant houses.6

In 2001, Stewart R. King published the second major examination of the prosperity

of the free coloreds with his book Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in

Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue. King argues extensively but not convincingly for a


5Michel-Rolph Trouillot, "Motion in the System: Coffee, Color, and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Saint-
Domingue," Review 8 (Winter 1982): 331-88; and Trouillot, "Coffee Planters and Coffee Slaves in the
Antilles: The Impact of a Secondary Crop," in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and
Culture: Labor and the wipt,, i of Slave Life in the Americas (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia,
1993): 124-37.

6 John D. Garrigus, "A Struggle for Respect: The Free Coloreds of Saint Domingue, 1770-1779" (Ph.D.
diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1989).









typology dividing economically prominent free coloreds into a "military elite" and a

"planter elite." In effect, his typology imposes on colonial Saint-Domingue what was a

reality only in late revolutionary and postcolonial Haiti: a black military elite, drawn

largely from the slave elite, and a mulatto planter elite that continued their role as planters

in late colonial society.7

My analysis of the people of color in the vicinity of Jeremie is intended in part as a

critique of Blue Coat or Powdered Wig. Through my examination of the Grande-Anse

before the spread of the revolution, I seek to establish the types of personal relationships

and economic roles held by free coloreds and whites in the coffee frontier. I avoid

making restrictive models and instead describe the activities of some of the most

prominent families of both races, using such documentation as marriage contracts,

testaments, donations, and baptismal entries to reconstruct kinship and pseudo-kinship

networks that proved so important in Jeremien society. Like King and Garrigus, however,

my study contributes to the historiography of the Haitian Revolution by establishing the

socioeconomic background of free coloreds who joined others like them to appeal for the

civil rights of free non-whites in the French Atlantic world.

In order to document socioeconomic conditions in this isolated settlement, I

utilized the Jeremie Papers, a manuscript collection held by the Department of Area and

Special Collections of the University of Florida libraries. This collection of

approximately six thousand documents consists of some five thousand notarized

instruments as well as a number of ecclesiastical and civil registers. Because the

fragmentary civil court registers did not yield much useful historical data for the 1780s, I

Stewart R. King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint
Domingue (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001).









have instead relied almost entirely on the notarial papers. The latter have yielded a great

deal of detail about the lives of rural landowners habitantss), urban dwellers, and slaves. I

have focused largely on the papers of three notaries: maitre8 Thomas (1787-1793), maitre

Girard (1780-1792), and L'Epine (1780-1792), amounting to approximately 800

documents, while also consulting the ecclesiastical register for 1781, the only one falling

within the parameters of this study extant in its entirety in the Jeremie Papers. Given what

these sources can tell us, I have chosen to focus on the coffee plantations and the slaves

who worked them in the 1780s, while not neglecting what I have discovered about life in

what appear to be two of the other major sectors of the Grande-Anse's population: the

urban areas (of which the town of Jeremie was the largest) and the smallholders who

grew plantains and manioc in marginal rural areas.

I hope that this study proves useful to the debates on slave demography and free

colored social organization. Although my sample sizes are small, my analysis of these

issues is the first for the Grande-Anse, whose colonial period has not been studied since

Moreau de Saint-Mery published his Description ... de lapartiefranyaise.
















Maitre was the proper title of address to notaries, surveyors, and some other public functionaries. The
personal name of maitre Thomas was Paul-Francois-Charles. The personal names of the other two notaries
are unknown.















CHAPTER 2
GOVERNANCE, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY

The coffee boom of the late eighteenth century brought a period of phenomenal

growth in economic activity to highland regions of Saint-Domingue that had previously

been of marginal importance. Rapid economic growth encouraged a rapid increase in

population. Everywhere the free colored population grew the fastest. On the eve of the

French Revolution, the population of the parish of Jermie represented roughly 2,000

(20%) of the whites, 1,000 (10%) of the free coloreds, and over 18,000 (about 21%) of

the slaves in the South Province. At that time, about 30,000 resident whites, perhaps

30,000 free coloreds, and close to half a million slaves were in the entire colony (see

Table 2-1). In 1788, the town of Jermie exported 6.5% of the 68 million pounds of

coffee that legally entered the international market from Saint-Domingue, then the

world's largest producer of that commodity.1 Finally, Jeremie contributed nearly 2.6% of

the royal customs duties collected in the colony that year. Despite the relative

insignificance of Jermie's fiscal, commercial, and demographic weight relative to other

regions of Saint-Domingue, it is significant to understanding the history of that colony

because its rapid growth rate during the expansion of coffee cultivation in the 1770s and




1This calculation (2.6%) does not reflect the coffee that left the Grande-Anse aboard coasting vessels
bound either for other ports in the colony or to other colonies (e.g., Jamaica). Suggestive of how great the
undercounting was are the customs records kept during the British occupation of the region (1793-1798).
According to what David Geggus relates, the Grande-Anse exported nearly 16 million pounds of coffee in
1794 and nearly 17 million the following year. These latter figures amount to 3.6 and 3.8 times the tonnage
of coffee exported from the region five years before. David Patrick Geggus, Slavery, War and Revolution:
The British Occupation ofSaint Domingue, 1793-1798 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 402.










1780s and its peculiar position as the unique stronghold of white supremacy during much

of the revolutionary 1790s.

Table 2-1. Population Increase in the Parish of Jeremie
Year Whites Libres Free Slave Total
Population Population2
1751 387 109 496 2,147 2,643
1788 2,000 1,000 3,000 18,774 20,000
Increase 1613 891 2504 14,853 17357
% 516.79 917.43 604.84 791.80 756.71
Source: Census data cited in Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de la parties
francaise, 3: 1400-1401.


Geographical Overview

Under the ancien regime, the French Crown divided Saint-Domingue into three

provinces, orparties, named the North, the West, and the South. Twelve major towns that

served commercial, social, administrative, and religious functions dotted the coast of the

colony. In the North, the major urban center was Cap Francais, also known as Le Cap,

which was also the commercial capital of the colony. It was also the center of Saint-

Domingue's cultural life and was a veritable city of stone akin in size and function to a

metropolitan provincial capital. In the West was the official colonial capital at Port-au-

Prince, a much younger and less developed town than Le Cap. Although the economy of

Jeremie remained bound to these two ports, by 1788 it had attracted some trans-Atlantic

3
commerce.


2 Contemporaries disagreed on the size of Saint-Domingue's slave population. In Table 2-1, I relied on the
figures Moreau de Saint-Mery gives in his Description ... de la partiefrangaise, except for the slave
population, for which I turned to those Intendant Francois Barb6-Marbois listed in his Etat des finances de
Saint Domingue (Paris, 1790). I preferred the latter because he gave exact figures, not round numbers as
Moreau did.

For the sake of clarity, I will refer to the principal town as Jer6mie and its jurisdiction as the Grande-
Anse. Jerdmien will likewise be the adjective applied to things of the Grande-Anse and particularly of
Jer6mie. Although it has an interesting history of its own, I neglect Cap Dame Marie in this study in favor
of its more developed neighbor to the east. On Jer6mie's trade with Le Cap and Port-au-Prince, see
Moreau, Description... de la partiefrangaise, 3: 1385. On the primacy of the latter two ports in the










The second level of administration in the colony was the quarter (quarter), a

political department that included two or more parishes, which were both civil and

ecclesiastical divisions. The quarter de la Grande-Anse encompassed the northwestern

tip of present-day Haiti's southern peninsula and encompassed two parishes, which were

both ecclesiastical and civil territorial divisions. The boundaries of the quarter were the

sea to the north and west, mountains to the south, and, beyond dense forests, the quarter

du Petit-Trou de Nippes to the east. The physical isolation of the Grande-Anse made

water-borne transport of great importance to the colonists for long-range travel. The

small herds of horses and mules on most plantations belie the importance of beasts of

burden for short-range transport, such as shipping coffee to market.4

Of the two parishes in the Grande-Anse, that of Jeremie had a greater role in the

coffee boom and experienced a much greater increase in population in the latter half of

the eighteenth century. The western division, Cap Dame Marie, was less developed and

less populous in the 1780s, having only "650 whites, 220 freedmen (affranchis), and

about 4,500 slaves," at the end of the decade.5 The boundary between Cap Dame Marie

and Jeremie was L'Anse a Clerc, a point from which one could follow the road east to the

bourg (small town) of Trou Bonbon, which in the late 1780s had 15 houses-one of them

was a billiard hall-and a private cemetery. The town of Jeremie lay three leagues further


economic life of the colony, see David P. Geggus, "The Major Port Towns of Saint Domingue in the Later
Eighteenth Century," in Franklin W. Knight and Peggy K. Liss, eds., Atlantic Port Cities: Economy,
Culture, and Society in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991),
esp. 89-96. J6r6mien merchants tended to send their coffee, cotton, sugar, and indigo to Le Cap and Port-
au-Prince in exchange for clothing, wheat flour, and other manufactures, rather than to the principal town in
the South, Les Cayes, which lay on the other side of the peninsula beyond high mountains.

4None of the plantation inventories surveyed indicate that coffee planters had any other means of transport,
neither carts or wagons nor canoes. Moreau de Saint-M6ry, Description ... de la partiefrangaise, 1: 1375

5 Ibid., 3: 1373.









east. East of Jeremie, from west to east, were the cantons (districts) of La Guinaudee, La

Voldrogue, La Grande-Riviere, and Les Roseaux, each named for the river that passed

through it. Located between the mouths of the River Voldrogue and the Grande-Riviere,

Le Vieux Bourg, the original site of settlement before Jeremie became the region' s

principal urban area.6 Further east past Les Roseaux was the bourg of Les Caimittes.

South and east of Les Caimittes were the cantons of Fond d'Icaque, Le Desert, and

Plymouth.7

The town of Jeremie was the principal urban center of the parish of Jeremie and the

locus of the Quartier de la Grande-Anse's administrative, fiscal, and ecclesiastical

structures. The royal administration maintained an aide-major and an officer de la

marine in Jeremie. These officials were charged, respectively, with defense of the quarter

and the management of finances, responsibilities roughly corresponding with those of the

governor-general and the intendant of the colony. Judicial responsibilities rested with the

sMndchaussde, a tribunal composed of the court registrar (commis greffier), the royal

attorney (procureur du Roi), and the seneschal, who embodied royal justice in his

jurisdiction. On Fridays, the seneschal heard civil and criminal cases, received memorials

on a variety of private matters, and oversaw public auctions. On Saturdays, he heard

maritime cases in his role as admiralty judge.8 The justice system employed a wide


6The royal government divided urban centers in Saint-Domingue between villes (towns) and bourgs (small
towns). Jer6mie was the only ville in the Grande-Anse, while there were several bourgs: Cap Dame Marie,
Les Abricots, Trou Bonbon, Les Caimittes, and Le Vieux Bourg.

7 Ibid., 3: 1378-79.

8 During his tenure as seneschal of Jer6mie, Elis6e Louis Demonzeuil utilized the official title of conseiller
du Roy, SneMchal Juge Civil Criminal & de police au Siege Royal de Jerdmie. M. le S6n6chal made
frequent appearances at important social events such weddings and baptisms. Petition to the S6ndchal for
Chevalier Duhaut to marry, 11 March 1779, JP-G. James E. McClellan III provides an excellent synopsis of
the royal bureaucracy in his Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue in the Old Regime (Baltimore: The










variety of public officials, including a jailer, eight notaries, seven bailiffs, and five

attorneys.9

For his part, the officer de la marine maintained port facilities in the quarter.

Jeremie's location provided little protection for ships in the harbor and houses along its

roadstead from harsh northerly winds. Smaller vessels used for the coasting trade

(caboteurs) could moor between the roadstead and a rock in the harbor called Le Mouton,

but ships with a draught of more than 11 or 12 feet found no shelter from the wind.

Although vulnerable to the wind, ships moored at Jeremie in need of repairs could obtain

cordage, sailcloth, and other naval supplies from the royal warehouses.10

A better anchorage could be had at Les Caimites in the extreme eastern part of the

quarter, where, in 1788, 20 sloops and schooners engaged in the coasting trade with

important ports in the West: Leogane, Port-au-Prince, and Saint-Marc. From Les

Caimites, these coasters carried away coffee and indigo from the eastern cantons of

Plymouth and Fond d'Icaque. Two private wharfs operated there, including

L'Embarcadere Laurince, where a free colored woman and her white business partner

operated a warehouse for the production of plantations in its vicinity. The importance of

Les Caimites to the commerce of the eastern Grande-Anse prompted the administration to

maintain a post office and a customs officer there.11 The smaller bourgs located along the


Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), Chapter 2. On the senechaussde, see ibid., 44.

9 Jrmie's senechaussde was smaller than those of Le Cap and Port-au-Prince and met one day a week, a
fourth as often as those in the larger towns. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description... de la partiefrangaise,
3: 1383; Geggus, "Major Port Towns," 100; and McClellan, Colonialism and Science, 44.

1Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de lapartiefrangaise, 3: 1383-84.

1At L'Embarcadere Laurince, the free colored woman Laurince dite Lachaume operated a warehouse for
local planters with the white navigator Sr. Joseph Pjac. On the proprietors of L'Embarcadere Laurince,
see L6A-141escription of the Grande-Anse's port facilities, see his Description, 3:
see JP-N. For Moreau's description of the Grande-Anse's port facilities, see his Description, 3:









coast appear to have been transshipment points from which small watercraft brought

plantation produce to Jeremie, as well as points of departure for vessels engaged in the

coasting trade, both legal and contraband.

Since its official founding in 1756, Jeremie experienced rapid urban development.

Though the number of domiciles only increased to 80 in the four years after 1765, as the

coffee boom drew more immigrants, the number of houses jumped to 125 by 1783 and

180 by 1788. The high level of rents paid on urban property in Jeremie-higher than in

the capital-also suggests rapid urban development (Figure 2-1). The town was divided

into two parts. The first part, La Basse-Ville, was made up of one major street, La Rue

Basse de la Marine, which ran west to east along the roadstead. Merchants and traders

arriving from French metropolitan and Caribbean ports rented small houses along the

roadstead that served as residence, warehouse, and, in the case of slave traders, slave-

pens. In 1788, 70 houses occupied the 69 town lots (emplacements) in the lower half of

the town. Because of the constant arrivals and departures of traders, the lease of urban

property became a lucrative business, as did the operation of inns and taverns.12 One local

entrepreneur, S. Agostino Viale, bought up much property in this quarter of town,

including one structure with five bedrooms, whose former owner, an innkeeper, included

a family of four slaves and a billiard table in the deal.13



1383-84, 1400.

12 Moreau noticed that in 1788 rents had tripled in ten years' time. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description...
de lapartiefrangaise, 3: 1380, 1383.

1On this property in particular, see Sale of maison, negres, etc. from Sr. Francois L'Epine dit
Francisquain to Sr. Agustin Viall6 [sic], 20 May 1783, L6A-59, JP-N. See also Sale of town lot from Mr.
Augustin Hermitte to Sr. Augustin Viall6 [sic], 16 December 1785, L6A-145, ibid. For sales of adjacent
properties mentioning Viale's proprietorship, see 1 December 1786, G5-109A, ibid.; and 16 June 1787,
L6B-100. Another owner of an inn, Sr. Antoine Pradel took on a white cook as his partner in September
1787. Their contract reveals how one inn looked in Jer6mie. Pradel put up 4601 livres worth of furnishings,


















% i"", --- Jeremie







1765 1769 1783 1788
Year



Figure 2-1. Urban Development in Jeremie, 1765-1788

Establishments in the service sector like that of Viale attended to the needs of

merchants and others passing through the port on business. Trading houses and individual

merchants who worked locally owned or rented their own urban property, as is indicated

by the accounts of Jeremien merchants, especially those whose creditors left a sufficient

paper trail. One of those most prominent in the notarial archives was the house of Griolet,

Bastide & Compagnie. Like slave trader Pierre Toiry, they were local merchants without

any clear ties to metropolitan merchant houses. The company sold imported goods to

smallholders, planters, and smaller merchants in the outlying districts and facilitated the

export of coffee and other commodities produced locally in return. The death of Griolet

provoked the sudden descent of creditors upon the firm's headquarters in Jeremie, and the






a fourth of which value was his billiard table, its twelve cues, and balls. Suggestive of the scope of Pradel's
business, or maybe an indicator of his optimism, he brought place settings, liquor glasses, and small mirrors
sufficient for 24 lodgers, in addition to large stores of white and red wine and a cow, presumably for fresh
milk.Partnership between Pradel and Magud, 29 September 1787, M1-19, JP-N.









resulting appraisal of its many debts and acquisitions convinced the other partners to

retire promptly to France.14

Three paths created by the erosion of water served as the only connection between

the merchant's quarter and the rest of the town. The upper town, La Haute-Ville, was

planned around a rectangular parade ground lined with elm trees on three sides. The

fourth side, which faced the sea, was left open for use as a public market where petty

traders, slaves, and rural smallholders sold their wares. Eleven streets running parallel to

the parade ground's short side intersected six others at right angles. Despite this careful

planning, the unpaved streets of La Haute-Ville filled with choking dust in dry weather,

and wet weather reduced them to muddy expanses that threatened the stability of the elm

trees planted along their edges.15

Another problem was the nearly total lack of public buildings in Jeremie. The

sMndchaussde and admiralty court met in a house owned by the Crown. There was no

church, either. The parish instead rented a private house for the use of worshippers and

another as a rectory on a town lot shared with the royal powder magazine.16 Perhaps more

serious was the lack of drinking water, which had to be either drawn from shallow wells

(drinking from which, Moreau de Saint-Mery, notes was a courageous act) or brought

from springs more than a league away. The Crown had promised a public fountain to be

placed in the middle of the parade ground since the townspeople demanded one in 1764,



14Griolet, Bastide & Compagnie owned a house on the roadstead in Le Vieux Bourg and had commercial
contacts with a merchant residing at the bourg of Trou Bonbon. Settlement of accounts, 29 June 1790, Ml-
89.

Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de lapartiefrangaise, 3: 1380-81.

16 Ibid., 3: 1380-86.










but the pipes necessary for its construction did not arrive before the outbreak of the

revolution.17

Society

In the 1780s, Grande-Anse society exhibited the three tiers characteristic of slave

societies in the Caribbean. At the top, elite whites, or grands blancs, owned the grandest

plantations and controlled international commerce and royal administrative and judicial

offices. Poor whites, orpetits blancs, often immigrants from France and other parts of

Europe, occupied many different economic roles, as artisans, storekeepers, sailors, and

plantation managers. Though it is not clear how most small and middling coffee planters

accumulated the capital with which to establish their plantations, some European-born

artisans formed partnerships to run coffee estates, and young men of color sometimes

followed a similar strategy.18 At the bottom, a largely African-born slave population

worked primarily as field slaves on coffee, cacao, cotton, sugar, indigo, and mixed-crop

plantations.19 Some had more prestigious jobs, most of which were reserved exclusively

for men: as commanders (slave drivers), artisans, sailors, and domestic and personal

servants in masters' households both in town and in the countryside. Finally, the middle

stratum, free people of color (gens de couleur libres) filled many of the same economic



17 Ibid., 3: 1381.
18
SThe progenitor of the Descoufler family (who changed their name to "Lescouflaire" in the mid-1780s),
for instance, arrived before the coffee boom and worked as a petty trader (marchand) until his death in the
late 1780s. His son Antoine became a trader like his father and Francois became a baker, but Nicolas
Lescouflaire sold a coasting vessel in 1785, acquired a coffee plantation at Trou Bonbon, and subsequently
married into the Brisson family, which included as its members coffee planters and the owner of a coasting
vessel. Donation of real estate, 31 August 1792, M1-6; sale of a balaon, 8 March 1785, L6A-99; and
Marriage contract, 15 July 1785, G5-99.

19 As I use it here and hereafter, "mixed-crop plantations" were rural units of production that grew coffee
and some other cash crops, usually cacao and/or cotton.









roles as the petits blancs. As a general rule, those of lightest complexion had a better

chance of owning small coffee or coffee-and-cacao plantations than muldtres libres (free

mulattoes), who tended to be artisans. Free black men appear less often as coffee planters

than free coloreds. They predominated the local police force, though some also owned

market gardens.

As was the case in other regions of Saint-Domingue not involved in sugar

production, the coffee boom of the 1770s and 1780s facilitated great social and economic

change in the Grande-Anse. It is important to note that unlike their counterparts in other

marginal quarters of the colony, free coloreds in the Grande-Anse did not become

numerically predominant. Rather, the majority of the free population was considered

white in the 1750s, and the same was true in the 1780s. While most of the free people of

color were of mixed African and European descent, a sample of eighteen of Jeremie's

105 cafeteries indicates that the vast majority of slaves (98.5%) on these plantations

(N=602) were black.20

Taken together, the three strata grew by a factor of over 7.5 in 38 years (see Table

2-1), with the greatest growth among the free coloreds (917.43%), followed by the slaves

(756.71%). After the Seven Years' War, both rich and poor immigrants flooded Saint-

Domingue from France's Atlantic ports and, to a lesser extent, Canada and Louisiana. At

the same time, the free people of color became more numerous through natural increase,

the manumission of slaves, and official reclassification.21


2For further discussion of Jeremie's slave population, see Chapter 2, below.

2Charles Frostin, Les revoltes blanches a Saint-Domingue auxXVIIe etXVIIIe siecles (Paris: L'Ecole,
1975), Chapter 6. For a discussion of the immigration from Louisiana to Cap Francais, see Julia Carpenter
Frederick, "Luis de Unzaga and Bourbon Reform in Spanish Louisiana, 1770-1776" (Ph.D. diss., Louisiana
State University, 2000), 104-106.









During the seventeenth and much of the eighteenth century, persons of African

descent did not face any significant discrimination based on their ancestry. In his 1685

slave code written for French colonies overseas, the Code Noir, Louis XIV divided his

colonial subjects into two juridical categories, slave and free, and John Garrigus's

research on the Raimond family confirms in part that this was true. Following the Seven

Years' War, however, the Crown took certain measures to limit the ambitions of free

people of color. The royal government began to redefine persons of African descent as a

caste apart from the rest of free society. Hommes de couleur libres (free men of color)

could no longer serve as commissioned officers in the colonial militia, and, beginning in

the 1780s, people of color were denied usage of honorific titles such as Monsieur and

Madame in official paperwork such as ecclesiastical records and notarized bills of sale.22

As Charles Frostin argues, in the early to mid-eighteenth century, white immigrants

to Saint-Domingue became plantation owners by managing an absentee planter's estate

and embezzling enough to start their own plantations. In the last half of the century,

however, the flood of immigrants arriving each year glutted the free labor market,

making it more difficult for small whites to find a job in the first place. In the case of the

Grande-Anse, petits blancs had to compete not only with one another but also with

colored artisans already established in the building trades.

In the face of increasing discrimination against them, people of color worked out

ways to improve their position in free society. Stewart R. King has recently argued that

some men of color (in his words, a "military elite") continued to use military service as a

unifying principle while others forming a "planter elite" kept close personal and


22 Frostin, Les revoltes blanches, Chapter 6.









commercial ties with white society.23 In her work Dominque Rogers has stressed that free

coloreds established formal relationships with whites such as apprenticeships and

business contracts while usually marrying persons of their own phenotype.24

Considering these recent developments in the historiography, it is necessary to

compare race relations in the Grande-Anse with those described by Rogers and King,

both of whom studied the North and West. Unlike in King's typology, the Quartier de la

Grande-Anse generated no "military elite," but members of a small free colored "planter

elite" did have commercial and personal ties with whites. Some free colored women had

business relationships with lower-class white men either formalized through notarized

contracts or kept as informal, oral agreements. The most common arrangement of this

sort was for a free woman of color to be the housekeeper of a white planter, though in

some cases free colored women operated urban businesses with white male partners.

Contractual relationships involving free colored men and whites were only short-term

affairs, most notably building contracts between muldtre carpenters and white

landowners. What Rogers has found to be true for Le Cap and Port-au-Prince was also

the case in Jeremie. There free coloreds formed business partnerships and did often live

under the same roof with whites. Small coffee planters had similar relationships with

people of color, with whom they bought and sold land. Small whites also often kept

colored women as menageres ("housekeepers"), whom they rarely married but to whose

children they often gave tacit recognition of paternity (see Chapter 4).



23Stewart R. King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig.

24She found that the rate at which free coloreds took spouses of their phenotype was 80% in Le Cap and
70% in Port-au-Prince. Dominique Rogers, "De l'origine du pr6jug6 de couleur en Haiti," Outre-Mers 90,
no. 340-341 (2003): 97-100.









Part of the Crown's response to the rise in population in Jeremie and elsewhere in

Saint-Domingue was a desire for greater official policing power to keep the thousands of

new residents in line, in particular the multitudes of slaves arriving every year from

Africa. Under the authority of the seneschal, the martchausse, the rural mounted police

force composed primarily of free blacks, hunted for maroon slaves and kept order in the

countryside. The martchausste also incorporated some slaves, whose masters received in

return for this public service a dispensation from the liberty tax charged for

manumissions. In Jeremie, the administrative structure of the martchausste consisted of

a white officer (exempt), a colored non-commissioned officer (brigadier), and four free

black rank-and-file (archers).25

Table 2-2. Militia Enrollment by Race, 1751-1789
Year White % White Libre % % of All Whites % of All Libres
Militia Militia Libre Serving in Militia Serving in
Militia
1751 159 85.03 28 14.97 41.09 25.69
1765 168 67.47 81 32.53 Unknown Unknown
1789 480 59.11 332 40.89 24.00 33.20
Source: Militia enlistment cited in Moreau de Saint MWry, Description ... de la parties francaise, 3: 1400.

Militia enrollment also increased with the population boom, and the rising

proportion of free coloreds in the militia demonstrates their rising significance both as a

source of state power and as a potential threat to the social status quo. In 1751, 159

whites and 28 free coloreds served in the parish militia, the Bataillon de la Grande-Anse.

Although it is not clear what role free coloreds there played in the militia of the 1750s, in

the 1760s royal proclamations forbade the promotion of men of color above the rank of

25See Chapter 3, below, for my discussion of one such supernumerary. I have decided to maintain the
colonial phenotypical designations. Hence free blacks will be called nkgres libres" free quadroons
quarterons libres, and free octoroons mtifs libres. Similarly, I will refer to the gens de couleur libres and
free coloreds as equivalent terms. See Appendix A for further description of the racial hierarchy as
imagined in the late eighteenth century. Ibid.; and King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig, 234.









sergeant. Grands blancs, meanwhile, held high rank in the parish militia. Prosperous

coffee planters Rene LeRoy and Simeon Ertillet Prebois both held captaincies in the

battalion, while merchant Jean Chalmette commanded the artillery company.

Unsurprisingly, one of the wealthies whites, sugar planter Sr. Hildevert Berquier, pere,

was commandant of the battalion until his death in the early 1780s.26

Economy

Based as it was on the export of plantation staples, the Jeremien economy needed

adequate shipping to carry its coffee, cotton, lumber, indigo, and cacao to larger markets.

By 1788, French ship captains had found calling at Jeremie a profitable enterprise, where

before 3 or 4 "small ships from Europe" did not find sufficient business in Jeremie to

make going there profitable. In 1788, Moreau de Saint-Mery found that eleven French

vessels and eight coasting vessels (caboteurs) arrived each year. These figures indicate

only legal commerce, however, and do not take into account the interlopers who no doubt

frequented smaller ports like Trou Bonbon and Les Caimites.27

More empirical evidence comes from official customs records of the volume of

goods exported from each of Saint-Domingue's twelve major ports. As Table 2-3

demonstrates, Jeremie legally exported 6.5% (4.5 million pounds) of the colony's coffee

and generated 1.62% of the customs duties paid to the Crown during that year, totals that

do not take into account coffee from the Grande-Anse shipped through the coasting trade

26 There was also at least one company of dragoons. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description... de la parties
frangaise, 3: 1400-1401; baptismal records of Louise Adelaide Bonne Robinet, Jeanne Marie Petronille
LeRoy, and Francoise Kavenagh, Ecclesiastical Records, Paroisse de Saint-Louis de Jer6mie, 1781, Jer6mie
Papers; partnership agreement between Sr. Simon Stilite Prebois and dame Marie Bouch6, ibid., Notaries,
L6A-3; Partnership between Dame Veuve Berquier and her children for the exploitation of a sugar
plantation, Jer6mie, 2 March 1785, L6A-94; and Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description... de la parties
frangaise, 3: 1386.

27 Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de la partiefrangaise, 3: 1383.










to other ports or smuggled out of the quarter. When compared with the other ports in the

South Province (i.e., those on the peninsula's southern coast) these percentages increase

to 40.3 and 10.98%, respectively.28 Indirect evidence also exists for a contraband trade

with Anglo-America: coffee planters quite often rode "English horses" (perhaps from the

United States) and decorated their rather humble cabins with English furniture. Their

ownership of English manufactures is only part of the evidence of an important economic

between Jamaica and the Grande-Anse. Jeremien planters and their counterparts

throughout the South had long relied on slaves from Jamaica (and Curacao as well) to

stock their plantation workforces29

Table 2-3. Summary of Property Ownership in Saint-Domingue, Listed by Major Ports
of Embarkation, 1788






SCap 168 1263 14 27 3 28 7 51 98,537
P Francais
SFort- 120 345 3 49 0 13 0 7 31,467
Dauphin
Port-de- 8 249 23 384 0 4 18 26 28,251
Paix
TOTAL 296 1857 40 460 3 45 25 84 158,255


28
2Francois Barb6-Marbois, Etat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris, 1790).

29 These references are taken from a score of plantation inventories contained in the Jer6mie Papers. Of the
three horses Sr. Louis Paret left upon his death, the appraisers of his estate described one as creole the
second as anglais (English), and the third as anglais batard, perhaps meaning one of mixed English and
creole parentage. Paret also owned two saddles: an old one of English make and the second a sc i ill's
saddle (selle a valet)." Succession of Sr. Louis Paret, 2 March 1786, G5-102. Charles Frostin suggests that
this tie amounted to Anglophilia in the latter half of the eighteenth century, encouraging separatist
Domingois planters to look to Jamaica for aid with the outbreak of the Revolution in the early 1790s.
Frostin, Les revoltes blanches a Saint-Domingue auxXVIIe etXVIIIe siecles (Paris: L'Ecole, 1975),
Chapter 6. In 1784, the Crown offered French slavers a bounty of 100 livres for each slave disembarked in
the South, an encouragement doubled in 1786. Jer6mie was excluded from this inducement, which was
restricted to the only the southern coast of the peninsula, which may have encouraged foreign slavers to
continue to go to the Grande-Anse. Moreau de Saint-MWry, Description... de la partiefranqaise, 3: 1166.









Table 2.3 Continued
4 Port-au- 190 240 65 385 0 43 3 48 65,303
SPrince
Saint- 43 298 315 1184 0 10 1 71 50,216
Marc
Leogane 66 58 18 78 0 25 1 14 12,896
Petit- 44 63 32 216 0 18 3 18 29,058
Godve
TOTAL 343 659 430 1863 0 96 8 15 157,473
1
O Jeremie 8 105 30 44 0 6 25 14 18,774
Cap- 2 24 12 169 0 0 4 7 7,153
STiburon
Les Cayes 110 69 76 175 0 18 2 32 27,937
Saint- 32 39 28 257 0 8 2 18 16,785
Louis
Jacmel 1 57 89 129 0 0 3 7 19,151
TOTAL 153 294 235 774 0 32 36 78 89,800
TOTALS 792 2810 705 3097 3 17 69 31 405,528
3 3
% In Jeremie 1.01 3.73 4.25 1.42 0.0 3.4 36. 4.4 4.62
0 6 23 7
Source: Francois Barb&-Marbois, Etat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris: 1790).

Though based largely on the cultivation of coffee, the economy of the Grande-Anse

in the 1780s also encompassed other kinds of agricultural enterprises. Its eight sucreries,

established on the small plains near the town of Jeremie, exported a total of 19,000

pounds of semi-refined sugar, or sucree terre," and 476,000 pounds of raw sugar in 1788,

while its 30 cotonneries sent 189,000 pounds of cotton to market during the same period.

Indigo was of less importance: 44 indigoteries exported a little over a thousand pounds of

the blue dye in those years, though it is necessary to note that indigo's value per unit

weight greatly exceeded that of other cash crops. Finally, though the customs records for

1788 does not even list cacao as an export category, 25 cacaotieres continued to operate

(Table 2-3). Plantation inventories from the 1780s suggest that many coffee plantations

possessed small groves of cacao trees. At least some of their produce went to local

consumption: Moreau de Saint-Mery indicates that shortages during the Seven Years'









War encouraged Jeremiens to replace imported butter with beurre de cacao, which

played an important part in local foodways thereafter. He also notes that the parish of

Jeremie and that of Cap Dame Marie respectively produced 60,000 and 120,000 pounds

of cacao in 1788. A final category unmentioned in the customs records is lumber. Moreau

de Saint-Mery indicates that Jeremiens produced a half million pounds of lumber each

year, apparently for both export abroad and through the coasting trade to other ports in

the colony as well as for local use (Table 2-5).30

Table 2-4. Export Statistics, 1788


0 0
TOTAL:NORTH 52,968 4,085 33,811 68 264 91,196 2,845
TOTAL:WEST 12,746 69,184 23,286 4,616 545 110,377 3,043
TOTAL: SOUTH 4,507 19,901 11,048 1,598 1,190 39,279 1,029
TOTAL: 70,221 93,170 68,145 6,282 1,999 240,852 6,917
COLONY
Jeremie 19 476 4,453 189 1 6,212 113
% Jeremie 0.03 0.51 6.53 0.03 1.62 2.58 1.63
Source: "ttat general des Cultures & Manufactures de Saint-Domingue," 1788-1789 in
Francois Barb6-Marbois, Etat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris, 1790). Exports are
expressed in thousands of pounds, while customs duties are per 1,000 livres colonials.

In addition to producing coffee, cotton, sugar, and indigo for the export market,

Jeremiens also engaged in industrial enterprises whose products were doubtless for local

consumption. According to the 1788 Etat des finances de Saint-Domingue produced by

the intendant's office in Port-au-Prince (see Table 2-3), the Grande-Anse contained six

guildiveries (rum distilleries) but legally exported no tafia (low-grade cane liquor). The








30 On the local use of cacao to substitute butter, see Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de la parties
frangaise, 3: 1406. On the 1730s expansion and demise of cacao in the Grande-Anse, see ibid., 3: 1377.










production of 14 lime ovens (fours a chaux) likewise contributed to the local market as

necessary building materials necessary to the growing towns and plantations.31

Table 2-5. Annual Commodity Production in the Grande-Anse, 1788 (Thousands of
Pounds)


C 0 0
&. f 0 0 m


19 476 4,453 189 1 180 500
Sources: Customs records, 1788-1789; and Moreau
de Saint-MWry, Description... de la parties
francaise, 3: 1400. N.B.: Figures are given in units
of 1,000. Quantities refer to production in both
parishes of the Grande-Anse.

Perhaps the most studied branch of commerce is the Atlantic slave trade. In their

database on the Atlantic slave trade, David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David

Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein include a handful of French slaving voyages whose

major port of disembarkation was Jeremie (see Table 2-6).32 All of these voyages date,

however, between 1788 and 1791, a sign of the port's growing attraction to French

merchants, long after the boom in the Jeremien slave population had begun.

Transshipments within the colony and the contraband slave trade with the English

through Jamaica no doubt brought most of the slaves before the late 1780s. In all five

cases in the database, the slaving vessels unloaded most of their slaves at Jeremie.33






3Francois Barb6-Marbois, Etat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris, 1790).

32 The only case of coastal slave trading that I have discovered in the notarial archive involved a Sieur
Lacluse of Cap Francais, the colony's major entrep6t, who consigned two slaves, both "of the Congo
nation," to sieur Antoine Belisoli, a caboteur whom he directed to sell in Jer6mie. Power of attorney from
Sieur Lacluse to Sr. Antoine Belisoli, 4 June 1788, M1-48, Jer6mie Papers.

3David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, eds., The Trans-Atlantic
Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).









Table 2-6. Sample of Slaving Vessels Calling at Jeremie, 1788-1791








Deux Saint- 0






Source: David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein,
eds., The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999).C



Whether their human cargo was legal or not, it seems slave ship captains used local
Vri





1merchans a ants o isrir bo les, o loca




17 Customers. If the al documents are ngolan Cap inrdication J. Pierre Tomie foremost





local slave dealer. He apparently did quite well in the market for human bodies: he owned
at least on1791e Amouse oant Rue Basse de la Marine in Jeremie, a plantation at La Grande339



1791Riviere, and a half share in a plantation at Riviere Froide. He ran out of luck in 1787,

Sourcwhen he declareavid Etis, Stephat he owned over 40,000 livres to Jean and Huguerbert S. Klein,
Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Whether their human cargo was legal or not, it seems slave ship captains used local

merchants as their agents to distribute newly arrived slaves, or bossales, to local

customers. If the notarial documents are any indication, Sr. Pierre Toiry was the foremost

local slave dealer. He apparently did quite well in the market for human bodies: he owned

at least one house on Rue Basse de la Marine in Jarmie, a plantation at La Grande

Riviere, and a half share in a plantation at Riviere Froide. He ran out of luck in 1787,

when he declared that he owned over 40,000 livres to Jean and Hugues McLean,

merchants based in Kingston, Jamaica. Toiry had a series of notarial acts passed in quick

succession in an effort to free up enough capital to keep his solvency. The officials of the

sMnechaussee treated Toiry's debt to the McLeans as nothing out of the ordinary,

suggesting that the contraband slave trade with Jamaica received the tacit approval of the

local government.34



4 Though it would appear that commercial connections between Jr6mie and Kingston would have been









Bossales, slaves recently arrived in the colony from Africa, acted as an important

means of exchange in the local economy. Notarized sales of land reveal how key bossales

are to understanding how small proprietors accumulated capital. Although the sellers of

small parcels of land sometimes demanded payment in "money of Spain or Portugal

current in the colony" and quite often accepted bills of exchange, some demanded that

buyers give them bossales for land. In September 1786, Antoine Alger, negre libre,

promised to sell a habitation at les Roseaux to Sr. Pierre Malvin de Beuns, habitant at

Fond Rouges, in barter for two bossales from Sr. Pierre Toiry. In such transactions, Toiry

was the only slave trader ever mentioned. The sources do not allow us to say whether he

was the only slave merchant in Jeremie, but perhaps he was the one best known to

habitants in the outlying cantons.35

Some evidence also exists for an internal economy in the Grande-Anse. Small

farmers living on the margins of the export economy sold their produce to the towns.

Planters also bought their plantains and manioc to supplement the food already grown by

the slaves themselves on common plots. Small proprietors-free coloreds who had not

sold their land to white planting interests-appear to have supplied many of the

nutritional needs of the new coffee economy.36

In the 1770s and 1780s, as immigrants arrived from western and southern France,

Martinique, and other parts of Saint-Domingue, the wealthier searching for land and the

considered contraband trade, the local administrators did not find it odd, and the royal attorney in Jer6mie
made it clear that Toiry would be required to pay his debts. The whole matter has a feeling of business as
usual. For Toiry's insolvency, see documents in L'Epine's papers for June 1787, especially Recognizance
of debt by Sr. Pierre Toiry to the M.cLeans of Kingston, 16 June 1787, L6B-97.

35See, for example, the sale of land in L6B-38, JP-N.

36Gabriel Debien, Les esclaves aux Antillesfranqaises au XVIIe-XVIIIe siecles (Basse-Terre: Soci&te
d'Histoire de la Guadeloupe, 1974), Chapter 11.









poor for employment (see Table 2-7), the governor and intendant in Port-au-Prince

granted unconceded land along the quarter's waterways to both newcomers and old

settlers. Although royal land regulations mandated that grantees hold and improve their

concessions for at least five years, many sold their new land well before that time.37

Table 2-7. Immigrants to the Grande-Anse, 1780-178938
Year39 Name Phenotype/Legal Place of Country40 Occupation
Birth
1781 Catherine White creole? Martinique Fr.
Barbo Antilles
1781 Ursule European Anjou France
Vallee
1781 Barthelemi European Bordeaux France Habitant
Martel
1781 Dominique European Bordeaux France
Bouny
1781 Mathurin European Bretagne France Master
Vincent saddler
Renaud
1781 Jean European Gascony France Master
Narbonne surgeon
1781 Jean European Languedoc France Habitant
Mathieu
Videt de
Nartigues
1781 Mathieu European Limoges France Storekeeper
Bourbon
1781 Jean European Lyons France Town jailer
Baptiste
Perret



3In one case, an informant instigated an investigation by the royal attorney against merchant Claude Asti6
for not developing a concession of land at Nouvelle Plymouth. See JP-N 2-52 for documentation of this
case.

38I have excluded military personnel and prisoners of war who were in Jer6mie during the U.S. War for
Independence as temporary residents.

3Year indicates the earliest year known, from documents in the Jer6mie Papers.

40 "P. du Sud," "P. du Nord," and "Partie de l'Ouest" are equivalent to the South, North, and West
Provinces, respectively.









Table 2-7 Continued
1781 Pierre
Bruet
Moche
1781 Jean
Magloire
Carbasio
1781 Marie Rose
Boncy
1781 Marie
Therese
Longchant
1781 Rose
Elizabeth
Martel de
Belle
Roche
1782 Claude
FranCois
Adee
1782 Marie
Magdeleine
LeBeau
1782 Etienne
Tessier
1786 Jean
Baptiste ..
Bazile dit
Estienne
1786 Genevieve
Lezeau
1787 Joseph
FranCois
Vezier des
Ombrages
1788 Elie Louis
Fournier
1788 Paul dit
Guinney
1789 Pierre
Augustin
Rose de la
Rue


European


Mulatre
affranchi

Muldtresse
ingenue
Ingenu


White creole?





Negre affranchi


European


Ingenu

Mulatre libre



White Creole

European



European

Mulatre libre

European


Savoy


Fort
Dauphin

Port-de-
Paix
Cavaillon


Italy


Saint-
Domingue

Saint-
Domingue
Saint-
Domingue


Habitant


Cavalier


L'Anse a Saint-
Veau Domingue


Martinique


LaRochelle


L'Anse a
Veau
Leogane



Aquin

Poitou



Angoumois

Quarter
Morin
Poitou


Fr. Archer de
Antilles police

France


Saint-
Domingue
Saint-
Domingue


Saint-
Domingue
France



France

Saint-
Domingue
France


Smallholder/
mail carrier
Habitant



Habitante

Interim
maj or-
commandant

Notary

Tailor

Merchant in
Jeremie


Source: Jkr6mie Papers, Notaries Thomas, L'Epine, and Girard; and ibid., Greffe, Ecclesiastical
Records, 1781.










Moreau de Saint-Mery notes in his Description ... de lapartiefrancaise that free

coloreds owned most of the land in the Grande-Anse prior to the coffee boom but sold

out to whites once land prices rose.41 Notarial documents I have consulted do suggest that

free coloreds were selling their land to free up capital they needed for other pursuits or

because of poor luck as coffee planters, but they do not indicate as strong a transferal of

land from free coloreds to whites as Moreau suggests. As he explained in his marriage

contract, Francois Lafor&t, a freeborn mtif, lost his parents' plantation and moved to

town, where he did not do much better.42 Other free coloreds needed the capital they

could get from selling their land. Sr. Jean Antoine Duleun de St. Brosse bought fifty

carreaux of land at les Roseaux from ingenu Etienne Tessier for 5000 livres in July 1782.

The record of the sale indicates that Tessier, who acquired the land in 1771, had been

cultivating 1000 banana trees, a scale of cultivation that implies he sold their yield for

public consumption. After selling his land, Tessier became the mail courier between

Jeremie and L'Anse a Veau. It appears his reason for selling his plantain farm was to

manumit his female griffe slave Anne the following year, for whose liberty he paid a

1,000 livres tax to the Crown.43


41As used in the Grande-Anse at the end of the eighteenth century, habitant (feminine habitante) denoted
anyone who owned rural property, no matter his or her phenotype or economic status. I have not been able
to establish deeper meanings to the term, but I would be interested to know how this signifier interacted
with the new language of citizenship during the periods in which the French Republic controlled the region
(1789-1791, 1794-1803). Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de lapartiefrangaise, 3: 1400-1401.

42 The phenotypical designation metif(also mestif) denoted someone of one-eighth African ancestry,
usually with straight hair and fair skin. Moreau also makes racist comments on the infertility of the mitif
and his physical inferiority relative to whites. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description... de la parties
frangaise, 1: 92. Laforet does not indicate why he lost his family's plantation, but his fiancee's refusal to
give him control over her property suggests that he was not to be trusted with money. Marriage contract
between Francois Laforet and Marie Claire Belune, 2 September 1789, M1-63, JP-N. I discuss their case in
more detail in Chapter 3, below.

43 Ingenu is a term applied to freeborn people of color. Griffe indicated someone with one black parent and
one mulatto parent. Sale of land, 6 July 1782, L6A-33AB, JP-N; and Manumission of Anne Rox6lane, grif









Although some free coloreds did quite well as coffee planters or even producers of

food crops, notarial documents indicate that free coloreds also filled many of the same

economic roles as poor white immigrants: plantation managers, artisans in the building

trades, and as secondary and primary traders. They competed with white immigrants for

skilled and semi-skilled jobs such as these and no doubt with slaves for more menial

labor. Some prospered as shop owners and occasionally, it seems, as master craftsmen. It

is impossible to say exactly how many individuals were employed in one trade or

another, but the notarial documents give the impression that many carpenters, both white

and muldtre, found employment in the booming local economy.44

Taking advantage of the boom in construction, S. Bernard Fourcand, a former

ship's carpenter who immigrated from Canada, established himself as a building

contractor: after sealing contracts with clients in Jeremie and the outlying cantons,

Fourcand contracted a team of muldtre carpenters to frame and plank planter's

residences, slave cabins, and outbuildings on plantations, as well as to make

improvements on pre-existing structures. For just such ajob, Fourcand made a contract

with the muldtres inginus Louis Tripoly and Jean Jacques Boncy to put planking on the

inside of the house of the negresse libre (free black) Martonne in Jeremie, as well as

construct jalousies and stairs to the second story. Working through a contractor like






[sic], by le nommd Etienne Tessier, 1783, L6A-56, ibid.

44Carpenter Joseph Millery made a direct contract to build the structures necessary for a new plantation.
He mentioned his own apprentices. The exact structure of skilled labor in Jer6mie is not clear, but many
free colored and white immigrants appearing in the notarial archive were carpenters, along with a few
bakers, tailors, shoemakers, and coopers. For Millery's contract, see M1-97, JP-N.









Fourcand, free colored artisans could perhaps compete against both their white and free

colored counterparts who sought out work alone.45

Planters and Plantations

As Michel-Rolph Trouillot has indicated, many first-generation coffee planters in

Saint-Domingue depended on the sugar complex for their fortunes and invested some of

their wealth in coffee. They withdrew when prices fell in the mid-1770s. The second

generation of coffee planters were in Trouillot's analysis poor whites and free coloreds

who already owned land in the mountains and who converted some of that land to coffee.

Most of the coffee planters who appear in the notarial papers from the 1780s and early

1790s that I have consulted were immigrant whites. Many of those who were free

coloreds derived their property from their white fathers, as were the case of the Lafonds

and Azors of Fond d'Icaque and the Bouchereau family of La Grande-Riviere. Free

colored coffee planters appear to have seldom requested the services of notaries to have

real estate property appraised for sale. Their lack of presence in the notarial records may

derive from a desire to avoid selling land or to do so without going through official

channels. Some of the factors discouraging free colored ownership of coffee plantations

were demographic (there were twice as many whites as free coloreds in Jeremie) and the

problem of capital accumulation.46






4For the contract on Martonne's house in Jer6mie, see Building contract, 27 November 1787, M1-32, JP-
N. For other contracts between Fourcand and muldtre carpenters, see L6B-107 (21 June 1787).

46 The mechanisms by whichpetits blancs and free coloreds could receive credit are poorly understood. I
have found no successions of free colored planters from the 1780s, though some surely exist. On free
colored coffee planters, see Trouillot, "Motion in the System," 350; Testament of Marguerite Rozaire, 24
March 1783, L6A-52; and Moreau de Saint-MWry, Description ... de lapartiefrangaise, 3: 1390-91.









Table 2-8. Slave and Landholding on 13 Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the
Grande-Anse, 1780-1792






Marcorelle 20 0 0 10 32,000 *
Vigneau 0 12 32,874 32 *
Fignoux 13 54,600 32 *
Fondelin 12 13 110,000 100 12.00
De La Rue 29 0 0 14 95,400 86 10.46
Belle Vue 25 0 0 16 63,000 63 *
Lelevain 20 0 0 16 65,026 *
Paret 11 10 0 27 103,200 75 60.00
Dangluze 12 1.2 0 32 118,410 66 63.63
Pigal 0 0 32 180,241 50 60.00
Dufour freres 70 0 12 38 160,283 83 *
Canonge & Dulaud 70 0 0 47 280,000 *
TOTALS 279 11.2 12 280 1,333,774 663.5 24.26

Inventories of 13 coffee estates from the Grande-Anse suggest that small and

middling planters had different relations to their landholdings (Table 2-8). As

postmortem inventories of their estates suggest, many small planters' slaves, land, and

buildings amounted to all of their worldly possessions. In this they differed from

middling planters, who owned between 25 and 50 slaves. Middling planters often had

prospects other than their plantations. The two partnerships included in the sample

(Dufour,frdres, and Canonge & Dulaud) were arranged so that one partner managed the

plantation while the other resided in one of the colony's major ports. Others invested

heavily in their one landholding. Finally, some small and middling planters used coffee

production to insure an income that added to their primary occupations. Dominique

Bamabe Lelevain was a master surgeon who enjoyed revenues from both medical fees

4The inventories of large plantations tended not to include descriptions of land use. I have therefore
excluded estates of that class from consideration in this section.









and the coffee his 16 slaves produced. Similarly, Marie Thereze Sauvanelle, who bought

the Fondelin plantation in 1787 jointly with her brother and sisters, operated a small store

in La Haute-Ville. Finally, some small and middling coffee planters were absentees who

lived in Jeremie and left the administration of their rural properties to managers or

business partners.48

The higher capital outlay of middling planters not only paid for more slaves but

also more advanced technology. After the slaves picked the "cherries" (ripe fruit) from

the coffee bushes, at the very least it was necessary to dry them before sending them to

market. At the least, planters could dry the cherries directly on the ground, but drying

them on platforms made of masonry produced a superior product. Once the cherries were

dry, a process that could take up to two weeks, teams of slaves took turns removing their

outer coating with grinding mills. Some planters also employed winnowing mills

thereafter to separate the coffee beans from refuse. Finally, the entire workforce sorted

the beans into grades by quality and put them into sacks. Although it is true that

becoming a coffee planter required far less capital than to become a sugar planter, the

notarial records suggest that to produce coffee well required the outlay of a hundred

thousand livres colonials or more in order to prosper at it.49

Middling planters like Sr. Jean-Baptiste Dangluze might have owned a house in

Jeremie or one of the bourgs and have family connections with captains of coasting



48Succession of Sieur Lelevain, Trou Bonbon, 7 February 1784, L6A-66, JP-N; and 14 July 1790, M1-95,
ibid.

J49 rmien coffee planters whose estates were inventoried in the 1780s did not own many books, least of
all manuals on coffee planting. Pierre-Joseph Laborie's The Coffee Planter of San Domingo gives us a
retrospective view of how one successful coffee planter in the North practiced his trade. Pierre-Joseph
Laborie, The Coffee Planter of San Domingo (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1798).









vessels, but they remained a step below large planters whose families owned land in more

than one parish. The Clements, for example, were import-export merchants based at Cap

Francais and among the many northerners who had invested in Grande-Anse real estate.

The best example of Jeremien proprietors invested in both sugar and coffee exploitation,

however, is the Berquier family. Their sugar plantation located immediately east of La

Basse-Ville, greatly impressed Moreau de Saint-Mery. Compared to the crude machinery

employed by most local coffee planters, La Habitation Berquier was an engineering

marvel. The wheel of the sugar mill was powered by water drawn from its reservoir of

four carreaux supplied "from many sources"; when this supply was not enough, a

windmill drew more water up from La Grande-Riviere de la Grande-Anse. Following the

death of the family patriarch, Sr. Hildevert Berquier, pere, his widow and children

formed a partnership to run the sucrerie for five years. L 'Etat detail des liquidations,

the official report of the French Ministry of Finance's indemnifications to Domingois

property owners in the mid-nineteenth century, indicates the variety of properties owned

by the Berquiers at the time of Haitian independence (see Table 2-9). From the

nineteenth-century indemnity data it is clear that various members of the family invested

in a variety of export crops: coffee, indigo, cotton. The bulk of the family's wealth,

however, came from sugar and coffee cultivation, and like many families that can be

described as members of a planter elite, the Berquiers had property in more than one

quarter, in this case Petit-Trou de Nippes.5s



50Sr. Franqois Berquier, one of eldest sons, was to manage the property put into partnership, but his
mother, who was to live on her own property in the parish of Nippes, east of the Grande-Anse, reserved
control over the purse strings for herself. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description ... de la partiefrangaise, 3:
1386; and Partnership to Exploit a Sugar Plantation between Widow Berquier and her children, J&r6mie, 2
March 1785.









Table 2-9. Real property Owned by the Berquier Family, ca. 1803, for which the Family
Received Compensation
Proprietor Type of property Canton Parish Value
(francs)
Marie- Coffee plantation La Voldrogue Jeremie 20,900.00
Madeleine
Berquier
Coffee plantation Fond Cochon Jeremie 103,475.32
Fleury Berquier Cotton plantation Jeremie Jeremie
Indigo plantation Nippes Petit-Trou 132,069.62
Woodland Les Baraderes Petit-Trou Id.
Sugar plantation Jeremie Jeremie Id.
TOTAL 256,444.94
Source: L'ttat des liquidations, 2: 410-411. N.B. that the indigo plantation, sugar plantation, and woodland
owned by the children and grandchildren of Hildevert Berquier, pbre, in the 1830s amounted to 132,069.62
francs in indemnities as part of one claim. Individual amounts were not provided for each property.

Many writers, both contemporary and modern, have pointed out the detrimental

effects of absenteeism on the slaves' quality of life. Debien and Frostin both provide

vignettes of managers of absentee plantations who robbed their employers in order to

enrich themselves, and slaves on these plantations suffered from a lack of food and other

rations. Pierre-Joseph Laborie, who wrote a manual on coffee cultivation during the late

1790s, suggests that coffee planters who lived on their estates were indeed paternalistic,

given the closeness and care the proximity of master and slave afforded. No doubt slaves

benefited from the closer management of their masters: the inventory of only six of the

fourteen small and middling plantations listed a slave driver, implying that either the

planter, or a member of his family, oversaw the daily work of the slaves. Paternalism is a

tempting jump to make in this case, but further evidence from planters' correspondence

and personal papers would be needed to draw this conclusion.





51Frostin, Les rovoltes blanches, Chapter 6; Debien, Les esclaves, Chapter 11; Trouillot, "Motion in the
System," 380; and Laborie, San Domingo Coffee Planter.









Conclusions

The Grande-Anse on the eve of the French Revolution was a locus of coffee

production for export to French ports and from there to the supply the rest of the world-

system. At the same time, Jeremie experienced migration from France's Atlantic ports

(particularly Bordeaux) and the French West Indies during the last quarter of the

eighteenth century. While newcomers with capital or credit enough to do so established

themselves as coffee planters and import-export merchants, the poor filled roles as

artisans, plantation managers, and petty traders, roles for which they competed with

people of color. Those who did acquire land often lacked the means to exploit their

resources fully. Turning from the growing free population, the next chapter examines a

sample of the African slaves imported into the Grande-Anse during the last half of the

eighteenth century.
















CHAPTER 3
PLANTATION SLAVERY IN THE GRANDE-ANSE

The written records available on slavery in the Grande-Anse in the 1780s tell us

different things about slaves than they do about the free population. Whereas they

provide some room to interpret the thoughts and actions of the variegated members of the

free population, notarial documents present slaves as merchandise, in lists of names,

ethnicities, ages, and personal characteristics like occupational skills and physical

deformities. At the same time, the commoditization of this stratum of the human

population does present some advantages, the greatest of which is a set of qualities that

can be analyzed using quantitative methods. This chapter will do just that. Because of the

nature of the sources, it is largely an analysis of the physical conditions of slavery:

housing, diet, and family structure.1





1The plantation inventories that are sources for my analysis in this chapter come exclusively from the
Jer6mie Papers. These sources, all from the notary series of that collection, are: Succession of Sr. Joseph
Vigneau, Trou Bonbon, 7 January 1782, L6A-26; Sale of Habitation by the widow Fignoux, La Grande-
Rivibre, 9 January 1783, L6A-44; Inventory of La Grande Habitation and La Ravine Blanche, La Grande-
Rivibre, 21 May 1783, L6A-60; sale of Belle Vue, La Voldrogue, 17 March 1783, L6A-45; Succession of
Sieur Lelevain, Trou Bonbon, 7 February 1784, L6A-66; Sale of Habitation by Sr. Marcorelle to Sr.
Descoufler, Trou Bonbon, 17 December 1784, L6A-88; Succession of Sieur Dangluze, 4 August 1785, G5-
100; Partnership between Srs. Canonge & Dulaud, Trou Bonbon & L'Anse du Clerc, 2 August 1785, L6A-
131; Succession of Sr. Louis Paret, Les hauteurs de la Grande-Rivibre, 2 March 1786; Sale of Habitation by
Sieur Bouch6, Les Roseaux, 16 May 1787, G5-118; Sale of Habitation by Sr. Joseph Fondelin, La
Guinaud6e, M1-15; Dissolution of Partnership Dufour, frbres, Ravine du Mitan, 11 December 1789, Ml-
65; Marriage Contract of Sieur de la Rue and Demoiselle Doucet, n.p., 21 April 1789, M1-55; Succession
of Sr. Pigal, La Guinaud6e, 21 April 1789, G5-127; Succession of Sieur Payas, n.p., 5 July 1792, M1-122;
Inventory of Habitation of Sr. Jean Baptiste Cl6ment, Plymouth, 2 October 1792, L3-30; and Inventory of
Habitation of Sr. Jean Joseph Cl6ment, Plymouth, 1792. N.B.: The citations for the last two plantation
inventories, those belonging to the Clement family, were unclear in the copies that I used from the personal
collection of David P. Geggus. According to the Jer6mie Papers finding aid, there are three inventories of
Cl6ment plantations done in the early 1790s among the papers of the notary Dobignies in that collection.












60-69
FEMALES MALES
40-49

20-29


10-14


0-4

-60.00 -40.00 -20.00 0.00 20.00 40.00 60.00
Percentage of Whole

Figure 3-1. Population Pyramid of the Workforces on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop
Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1782-1792 (N=551)

To begin with, it is necessary to establish who the slaves were, as far as the sources

allow. The most basic division in plantation workforces was between male and female.

By determining the sex ratios of the workforces on different plantations in aggregate,

some basic parameters to slave life can be established. A sample of 606 slaves working

on eighteen coffee and mixed-crop plantations in the Grande-Anse had a sex ratio of 122

(i.e., 122 males for every 100 females). The actual ratios of males to females on different

plantations varied widely, but a sex ratio of 122 for the slaves in my sample suggests that

male slaves on coffee plantations found it difficult to find a partner.

This sex ratio of 122 is similar to that which David P. Geggus calculated for coffee

slaves throughout Saint-Domingue in the late eighteenth century. In his sample of 3,719

slaves on coffee plantations in the period 1767-1792, he found the aggregate sex ratio to

be 120, with a sex ratio of 138 for the South, where Jeremie was. The sex ratio for my










sample is higher than the 8 male slaves for every 7 female slaves (a sex ratio of 114) that

Moreau claims was the case in the South.2

Table 3-1. Numbers of Africans and Creoles on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop
Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=551)

o_ oC CJ C-


0 0 23 23 23 23
5-9 1 0 34 26 35 26
10-14 27 6 19 22 46 28
15-19 27 25 14 8 41 33
20-29 53 39 5 17 58 56
30-39 55 26 5 4 60 30
40-49 24 17 7 1 31 18
50-59 9 17 0 1 9 18
60-69 5 3 0 1 5 4
70+ 4 1 1 1 5 2

My sample of 218 locally born creole slaves shows a considerably greater balance

between the sexes, 98 men per 100 women, which is very close to Geggus's sample. The

great majority of Jeremien creoles in the 1780s were children. They monopolized the 0-4

years cohort and strongly dominated that of 5-9 years (Figure 3.1 and Table 3.2).

Adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 were a mixture of Africans and creoles, but

beyond this age bracket, Africans clearly dominated.3

These rough details about the Grande-Anse's slave population in the 1780s

suggest enormous changes in rural society concomitant with the coffee boom. According

to official counts, the parish of Jeremie had almost 15,000 more slaves in 1788 than in



2 David P. Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and the Shaping of the Slave Labor
Force," in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the 11-,,in of Slave
Life in the Americas (Charlottesville: University Presses of Virginia, 1993), 79; and Moreau de Saint-MWry,
Description ... de lapartiefrangaise, 3: 1165.

3Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee,"79.









1753, an eightfold increase. Many of the plantations whose inventories were sampled

were small units of production, the mean workforce size being but 30, quite a bit less than

Geggus's average of 45 slaves for his sample of 87 cafeteries for roughly the same period

(1780-1789). His range also differed by a greater margin than mine: 7 to 304 against my

10 to 90. My sample had a median of 26 slaves. These small, young, and heavily African

workforces are consistent with the region's recent development. However, even in this

part of the colony most dominated by Africans, locally born creoles made up more than

one-third of the slave population. This reinforces the impression given by Geggus's work

that the general assumption, dating from Moreau de Saint-Mery, that two-thirds of Saint-

Domingue's slaves were Africans is substantially in error.

Table 3-2. Summary of the Origins of Slaves on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in
the Grand'Anse (N=606)
Place of Origin N %N Males Females Sex Ratio
All Creoles 218 35.97 105 108 98
All Foreign Creoles 8 1.32 4 4 100
All Africans 371 61.22 224 160 151
Unidentified 9 1.49 5 4 125
All Slaves 606 100 338 276 122
Note: Excluded from calculations relative to sex ratio were four creole children of
indeterminate sex and five creole children of unknown ages, the latter all infants.

One of the key characteristics of slave life in the Americas was the inability of

slave populations to replenish their numbers naturally. Only in what would become the

United States did a slave population increase their numbers through self-reproduction. In

the rest of the hemisphere, slave societies had to import new Africans to keep up the

number of enslaved workers. Determining how well the slaves in any region grew

through natural reproduction presents certain difficulties. David Geggus cautions that

calculating slave fertility is "quite hazardous" because the births and deaths of slave










infants often went unrecorded. The best measure of slave fertility is fertility ratio (slave

children 0-4 years old per 1000 slave women 15-44 years old).4

Table 3-3. Some Factors Bearing on Slave Life on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop
Plantations, 1780-1792, Based on Notarized Plantation Inventories


Name of Plantation
Bouche
Marcorelle
Vignault
SFignoux
SFondelin
De La Rue
Belle Vue
Lelevain
TOTAL: SMALL
Payas
SParet
SDangluze
Pigal
Dufour freres
Canonge & Dulaud
TOTAL: MEDIUM
La Ravine Blanche
0 Jean Baptiste Clement
La Grande Habitation
Jean Joseph Clement
TOTAL: LARGE


TOTAL: ALL


0




10 100
10 233
12 125
13 63
13 167
14 180
16 100
16 100
104 114
24 118
27 170
32 94
32 244
38 131
47 156
200 143
68 85
69 229
76 94
90 134
303 124
607 128


.0



500
500
500
333
167
500
0
200

833
250
0
167
250
900

384
263
333
286


354


Crop type appears to have been the biggest determinant in the fertility of slave

women. Geggus's sample of 59 sucreries (years 1755-1791) indicates a median fertility

index of 281, while his sample of 56 cafeteries (years 1767-1792) indicates a

4This warning primarily concerns plantation journals, which recorded day-to-day conditions of slave life,
more than plantation inventories, which described plantation life at a particular moment in time. The
notarized plantation inventories I have consulted require the same degree of caution as plantation journals
and necessitate the same methodology. David P. Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee in Saint Domingue," in Ira
Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the '\,li-,,i of Slave Life in the
Americas, 90.









substantially lower index, 333. My sample of 18 coffee and mixed-crop plantations in the

Grande-Anse (years 1782-1792) indicates a slightly lower median fertility index (310).5

Table 3-4. Slave Fertility Indexes on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations by
Size of Plantation Workforce, 1782-1792




SMALL 338 417 8
MEDIUM 400 250 6
LARGE 317 310 4
All Categories 354 310 18

The size of a plantation's slave workforce was also had an important influence on

slave fertility. In Saint-Domingue as a whole, sugar estates tended to be large operations,

while the workforce sizes of coffee plantations varied widely. Our sample suggests that

medium-sized coffee estates had the highest slave fertility on average. More research is

necessary to verify this hypothesis, but our sample suggests that small plantations had the

highest fertility, based on the median fertility of the small plantations in our sample.

The Naming of Slaves and Ethnicity

Ethnic labels by which different African groups were known in Saint-Domingue

derived in part from their African origins, and planter stereotypes helped to determine

how whites viewed slaves of certain African nations. As David Geggus has shown, these

stereotypes proved less important to coffee planters, who tended to buy whatever slaves

they could and in smaller quantities than did sugar planters, who generally had better






5Geggus suggests that "On the coffee plantations the most significant factor was workforce size, which
indicates that the difficulty of finding a suitable partner was more important in the mountains." Ibid., 91
and Table 2.12.









buying power. The slaves' personal names, meanwhile, both show how planters chose to

name their chattel and one point of origin for free colored names.6

Slaveholders bestowed names both on their human chattel and their livestock.

Despite the notorious lack of religiosity in colonial society in the late eighteenth century,

the majority of the slaves had Christian names. A minority bore names from classical

European civilizations: many a plantation had its Venus and Cupidon. One is left to

wonder whether such names reflected some qualities the masters perceived in their

slaves.

The majority of the slaves in the sample only had one name. Free coloreds

generally had two. The carpenter Joseph Marlborough, for example, seems to carry the

surname of the British military leader, the Duke of Marlborough, as his surname. Other

free coloreds used names originating in "I'idiome africain" or Classical names. Surnames

such as Minerve, Yoyo, and Tripoly fall into this category. Some gens de couleur libres,

particularly members of the planter class, did have European surnames, adopted from

white progenitors or perhaps godparents.7

Ethnicity, or to use the contemporary term, nation, is a descriptor of dubious

efficacy. The ethnic labels that the planters and merchants appended to their slaves only

had an approximate relation to their slaves' African origin. Debien notes that this

identification was based in part on "country marks," ritual scarification of the face

practiced throughout western Africa but apparently not in American slave societies. Some




6 Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee," 84-86, 88.

7 Marlborough's surname may reflect the Anglophilia Charles Frostin attributes to the Grande-Anse. See
Frostin, Les revoltes blanches.










groups, however, seem to have been named for the African port from which they

embarked for the Americas.8

One ethnonym that has received much recent scholarly attention is Congo. In the

minds of their owners, Congos were short people from west-central Africa. The men

were not considered to have good potential as workers in sugar fields given that the

women did the fieldwork in their homeland. This planter stereotype explains in part why

so many Congolese found themselves on coffee estates and not on sugar plantations.9

Table 3-5. The Origins of Slaves on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the
Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=606)
Ethnicity N % of N Males Females S/R
Creoleo1 218 35.97 105 108 97
Negre 208 100 104
Muldtre 7 4 3
Griffe 2 1 0
Quarteron 1 0 1
Foreign Creole 8 1.32 4 4 100
Portuguese 1 0 1
Spanish 1 1 0
English 3 3 3
Senegambia 20 3.30 14 6 230
Senegalese 5 3 2
Bambara 7 7 0



SDebien, Les esclaves, 39-40.

9More recently, in his recently published dissertation on the Luso-Brazilian alcohol trade to West Central
Africa during the era of the legal trans-Atlantic slave trade, Jos6 C. Curto asserts that sugar cane brandy
(cachaga) provided Brazilian slave traders with a valuable commodity that could compete with English and
French interlopers who offered European and Indian fabrics of higher quality. He contends that French
traders pursued their illicit commerce both north and south of the Portuguese seat of power, the colonial
capital of Luanda. Jos6 C. Curto, Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda
and its Hinterland, c. 1550-1830 (Leiden: Brill, 2004): 157-58; and David P. Geggus, "Sex Ratio, Age and
Ethnicity in the Atlantic Slave Trade: Data from French Shipping and Plantation Records," Journal of
African History 30, no. 1 (1989): 29-30.

10 Not included is a griffe child and five children of unknown age.

1Included in the total number of creoles but not in breakdown by phenotype and sex are five children of
unknown gender and age. One griffe child whose sex and age are unknown was included under the relevant
subheading but not in the columns for "males" and "females."









Table 3-5. Continued.
Mandingue 7 3 4
Fulani 1 1 0
Sierra Leone 9 1.49 8 1 800
Sosso 7 7 0
Timbo 2 1 1
Windward Coast 15 2.48 11 4 400
Canga 8 7 1
Kissi 5 4 1
Bobo 2 0 2
Gold Coast 15 2.48 8 7 114
Mine 14 8 6
Caramenty 1 0 1
Bight of Benin 63 10.39 25 38 66
Arada 20 2 18
Barba 2 1 1
Nago 19 8 11
Cotocoli 3 1 2
Thiamba12 14 9 5
Hausa 5 4 1
Bight of Biafra 19 3.14 10 9 111
Ibo 15 8 7
Bibi 3 2 1
Moco 1 0 1
Congo13 200 33.00 136 76 179
Congo Franc 1 1 0
Congo 183 118 65
Mondongue 16 7 9
Mozambique 12 10 2
Other Africans14 30 4.95 11 19 58
Unidentified 9 1.49 5 4 125
TOTAL 606 100.00 338 276 122

The numerical preponderance of Central Africans (i.e., Congos Francs, Congos,

Mondongues, and Mozambiques) among the Grande-Anse's African-born slave

population (200 in the sample, or 53.9%) is similar to Geggus's samples from the West



12 Also includes "Quiambas" and "Chambas."

13 Also note that Congos represented 54% of all Africans in the sample.

14
1Includes one each of Madagascar, Meyomb6, Nata, Ayouba, Gourmand, Chicart, and Cadugne and three
Aheressa.









Province (1785-1791), where Central Africans made up 52.5% of the African-born

contingent of slave workforces on cafeteries. Congos were, however, more prevalent in

the North Province (1778-1791), where they represented 68.2% of the African-born

slaves. Being a majority of Africans in the Grande-Anse does not necessarily mean West

Central Africans had an overriding impact on local slave culture. It would also be

necessary to know what ethnic groups predominated in the Grande-Anse before the 1780s

coffee boom. By analogy, the Aja-Fon of West Africa had a strong impact on Haitian

vodou not because they were the most numerous slaves in late colonial Saint-Domingue

but because they were apparently the most numerous during the first years of

settlement.15 Moreover, the young age at which Congos in particular disembarked in the

colony worked against survivals of their cultural traditions. Twenty-two (11%) of the

Congos represented in our sample were boys younger than fifteen years old. Most of the

others were well below thirty years. Embarking from Africa as boys and young men,

Congo slaves in the Grande-Anse would have had limited knowledge of their culture,

particularly the more esoteric parts of religion and tradition.

These criticisms aside, ethnicity remains a category of analysis that must be taken

seriously, if nothing more than to consider how colonial society saw the slave workforce.

Table 3-5 expresses how 606 slaves classified using these colonial ethnic descriptors

break down. If considered with those brought from the same slave catchment areas, or

"coasts," the largest African population in the Grande-Anse in the 1780s was the Congos

(N=200), among whom were the so-called "Congos Francs (True Congos)," individuals

from a wide catchment area along the coast of Angola. Another group from West-Central

1David Geggus, "Haitian Voodoo in the Eighteenth Century: Language, Culture, Resistance," Jahrbuch
fir Geschichte von Staat, Windschaft und Geschelschaft Weinamerikas 28 (1991): 36-37.









Africa were the Mondongues (N=15), whom the French reputed to be cannibals. Taken

together, West Central Africans had a sex ratio of 179, a high disparity between the sexes

but not as extreme as that of Africans from some other regions. Africanist historian

Joseph C. Miller asserts that West Central Africans elites tended to sell more men than

women into the Atlantic slave trade because, he contends, they retained females for slave

breeding. An alternative interpretation is that these women were retained as multiple

wives in a polygamous society.16

Slaves from the other "coasts" together represented only about 30 percent of the

sample population, but this does not exclude the possibility that individuals from these

catchment areas could find others of identical or similar background with whom to

reminisce about Africa, engage in cultural practices such as religious rituals, or have

children.17

The largest ethnic group in the sample was the creoles, slaves born in the colony.

They were notable for their number (N=218, or 35.97% of the sample) and their age:

most were under the age of 20 years, and many of these were born after the beginning of

the coffee boom. It is unclear where the other creoles came from. Some were surely part

of the 2,147 slaves present in the Grande-Anse at the time of the 1755 census, but it is

unknown if these creoles, like some of the free coloreds, were immigrants from other

parts of the colony, whom their migrating masters brought with them or whom their

masters sold through the coasting trade.



16 Debien, Les esclaves, 49-52; and Joseph C. Miller, Way ofDeath: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan
Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), 135.

17 John Thornton, Africa andAfricans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 (Second Edition;
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 199.









The Slaves' Diet

Like most early modern agricultural peoples, Domingois slaves subsisted almost

entirely on starches. Planters commonly grew manioc and plantains on coffee plantations

in the Grande-Anse to supplement what the slaves presumably grew themselves on their

own provision grounds. suggest that the local diet followed the general pattern. Gabriel

Debien states in his Les esclaves aux Antilles franqaises that the nature of the slave diet

followed different patterns in the colony's three provinces, and Moreau related that "like

those in the Windward Islands," Jeremien slaves relied on "plantains, yams, taro, sweet

potatoes, and manioc."18

Inventories of property only give patchy information on food production on

individual plantations. Appraisers elected by parties interested in these inventories were

quite inconsistent in describing land use. No official guidelines appear to have existed,

and the notaries did not enforce any sort of uniformity in the estate appraisals that they

recorded. The amount of land under food cultivation was either measured in the number

of individual plants or in the number of carreaux dedicated to a certain species of crop.

Very common in the description of provision plots worked in common was the notation

"quelques vivres (some food crops)" which I have interpreted as a product either of

official laziness or of intercropping of seed crops like beans between rows of young

coffee trees.





18See Chapter 2 for more information about these rural food producers. No scholar seems to have
addressed what may have been a pre-revolutionary peasantry. Information on these habitants is made more
difficult by scanty descriptions of their properties when inventoried for sale. Fernand Braudel, The
Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1979), 106-
107; and Moreau de Saint-MWry, Description ... de la partiefranqaise, 3: 1406.









Providing sufficient food for the slaves had been a problem in the French Antillean

colonies since the seventeenth century. A series of metropolitan and colonial laws, the

most important of which was the 1685 Code noir, required the habitants to provide their

chattel with a minimum ration, which in the long run effected a system of food

provisioning based on the cultivation of vivres in common plots on Saturday afternoons

under the supervision of the commander, or slave foreman. The slaves were allowed

small plots around their huts known asjardins-case, orjardins-negre. Debien argues the

jardins-case provided a rare space for African autonomy within the oppressive and

dehumanizing forced labor regime. At the end of the eighteenth centuries, thesejardins-

case were removed from the areas between the slave huts to locations closer to the

sugarcane fields and coffee groves where slaves did most of their work. Each slave then

received a provision ground to grow vegetables to supplement the starchy staples

provided by the common plots of vivres.19 The plantation inventories that I consulted

from the Grande-Anse do not discuss slave provision grounds. Rather, the notaries

recorded how much acreage was devoted to food crops and occasionally delineated how

much of each crop was in the fields.20

Aside from the carbohydrate-rich vegetable foods discussed above, slaves also took

the initiative in supplementing their diet with protein from both wild and domesticated

sources. In the West Province, slaves in the hinterland of Port-au-Prince sought for

clutches of turtle and alligator eggs. Moreau de Saint-Mery provides us with three wild


19 Debien draws his perspective on food production first from the acts of legislative-judicial bodies like the
Conseil du Roi (Royal Council) and the conseils superieurs of Saint-Domingue, Martinique, and
Guadeloupe and second from the management records of various sugar and coffee plantations, particularly
in Saint-Domingue. Debien, Les esclaves, Chapter 8.

20 Ibid., 177-86, 195.










sources of protein available to the slaves. First, in the early months of the year crabs were

very numerous off the coast of Saint-Domingue to the point of overrunning the fields.

Slaves in the Grande-Anse welcomed the opportunity for readily available protein.

Second, the Grande-Riviere de la Grande-Anse teemed with fish in the late

eighteenth century. Given that slaves fished for crabs in underwater holes, slaves living

the near La Grande-Riviere added fish from the river to their diet. Finally, the coffee

frontier expanded into the forested highlands where for two and a half centuries feral pigs

and cattle had roamed. It is within reason that at least some slaves hunted these beasts for

their subsistence, as had the buccaneers of former times, and this can be substantiated by

way of analogy.21 I propose, then, that hunting and fishing may have been subsistence

activities either encouraged or allowed by Domingois planters and their managers. The

fish-laden Grande-Riviere, feral pigs, and an annual surge of crabs were three

opportunities for the pursuit of wild sources of protein.22

Much disease among the slaves came from nutritional deficiencies, as Kenneth F.

Kiple has demonstrated in his acclaimed work The Caribbean Slave: A Biological

History. Kiple's work does have some shortcomings because he does not provide detailed

analysis of the French Antilles, though he summarizes the diet of French slaves as

basically lacking in protein and high in carbohydrates. As Kiple argues convincingly,

21Trouillot, "Motion in the System," 372-373.

22 Trouillot points out that the sugar planters resented the expansion of coffee production into the wilds
partly because it destroyed the habitats of the feral pigs. I have not found much information on hunting in
late eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue. Lacking that, I will make two observations. First, the sugar
plantocracy may have engaged in hunting as an analogue to the great hunts undertaken by the European
nobility. Second, on more secure grounds the assertion can be made that the expansion of coffee sealed off
a frontier that may have had some cultural significance for the Dominguan elite. After all, the founders of
the sugar complex were successful buccaneers. The cultural significance of the frontier is a topic
unresearched in the historiography of Saint-Domingue, but it reminds one of Frederick Jackson Turner's
Frontier Thesis in United States history, long since abandoned by Americanist historians. Ibid.









such a diet left a population susceptible to beriberi and other nutritional deficiency

diseases. He correlates symptoms of beriberi with those of "mal d'e 'iimL h/li" (sic), a

common and fatal disease among Caribbean slave populations. Mal d'estomac, also

called mal coeur in the French colonies and mal de est6mago in the Spanish was

widespread, but the slaves, their masters, and European-trained medical professionals

each had their own opinions on its etiology.23

In accordance with their own cultural context, African bondsmen, when questioned

about the disease, blamed their affliction on witchcraft. In discussing vodou before the

Haitian Revolution, David Geggus has asserted that slaves practicing African or Afro-

Caribbean belief systems would look for supernatural causes for misfortunes. European

planters, plantation managers, and surgeons, by contrast, tended to attribute the slaves'

lethargy and melancholy to a loss of a will to live, an insidious admission of their slaves'

humanity and autonomy. Kiple, however, challenges both of these contemporary views

by resorting to modern medical science. The general wasting away and lethargy of slaves

in the grip of mal d'estomac bear resemblance to a number of diseases whose etiology is

known in the present day. Kiple singles out two: beriberi and hookworm infestation and

argues convincingly that the former was probably the cause of mal d'estomac.24

To the point, mal d'estomac was the single most common disease reported among

the sample Jeremien slave population. Of the five cases reported in the sample, four

occurred on La Grande Habitation in May 1783, but the plantation manager reported no



23 Kenneth F. Kiple and Virginia H. Kiple, "Deficiency Diseases in the Caribbean," Journal of
Interdisciplinary History 11, no. 2 (1980), reprinted in Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds.,
Caribbean Slave Society and Economy: A Student Reader (New York: The New Press, 1991), 177-78.

24Geggus, "Haitian Voodoo," 47.









cases among the slaves of La Ravine Blanche. Both were coffee plantations owned by Sr.

Augustin Tripier, and the same manager oversaw both. The high rate of the disease

appears to have been tied to the virulent hurricane of the previous September, which

destroyed the grand'case (master's residence) and apparently much of the food supply as

well. The manager reported that slaves on that plantation were in quite bad shape:

thirteen were described simply as "infirm," one was blind, three had venereal disease, and

three had the skin disease known as crab yaws. In all, 25 of the 76 slaves living at La

Grande Habitation complained of some sort of physical affliction.25

Occupational Mobility on Coffee Plantations

Even with the bad material conditions facing slaves in the Grande-Anse and their

counterparts throughout the Caribbean basin, there was some room for advancement

within the structures of plantation slavery. The most prestigious occupations available to

bondsmen were available only to men. As David Geggus has demonstrated, on sugar

plantations in Saint-Domingue a sizable minority of slave men became artisans,

supervisors, livestock handlers, and domestic servants. Women, who came to form the

majority of the field laborers on sucreries, sometimes found advancement in such

onerous occupations as washerwomen and seamstresses. Female slaves, particularly older

women, could also seek medical posts auxiliary to those of European physicians and

surgeons. Though ridiculed and sometimes resented by their masters and other

Europeans, these enslaved medical specialists no doubt earned prestige and power within

their own communities.26


25 At the time of the inventory of the estate, the manager had taken over one of the slave cabins to serve as
his residence. L6A-60, JP-N.

26Geggus, "Sugar and Coffee," 84.









In the colony's coffee plantations, by contrast, slaves had few chances for

occupational advancement. Whereas slave men on sugar plantations had a chance of

advancing within the building trades and as personal servants of the more superfluous

sort, these routes were often denied to slaves on coffee plantations. Coffee planters

tended to hire entrepreneurs de bdtiments to have new buildings erected and old ones

extended and repaired, and only rarely did small planters keep many personal servants.

Local conditions also played a role: bad roads limited the efficacy of keeping a coachman

at the ready. In the Grande-Anse, a little less than half of the coffee plantations sampled

lacked any elite slaves at all. Those that did generally maintained only commanders, or

slave foremen, above the pool of field slaves.

According to Debien, the commander was a man that the common workers were

to hold in great respect and fear. That author's sources, generally absentee sugar planters,

directed their plantation managers grantst) not to castigate their commanders publicly.

Ideal commanders, in Debien's analysis, were to be vigorous men who knew the

plantation work regimen. Knowledge of several African languages was also an

advantage, the better to incorporate bossales into the plantation's society. Mirroring the

colonial principle of divide and rule, the planter or his grant should appoint a

commander who was not of the same ethnicity of the majority of the workers. As in

other aspects of slave life in Saint-Domingue region, crop type, and workforce size

appear to have been important factors in the social structure of slave society in the

Grande-Anse. From descriptions in extant plantation inventories we can catch some

glimpses at least of how the commanders on these plantations appeared to white

observers (Table 3-6) My sample of commanders on coffee and mixed-crop plantations









in the Grande-Anse shows the diverse origins of slave drivers. Unlike sugar plantations,

coffee plantations tended to be relatively new operations, which may go far to explain

why so many Africans were appointed as slave drivers instead of creoles, who tended to

be much too young and inexperienced for so much responsibility.27

Table 3-6. Profiles of Commandeurs on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the
Grande-Anse, 1780-1792
SPlantation Slave's "Nation" Description Monetary Price
Year ,Nation Description .
Name Name Age (livres coloniaux)
Branded
1784 Lelevain Prince Congo 35 elevain" 2000
"Lelevain
1785 Dangluze Pierre Creole 35 N/A Not given
1786 Paret Lafortune Congo 25 N/A Not given
1787 Fondelin Balthazard Creole 35 N/A Not given
Spanish One hand
1789 Dufour Jean Spanish 45 One hand 3000
Creole missing
o Scales on his
1789 Pigal Francisque Thiamba 55 Not given
eyes

Housing and Community

The plantation, in its role as a self-sufficient unit of agricultural production,

provided the slaves with lodging in addition to nutrition. According to Pere Jean-Baptiste

Labat and other seventeenth-century observers, slaves built their own houses (cases a

negres) in the colonies' early years, and, as was the case of their masters, the slaves built

their dwellings in accordance with their own aesthetics.28

In the eighteenth century, and particularly on the sugar estates, planters began to

have the slaves' lodging built for them according to what the masters preferred. In this

regard, Jdrdmien coffee planters seem to have agreed. Usually lacking slaves trained in


27 Debien, Les esclaves, 122-23.

28 In the seventeenth century Barbadian sugar planters forced both their African slaves and European
indentured servants to build their own huts. See Hilary MacD. Beckles, "Sugar and White Servitude: An
Analysis of White Indentured Labor during the Sugar Revolution of Barbados, 1643-1655," Journal of the
Barbados Museum and Historical Society 36, no. 3 (1981): 236-46.









the building trades, habitants regularly contracted with entrepreneurs de bdtiments for

the construction of cases a negres. A few such contracts have survived in the Jeremie

Papers, most of which were with S. Bernard Fourcand, a former ship's carpenter who

obviously found a lucrative business during with the building boom in Jeremie and its

hinterland in the 1780s.29

Table 3-7. Slave Housing on Small and Middling Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in
the Grande-Anse, 1780-1789 (N=9)



0 w U U 0
a6 o > u E

Marcorelle 10 2 5.00 Not given
Vigneau 12 2 6.00 Not given
Fondelin 13 4 3.25 Not given
Lelevain 16 1 16.00 40 x 14
Paret 27 2 13.50 40 feet long
Dangluze 32 2 16.00 Not given
Pigal 32 3 10.67 Not given
Dufour freres 38 12 3.16 Not given
Canonge & Dulaud 47 8 5.88 30 x 15

The proportions and number of the cases built by the entrepreneurs, or rather the

colored carpenters working for them, allow some room to speculate about sleeping

arrangements on specific plantations. Table 3-7 presents a sample of nine small and

medium-sized plantations for which data exist on slave housing. Many plantation

inventories neglect slave housing altogether, which for some plantations may have meant

that slaves slept wherever they could. Only in nine of the fourteen inventories sampled

were slave quarters mentioned at all, and only in three of these cases did the notary note

the dimensions of the structures. From the data available, it seems that small plantations


29 Personal correspondence with Andreuce Fourcand.
Personal correspondence with Andrde-Luce Fourcand.









(in this sample, 10-15 slaves) had smaller dwellings more akin to the African huts Labat

and other observers describe for the late seventeenth century. It is reasonable to assume

that individual families (however defined) each had a house of their own or that slaves of

specific ethnicities lived together. Medium-sized plantations, however, seem to follow

the trend Debien finds for eighteenth-century sugar plantations towards larger slave

quarters that more closely resembled barracks. Professional carpenters built these

structures, which were too uniform in dimension to have been built by unskilled slave

labor.

The slaves on the Canonge & Dulaud cafeterie, by contrast, lived in eight buildings

of uniform dimension, 30 feet long by 15 feet wide. Each occupant thus had 76.5 square

feet of personal space and an average of 6 persons lived in each unit. The only other

plantation list that allows for the same calculation is that for the Lelevain plantation,

whose sixteen slaves lived under one roof; in this case, each slave had 35 square feet of

personal space. From this small sample, it is difficult to contemplate to what degree such

variables as personal space, occupants per dwelling, and sex ratio determined slave

fertility.

Conclusions

Notarized inventories of coffee plantations in the Grande-Anse suggest that slave

life there had many parallels with cafeteries in other parts of Saint-Domingue. In the

sample of eighteen coffee and mixed-crop plantations that I have presented here, where

crop type was the only constant, workforce size appears as a major determinant of certain

aspects of slave life, particularly the fertility of slave women. Many of these plantations

had been established relatively recently compared to sugar plantations in the colony's

plains. Their workforces were quite young and more African than most sugar estates, but






58


even in these relatively new plantations, locally born creoles constituted over a third of

the entire slave population.















CHAPTER 4
FAMILY, RACE, AND PATRONAGE IN THE GRANDE-ANSE BEFORE THE
FRENCH REVOLUTION

The study of social patterns among the free population in the Grande-Anse is a

topic that the notarial records open up. Given the abundant recent work on free coloreds

before the Revolution, it is worthwhile to pursue the family structure and social relations

of both free coloreds and petits blancs and how these relations intersected. With that

objective in mind, sacramental records and marriage contracts take on much importance.

A primary means of understanding Jeremien society is marriage and baptismal

patterns. The analysis that follows takes into account such records from 1781, the only

year falling within the parameters of this study whose ecclesiastical records have

survived in their entirety in the Jeremie Papers. Given the small size of my database on

this matter, I intend for the conclusions made below to be suggestive of the way Jeremien

society functioned in regards to the rate of legitimacy of births, the phenotypical

composition of the gens de couleur libres, and local patterns of patronage.

Table 4-1. Infants Baptized in the Parish of Jeremie, 1781
Sang
Year N Legitimacy1 Blanc Muldtre Quarteron Tierceron Metif M6e2
1781 47 68% 15 7 7 3 1 2
Source: Ecclesiastical Records, 1781, Jer6mie, JP-G.




I have calculated legitimacy based on the formula: number of children baptized with known father
divided by those baptized without a known or recognized father.

Here I have abbreviated for "sang-mel&." Literally meaning "mixed blood," this descriptor was applied to
those individuals who were deemed to have some detectable trace of non-European ancestry.









The first factor to consider is the ratio of white to non-white participants in

baptism. In 1781, the curate of the church in Jeremie baptized twenty children of color,

fifteen white children, and twelve children of unknown phenotype, for a total of forty-

seven. In aggregate, their parents reflected the diverse phenotypical composition

pervasive throughout Saint-Domingue and other slave societies in the Greater Caribbean.

As is the case with slave families, understanding the structure of free families is an

undertaking complicated by problems of paternity. The rate of illegitimacy (32%)

compounds these difficulties.

In aggregate, eighteen individual white fathers came before the priest with thirteen

white mothers. To explain this discrepancy, it is necessary to state that the five discrepant

cases involved poor ecclesiastical reporting. In some cases some whites who lacked any

standing in the community were given no designation, as was the British prisoner-of-war,

Andre (Andrew) Cavanagh, when he and his wife presented their newborn daughter for

baptism. Similarly, the priest quite often left out the racial designation of important free

coloreds. In a great many other cases, children were baptized unrecognized by their

fathers. Although Stewart R. King asserts that men were likely to recognize paternity at

the baptisms of their illegitimate children, my data for the Grande-Anse reveal no such

instances of recognition of paternity.3

A sample of thirty testaments recorded in the Grande-Anse between May 1780


3King advocates establishing parentage based on the white godfather of colored children, but, based on the
data that I have, I believe this approach to lack the rigor necessary to be an efficacious method of recreating
family structure. In many cases white men of some standing in the community stood as godparents for
colored children, both legitimate and illegitimate. It is tempting to argue as King does, because in many
cases these white godfathers stood for children of color of a "whiter" phenotype than their mothers.
Without other evidence (e.g., a last will and testament), I have refrained from naming fathers for children of
color where the basis for this assumption in the sources is lacking. For his view of white godparentage of
colored children, see King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig, 13.










and August 1789 provide room for some general conclusions before discussing how

testators used these documents to protect their dependents after their own demise. There

is a clear correspondence between gender and phenotype. Of the 30 testaments sampled,

23 (77%) of the testators were men, and only one of these men was nonwhite (see Table

4-2). The most common testator was an aged habitant concerned about those he would

leave behind; the median age of the eighteen testators who gave their ages was 48 years.

Although there is no way to compare this figure with the average age of the free

population, it does not coincide with the image of the young immigrant fresh from the

metropole, intent on his fortune. Likewise all of the female testators were women of

color: 1 "ingenue,"4 2 negresses, 1 motive, 2 in/tdhi ,,ee',, and 1 griffe.5

Table 4-2. Occupations of Male Testators (N=23)
Habitant Trader6 Merchant7 Bureaucrat Artisan None
Occupation8 14 2 2 1 3 1
Sources: L6A-13, L6A-14, L6A-23, L6A-41, L6A-70, L6A-98, L6A-121, L6A-138, L6A-139, L6B-2,
L6B-6, L6B-36, L6B-39, L6B-55, L6B-61, L6B-155, M1-13, M1-16, M1-89, G5-82, G5-101, G5-114
2, G5-130, all in JP-N.

As mentioned above, men in the Grande-Anse who fathered illegitimate children

did not accept their offspring as their own through baptismal rites. Instead, they preferred


4"Ing6nu" (feminine ingenue) in colonial practice referred to a person of free birth but presumably of some
African or, less likely, indigenous ancestry.

5With this obvious bias in mind, it is still useful to tap this means of understanding J&r6mien society. As
outlined in Table 3.7, half of the testators were landowners, or habitants, including one ingenue. Over a
quarter more identified themselves as members of the urban sector. Finally, seven gave no occupation, six
of whom were women. Daniel Scott Smith found that 36 percent of men and 6 percent of women left wills
in Hingham, Massachusetts. Daniel Scott Smith, "Underregistration and Bias in Probate Records: An
Analysis of Data from Eighteenth-Century Hingham, Massachusetts," William and Mary Quarterly 32, no.
1 (January 1975), 104.

6 Marchand, a term indicating someone engaged only in local trade.

7 Ngociant, a term indicating someone engaged in international trade.

8 "None" refers to individuals without any stated means of gainful employment. "Habitant/e" refers
likewise to landowners, no matter their socioeconomic power.









to give tacit recognition through material support by way of testaments and, less often, by

acts of donation. By reading through the lines, we can establish through a few examples

the kinds of relationships that existed between men-almost always white men-and

their illegitimate offspring.

In July 1782, Sr. Francois Desormeaux, a habitant residing at Trou Bonbon,

delivered a heifer to le nomme Hildevert Sonfillers, the illegitimate son filss natural) of

motive Marie Louise Legendre, a plantation owner in her own right at Grande-Riviere. If

Desormeaux's appointment as executor and attorney (procureur) to his fellow habitants

is any indication of his standing in the local community, he could simply have shown

paternalistic, not necessarily paternal, feelings toward Sonfillers: he also gave two cows

to his goddaughter, but his donation "due to the amity and humanity" he felt for the

young man suggests there was something more going on.9

Another, clearer case of tacit paternal recognition came to pass with the testament

of Sr. Joseph Pejac, a mason who resided at Les Caimittes. As he lay dying of a

hemorrhage, Pejac dictated his final wishes that, among other things, four quarteron

children, presumably his, be given an allowance for their maintenance until they married

or reached their majority. Two days later, Pejac, still on his deathbed and now claiming to

be a navigator by profession, altered the legacy to his four children to be 1000 livres each

for ten years. He showed special concern for the eldest, fifteen-year-old Francois, whom

he described both times as an imbecile. He stressed his concern for all of the children,



9His goddaughter, Demoiselle Bonne, the daughter of master surgeon Sr. Dominique Lelevain, produced
three bulls and a gazelle by the time of the latter's succession in February 1784. Donation of gazelle from
Sr. Francois Desormeaux to le nomm6 Hildevert Sonfillers, 18 July 1782, Jkr6mie Papers, Notaries: L6A-
38; and Succession of Sr. Dominique Lelevain, in life master surgeon at Trou Bonbon, 7 February 1784,
ibid.: L6A-66.









however, by making provision for his executor to be deposed if the latter did not enforce

their legacy.10

A third interesting case of a white man's attention to his presumed natural children

was that of Sr. Jean-Baptiste de St. Martin. De St. Martin, a habitant at le Vieux Bourg,

dictated his will as he prepared to depart from the Grande-Anse on business. He

apparently felt less insecure than Pejac that his final wishes would be carried out. De St.

Martin declared that he owed his housekeeper Marie Francoise dite Leloy 13,000 livres

for the previous thirteen years of dedicated service. He also left a legacy for her two

natural sons, "born Dieudonne, baptized as Jean Baptiste Augustin" and Pierre Fortune

(the quantity of which, unfortunately, time has rotted away on the original manuscript)

and ordered his creole slave driver commanderu) Jean Baptiste to serve the two young

quarterons for four years, after which time they were to appeal to the governor and

intendant of the colony for his liberty."

Not only men used testaments to protect natural children from post-mortem legal

entanglements. In her October 1786 testament, negresse libre Marie Magdelaine Lizette

Zebeat moved to protect her muldtresse daughter whom she described as "fille naturelle

provenant de ses oeuvres." The "work" to which Zebeat refers is elusive (perhaps

prostitution), though couples seeking the sanctification of their unions often mentioned


10Pejac, a native of "Boudelat, diocese of Auch in Gascogne," had a partnership with the griffe Laurince
Lachaume to run a store (magasin) at Les Caimittes, apparently a warehouse where local planters (e.g., the
Lafonds and Noel Azor, discussed below) stored their coffee while awaiting export to Jkr6mie or
elsewhere. His four children discussed here were not Laurince's: all her children were mulitres and
mulitresses. [1st] Testament of Sr. Joseph Pejac, 19 Sept 1785, ibid.: L6A-139; Dissolution of partnership
between Sr. Joseph Pejac and la nomm6e Laurince grif libre, dite Lachaume, 20 September 1785, ibid.:
L6A-140; 2nd Testament of Sr. Joseph Pejac, 20 September 1785, ibid.: L6A-141; and Testament of la
nomm6e Laurince, griffe libre, dite Lachaume, 21 September 1785, ibid.: L6A-144.

11Testament of Sr. Jean Baptiste de St. Martin, 26 June 1789, ibid.: T1-89.









children who resulted from their oeuvress" together. By her testament Zebeat gave her

daughter 300 livres a year pension until she reached her majority. The bulk of her estate

was destined, however, for her executor, the muldtre Jean David, a man of unknown

relation to the testator.12

Unlike Zebeat, negresse Marguerite Boucan used her testament to seek the

manumission of her son Jean Baptiste who had been enrolled in the town's police force

as a cheap way to earn his freedom. Declaring that she lacked another legal heir (and not

wanting or able to leave her estate to her son, a slave), Boucan willed her property to her

executor, muldtre habitant Francois Roo dit Licaq. As in similar cases, Roo dit Licaq

would have taken Jean Baptiste into his clientele following his mother's demise. 13

Finally, Marguerite Rozaire, the ingenue (free-born) widow of Sr. Alexis Humbert

Bouchereau, sought to protect her son from the avarice of his older and legitimate half-

siblings. She had borne him in her widowhood, and when she caught a fever she called

for the notary in order to protect the boy's interests. The clauses of her testament

underlined her concern for his future welfare: she gave him two slaves from her

plantation's workforce and, to better protect him, she appointed the boy's godfather as

her executor.14

These six vignettes suggest the ways in which men and women used their

testaments to express their anxiety over the fate of their illegitimate children after their

deaths and devised ways to protect those without to protect them from legitimate heirs

1Testament of Marie Magdelaine Lizette Zebeat, 5 October 1786, ibid.: L6B-45..

1Testament of Marguerite Boucan, 12 July 1785, ibid.: L6A-112. On military manumissions, see King,
Blue Coat or Powdered Wig, 109.

14 L6A-52.









who would seek to deprive them of material support in the future. In effect, they implied

(in some cases stronger than others) that the executor of their respective estates was to be

the patron and protector of children left without other legal recourse, and as the guardian

of the deceased person's estate and its resources, the executor was in an ideal position to

show favoritism to illegitimate but cherished heirs.15

Paternalistic sentiment extended beyond just protecting illegitimate children,

however. Godparentage was one way to create special ties between families, and these

ties went both vertical from patron to client and horizontally between families of equal

standing. In May 1781, Jacques Lafond of Fond d'Icaque stood as godfather to the infant

son of Celestin Betouzet of La Voldrogue, thus strengthening the bond between two

prominent colored planting families. Three months later, Lafond became the godfather of

his nephew Paul Fortunat, this time bringing his own family closer together.16

Vertical connections forged through godparentage are easier to see. In 1781, the

priest at Jeremie baptized fifteen illegitimate colored children. In these cases, the men

who stepped forward to godfather these children represented patrons to whom the

children and their mothers could turn for support. The prevalence of white men in this

role suggests that whites played a significant role as the patrons of the gens de couleur.17

This is not to say that men of color did not play their role as patrons to other people

of color who lacked their success or advantages. Quarteron planter Jean Cadet Atlasse,



1In the case of the male testators described above, it is telling that they threatened and begged their
executors to care for their illegitimate offspring but never officially recognized them, a step that would
have made these children legitimate heirs on equal footing with relatives in France, for instance.

16Ecclesiastical records, 1781, Jer6mie, JP-G.

1Ibid.









for instance, was the court-appointed guardian of Jean Marie Madere, a young man of

color who entered into a partnership with another young muldtre to plant coffee in La

Guinaudee, the same canton where Atlasse lived.18

Another commonplace mechanism for patronage within this society was individual

slave manumissions, in a way similar to that of Sr. de St. Martin's creole commander

who would continue to serve the master's family in case of his death. Patronage presents

an ideological explanation for the economically illogical habit of liberating one's

obedient and, often, "elite" slaves such as drivers, artisans, and domestics, who were

often quite valuable both in terms of crude monetary value and potential for profit. In

January 1785, Jacques Lafond acted out the patron's role towards a negresse named

Marie-Claire who belonged to the Berquier family. He and his wife, Jeanne Petit dite

Jeannette, explained to the notary that in 1776 while the latter was married to her first

husband, Paul Fortunat, she had Monsieur Berquier's approval for her to send a slave to

work in Marie-Claire's place for ten years. In the 1785 act, Berquier's widow agreed to

have Marie-Claire emancipated in return for this second slave to compensate for the

necessary liberty tax.19

While the paternal relationship between patrons and clients was important in

Jeremien society, so was friendship. In October 1784, Louis Lacheville donated his

coffee plantation at Fond d'Icaque to Jean Baptiste Cophi. Both men were hommes de

couleur libres (free men of color): Lacheville was a muldtre and Cophi a negre. Though

the document formalizing the donation gives no indication of the relationship between the


18Partnership between Jean Marie Madere and Gilles Bouquet, mulitres, JP-G.

19 Ratification, 25 January 1785, L6A-90.










two men, it is apparent that it was a close one. Lacheville agreed to donate all his

property to Cophi but retained use of it until his death. Reading between the lines, it

seems that Lacheville was establishing Cophi as his heir on the stipulation that he care for

him in his old age. This donation appears to be an example of the strong binds of

friendship found occasionally in notarial documents, evidence perhaps of the need for a

trusted friend in a society like that of Saint-Domingue numerically dominated by

immigrant men, both free and enslaved.20 The importance of exchanging property with

one's friends comes out in testaments, when the testator's closest friends became his

executors and, if he lacked any kin to inherit his estate, his universal heirs as well.

Placing friends in such trusted positions insured that one's debts were paid and that

beloved but illegitimate heirs were protected from less well-regarded ones who had better

claims on the estate.

A necessary addition to this discussion of connections within society is marriage

patterns. To do this, I will reconstruct two free colored planting families. Unlike their

counterparts in those parts of the North and West studied by Stewart R. King, the free

coloreds of the Grande-Anse do not appear to have generated a military elite. Archers de

police occasionally left their mark in the notaries' registers, but the data I collected






20 Aside from the interpersonal relationships that can be deduced from the document, other details of
Lacheville's economic life also come to light. He owned 6000 coffee trees, thirteen horses--seven mares
and six foals--and one slave, a Congolese man named Joli Coeur. Aside from his income from coffee, and
given the relatively small number of trees on his land and his very small workforce, horse-trading may have
been a profitable enterprise. He acquired most of his horses from Noel Azor and Jacques Lafond, hommes
de couleur who lived nearby and about whom more will be said below. The very high fertility rate among
his horses (86 per 100) indicates that he was actively breeding his stock, perhaps with an neighbor as a
business partner. Donation of habitation from Louis Lacheville to Jean Baptiste Cophi, L6A-74, 8 Oct
1784, JMr6mie Papers.









indicates no significant connections involving men who identified themselves as being of

that occupation.21

The case is stronger for a free colored planter elite in the Grande-Anse, but

identifying its members using King's methodology presents problems. For whatever

reason, free coloreds did not sell large properties worth 10,000 livres. Perhaps they held

onto what they possessed, or maybe the free coloreds in the quarter were not wealthy

individuals. It is necessary, then, to resort to qualitative means of determining who was

important among the local free coloreds. I have decided then to focus on the connections

forged by two families whose members appear to have been quite important to less

affluent free coloreds, the Lafonds and the Atlasses.

The Lafonds who appear in the notarial and ecclesiastical records of the 1780s were

the quarteron sons and daughters of Sr. Antoine Lafond, a European who married

Genevieve Gagnard, a muldtresse, before 1765. To understand the origin of this family,

one has to begin with the cursory observations Moreau de Saint-Mery made in his

Description. As he guides his reader on a tour of the parish from west to east, the author

stops for a moment to describe Fond d'Icaque, which he notes was a dependency of Les

Caimittes and a place named for the many plants called icaquiers growing in its vicinity.

Fond d'Icaque is a long, narrow valley running east to west. The valley's bottom is a






21Only one individual encountered in the Jkr6mie Papers claimed to have served in the colored
expeditionary forces, the Chasseurs-Royaux, that King indicates was so important, but and he was an
emigrant from the North. This man's testament is important, however, because it shows how notaries
tampered with the racial designations of their clients. In preparing his draft of the testament, the notary
disputed Dupont's claim to have been born as issue of a legitimate marriage and downgraded his phenotype
from m6tif to muldtre.









marsh, but Moreau asserts that the habitants grew coffee in the higher places in the marsh

and ran pigs on the slopes.22

By the early 1780s, a free colored enclave existed on the land grant of 1,400

carreaux that Sieur Lafond received from the Crown. His son Jacques Lafond,fils, and

son-in-law Noel Azor prospered as coffee planters, and the scant evidence available

indicates that family members owned adjacent properties. His sons and sons-in-law

became godfathers to each other's children, and when Genevieve Lafond's husband Paul

Fortunat met an untimely death her brother Pierre and brother-in-law Noel Azor became

the legal protectors of her children.23

A second colored planter family that is well-documented in the notarial archive, is

that of Jean Cadet Atlasse. The family matriarch, Marguerite Laroche dite Atlasse, was

manumitted in 1728. As a freedwoman she immigrated to the Grand'Anse by January

1771, when her freedom papers were registered with the local government registrar. In

August of that year, she bought up sieur Jean Agasse's half of the coffee plantation that

he owned with sieur Jean Georges Sauvanelle. In late August 1787 she sold the plantation

in the canton of la Guinaudee to a white named Joseph Fondelin for 100,000 livres but

retained use of her own bedchamber in the grand'case.24 The following month,

Marguerite Atlasse's three daughters banded together behind their brother Jean Cadet


22 The modem editors of Description ... de la parties francaise indicate that Antoine Lafond was a "native
of Bourg Saint-Andool, habitant propri6taire at Fond d'Icaque, parish of Jer&mie, husband of Genevieve
Gagnard, mulatresse. He died 3 January 1780, at the age of about 70 years." They based this and other
biographical details on documents consulted at the Archives Nationales, Paris. Moreau, Description, 3:
1390-1391, 1506.

23Marriage contract between Louis Macaya and Genevibve Lafond, 19 February 1789, L6B-167.

24 Sale of coffee plantation at la Guinaud6e by sieur Joseph Fondelin to les nomm6s Jean Cadet Atlasse et
al., 4 September 1787, M-15, Jer&mie Papers.









Atlasse to buy back their mother's estate from Fondelin for 10,000 livres more than their

mother had sold it for. Fondelin pocketed the extra money, and Marguerite Atlasse

gained a yearly pension from her children as Fondelin passed his mortgage on the

property to them.

Before discussing connections established by the Lafond and Atlasse through

marriage, it is necessary to discuss free colored marriage choice in more general terms. A

sample of marriages drawn from the 1781 ecclesiastical records and from marriage

contracts drawn up during the 1780s suggests that officially sanctioned marriages, unlike

casual or consensual unions, were nearly always endogamous, in the sense of whites

marrying whites and nonwhites marrying nonwhites. A sample of ten marriages involving

white spouses bears this out: in nine of the cases, both parties were white; in the tenth, the

phenotype of the bride is unknown. More to the point is a sample of 21 marriages

involving free coloreds (see Table 4-3). In 62% (13) of the cases, both of the spouses

were of the same phenotype. When the spouses were of different hue, there was a nearly

even division between those cases in which the groom was darker and in those cases in

which the bride was the darker spouse. In all cases involving marriages between persons

of different phenotypes, there was almost always one degree of difference in color

between the spouses. For example, Jean Baptiste Francois Etienne Bazile dit Estienne, a

muldtre, brought 4500 livres when contracting marriage with Julie Bregard, a

quarteronne who brought 4300 livres worth of property into the marriage. The

implications of this match are clear: Estienne, a muldtre of illegitimate birth contracted to









marry a quarteronne of similar circumstances and of similar wealth. In their case,

socioeconomic position negated any phenotypical differences.25

Table 4-3. Marriage Choice among the Gens de couleur libres (N=20)
Phenotype: Groom-Bride Frequency Degree of Difference26
Muldtre-Muldtresse 8 0
Metif-Muldtresse 1 2
Quarteron-Quarteronne 2 0
Negre-Negresse 2 0
Indien27-Negresse 1 1
Tierceron-Tierceronne 1 0
Quarteron-Muldtresse 2 1
Grif-Muldtresse 1 1
Metif-Quarteronne 1 1
Muldtre-Quarteronne 1 1
Note: Excluded from this table is one couple; the
groom was described as "affrachi," and the bride was a negresse.

Such a model is, however, reductionistic and leaves out any ideological factors at

play, such as how the parties felt towards each other. The sources do not allow us to go so

far as to say that parties contracting marriage before a notary and celebrating marriage

before a priest were in romantic love in the modern sense. Some did, however, relate

feelings of friendship (amitie), one to the other as grooms in particular planned for the

dissolution of their marriage by death. Marriage contracts, both between whites and

between coloreds, occasionally included clauses allowing the survivor rights of usufruct





25 Marriage contract, 5 May 1786, G5-106.

26 Using Moreau de Saint-Mery's description of racial mixture as a guide, I have attempted to show here
that marriages between persons of different phenotypes occurred without a great jump in color difference.

27 It is unknown whether the indien in question, Nicolas Bessin, was of ancestry indigenous to Hispaniola
or of elsewhere. Moreau de Saint-Mdry argued that descent from West Indians (indiens occidentaux)
should be calculated as for the mulitres to whom he compared them, that they were in effect straight-haired
mulattoes.









over some or all of the communal estate or the claim to property from the estate up to a

specified value (often 1000 livres but more for wealthier couples).

The marriage patterns of members of the Lafond family correspond with the

samples discussed above. It remains unclear what free coloreds found desirable in a

spouse's conditions of color and birth. Sieur Lafond's daughter Genevieve married the

first time to Paul Fortunat, a quarteron, and the second to Louis Macaya, a muldtre of

unrecognized paternity. The apparent factors at play in her second choice apparently

included finding a stepfather for her young children from her first marriage, but in

reductionistic terms, she was actually marrying down in society, because Macaya was,

unlike her, illegitimate and was darker than her. According to the colonial discourse

related by Moreau de Saint-Mery, coloreds should be whitening, but on the frontier in

Fond d'Icaque, in relative isolation ten leagues from the sea, free coloreds seemed able to

define a discourse that only survived as fragments in the notarial archive.

Members of the Atlasse family, though of different social origins, demonstrated

similar marriage patterns. Marguerite Atlasse's four children pursued different routes in

establishing their own households. Jean Cadet Atlasse married a muldtresse, had at least

three children, and managed his own plantation in La Guinaudee adjacent to the one he

and his sisters bought from Fondelin. One of his sisters, Barbe Gertrude Gaucherelle, was

an habitante at Les Roseaux and a widow by 1787. Her daughter Elizabeth Viard, herself

only two generations from slavery, married a white immigrant from Bordeaux, Jacques

Eglize, in 1787. The second sister, Francoise Atlasse, married Francois Bouchereau, a

quarteron coffee planter from La Grande-Riviere, with whom she had at least three

children. The third sister, Marie Thereze Sauvanelle dite Sanite, never married but had









five children nonetheless. She diversified her investments between a small store in La

Haute-Ville and a share in the family plantation at La Guinaudee, and at the time of her

death in 1789 she was nearly worth enough to give each of her children the 10,000 livres

that she wanted to.28

From the marriage patterns of the couples included in the samples discussed above

and of the members of the Atlasse and Lafond families, it appears that free coloreds

usually married individuals of their own phenotype (e.g., muldtres tended to marry

nillAtill ee)'\) but that when they married individuals of color different from their own that

they did so within certain limits. If this is true, muldtres tended to marry griffes,

quarteronnes, and perhaps negresses but not persons of phenotypes very much lighter or

darker than they.

Religious Belief

Although testaments are a useful source for understanding personal relationships,

they are also an interesting source for exploring religious belief. In an area which lacked

a parish church and where the rectory shared a town lot with a powder magazine, it is

interesting to probe briefly into how testators invoked the supernatural, or not, as they

declared their final intentions. As with similar documents, we can know only what they

cared to tell the notary, perhaps not what their inner beliefs were. Most were content with

commending their spirit to the Almighty, to be received, they hoped, into the presence of

the bien heureux or with affirming that they were good Catholics who wished to die in

the faith. Some were more creative. Sr. Isaac Delahaye, by 1789 a blind old planter,

declared that "I commend my soul to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... to be placed


28Rental of a petit magasin, 26 October 1789, G5-132, JP-N.









in the Kingdom ... [and I ask] all the Saints of Paradise and especially St. Isaac, my

patron, to intercede on my behalf." Likewise, as he lay sick in bed, Sr. Joseph Vigneau

expressed his hope that "as a Christian, Catholic, Roman, and Apostolic, he commends

his soul to God, the Father in all persons, to the Bien heureuse Virgin Mary, to the saints

of Paradise, asking His Divine Majesty to have mercy upon him and to receive his soul

after its Separation from his Body." Finally, habitant Sr. Antoine Dolle expressed his

desire for a simple funeral "sanspompe" and left the details to the good sense of his

executor.29

The Free Coloreds Rise Up

While they participated in the economic and social life of the quarter with whites

until the end of the ancien regime, the prominent men of color in the Grande-Anse also

played their part in opposing the forces of white supremacy in the Revolution. While the

slaves in the North began their famous uprising in August 1791, the free coloreds of the

West started their own struggle for equality, though the two movements were unrelated

and had quite different ends.30 The free coloreds of the Caimittes region likewise

converged on Fond d'Icaque, where Jacques Lafond, Noel Azor, and a third man named

Page led a rebellion, no doubt calling upon their friends, relatives, and clients to play

their part. Not much is known about this rebellion, aside from those contained in a

memoir entitled Precis historique. The author, who was residing in Port-au-Prince during

the early years of the revolution, related that the Fond d'Icaque free coloreds rose up,



29 Testament of Sr. Isaac Delahaye, 10 August 1789, G5-130, JP-N; and Testament of Sr. Joseph Vigneau,
23 December 1781, L6A-23, ibid.

30David Patrick Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2002),
99-102.









apparently in sympathy with other rebels closer to the colonial capital. According to the

author's account, "the blood of the whites flowed in long streams. Nearly 80 whites had

their throats cut. They did not spare the women, not the pregnant Dame Desjourne nor

Dame Plinquet and her little ones." The whites responded with force, arming their slaves

to put down the revolt and never forgiving the free coloreds for the atrocities they held

them to have committed.31

The rebellious brothers-in-law survived the abortive revolt and the subsequent

violence against the gens de couleur. Following the British withdrawal from Jeremie in

1793, Lafond acted as justice of the peace for the commune du Corail, at least for a time.

He was dead by 1797, when his widow rented out his plantation. Our last glimpse of

Azor comes a year earlier, when the officers of the sMndchaussde (operating under the

supervision of the occupying government) auctioned two of his slaves for his part played

in aiding the "enemies of His [Britannic] Majesty."32

Conclusion

Patterns of marriage and other social interaction in the Grande-Anse revolved

around patronage. Godparentage circulated patronage within free colored families,

strengthened bonds between families, and created ties with social inferiors, and marriage

both legitimized consensual relationships and any children born of those relations and

extended ties between families. The Lafond and Atlasse families are examples of

prominent free colored planters who created connections between its members and with

other free coloreds. These connections were ultimately important in the Haitian


31Anonymous, "Precis historique," 1: 64; and David P. Geggus, Slavery, War, and Revolution

32L8-134, JP-N.






76


Revolution, particularly in its early stages, when free coloreds fought against the white

supremacy that had been the colonial status quo.














CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

The coffee boom that swept through the highlands of the French colony of Saint-

Domingue in the 1770s and 1780s brought about great social, economic, and

demographic change in its wake. In the quarter de la Grande-Anse on the southern

peninsula, these changes meant an increase in trade with both Europe and other colonial

ports, the massive importation of African slaves to work newly created coffee and mixed-

crop plantations, and a large immigration of settlers from France's Atlantic ports and

Caribbean colonies. The most obscured effect of the boom is its ecological component.

The three major strata of the colonial population-whites, coloreds, and slaves-all

experienced huge increases, but this was a phenomenon felt throughout the colony's

coffee zones. The difference in the Grande-Anse is that whites formed the majority of the

free population, both before the boom and after it began. Though some free coloreds did

make it well as coffee planters, an indeterminate number also operated small market

farms to feed the plantations and the nascent towns. Others competed with whites as

carpenters and other artisans in the building trades to construct the plantation homes,

stores, millhouses, and slave quarters so much in demand.

The number of African slaves imported to work on the coffee plantations also

increased in leaps and bounds during the 1780s, but so did the creole slave population,

which represented over a third of the slave population in our sample presented in Chapter

3. Of the imported slaves, those from West Central Africa predominated, which suggests









the importance of"Congos" to slave culture in the Grande-Anse. We have also discussed,

provisionally, the diet, housing, and family structure of Jeremien coffee slaves.

Finally, in Chapter 3, we discussed marriage patterns and patronage among the free

population, particularly people of color. From the evidence available, it appears that in

the 1780s most marriages in the Grande-Anse were within one's own race. Free coloreds

married free coloreds and whites married whites. One of the interesting issues under

consideration is marriage choice among free coloreds based on the phenotype and

legitimacy of one's spouse. The small sample presented in this chapter suggests that

coloreds married individuals most often married individuals with their own phenotypes or

otherwise those not much lighter or darker than their own. Finally, we considered the

limited evidence for Jeremien colored participation in the Haitian Revolution, both in the

initial revolts in 1793 and the war for independence that lasted 1802-1803.

All of the elements of Jeremien society presented in this thesis are meant to be

preliminary analyses of a region of Saint-Domingue largely neglected by historians until

now. Though by no means the largest or most cosmopolitan of colonial towns, Jeremie

was important for the export of coffee and other tropical commodities through the

island's entrepots and was a significant disembarkation point for the Atlantic slave trade.

Further evidence for Jeremie's commerce lies hidden in the predominant colonial

newspaper, Les Affiches Americaines, awaiting compilation of shipping notices and

coffee prices. The Jeremie Papers, upon which this study is largely based, also promise

more than enough documentation for a social history of the turbulent 1790s, when the

Grande-Anse became a British protectorate for five years. As we have noted in Chapter 1,









it appears that many of the affluent white families stayed on in Jeremie, at least until the

final French withdrawal in 1803.

In perspective, the significance of the Grande-Anse is as a counterpoint to

dominant trends in the rest of the colony. Its free population remained white throughout

the latter half of the eighteenth century, rather than becoming predominantly colored with

the coffee boom. Perhaps in part because of this demographic feature, the quarter

welcomed the British occupation as black and colored revolutionaries threatened white

supremacy. The present work is a seminal effort to understand the history of this

interesting region, but much remains to be done to explain how society developed on one

of Saint-Domingue's internal frontiers.















LIST OF REFERENCES


Primary Sources: Manuscripts

Debien, Gabriel, ed. "Precis historique des annals de la colonie francoise de Saint-
Domingue (Juillet 1789 a Mai 1802): manuscript anonyme." 2 vols. Typescript,
Archives de la Vienne, n.d.

Jeremie Papers, Department of Special and Area Collections, George A. Smathers
Library, University of Florida.

Notaries: L'Epine, Thomas, Girard, Lefrotter.

Greffe: Ecclesiastical Records, 1781

Primary Sources: Contemporary Printed Matter

Barbe-Marbois, Francois. Etat des finances de Saint-Domingue. Paris: Imprimerie
Royale: 1790.

Laborie, Pierre-Joseph. The Coffee Planter of San Domingo. London: T. Cadell and W.
Davies, 1798.

Moreau de Saint-Mery, M. L. E. Description topographique, physique, civil, politique et
historique de la partiefrangaise de l'isle Saint-Domingue. Edited by Blanche
Maurel and Etienne Taillemitte. 3 vols. Paris: Societe de L'Histoire des Colonies
Francaises, 1958.

Secondary Sources

Beckles, Hilary McD. "Sugar and White Servitude: An Analysis of White Indentured
Labor during the Sugar Revolution of Barbados, 1643-1655." Journal of the
Barbados Museum and Historical Society 36, no. 3 (1981): 236-46.

Curto, Jose C. Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and
Its Hinterland, 1550-1830. Leiden: Brill, 2004.

Craton, Michael. Empire, Enslavement and Freedom in the Caribbean. Kingston: Ian
Randle Publishers, 1997.

Curtin, Philip. The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census. Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1969.






81


Debien, Gabriel. Les esclaves aux Antilles franCaises, XVIIe-XVIIIe siecles. Basse-Terre:
Society d'Histoire de la Guadeloupe, 1974.

Fick, Carolyn. The Making ofHaiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below.
Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.

Frostin, Charles. Les revoltes blanches a Saint-Domingue aux XVIIe-XVIIIe siecles.
Paris: L'Ecole, 1975.

Garrigus, John. "Blue and Brown: Contraband Indigo and the Rise of a Free Colored
Planter Class in French Saint Domingue." Americas 50, no. 2 (October 1993): 233-
63.

S"A Struggle for Respect: The Free Coloreds of Saint Domingue, 1770-1779"
Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1989.

Geggus, David P. Haitian Revolutionary Studies. Bloomington: University of Indiana
Press, 2002.

S"Haitian Voodoo in the Eighteenth Century: Language, Culture, Resistance."
Jahrbuch fur Geschichte von Staat, Windschaft und Geschelschaft Weinamerikas
28 (1991): 1-31.

S"Slave and Free Colored Women in Saint Domingue." In David B. Gaspar and
Darlene C. Hine, eds. More than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the
Americas, 259-78. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Slavery, War, and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue,
1793-1798. Oxford: Clarendon, 1982.

S"Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and the Shaping of the
Slave Labor Force." In Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Cultivation and
Culture: Labor and the .\lhpmg of Slave Life in the Americas, 73-97.
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.

Higman, B. W. Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834. Baltimore: The
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.

James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo
Revolution. New York: Knopf, 1963.

King, Stewart R. Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in Pre-
Revolutionary Saint Domingue. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001.

Kiple, Kenneth F. The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1984.









and Virginia H. Kiple. "Deficiency Diseases in the Caribbean." Journal of
Interdisciplinary History 11, no. 2 (1980), reprinted in Hilary Beckles and Verene
Shepherd, eds. Caribbean Slave Society and Economy: A Student Reader. New
York: The New Press, 1991.

Klein, Herbert S. "The Colored Militia of Cuba, 1568-1868." Caribbean Studies 6
(1966): 17-27.

McClellan, James E., III. Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue in the Old Regime.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.

Miller, Joseph C. Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade,
1730-1830. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988.

Scott, Daniel. "Underregistration and Bias in Probate Records: An Analysis of Data from
Eighteenth-Century Hingham, Massachusetts." William andMary Quarterly 32,
no. 1 (January 1975): 100-110.

Socolow, Susan. "Economic Roles of the Free Women of Color of Cap Francais." In
David Gaspar and Darlene Hine, eds. More than Chattel: Black Women and
Slavery in the Americas, 279-97. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. "Coffee Planters and Coffee Slaves in the Antilles: The Impact
of a Secondary Crop." In Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Cultivation and
Culture: Labor and the .\hipmg of Slave Life in the Americas, 124-37.
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.

."Motion in the System: Coffee, Color, and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century
Saint Domingue." Review 8 (Winter 1982): 331-88.

Vovelle, Michel. Piktd baroque et Dichristianisation en Provence au XVIIe siecle. Paris:
Editions du C.T.H.S., 1997.















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Keith Anthony Manuel was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, in 1981. After

graduating from Port Barre High School in Port Barre, Louisiana, in 1999, Mr. Manuel

attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, from which he was graduated with

honors in 2003 with a bachelor of arts in history. He began graduate studies at the

University of Florida in August 2003. After graduating, Mr. Manuel plans to continue his

studies in Latin American and Caribbean history at that institution with the goal of

receiving a doctoral degree. He currently resides in Gainesville, Florida, with his wife

Bridget, his daughter Rebecca, and two small felines.




Full Text

PAGE 1

SLAVERY, COFFEE, AND FAMILY IN A FRONTIER SOCIETY: JRMIE AND ITS HINTERLAND, 1780-1789 By KEITH ANTHONY MANUEL A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

PAGE 2

Copyright 2005 by Keith Anthony Manuel

PAGE 3

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people helped this thesis along from start to finish. I must first thank my committee chair, David Geggus, for his assistance throughout the life of this project, especially his patient editing just prior to my oral defense. This manuscript would also not be what it is without the perceptive comments of my two readers, Jeffrey Needell and Jon Sensbach. I must also give much credit to the staff of the Department of Area and Special Collections and the Latin American Collection of the University of Florida Libraries for their assistance in gathering together the primary and secondary material I used in this project. Particular gratitude is due to Bruce Chappell for key professional and, at times, critical personal support. Others who have helped one way or another (some more than they can know) include Peter Wolf, David Wheat, Maury Wiseman, Mil Willis, and Julia Frederick. Finally, I must thank my family for supporting me, especially in the last frantic stages of writing. My wife, Bridget, who deserves much credit for her patience with my preoccupation, and my daughter, Rebecca, have given me the strength to carry it through. iii

PAGE 4

TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW......................................1 2. GOVERNANCE, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY..........................................................8 Geographical Overview................................................................................................9 Society........................................................................................................................16 Economy.....................................................................................................................21 Planters and Plantations..............................................................................................32 Conclusions.................................................................................................................37 3. PLANTATION SLAVERY IN THE GRANDE-ANSE..............................................38 The Naming of Slaves and Ethnicity..........................................................................43 The Slaves Diet.........................................................................................................49 Occupational Mobility on Coffee Plantations............................................................53 Housing and Community............................................................................................55 Conclusions.................................................................................................................57 4. FAMILY, RACE, AND PATRONAGE IN THE GRANDE-ANSE BEFORE THE FRENCH REVOLUTION..........................................................................................59 Religious Belief..........................................................................................................73 The Free Coloreds Rise Up.........................................................................................74 Conclusion..................................................................................................................75 5. CONCLUSION.............................................................................................................77 iv

PAGE 5

LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................80 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................83 v

PAGE 6

LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1. Population Increase in the Parish of Jrmie...............................................................9 2-2. Militia Enrollment by Race, 1751-1789....................................................................20 2-3. Summary of Property Ownership in Saint-Domingue, Listed by Major Ports of Embarkation, 1788...................................................................................................22 2-4. Export Statistics, 1788...............................................................................................25 2-5. Annual Commodity Production in the Grande-Anse, 1788 (Thousands of Pounds).....................................................................................................................25 2-6. Sample of Slaving Vessels Calling at Jrmie, 1788-1791.......................................26 2-7. Immigrants to the Grande-Anse, 1780-1789.............................................................28 2-8. Slave and Landholding on 13 Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792......................................................................................................33 2-9. Real property Owned by the Berquier Family, ca. 1803, for which the Family Received Compensation...........................................................................................36 3-1. Numbers of Africans and Creoles on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=551)..............................................40 3-2. Summary of the Origins of Slaves on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the GrandAnse (N=606)................................................................................................41 3-3. Some Factors Bearing on Slave Life on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations, 1780-1792, Based on Notarized Plantation Inventories.......................42 3-4. Slave Fertility Indexes on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations by Size of Plantation Workforce, 1782-1792........................................................................43 3-5. The Origins of Slaves on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=606)..........................................................................45 3-6. Profiles of Commandeurs on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792......................................................................................................55 vi

PAGE 7

3-7. Slave Housing on Small and Middling Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1789 (N=9)..............................................................................56 4-1. Infants Baptized in the Parish of Jrmie, 1781........................................................59 4-2. Occupations of Male Testators (N=23).....................................................................61 4-3. Marriage Choice among the Gens de couleur libres (N=20)....................................71 vii

PAGE 8

LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1. Urban Development in Jrmie, 1765-1788..............................................................14 3-1. Population Pyramid of the Workforces on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1782-1792 (N=551)..............................................39 viii

PAGE 9

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts SLAVERY, COFFEE, AND FAMILY IN A FRONTIER SOCIETY: JRMIE AND ITS HINTERLAND, 1780-1789 By Keith Anthony Manuel August 2005 Chair: David Patrick Geggus Major Department: History Between the end of the Seven Years War in 1763 and the spread of the French Revolution to the island in 1791, coffee became an important export crop in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). This crop proliferated in the colonys mountains where sugar could not be grown profitably. The resulting coffee boom drew thousands of new colonists from Europe, the French West Indies, and Louisiana who imported tens of thousands of slaves. This thesis sheds light on the conditions of life during the coffee boom in the vicinity of the town of Jrmie in the southwestern part of Saint-Domingue. This previously neglected region received its share of both colonists and slaves. The thesis uncovers some details about the lives of the colonists, including to some degree their marriage patterns (i.e., interracial vs. intraracial marriages), the degree to which they were able to exploit their landholdings, and personal relationships between whites and free people of color. Some light is also shed on the lives of the slaves who daily worked ix

PAGE 10

the coffee groves. The thesis includes a quantitative analysis of a sample of these slaves based on slave lists included in inventories of coffee and mixed crop estates (i.e., plantations planted in coffee and either cotton or cacao). Finally, the thesis also establishes some previously unknown details about free colored men who led the local fight against white supremacy in the early years of the revolution. Notarized documents provide some interesting details about Nol Azor and Jacques Lafond, who led free coloreds and slaves in revolt at Fond dIcaque in 1791. Documentation consulted for this thesis suggeststhat free coloreds did not own much land devoted to coffee cultivation but rather that a few free coloreds did become coffee planters in Jrmie, largely due to capital inherited from their white fathers. x

PAGE 11

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND HISTORIOGRAPHICAL REVIEW The town of Jrmie in southwestern Saint-Domingue and its hinterland, known as the Grande-Anse, experienced a frenetic expansion in coffee production in the 1770s and 1780s. This was the regions third economic boom during the eighteenth century. In the 1730s, cacao had become a major plantation staple, and in the 1750s coffee began to expand. This latter boom apparently continued until 1774, when coffee prices fell. Between 1783, when prices recovered, and 1791, the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution, coffee spread through the highlands of Saint-Domingue, and the Grande-Anse was one focus of this expanding coffee frontier. 1 Jrmie was the principal urban area of one of the colonys 52 parishes and was the seat of one of its 26 quartiers, administrative (though not always judicial) units that usually encompassed more than one ecclesiastical parish. Though it had the privilege to engage in international commerce, Jrmie remained a second-rate port largely subordinate to the colonys major entrepts, Port-au-Prince and Cap Franais, although in the late 1780s French ships began calling at Jrmie in greater numbers. All the while, contraband trade probably remained extensive, particularly with the English in Jamaica and the Dutch at Curaao. In 1788, along with other agricultural and industrial enterprises, Saint-Domingue had 2,810 cafteries (coffee plantations) and 792 sucreries (sugar plantations); 105 of the 1 To clarify, I use the word region here and hereafter in reference to the Grande-Anse as a part of Saint-Domingue. 1

PAGE 12

2 former and 8 of the latter were in the quartier of Jrmie. Although only a small contributor to the overall colonial economy, Jrmie did export the majority of the coffee originating in the South Province, which developed in large part following the Seven Years War (1756-1763). Although regional trade statistics are easily accessible only for 1788 and 1789, it is clear that Jrmie and the colonys other highland regions experienced a boom in both the production of export commodities and population. 2 The immigrants who revolutionized society in the Grande-Anse in particular and highland Saint-Domingue in general came from three quite different sources. First, the coffee boom drew immigrants from other parts of the colony and from other possessions of the French Crown in the West Indies. Second, immigrants from Frances Atlantic ports, both rich and poor, arrived in the Grande-Anse intent on making their fortune. Finally, and most important numerically, were the thousands of slaves that arrived aboard French (and foreign interloping) slave ships (ngriers) from the coast of West and West-Central Africa. Highland regions like the Grande-Anse that had once been the home primarily of maroons, free colored smallholders, and feral pigs became by 1789 the fastest growing sector of the colonys economy, far surpassing the sugar complex in its rate of growth. The significant changes that coffee fostered brought great change to society in the Grande-Anse. The present study intends to assess some of these changes through an examination of documentary sources on life in this region in the 1780s, a period in which the coffee boom was well underway but before the French Revolution impacted the colony. 2 I discuss trade and population estimates in greater detail in Chapter 1, below. This brief exposition is meant to be present a general vision of the effect of the coffee boom on society.

PAGE 13

3 The first issue to consider is the changes that the coffee boom promoted in economic relationships and land usage. At a very general level, the volume of shipping visiting Jrmie quadrupled in only a few years. This increase reflects more ships calling at Jrmie to engage in both trans-Atlantic commerce and the coasting trade (cabotage). The boom in population that echoed the boom in coffee production yielded a six-fold increase in the free population and nearly an eight-fold increase in the slave population between 1751 and 1789. Landholders both sold out to newcomers as land prices rose and engaged in virulent speculation. In many cases, landholders exchanged slaves for marginal land what had always been a capital-scarce economy. The second issue is the great increase in the slave population in the Grande-Anse from a little over 2,000 individuals in 1751 to a round 17,000 in 1789 by official estimates. Taking into consideration slave mortality during and after the seasoning process, many more than 15,000 arrived through Jrmie, smaller ports, or, less likely, overland from other parts of Saint-Domingue. Lacking data on the slave trade and other striking aspects of slavery such as marronage, I constrained myself instead to an examination of the material conditions that slaves faced in that Grande-Anse such as diet, housing, and labor. Included in this analysis are those aspects of slave social organization that can be derived from plantation inventories, namely work specialization and maternity. In doing so, I have tried to engage with the scholarship on slave life, specifically in late eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue. David P. Gegguss articles on sugar and coffee in particular have proven useful to my analysis of coffee production in the Grande-Anse. Geggus and Michael Cratons analyses of plantation slave labor in the French and British Caribbean, respectively, have shown me how to analyze slave lists

PAGE 14

4 quantitatively. For matters relative to the slave family, I have drawn methodological inspiration from B. W. Higmans Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834, and my brief discussion of slave disease and nutrition draws from Kenneth F. Kiples The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Finally, I have drawn general conclusions about slave life in Saint-Domingue from Gabriel Debiens studies of the French Caribbean that culminated in his Les esclaves aux Antilles franaises. 3 The final locus of my analysis is the free population, both white and colored. There is no better place to begin than Mederic-Louis-lie Moreau de Saint-Mrys voluminous Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie franaise de lisle Saint-Domingue, one colonial subjects portrayal of Frances most important American possession on the eve of the revolution. Part of the attraction of Moreaus work is that it contains all the biases of a member of the white upper class. Although his primary purpose was to write a natural history of Saint-Domingue for the colonial scientific society, he also discusses Enlightenment-era pseudo-scientific racism, the Atlantic slave trade, and slave culture in tantalizing detail. 4 In 1982, Michel-Rolph Trouillot made open the way to more modern analyses of Saint-Domingues free people of color by synthesizing the available printed primary and secondary literature in his article Motion in the System: Coffee, Color, and Slavery in 3 David P. Geggus, Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and the Shaping of the Slave Labor Force, in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993); Michael Craton, Empire, Enslavement and Freedom in the Caribbean (Kingston: Randle Publishers, 1997); B. W. Higman, Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), 364-73; Kenneth F. Kiple, The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984). 4 Mederic-Louis-lie Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie franaise de lisle Saint-Domingue, edited by Blanche Maurel and tienne Taillemitte (3 vols; Paris: Socit de LHistoire des Colonies Franaises, 1958).

PAGE 15

5 Eighteenth-Century Saint-Domingue. In his analysis of the people of color, Trouillot integrated the top-down approach of world systems theory with a bottom-up perspective that took into consideration the historical agency of individuals in the colony. He concluded that demands for coffee in the core areas of the world system allowed a middling class of coffee planters to arise to meet that need. 5 Two major treatments of the socioeconomic rise of Saint-Domingues free coloreds have come forward since Trouillots seminal work. In 1988, John Garrigus completed his dissertation at Johns Hopkins University entitled A Struggle for Respect: The Free Coloreds of Saint Domingue, 1770-1779, in which he examined the rise of the Raimond family of the South Province using previously untapped notarial documents. Garriguss remains the best analysis to date on the colonys free people of color. Based on his analysis of notarized documents from several southern parishes, he challenges Trouillots contention that coffee brought great wealth to free coloreds. Garrigus found no great increase in free colored wealth through the exploitation of coffee plantations. The free colored elites whom he studied invested instead in indigo cultivation and received great returns through contraband with Dutch and German merchant houses. 6 In 2001, Stewart R. King published the second major examination of the prosperity of the free coloreds with his book Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue. King argues extensively but not convincingly for a 5 Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Motion in the System: Coffee, Color, and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Saint-Domingue, Review 8 (Winter 1982): 331-88; and Trouillot, Coffee Planters and Coffee Slaves in the Antilles: The Impact of a Secondary Crop, in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993): 124-37. 6 John D. Garrigus, A Struggle for Respect: The Free Coloreds of Saint Domingue, 1770-1779 (Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1989).

PAGE 16

6 typology dividing economically prominent free coloreds into a military elite and a planter elite. In effect, his typology imposes on colonial Saint-Domingue what was a reality only in late revolutionary and postcolonial Haiti: a black military elite, drawn largely from the slave elite, and a mulatto planter elite that continued their role as planters in late colonial society. 7 My analysis of the people of color in the vicinity of Jrmie is intended in part as a critique of Blue Coat or Powdered Wig. Through my examination of the Grande-Anse before the spread of the revolution, I seek to establish the types of personal relationships and economic roles held by free coloreds and whites in the coffee frontier. I avoid making restrictive models and instead describe the activities of some of the most prominent families of both races, using such documentation as marriage contracts, testaments, donations, and baptismal entries to reconstruct kinship and pseudo-kinship networks that proved so important in Jrmien society. Like King and Garrigus, however, my study contributes to the historiography of the Haitian Revolution by establishing the socioeconomic background of free coloreds who joined others like them to appeal for the civil rights of free non-whites in the French Atlantic world. In order to document socioeconomic conditions in this isolated settlement, I utilized the Jrmie Papers, a manuscript collection held by the Department of Area and Special Collections of the University of Florida libraries. This collection of approximately six thousand documents consists of some five thousand notarized instruments as well as a number of ecclesiastical and civil registers. Because the fragmentary civil court registers did not yield much useful historical data for the 1780s, I 7 Stewart R. King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001).

PAGE 17

7 have instead relied almost entirely on the notarial papers. The latter have yielded a great deal of detail about the lives of rural landowners (habitants), urban dwellers, and slaves. I have focused largely on the papers of three notaries: matre 8 Thomas (1787-1793), matre Girard (1780-1792), and Lpine (1780-1792), amounting to approximately 800 documents, while also consulting the ecclesiastical register for 1781, the only one falling within the parameters of this study extant in its entirety in the Jrmie Papers. Given what these sources can tell us, I have chosen to focus on the coffee plantations and the slaves who worked them in the 1780s, while not neglecting what I have discovered about life in what appear to be two of the other major sectors of the Grande-Anses population: the urban areas (of which the town of Jrmie was the largest) and the smallholders who grew plantains and manioc in marginal rural areas. I hope that this study proves useful to the debates on slave demography and free colored social organization. Although my sample sizes are small, my analysis of these issues is the first for the Grande-Anse, whose colonial period has not been studied since Moreau de Saint-Mry published his Description . de la partie franaise. 8 Matre was the proper title of address to notaries, surveyors, and some other public functionaries. The personal name of matre Thomas was Paul-Franois-Charles. The personal names of the other two notaries are unknown.

PAGE 18

CHAPTER 2 GOVERNANCE, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY The coffee boom of the late eighteenth century brought a period of phenomenal growth in economic activity to highland regions of Saint-Domingue that had previously been of marginal importance. Rapid economic growth encouraged a rapid increase in population. Everywhere the free colored population grew the fastest. On the eve of the French Revolution, the population of the parish of Jrmie represented roughly 2,000 (20%) of the whites, 1,000 (10%) of the free coloreds, and over 18,000 (about 21%) of the slaves in the South Province. At that time, about 30,000 resident whites, perhaps 30,000 free coloreds, and close to half a million slaves were in the entire colony (see Table 2-1). In 1788, the town of Jrmie exported 6.5% of the 68 million pounds of coffee that legally entered the international market from Saint-Domingue, then the worlds largest producer of that commodity. 1 Finally, Jrmie contributed nearly 2.6% of the royal customs duties collected in the colony that year. Despite the relative insignificance of Jrmies fiscal, commercial, and demographic weight relative to other regions of Saint-Domingue, it is significant to understanding the history of that colony because its rapid growth rate during the expansion of coffee cultivation in the 1770s and 1 This calculation (2.6%) does not reflect the coffee that left the Grande-Anse aboard coasting vessels bound either for other ports in the colony or to other colonies (e.g., Jamaica). Suggestive of how great the undercounting was are the customs records kept during the British occupation of the region (1793-1798). According to what David Geggus relates, the Grande-Anse exported nearly 16 million pounds of coffee in 1794 and nearly 17 million the following year. These latter figures amount to 3.6 and 3.8 times the tonnage of coffee exported from the region five years before. David Patrick Geggus, Slavery, War and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 1793-1798 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 402. 8

PAGE 19

9 1780s and its peculiar position as the unique stronghold of white supremacy during much of the revolutionary 1790s. Table 2-1. Population Increase in the Parish of Jrmie Year Whites Libres Free Population Slave Population 2 Total 1751 387 109 496 2,147 2,643 1788 2,000 1,000 3,000 18,774 20,000 Increase 1613 891 2504 14,853 17357 % 516.79 917.43 604.84 791.80 756.71 Source: Census data cited in Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1400-1401. Geographical Overview Under the ancien rgime, the French Crown divided Saint-Domingue into three provinces, or parties, named the North, the West, and the South. Twelve major towns that served commercial, social, administrative, and religious functions dotted the coast of the colony. In the North, the major urban center was Cap Franais, also known as Le Cap, which was also the commercial capital of the colony. It was also the center of Saint-Domingues cultural life and was a veritable city of stone akin in size and function to a metropolitan provincial capital. In the West was the official colonial capital at Port-au-Prince, a much younger and less developed town than Le Cap. Although the economy of Jrmie remained bound to these two ports, by 1788 it had attracted some trans-Atlantic commerce. 3 2 Contemporaries disagreed on the size of Saint-Domingues slave population. In Table 2-1, I relied on the figures Moreau de Saint-Mry gives in his Description . de la partie franaise, except for the slave population, for which I turned to those Intendant Franois Barb-Marbois listed in his tat des finances de Saint Domingue (Paris, 1790). I preferred the latter because he gave exact figures, not round numbers as Moreau did. 3 For the sake of clarity, I will refer to the principal town as Jrmie and its jurisdiction as the Grande-Anse. Jrmien will likewise be the adjective applied to things of the Grande-Anse and particularly of Jrmie. Although it has an interesting history of its own, I neglect Cap Dame Marie in this study in favor of its more developed neighbor to the east. On Jrmies trade with Le Cap and Port-au-Prince, see Moreau, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1385. On the primacy of the latter two ports in the

PAGE 20

10 The second level of administration in the colony was the quartier (quarter), a political department that included two or more parishes, which were both civil and ecclesiastical divisions. The quartier de la Grande-Anse encompassed the northwestern tip of present-day Haitis southern peninsula and encompassed two parishes, which were both ecclesiastical and civil territorial divisions. The boundaries of the quartier were the sea to the north and west, mountains to the south, and, beyond dense forests, the quartier du Petit-Trou de Nippes to the east. The physical isolation of the Grande-Anse made water-borne transport of great importance to the colonists for long-range travel. The small herds of horses and mules on most plantations belie the importance of beasts of burden for short-range transport, such as shipping coffee to market. 4 Of the two parishes in the Grande-Anse, that of Jrmie had a greater role in the coffee boom and experienced a much greater increase in population in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The western division, Cap Dame Marie, was less developed and less populous in the 1780s, having only whites, 220 freedmen (affranchis), and about 4,500 slaves, at the end of the decade. 5 The boundary between Cap Dame Marie and Jrmie was LAnse Clerc, a point from which one could follow the road east to the bourg (small town) of Trou Bonbon, which in the late 1780s had 15 housesone of them was a billiard halland a private cemetery. The town of Jrmie lay three leagues further economic life of the colony, see David P. Geggus, The Major Port Towns of Saint Domingue in the Later Eighteenth Century, in Franklin W. Knight and Peggy K. Liss, eds., Atlantic Port Cities: Economy, Culture, and Society in the Atlantic World, 1650-1850 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991), esp. 89-96. Jrmien merchants tended to send their coffee, cotton, sugar, and indigo to Le Cap and Port-au-Prince in exchange for clothing, wheat flour, and other manufactures, rather than to the principal town in the South, Les Cayes, which lay on the other side of the peninsula beyond high mountains. 4 None of the plantation inventories surveyed indicate that coffee planters had any other means of transport, neither carts or wagons nor canoes. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 1: 1375 5 Ibid., 3: 1373.

PAGE 21

11 east. East of Jrmie, from west to east, were the cantons (districts) of La Guinaude, La Voldrogue, La Grande-Rivire, and Les Roseaux, each named for the river that passed through it. Located between the mouths of the River Voldrogue and the Grande-Rivire, Le Vieux Bourg, the original site of settlement before Jrmie became the regions principal urban area. 6 Further east past Les Roseaux was the bourg of Les Camittes. South and east of Les Camittes were the cantons of Fond dIcaque, Le Dsert, and Plymouth. 7 The town of Jrmie was the principal urban center of the parish of Jrmie and the locus of the Quartier de la Grande-Anses administrative, fiscal, and ecclesiastical structures. The royal administration maintained an aide-major and an officier de la marine in Jrmie. These officials were charged, respectively, with defense of the quarter and the management of finances, responsibilities roughly corresponding with those of the governor-general and the intendant of the colony. Judicial responsibilities rested with the snchausse, a tribunal composed of the court registrar (commis greffier), the royal attorney (procureur du Roi), and the seneschal, who embodied royal justice in his jurisdiction. On Fridays, the seneschal heard civil and criminal cases, received memorials on a variety of private matters, and oversaw public auctions. On Saturdays, he heard maritime cases in his role as admiralty judge. 8 The justice system employed a wide 6 The royal government divided urban centers in Saint-Domingue between villes (towns) and bourgs (small towns). Jrmie was the only ville in the Grande-Anse, while there were several bourgs: Cap Dame Marie, Les Abricots, Trou Bonbon, Les Camittes, and Le Vieux Bourg. 7 Ibid., 3: 1378-79. 8 During his tenure as seneschal of Jrmie, Elise Louis Demonzeuil utilized the official title of conseiller du Roy, Snchal Juge Civil Criminal & de police au Sige Royal de Jrmie. M. le Snchal made frequent appearances at important social events such weddings and baptisms. Petition to the Snchal for Chevalier Duhaut to marry, 11 March 1779, JP-G. James E. McClellan III provides an excellent synopsis of the royal bureaucracy in his Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue in the Old Regime (Baltimore: The

PAGE 22

12 variety of public officials, including a jailer, eight notaries, seven bailiffs, and five attorneys. 9 For his part, the officier de la marine maintained port facilities in the quartier. Jrmies location provided little protection for ships in the harbor and houses along its roadstead from harsh northerly winds. Smaller vessels used for the coasting trade (caboteurs) could moor between the roadstead and a rock in the harbor called Le Mouton, but ships with a draught of more than 11 or 12 feet found no shelter from the wind. Although vulnerable to the wind, ships moored at Jrmie in need of repairs could obtain cordage, sailcloth, and other naval supplies from the royal warehouses. 10 A better anchorage could be had at Les Camites in the extreme eastern part of the quartier, where, in 1788, 20 sloops and schooners engaged in the coasting trade with important ports in the West: Logane, Port-au-Prince, and Saint-Marc. From Les Camites, these coasters carried away coffee and indigo from the eastern cantons of Plymouth and Fond dIcaque. Two private wharfs operated there, including LEmbarcadre Laurince, where a free colored woman and her white business partner operated a warehouse for the production of plantations in its vicinity. The importance of Les Camites to the commerce of the eastern Grande-Anse prompted the administration to maintain a post office and a customs officer there. 11 The smaller bourgs located along the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), Chapter 2. On the snchausse, see ibid., 44. 9 Jrmies snchausse was smaller than those of Le Cap and Port-au-Prince and met one day a week, a fourth as often as those in the larger towns. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1383; Geggus, Major Port Towns, 100; and McClellan, Colonialism and Science, 44. 10 Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1383-84. 11 At LEmbarcadre Laurince, the free colored woman Laurince dite Lachaume operated a warehouse for local planters with the white navigator Sr. Joseph Pjac. On the proprietors of LEmbarcadre Laurince, see L6A-141 JP-N. For Moreaus description of the Grande-Anses port facilities, see his Description, 3:

PAGE 23

13 coast appear to have been transshipment points from which small watercraft brought plantation produce to Jrmie, as well as points of departure for vessels engaged in the coasting trade, both legal and contraband. Since its official founding in 1756, Jrmie experienced rapid urban development. Though the number of domiciles only increased to 80 in the four years after 1765, as the coffee boom drew more immigrants, the number of houses jumped to 125 by 1783 and 180 by 1788. The high level of rents paid on urban property in Jrmiehigher than in the capitalalso suggests rapid urban development (Figure 2-1). The town was divided into two parts. The first part, La Basse-Ville, was made up of one major street, La Rue Basse de la Marine, which ran west to east along the roadstead. Merchants and traders arriving from French metropolitan and Caribbean ports rented small houses along the roadstead that served as residence, warehouse, and, in the case of slave traders, slave-pens. In 1788, 70 houses occupied the 69 town lots (emplacements) in the lower half of the town. Because of the constant arrivals and departures of traders, the lease of urban property became a lucrative business, as did the operation of inns and taverns. 12 One local entrepreneur, S. Agostino Viale, bought up much property in this quarter of town, including one structure with five bedrooms, whose former owner, an innkeeper, included a family of four slaves and a billiard table in the deal. 13 1383-84, 1400. 12 Moreau noticed that in 1788 rents had tripled in ten years time. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1380, 1383. 13 On this property in particular, see Sale of maison, ngres, etc. from Sr. Franois Lpine dit Francisquain to Sr. Agustin Viall [sic], 20 May 1783, L6A-59, JP-N. See also Sale of town lot from Mr. Augustin Hermitte to Sr. Augustin Viall [sic], 16 December 1785, L6A-145, ibid. For sales of adjacent properties mentioning Viales proprietorship, see 1 December 1786, G5-109A, ibid.; and 16 June 1787, L6B-100. Another owner of an inn, Sr. Antoine Pradel took on a white cook as his partner in September 1787. Their contract reveals how one inn looked in Jrmie. Pradel put up 4601 livres worth of furnishings,

PAGE 24

14 0204060801001201401601802001765176917831788YearNumber of House s Jrmie Figure 2-1. Urban Development in Jrmie, 1765-1788 Establishments in the service sector like that of Viale attended to the needs of merchants and others passing through the port on business. Trading houses and individual merchants who worked locally owned or rented their own urban property, as is indicated by the accounts of Jrmien merchants, especially those whose creditors left a sufficient paper trail. One of those most prominent in the notarial archives was the house of Griolet, Bastide & Compagnie. Like slave trader Pierre Toiry, they were local merchants without any clear ties to metropolitan merchant houses. The company sold imported goods to smallholders, planters, and smaller merchants in the outlying districts and facilitated the export of coffee and other commodities produced locally in return. The death of Griolet provoked the sudden descent of creditors upon the firms headquarters in Jrmie, and the a fourth of which value was his billiard table, its twelve cues, and balls. Suggestive of the scope of Pradels business, or maybe an indicator of his optimism, he brought place settings, liquor glasses, and small mirrors sufficient for 24 lodgers, in addition to large stores of white and red wine and a cow, presumably for fresh milk.Partnership between Pradel and Magu, 29 September 1787, M1-19, JP-N.

PAGE 25

15 resulting appraisal of its many debts and acquisitions convinced the other partners to retire promptly to France. 14 Three paths created by the erosion of water served as the only connection between the merchants quarter and the rest of the town. The upper town, La Haute-Ville, was planned around a rectangular parade ground lined with elm trees on three sides. The fourth side, which faced the sea, was left open for use as a public market where petty traders, slaves, and rural smallholders sold their wares. Eleven streets running parallel to the parade grounds short side intersected six others at right angles. Despite this careful planning, the unpaved streets of La Haute-Ville filled with choking dust in dry weather, and wet weather reduced them to muddy expanses that threatened the stability of the elm trees planted along their edges. 15 Another problem was the nearly total lack of public buildings in Jrmie. The snchausse and admiralty court met in a house owned by the Crown. There was no church, either. The parish instead rented a private house for the use of worshippers and another as a rectory on a town lot shared with the royal powder magazine. 16 Perhaps more serious was the lack of drinking water, which had to be either drawn from shallow wells (drinking from which, Moreau de Saint-Mry, notes was a courageous act) or brought from springs more than a league away. The Crown had promised a public fountain to be placed in the middle of the parade ground since the townspeople demanded one in 1764, 14 Griolet, Bastide & Compagnie owned a house on the roadstead in Le Vieux Bourg and had commercial contacts with a merchant residing at the bourg of Trou Bonbon. Settlement of accounts, 29 June 1790, M1-89. 15 Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1380-81. 16 Ibid., 3: 1380-86.

PAGE 26

16 but the pipes necessary for its construction did not arrive before the outbreak of the revolution. 17 Society In the 1780s, Grande-Anse society exhibited the three tiers characteristic of slave societies in the Caribbean. At the top, elite whites, or grands blancs, owned the grandest plantations and controlled international commerce and royal administrative and judicial offices. Poor whites, or petits blancs, often immigrants from France and other parts of Europe, occupied many different economic roles, as artisans, storekeepers, sailors, and plantation managers. Though it is not clear how most small and middling coffee planters accumulated the capital with which to establish their plantations, some European-born artisans formed partnerships to run coffee estates, and young men of color sometimes followed a similar strategy. 18 At the bottom, a largely African-born slave population worked primarily as field slaves on coffee, cacao, cotton, sugar, indigo, and mixed-crop plantations. 19 Some had more prestigious jobs, most of which were reserved exclusively for men: as commandeurs (slave drivers), artisans, sailors, and domestic and personal servants in masters households both in town and in the countryside. Finally, the middle stratum, free people of color (gens de couleur libres) filled many of the same economic 17 Ibid., 3: 1381. 18 The progenitor of the Descoufler family (who changed their name to Lescouflaire in the mid-1780s), for instance, arrived before the coffee boom and worked as a petty trader (marchand) until his death in the late 1780s. His son Antoine became a trader like his father and Franois became a baker, but Nicolas Lescouflaire sold a coasting vessel in 1785, acquired a coffee plantation at Trou Bonbon, and subsequently married into the Brisson family, which included as its members coffee planters and the owner of a coasting vessel. Donation of real estate, 31 August 1792, M1-6; sale of a balaon, 8 March 1785, L6A-99; and Marriage contract, 15 July 1785, G5-99. 19 As I use it here and hereafter, mixed-crop plantations were rural units of production that grew coffee and some other cash crops, usually cacao and/or cotton.

PAGE 27

17 roles as the petits blancs. As a general rule, those of lightest complexion had a better chance of owning small coffee or coffee-and-cacao plantations than multres libres (free mulattoes), who tended to be artisans. Free black men appear less often as coffee planters than free coloreds. They predominated the local police force, though some also owned market gardens. As was the case in other regions of Saint-Domingue not involved in sugar production, the coffee boom of the 1770s and 1780s facilitated great social and economic change in the Grande-Anse. It is important to note that unlike their counterparts in other marginal quarters of the colony, free coloreds in the Grande-Anse did not become numerically predominant. Rather, the majority of the free population was considered white in the 1750s, and the same was true in the 1780s. While most of the free people of color were of mixed African and European descent, a sample of eighteen of Jrmies 105 cafteries indicates that the vast majority of slaves (98.5%) on these plantations (N=602) were black. 20 Taken together, the three strata grew by a factor of over 7.5 in 38 years (see Table 2-1), with the greatest growth among the free coloreds (917.43%), followed by the slaves (756.71%). After the Seven Years War, both rich and poor immigrants flooded Saint-Domingue from Frances Atlantic ports and, to a lesser extent, Canada and Louisiana. At the same time, the free people of color became more numerous through natural increase, the manumission of slaves, and official reclassification. 21 20 For further discussion of Jrmies slave population, see Chapter 2, below. 21 Charles Frostin, Les rvoltes blanches Saint-Domingue aux XVIIe et XVIIIe sicles (Paris: Lcole, 1975), Chapter 6. For a discussion of the immigration from Louisiana to Cap Franais, see Julia Carpenter Frederick, Luis de Unzaga and Bourbon Reform in Spanish Louisiana, 1770-1776 (Ph.D. diss., Louisiana State University, 2000), 104-106.

PAGE 28

18 During the seventeenth and much of the eighteenth century, persons of African descent did not face any significant discrimination based on their ancestry. In his 1685 slave code written for French colonies overseas, the Code Noir, Louis XIV divided his colonial subjects into two juridical categories, slave and free, and John Garriguss research on the Raimond family confirms in part that this was true. Following the Seven Years War, however, the Crown took certain measures to limit the ambitions of free people of color. The royal government began to redefine persons of African descent as a caste apart from the rest of free society. Hommes de couleur libres (free men of color) could no longer serve as commissioned officers in the colonial militia, and, beginning in the 1780s, people of color were denied usage of honorific titles such as Monsieur and Madame in official paperwork such as ecclesiastical records and notarized bills of sale. 22 As Charles Frostin argues, in the early to mid-eighteenth century, white immigrants to Saint-Domingue became plantation owners by managing an absentee planters estate and embezzling enough to start their own plantations. In the last half of the century, however, the flood of immigrants arriving each year glutted the free labor market, making it more difficult for small whites to find a job in the first place. In the case of the Grande-Anse, petits blancs had to compete not only with one another but also with colored artisans already established in the building trades. In the face of increasing discrimination against them, people of color worked out ways to improve their position in free society. Stewart R. King has recently argued that some men of color (in his words, a military elite) continued to use military service as a unifying principle while others forming a planter elite kept close personal and 22 Frostin, Les rvoltes blanches, Chapter 6.

PAGE 29

19 commercial ties with white society. 23 In her work Dominque Rogers has stressed that free coloreds established formal relationships with whites such as apprenticeships and business contracts while usually marrying persons of their own phenotype. 24 Considering these recent developments in the historiography, it is necessary to compare race relations in the Grande-Anse with those described by Rogers and King, both of whom studied the North and West. Unlike in Kings typology, the Quartier de la Grande-Anse generated no military elite, but members of a small free colored planter elite did have commercial and personal ties with whites. Some free colored women had business relationships with lower-class white men either formalized through notarized contracts or kept as informal, oral agreements. The most common arrangement of this sort was for a free woman of color to be the housekeeper of a white planter, though in some cases free colored women operated urban businesses with white male partners. Contractual relationships involving free colored men and whites were only short-term affairs, most notably building contracts between multre carpenters and white landowners. What Rogers has found to be true for Le Cap and Port-au-Prince was also the case in Jrmie. There free coloreds formed business partnerships and did often live under the same roof with whites. Small coffee planters had similar relationships with people of color, with whom they bought and sold land. Small whites also often kept colored women as menagres (housekeepers), whom they rarely married but to whose children they often gave tacit recognition of paternity (see Chapter 4). 23 Stewart R. King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig. 24 She found that the rate at which free coloreds took spouses of their phenotype was 80% in Le Cap and 70% in Port-au-Prince. Dominique Rogers, De lorigine du prjug de couleur en Hati, Outre-Mers 90, no. 340-341 (2003): 97-100.

PAGE 30

20 Part of the Crowns response to the rise in population in Jrmie and elsewhere in Saint-Domingue was a desire for greater official policing power to keep the thousands of new residents in line, in particular the multitudes of slaves arriving every year from Africa. Under the authority of the seneschal, the marchausse, the rural mounted police force composed primarily of free blacks, hunted for maroon slaves and kept order in the countryside. The marchausse also incorporated some slaves, whose masters received in return for this public service a dispensation from the liberty tax charged for manumissions. In Jrmie, the administrative structure of the marchausse consisted of a white officer (exempt), a colored non-commissioned officer (brigadier), and four free black rank-and-file (archers). 25 Table 2-2. Militia Enrollment by Race, 1751-1789 Year White Militia % White Libre Militia % Libre % of All Whites Serving in Militia % of All Libres Serving in Militia 1751 159 85.03 28 14.97 41.09 25.69 1765 168 67.47 81 32.53 Unknown Unknown 1789 480 59.11 332 40.89 24.00 33.20 Source: Militia enlistment cited in Moreau de Saint Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1400. Militia enrollment also increased with the population boom, and the rising proportion of free coloreds in the militia demonstrates their rising significance both as a source of state power and as a potential threat to the social status quo. In 1751, 159 whites and 28 free coloreds served in the parish militia, the Bataillon de la Grande-Anse. Although it is not clear what role free coloreds there played in the militia of the 1750s, in the 1760s royal proclamations forbade the promotion of men of color above the rank of 25 See Chapter 3, below, for my discussion of one such supernumerary. I have decided to maintain the colonial phenotypical designations. Hence free blacks will be called ngres libres free quadroons quarterons libres, and free octoroons mtifs libres. Similarly, I will refer to the gens de couleur libres and free coloreds as equivalent terms. See Appendix A for further description of the racial hierarchy as imagined in the late eighteenth century. Ibid.; and King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig, 234.

PAGE 31

21 sergeant. Grands blancs, meanwhile, held high rank in the parish militia. Prosperous coffee planters Ren LeRoy and Simon Ertillet Prbois both held captaincies in the battalion, while merchant Jean Chalmette commanded the artillery company. Unsurprisingly, one of the wealthies whites, sugar planter Sr. Hildevert Berquier, pre, was commandant of the battalion until his death in the early 1780s. 26 Economy Based as it was on the export of plantation staples, the Jrmien economy needed adequate shipping to carry its coffee, cotton, lumber, indigo, and cacao to larger markets. By 1788, French ship captains had found calling at Jrmie a profitable enterprise, where before 3 or 4 small ships from Europe did not find sufficient business in Jrmie to make going there profitable. In 1788, Moreau de Saint-Mry found that eleven French vessels and eight coasting vessels (caboteurs) arrived each year. These figures indicate only legal commerce, however, and do not take into account the interlopers who no doubt frequented smaller ports like Trou Bonbon and Les Camites. 27 More empirical evidence comes from official customs records of the volume of goods exported from each of Saint-Domingues twelve major ports. As Table 2-3 demonstrates, Jrmie legally exported 6.5% (4.5 million pounds) of the colonys coffee and generated 1.62% of the customs duties paid to the Crown during that year, totals that do not take into account coffee from the Grande-Anse shipped through the coasting trade 26 There was also at least one company of dragoons. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1400-1401; baptismal records of Louise Adlade Bonne Robinet, Jeanne Marie Petronille LeRoy, and Franoise Kavenagh, Ecclesiastical Records, Paroisse de Saint-Louis de Jrmie, 1781, Jrmie Papers; partnership agreement between Sr. Simon Stilite Prebois and dame Marie Bouch, ibid., Notaries, L6A-3; Partnership between Dame Veuve Berquier and her children for the exploitation of a sugar plantation, Jrmie, 2 March 1785, L6A-94; and Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1386. 27 Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1383.

PAGE 32

22 to other ports or smuggled out of the quarter. When compared with the other ports in the South Province (i.e., those on the peninsulas southern coast) these percentages increase to 40.3 and 10.98%, respectively. 28 Indirect evidence also exists for a contraband trade with Anglo-America: coffee planters quite often rode English horses (perhaps from the United States) and decorated their rather humble cabins with English furniture. Their ownership of English manufactures is only part of the evidence of an important economic between Jamaica and the Grande-Anse. Jrmien planters and their counterparts throughout the South had long relied on slaves from Jamaica (and Curaao as well) to stock their plantation workforces 29 Table 2-3. Summary of Property Ownership in Saint-Domingue, Listed by Major Ports of Embarkation, 1788 Port Sugar Plantations Coffee Plantations Cotton Plantations Indigo Plantations Tanneries Rum Distilleries Cacao Plantations Lime Kilns Slaves CFF ap ranais 168 1263 14 27 3 28 7 51 98,537 ort-Dauphin 120 345 3 49 0 13 0 7 31,467 Port-de-Paix 8 249 23 384 0 4 18 26 28,251 N ORTH TOTAL 296 1857 40 460 3 45 25 84 158,255 28 Franois Barb-Marbois, tat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris, 1790). 29 These references are taken from a score of plantation inventories contained in the Jrmie Papers. Of the three horses Sr. Louis Paret left upon his death, the appraisers of his estate described one as crole the second as anglais (English), and the third as anglais batard, perhaps meaning one of mixed English and creole parentage. Paret also owned two saddles: an old one of English make and the second a servants saddle (selle valet). Succession of Sr. Louis Paret, 2 March 1786, G5-102. Charles Frostin suggests that this tie amounted to Anglophilia in the latter half of the eighteenth century, encouraging separatist Domingois planters to look to Jamaica for aid with the outbreak of the Revolution in the early 1790s. Frostin, Les rvoltes blanches Saint-Domingue aux XVIIe et XVIIIe sicles (Paris: Lcole, 1975), Chapter 6. In 1784, the Crown offered French slavers a bounty of 100 livres for each slave disembarked in the South, an encouragement doubled in 1786. Jrmie was excluded from this inducement, which was restricted to the only the southern coast of the peninsula, which may have encouraged foreign slavers to continue to go to the Grande-Anse. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1166.

PAGE 33

23 Table 2.3 Continued PPSWEST ort-au-rince 190 240 65 385 0 43 3 48 65,303 aint-Marc 43 298 315 1184 0 10 1 71 50,216 Logane 66 58 18 78 0 25 1 14 12,896 Petit-Gove 44 63 32 216 0 18 3 18 29,058 TOTAL 343 659 430 1863 0 96 8 151 157,473 JCTSOUTH rmie 8 105 30 44 0 6 25 14 18,774 ap-iburon 2 24 12 169 0 0 4 7 7,153 Les Cayes 110 69 76 175 0 18 2 32 27,937 Saint-Louis 32 39 28 257 0 8 2 18 16,785 Jacmel 1 57 89 129 0 0 3 7 19,151 TOTAL 153 294 235 774 0 32 36 78 89,800 TOTALS 792 2810 705 3097 3 173 69 313 405,528 % In Jrmie 1.01 3.73 4.25 1.42 0.00 3.46 36.23 4.47 4.62 Source: Franois Barb-Marbois, tat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris: 1790). Though based largely on the cultivation of coffee, the economy of the Grande-Anse in the 1780s also encompassed other kinds of agricultural enterprises. Its eight sucreries, established on the small plains near the town of Jrmie, exported a total of 19,000 pounds of semi-refined sugar, or sucre terr, and 476,000 pounds of raw sugar in 1788, while its 30 cotonneries sent 189,000 pounds of cotton to market during the same period. Indigo was of less importance: 44 indigoteries exported a little over a thousand pounds of the blue dye in those years, though it is necessary to note that indigos value per unit weight greatly exceeded that of other cash crops. Finally, though the customs records for 1788 does not even list cacao as an export category, 25 cacaotires continued to operate (Table 2-3). Plantation inventories from the 1780s suggest that many coffee plantations possessed small groves of cacao trees. At least some of their produce went to local consumption: Moreau de Saint-Mry indicates that shortages during the Seven Years

PAGE 34

24 War encouraged Jrmiens to replace imported butter with beurre de cacao, which played an important part in local foodways thereafter. He also notes that the parish of Jrmie and that of Cap Dame Marie respectively produced 60,000 and 120,000 pounds of cacao in 1788. A final category unmentioned in the customs records is lumber. Moreau de Saint-Mry indicates that Jrmiens produced a half million pounds of lumber each year, apparently for both export abroad and through the coasting trade to other ports in the colony as well as for local use (Table 2-5). 30 Table 2-4. Export Statistics, 1788 Region White\ Clayed Sugar Raw Sugar Coffee Cotton Indigo Total Weight Customs Duties TOTAL:NORTH 52,968 4,085 33,811 68 264 91,196 2,845 TOTAL:WEST 12,746 69,184 23,286 4,616 545 110,377 3,043 TOTAL: SOUTH 4,507 19,901 11,048 1,598 1,190 39,279 1,029 TOTAL: COLONY 70,221 93,170 68,145 6,282 1,999 240,852 6,917 Jrmie 19 476 4,453 189 1 6,212 113 % Jrmie 0.03 0.51 6.53 0.03 1.62 2.58 1.63 Source: tat general des Cultures & Manufactures de . Saint-Domingue, 1788-1789 in Franois Barb-Marbois, tat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris, 1790). Exports are expressed in thousands of pounds, while customs duties are per 1,000 livres colonials. In addition to producing coffee, cotton, sugar, and indigo for the export market, Jrmiens also engaged in industrial enterprises whose products were doubtless for local consumption. According to the 1788 tat des finances de Saint-Domingue produced by the intendants office in Port-au-Prince (see Table 2-3), the Grande-Anse contained six guildiveries (rum distilleries) but legally exported no tafia (low-grade cane liquor). The 30 On the local use of cacao to substitute butter, see Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1406. On the 1730s expansion and demise of cacao in the Grande-Anse, see ibid., 3: 1377.

PAGE 35

25 production of 14 lime ovens (fours chaux) likewise contributed to the local market as necessary building materials necessary to the growing towns and plantations. 31 Table 2-5. Annual Commodity Production in the Grande-Anse, 1788 (Thousands of Pounds) Clayed Sugar Raw Sugar Coffee Cotton Indigo Cacao Lumber 19 476 4,453 189 1 180 500 Sources: Customs records, 1788-1789; and Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1400. N.B.: Figures are given in units of 1,000. Quantities refer to production in both parishes of the Grande-Anse. Perhaps the most studied branch of commerce is the Atlantic slave trade. In their database on the Atlantic slave trade, David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein include a handful of French slaving voyages whose major port of disembarkation was Jrmie (see Table 2-6). 32 All of these voyages date, however, between 1788 and 1791, a sign of the ports growing attraction to French merchants, long after the boom in the Jrmien slave population had begun. Transshipments within the colony and the contraband slave trade with the English through Jamaica no doubt brought most of the slaves before the late 1780s. In all five cases in the database, the slaving vessels unloaded most of their slaves at Jrmie. 33 31 Franois Barb-Marbois, tat des finances de Saint-Domingue (Paris, 1790). 32 The only case of coastal slave trading that I have discovered in the notarial archive involved a Sieur Lacluse of Cap Franais, the colonys major entrept, who consigned two slaves, both of the Congo nation, to sieur Antoine Belisoli, a caboteur whom he directed to sell in Jrmie. Power of attorney from Sieur Lacluse to Sr. Antoine Belisoli, 4 June 1788, M1-48, Jrmie Papers. 33 David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, eds., The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

PAGE 36

26 Table 2-6. Sample of Slaving Vessels Calling at Jrmie, 1788-1791 Year N ame of Vessel Port of Departure Primary African Port 1 st Port of Disembarkation Primary Port of Disembarkation N umber of Slaves D i s e m b a r k e d 1788 Trois Frres Nantes Angola Cap Franais Jrmie 128 1789 Emilie Nantes Angola Cap Franais Jrmie 254 1791 Nouvel Amour Nantes Calabar Port-au-Prince Jrmie 339 1791 Vrais Amis Honfleur Gabon Jrmie Jrmie 157 1791 Deux Fanies Saint-Malo Kormantine Jrmie Jrmie 107 Source: David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, eds., The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Whether their human cargo was legal or not, it seems slave ship captains used local merchants as their agents to distribute newly arrived slaves, or bossales, to local customers. If the notarial documents are any indication, Sr. Pierre Toiry was the foremost local slave dealer. He apparently did quite well in the market for human bodies: he owned at least one house on Rue Basse de la Marine in Jrmie, a plantation at La Grande Rivire, and a half share in a plantation at Rivire Froide. He ran out of luck in 1787, when he declared that he owned over 40,000 livres to Jean and Hugues McLean, merchants based in Kingston, Jamaica. Toiry had a series of notarial acts passed in quick succession in an effort to free up enough capital to keep his solvency. The officials of the snchausse treated Toirys debt to the McLeans as nothing out of the ordinary, suggesting that the contraband slave trade with Jamaica received the tacit approval of the local government. 34 34 Though it would appear that commercial connections between Jrmie and Kingston would have been

PAGE 37

27 Bossales, slaves recently arrived in the colony from Africa, acted as an important means of exchange in the local economy. Notarized sales of land reveal how key bossales are to understanding how small proprietors accumulated capital. Although the sellers of small parcels of land sometimes demanded payment in money of Spain or Portugal current in the colony and quite often accepted bills of exchange, some demanded that buyers give them bossales for land. In September 1786, Antoine Alger, ngre libre, promised to sell a habitation at les Roseaux to Sr. Pierre Malvin de Buns, habitant at Fond Rouges, in barter for two bossales from Sr. Pierre Toiry. In such transactions, Toiry was the only slave trader ever mentioned. The sources do not allow us to say whether he was the only slave merchant in Jrmie, but perhaps he was the one best known to habitants in the outlying cantons. 35 Some evidence also exists for an internal economy in the Grande-Anse. Small farmers living on the margins of the export economy sold their produce to the towns. Planters also bought their plantains and manioc to supplement the food already grown by the slaves themselves on common plots. Small proprietorsfree coloreds who had not sold their land to white planting interestsappear to have supplied many of the nutritional needs of the new coffee economy. 36 In the 1770s and 1780s, as immigrants arrived from western and southern France, Martinique, and other parts of Saint-Domingue, the wealthier searching for land and the considered contraband trade, the local administrators did not find it odd, and the royal attorney in Jrmie made it clear that Toiry would be required to pay his debts. The whole matter has a feeling of business as usual. For Toirys insolvency, see documents in Lpines papers for June 1787, especially Recognizance of debt by Sr. Pierre Toiry to the M.cLeans of Kingston, 16 June 1787, L6B-97. 35 See, for example, the sale of land in L6B-38, JP-N. 36 Gabriel Debien, Les esclaves aux Antilles franaises au XVIIe-XVIIIe sicles (Basse-Terre: Socit dHistoire de la Guadeloupe, 1974), Chapter 11.

PAGE 38

28 poor for employment (see Table 2-7), the governor and intendant in Port-au-Prince granted unconceded land along the quartiers waterways to both newcomers and old settlers. Although royal land regulations mandated that grantees hold and improve their concessions for at least five years, many sold their new land well before that time. 37 Table 2-7. Immigrants to the Grande-Anse, 1780-1789 38 Year 39 Name Phenotype/Legal Place of Birth Country 40 Occupation 1781 Catherine Barbo White creole? Martinique Fr. Antilles 1781 Ursule Valle European Anjou France 1781 Barthelemi Martel European Bordeaux France Habitant 1781 Dominique Bouny European Bordeaux France 1781 Mathurin Vincent Renaud European Bretagne France Master saddler 1781 Jean Narbonne European Gascony France Master surgeon 1781 Jean Mathieu Videt de Nartigues European Languedoc France Habitant 1781 Mathieu Bourbon European Limoges France Storekeeper 1781 Jean Baptiste Perret European Lyons France Town jailer 37 In one case, an informant instigated an investigation by the royal attorney against merchant Claude Asti for not developing a concession of land at Nouvelle Plymouth. See JP-N 2-52 for documentation of this case. 38 I have excluded military personnel and prisoners of war who were in Jrmie during the U.S. War for Independence as temporary residents. 39 Year indicates the earliest year known, from documents in the Jrmie Papers. 40 P. du Sud, P. du Nord, and Partie de lOuest are equivalent to the South, North, and West Provinces, respectively.

PAGE 39

29 Table 2-7 Continued 1781 Pierre Bruet Moche European Savoy Italy Habitant 1781 Jean Magloire Carbasio Multre affranchi Fort Dauphin Saint-Domingue Cavalier 1781 Marie Rose Boncy Multresse ingnue Port-de-Paix Saint-Domingue 1781 Marie Thrse Longchant Ingnu Cavaillon Saint-Domingue 1781 Rose Elizabeth Martel de Belle Roche White creole? LAnse Veau Saint-Domingue 1782 Claude Franois Ade Ngre affranchi Martinique Fr. Antilles Archer de police 1782 Marie Magdeleine LeBeau European LaRochelle France 1782 Etienne Tessier Ingnu LAnse Veau Saint-Domingue Smallholder/mail carrier 1786 Jean Baptiste . Bazile dit Estienne Multre libre Logane Saint-Domingue Habitant 1786 Genevive Lezeau White Creole Aquin Saint-Domingue Habitante 1787 Joseph Franois Vezier des Ombrages European Poitou France Interim major-commandant 1788 Elie Louis Fournier European Angoumois France Notary 1788 Paul dit Guinney Multre libre Quartier Morin Saint-Domingue Tailor 1789 Pierre Augustin Rose de la Rue European Poitou France Merchant in Jrmie Source: Jrmie Papers, Notaries Thomas, Lpine, and Girard; and ibid., Greffe, Ecclesiastical Records, 1781.

PAGE 40

30 Moreau de Saint-Mry notes in his Description . de la partie franaise that free coloreds owned most of the land in the Grande-Anse prior to the coffee boom but sold out to whites once land prices rose. 41 Notarial documents I have consulted do suggest that free coloreds were selling their land to free up capital they needed for other pursuits or because of poor luck as coffee planters, but they do not indicate as strong a transferal of land from free coloreds to whites as Moreau suggests. As he explained in his marriage contract, Franois Lafort, a freeborn mtif, lost his parents plantation and moved to town, where he did not do much better. 42 Other free coloreds needed the capital they could get from selling their land. Sr. Jean Antoine Duleun de St. Brosse bought fifty carreaux of land at les Roseaux from ingnu Etienne Tessier for 5000 livres in July 1782. The record of the sale indicates that Tessier, who acquired the land in 1771, had been cultivating 1000 banana trees, a scale of cultivation that implies he sold their yield for public consumption. After selling his land, Tessier became the mail courier between Jrmie and LAnse Veau. It appears his reason for selling his plantain farm was to manumit his female griffe slave Anne the following year, for whose liberty he paid a 1,000 livres tax to the Crown. 43 41 As used in the Grande-Anse at the end of the eighteenth century, habitant (feminine habitante) denoted anyone who owned rural property, no matter his or her phenotype or economic status. I have not been able to establish deeper meanings to the term, but I would be interested to know how this signifier interacted with the new language of citizenship during the periods in which the French Republic controlled the region (1789-1791, 1794-1803). Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1400-1401. 42 The phenotypical designation mtif (also mestif) denoted someone of one-eighth African ancestry, usually with straight hair and fair skin. Moreau also makes racist comments on the infertility of the mtif and his physical inferiority relative to whites. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 1: 92. Lafort does not indicate why he lost his familys plantation, but his fiances refusal to give him control over her property suggests that he was not to be trusted with money. Marriage contract between Franois Lafort and Marie Claire Belune, 2 September 1789, M1-63, JP-N. I discuss their case in more detail in Chapter 3, below. 43 Ingnu is a term applied to freeborn people of color. Griffe indicated someone with one black parent and one mulatto parent. Sale of land, 6 July 1782, L6A-33AB, JP-N; and Manumission of Anne Roxlane, grif

PAGE 41

31 Although some free coloreds did quite well as coffee planters or even producers of food crops, notarial documents indicate that free coloreds also filled many of the same economic roles as poor white immigrants: plantation managers, artisans in the building trades, and as secondary and primary traders. They competed with white immigrants for skilled and semi-skilled jobs such as these and no doubt with slaves for more menial labor. Some prospered as shop owners and occasionally, it seems, as master craftsmen. It is impossible to say exactly how many individuals were employed in one trade or another, but the notarial documents give the impression that many carpenters, both white and multre, found employment in the booming local economy. 44 Taking advantage of the boom in construction, S. Bernard Fourcand, a former ships carpenter who immigrated from Canada, established himself as a building contractor: after sealing contracts with clients in Jrmie and the outlying cantons, Fourcand contracted a team of multre carpenters to frame and plank planters residences, slave cabins, and outbuildings on plantations, as well as to make improvements on pre-existing structures. For just such a job, Fourcand made a contract with the multres ingnus Louis Tripoly and Jean Jacques Boncy to put planking on the inside of the house of the ngresse libre (free black) Martonne in Jrmie, as well as construct jalousies and stairs to the second story. Working through a contractor like [sic], by le nomm Etienne Tessier, 1783, L6A-56, ibid. 44 Carpenter Joseph Millery made a direct contract to build the structures necessary for a new plantation. He mentioned his own apprentices. The exact structure of skilled labor in Jrmie is not clear, but many free colored and white immigrants appearing in the notarial archive were carpenters, along with a few bakers, tailors, shoemakers, and coopers. For Millerys contract, see M1-97, JP-N.

PAGE 42

32 Fourcand, free colored artisans could perhaps compete against both their white and free colored counterparts who sought out work alone. 45 Planters and Plantations As Michel-Rolph Trouillot has indicated, many first-generation coffee planters in Saint-Domingue depended on the sugar complex for their fortunes and invested some of their wealth in coffee. They withdrew when prices fell in the mid-1770s. The second generation of coffee planters were in Trouillots analysis poor whites and free coloreds who already owned land in the mountains and who converted some of that land to coffee. Most of the coffee planters who appear in the notarial papers from the 1780s and early 1790s that I have consulted were immigrant whites. Many of those who were free coloreds derived their property from their white fathers, as were the case of the Lafonds and Azors of Fond dIcaque and the Bouchereau family of La Grande-Rivire. Free colored coffee planters appear to have seldom requested the services of notaries to have real estate property appraised for sale. Their lack of presence in the notarial records may derive from a desire to avoid selling land or to do so without going through official channels. Some of the factors discouraging free colored ownership of coffee plantations were demographic (there were twice as many whites as free coloreds in Jrmie) and the problem of capital accumulation. 46 45 For the contract on Martonnes house in Jrmie, see Building contract, 27 November 1787, M1-32, JP-N. For other contracts between Fourcand and multre carpenters, see L6B-107 (21 June 1787). 46 The mechanisms by which petits blancs and free coloreds could receive credit are poorly understood. I have found no successions of free colored planters from the 1780s, though some surely exist. On free colored coffee planters, see Trouillot, Motion in the System, 350; Testament of Marguerite Rozaire, 24 March 1783, L6A-52; and Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1390-91.

PAGE 43

33 Table 2-8. Slave and Landholding on 13 Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 Name of Plantation 47 1000 Coffee 1000 Cacao 1000 Cotton N o. of Slaves Value (livres colonials) Land (Carreaux) % Land Cleared of Forest (carreaux) Bouch 10 0 10 38,740 76.5 Marcorelle 20 0 0 10 32,000 * Vigneau * 0 12 32,874 32 Fignoux * 13 54,600 32 Fondelin 12 * 13 110,000 100 12.00 De La Rue 29 0 0 14 95,400 86 10.46 Belle Vue 25 0 0 16 63,000 63 SMALL Lelevain 20 0 0 16 65,026 * Paret 11 10 0 27 103,200 75 60.00 Dangluze 12 1.2 0 32 118,410 66 63.63 Pigal 0 0 32 180,241 50 60.00 Dufour frres 70 0 12 38 160,283 83 MEDIUM Canonge & Dulaud 70 0 0 47 280,000 * TOTALS 279 11.2 12 280 1,333,774 663.5 24.26 Inventories of 13 coffee estates from the Grande-Anse suggest that small and middling planters had different relations to their landholdings (Table 2-8). As postmortem inventories of their estates suggest, many small planters slaves, land, and buildings amounted to all of their worldly possessions. In this they differed from middling planters, who owned between 25 and 50 slaves. Middling planters often had prospects other than their plantations. The two partnerships included in the sample (Dufour, frres, and Canonge & Dulaud) were arranged so that one partner managed the plantation while the other resided in one of the colonys major ports. Others invested heavily in their one landholding. Finally, some small and middling planters used coffee production to insure an income that added to their primary occupations. Dominique Barnab Lelevain was a master surgeon who enjoyed revenues from both medical fees 47 The inventories of large plantations tended not to include descriptions of land use. I have therefore excluded estates of that class from consideration in this section.

PAGE 44

34 and the coffee his 16 slaves produced. Similarly, Marie Thrze Sauvanelle, who bought the Fondelin plantation in 1787 jointly with her brother and sisters, operated a small store in La Haute-Ville. Finally, some small and middling coffee planters were absentees who lived in Jrmie and left the administration of their rural properties to managers or business partners. 48 The higher capital outlay of middling planters not only paid for more slaves but also more advanced technology. After the slaves picked the cherries (ripe fruit) from the coffee bushes, at the very least it was necessary to dry them before sending them to market. At the least, planters could dry the cherries directly on the ground, but drying them on platforms made of masonry produced a superior product. Once the cherries were dry, a process that could take up to two weeks, teams of slaves took turns removing their outer coating with grinding mills. Some planters also employed winnowing mills thereafter to separate the coffee beans from refuse. Finally, the entire workforce sorted the beans into grades by quality and put them into sacks. Although it is true that becoming a coffee planter required far less capital than to become a sugar planter, the notarial records suggest that to produce coffee well required the outlay of a hundred thousand livres colonials or more in order to prosper at it. 49 Middling planters like Sr. Jean-Baptiste Dangluze might have owned a house in Jrmie or one of the bourgs and have family connections with captains of coasting 48 Succession of Sieur Lelevain, Trou Bonbon, 7 February 1784, L6A-66, JP-N; and 14 July 1790, M1-95, ibid. 49 Jrmien coffee planters whose estates were inventoried in the 1780s did not own many books, least of all manuals on coffee planting. Pierre-Joseph Labories The Coffee Planter of San Domingo gives us a retrospective view of how one successful coffee planter in the North practiced his trade. Pierre-Joseph Laborie, The Coffee Planter of San Domingo (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1798).

PAGE 45

35 vessels, but they remained a step below large planters whose families owned land in more than one parish. The Clments, for example, were import-export merchants based at Cap Franais and among the many northerners who had invested in Grande-Anse real estate. The best example of Jrmien proprietors invested in both sugar and coffee exploitation, however, is the Berquier family. Their sugar plantation located immediately east of La Basse-Ville, greatly impressed Moreau de Saint-Mry. Compared to the crude machinery employed by most local coffee planters, La Habitation Berquier was an engineering marvel. The wheel of the sugar mill was powered by water drawn from its reservoir of four carreaux supplied from many sources; when this supply was not enough, a windmill drew more water up from La Grande-Rivire de la Grande-Anse. Following the death of the family patriarch, Sr. Hildevert Berquier, pre, his widow and children formed a partnership to run the sucrerie for five years. Ltat dtaill des liquidations, the official report of the French Ministry of Finances indemnifications to Domingois property owners in the mid-nineteenth century, indicates the variety of properties owned by the Berquiers at the time of Haitian independence (see Table 2-9). From the nineteenth-century indemnity data it is clear that various members of the family invested in a variety of export crops: coffee, indigo, cotton. The bulk of the familys wealth, however, came from sugar and coffee cultivation, and like many families that can be described as members of a planter elite, the Berquiers had property in more than one quarter, in this case Petit-Trou de Nippes. 50 50 Sr. Franois Berquier, one of eldest sons, was to manage the property put into partnership, but his mother, who was to live on her own property in the parish of Nippes, east of the Grande-Anse, reserved control over the purse strings for herself. Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1386; and Partnership to Exploit a Sugar Plantation between Widow Berquier and her children, Jrmie, 2 March 1785.

PAGE 46

36 Table 2-9. Real property Owned by the Berquier Family, ca. 1803, for which the Family Received Compensation Proprietor Type of property Canton Parish Value (francs) Marie-Madeleine Berquier Coffee plantation La Voldrogue Jrmie 20,900.00 Coffee plantation Fond Cochon Jrmie 103,475.32 Fleury Berquier Cotton plantation Jrmie Jrmie Indigo plantation Nippes Petit-Trou 132,069.62 Woodland Les Baradres Petit-Trou Id. Sugar plantation Jrmie Jrmie Id. TOTAL 256,444.94 Source: Ltat des liquidations, 2: 410-411. N.B. that the indigo plantation, sugar plantation, and woodland owned by the children and grandchildren of Hildevert Berquier, pre, in the 1830s amounted to 132,069.62 francs in indemnities as part of one claim. Individual amounts were not provided for each property. Many writers, both contemporary and modern, have pointed out the detrimental effects of absenteeism on the slaves quality of life. Debien and Frostin both provide vignettes of managers of absentee plantations who robbed their employers in order to enrich themselves, and slaves on these plantations suffered from a lack of food and other rations. Pierre-Joseph Laborie, who wrote a manual on coffee cultivation during the late 1790s, suggests that coffee planters who lived on their estates were indeed paternalistic, given the closeness and care the proximity of master and slave afforded. No doubt slaves benefited from the closer management of their masters: the inventory of only six of the fourteen small and middling plantations listed a slave driver, implying that either the planter, or a member of his family, oversaw the daily work of the slaves. Paternalism is a tempting jump to make in this case, but further evidence from planters correspondence and personal papers would be needed to draw this conclusion. 51 51 Frostin, Les rvoltes blanches, Chapter 6; Debien, Les esclaves, Chapter 11; Trouillot, Motion in the System, 380; and Laborie, San Domingo Coffee Planter.

PAGE 47

37 Conclusions The Grande-Anse on the eve of the French Revolution was a locus of coffee production for export to French ports and from there to the supply the rest of the world-system. At the same time, Jrmie experienced migration from Frances Atlantic ports (particularly Bordeaux) and the French West Indies during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. While newcomers with capital or credit enough to do so established themselves as coffee planters and import-export merchants, the poor filled roles as artisans, plantation managers, and petty traders, roles for which they competed with people of color. Those who did acquire land often lacked the means to exploit their resources fully. Turning from the growing free population, the next chapter examines a sample of the African slaves imported into the Grande-Anse during the last half of the eighteenth century.

PAGE 48

CHAPTER 3 PLANTATION SLAVERY IN THE GRANDE-ANSE The written records available on slavery in the Grande-Anse in the 1780s tell us different things about slaves than they do about the free population. Whereas they provide some room to interpret the thoughts and actions of the variegated members of the free population, notarial documents present slaves as merchandise, in lists of names, ethnicities, ages, and personal characteristics like occupational skills and physical deformities. At the same time, the commoditization of this stratum of the human population does present some advantages, the greatest of which is a set of qualities that can be analyzed using quantitative methods. This chapter will do just that. Because of the nature of the sources, it is largely an analysis of the physical conditions of slavery: housing, diet, and family structure. 1 1 The plantation inventories that are sources for my analysis in this chapter come exclusively from the Jrmie Papers. These sources, all from the notary series of that collection, are: Succession of Sr. Joseph Vigneau, Trou Bonbon, 7 January 1782, L6A-26; Sale of Habitation by the widow Fignoux, La Grande-Rivire, 9 January 1783, L6A-44; Inventory of La Grande Habitation and La Ravine Blanche, La Grande-Rivire, 21 May 1783, L6A-60; sale of Belle Vue, La Voldrogue, 17 March 1783, L6A-45; Succession of Sieur Lelevain, Trou Bonbon, 7 February 1784, L6A-66; Sale of Habitation by Sr. Marcorelle to Sr. Descoufler, Trou Bonbon, 17 December 1784, L6A-88; Succession of Sieur Dangluze, 4 August 1785, G5-100; Partnership between Srs. Canonge & Dulaud, Trou Bonbon & LAnse du Clerc, 2 August 1785, L6A-131; Succession of Sr. Louis Paret, Les hauteurs de la Grande-Rivire, 2 March 1786; Sale of Habitation by Sieur Bouch, Les Roseaux, 16 May 1787, G5-118; Sale of Habitation by Sr. Joseph Fondelin, La Guinaude, M1-15; Dissolution of Partnership Dufour, frres, Ravine du Mitan, 11 December 1789, M1-65; Marriage Contract of Sieur de la Rue and Demoiselle Doucet, n.p., 21 April 1789, M1-55; Succession of Sr. Pigal, La Guinaude, 21 April 1789, G5-127; Succession of Sieur Payas, n.p., 5 July 1792, M1-122; Inventory of Habitation of Sr. Jean Baptiste Clment, Plymouth, 2 October 1792, L3-30; and Inventory of Habitation of Sr. Jean Joseph Clment, Plymouth, 1792. N.B.: The citations for the last two plantation inventories, those belonging to the Clment family, were unclear in the copies that I used from the personal collection of David P. Geggus. According to the Jrmie Papers finding aid, there are three inventories of Clment plantations done in the early 1790s among the papers of the notary Dobignies in that collection. 38

PAGE 49

39 -60.00-40.00-20.000.0020.0040.0060.000-410-1420-2940-4960-69Age CohortsPercentage of WholeFEMALESMALES Figure 3-1. Population Pyramid of the Workforces on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1782-1792 (N=551) To begin with, it is necessary to establish who the slaves were, as far as the sources allow. The most basic division in plantation workforces was between male and female. By determining the sex ratios of the workforces on different plantations in aggregate, some basic parameters to slave life can be established. A sample of 606 slaves working on eighteen coffee and mixed-crop plantations in the Grande-Anse had a sex ratio of 122 (i.e., 122 males for every 100 females). The actual ratios of males to females on different plantations varied widely, but a sex ratio of 122 for the slaves in my sample suggests that male slaves on coffee plantations found it difficult to find a partner. This sex ratio of 122 is similar to that which David P. Geggus calculated for coffee slaves throughout Saint-Domingue in the late eighteenth century. In his sample of 3,719 slaves on coffee plantations in the period 1767-1792, he found the aggregate sex ratio to be 120, with a sex ratio of 138 for the South, where Jrmie was. The sex ratio for my

PAGE 50

40 sample is higher than the 8 male slaves for every 7 female slaves (a sex ratio of 114) that Moreau claims was the case in the South. 2 Table 3-1. Numbers of Africans and Creoles on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=551) Ages African Males African Females Creole Males Creole Females Total Males Total Females 0 0 23 23 23 23 5-9 1 0 34 26 35 26 10-14 27 6 19 22 46 28 15-19 27 25 14 8 41 33 20-29 53 39 5 17 58 56 30-39 55 26 5 4 60 30 40-49 24 17 7 1 31 18 50-59 9 17 0 1 9 18 60-69 5 3 0 1 5 4 70+ 4 1 1 1 5 2 My sample of 218 locally born creole slaves shows a considerably greater balance between the sexes, 98 men per 100 women, which is very close to Gegguss sample. The great majority of Jrmien creoles in the 1780s were children. They monopolized the 0-4 years cohort and strongly dominated that of 5-9 years (Figure 3.1 and Table 3.2). Adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 were a mixture of Africans and creoles, but beyond this age bracket, Africans clearly dominated. 3 These rough details about the Grande-Anses slave population in the 1780s suggest enormous changes in rural society concomitant with the coffee boom. According to official counts, the parish of Jrmie had almost 15,000 more slaves in 1788 than in 2 David P. Geggus, Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and the Shaping of the Slave Labor Force, in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas (Charlottesville: University Presses of Virginia, 1993), 79; and Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1165. 3 Geggus, Sugar and Coffee,9.

PAGE 51

41 1753, an eightfold increase. Many of the plantations whose inventories were sampled were small units of production, the mean workforce size being but 30, quite a bit less than Gegguss average of 45 slaves for his sample of 87 cafteries for roughly the same period (1780-1789). His range also differed by a greater margin than mine: 7 to 304 against my 10 to 90. My sample had a median of 26 slaves. These small, young, and heavily African workforces are consistent with the regions recent development. However, even in this part of the colony most dominated by Africans, locally born creoles made up more than one-third of the slave population. This reinforces the impression given by Gegguss work that the general assumption, dating from Moreau de Saint-Mry, that two-thirds of Saint-Domingues slaves were Africans is substantially in error. Table 3-2. Summary of the Origins of Slaves on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the GrandAnse (N=606) Place of Origin N %N Males Females Sex Ratio All Creoles 218 35.97 105 108 98 All Foreign Creoles 8 1.32 4 4 100 All Africans 371 61.22 224 160 151 Unidentified 9 1.49 5 4 125 All Slaves 606 100 338 276 122 Note: Excluded from calculations relative to sex ratio were four creole children of indeterminate sex and five creole children of unknown ages, the latter all infants. One of the key characteristics of slave life in the Americas was the inability of slave populations to replenish their numbers naturally. Only in what would become the United States did a slave population increase their numbers through self-reproduction. In the rest of the hemisphere, slave societies had to import new Africans to keep up the number of enslaved workers. Determining how well the slaves in any region grew through natural reproduction presents certain difficulties. David Geggus cautions that calculating slave fertility is quite hazardous because the births and deaths of slave

PAGE 52

42 infants often went unrecorded. The best measure of slave fertility is fertility ratio (slave children 0-4 years old per 1000 slave women 15-44 years old). 4 Table 3-3. Some Factors Bearing on Slave Life on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations, 1780-1792, Based on Notarized Plantation Inventories Name of Plantation N Sex Ratio Fertility Ratio Bouch 10 100 500 Marcorelle 10 233 500 Vignault 12 125 500 Fignoux 13 63 333 Fondelin 13 167 167 De La Rue 14 180 500 Belle Vue 16 100 0 SMALL Lelevain 16 100 200 TOTAL: SMALL 104 114 Payas 24 118 833 Paret 27 170 250 Dangluze 32 94 0 Pigal 32 244 167 Dufour frres 38 131 250 MEDIUM Canonge & Dulaud 47 156 900 TOTAL: MEDIUM 200 143 La Ravine Blanche 68 85 384 Jean Baptiste Clment 69 229 263 La Grande Habitation 76 94 333 LARGE Jean Joseph Clment 90 134 286 TOTAL: LARGE 303 124 TOTAL: ALL 607 128 354 Crop type appears to have been the biggest determinant in the fertility of slave women. Gegguss sample of 59 sucreries (years 1755-1791) indicates a median fertility index of 281, while his sample of 56 cafteries (years 1767-1792) indicates a 4 This warning primarily concerns plantation journals, which recorded day-to-day conditions of slave life, more than plantation inventories, which described plantation life at a particular moment in time. The notarized plantation inventories I have consulted require the same degree of caution as plantation journals and necessitate the same methodology. David P. Geggus, Sugar and Coffee in Saint Domingue, in Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas, 90.

PAGE 53

43 substantially lower index, 333. My sample of 18 coffee and mixed-crop plantations in the Grande-Anse (years 1782-1792) indicates a slightly lower median fertility index (310). 5 Table 3-4. Slave Fertility Indexes on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations by Size of Plantation Workforce, 1782-1792 Size Category Mean Index Median Index N SMALL 338 417 8 MEDIUM 400 250 6 LARGE 317 310 4 All Categories 354 310 18 The size of a plantations slave workforce was also had an important influence on slave fertility. In Saint-Domingue as a whole, sugar estates tended to be large operations, while the workforce sizes of coffee plantations varied widely. Our sample suggests that medium-sized coffee estates had the highest slave fertility on average. More research is necessary to verify this hypothesis, but our sample suggests that small plantations had the highest fertility, based on the median fertility of the small plantations in our sample. The Naming of Slaves and Ethnicity Ethnic labels by which different African groups were known in Saint-Domingue derived in part from their African origins, and planter stereotypes helped to determine how whites viewed slaves of certain African nations. As David Geggus has shown, these stereotypes proved less important to coffee planters, who tended to buy whatever slaves they could and in smaller quantities than did sugar planters, who generally had better 5 Geggus suggests that On the coffee plantations the most significant factor was workforce size, which indicates that the difficulty of finding a suitable partner was more important in the mountains. Ibid., 91 and Table 2.12.

PAGE 54

44 buying power. The slaves personal names, meanwhile, both show how planters chose to name their chattel and one point of origin for free colored names. 6 Slaveholders bestowed names both on their human chattel and their livestock. Despite the notorious lack of religiosity in colonial society in the late eighteenth century, the majority of the slaves had Christian names. A minority bore names from classical European civilizations: many a plantation had its Venus and Cupidon. One is left to wonder whether such names reflected some qualities the masters perceived in their slaves. The majority of the slaves in the sample only had one name. Free coloreds generally had two. The carpenter Joseph Marlborough, for example, seems to carry the surname of the British military leader, the Duke of Marlborough, as his surname. Other free coloreds used names originating in lidiome africain or Classical names. Surnames such as Minerve, Yoyo, and Tripoly fall into this category. Some gens de couleur libres, particularly members of the planter class, did have European surnames, adopted from white progenitors or perhaps godparents. 7 Ethnicity, or to use the contemporary term, nation, is a descriptor of dubious efficacy. The ethnic labels that the planters and merchants appended to their slaves only had an approximate relation to their slaves African origin. Debien notes that this identification was based in part on country marks, ritual scarification of the face practiced throughout western Africa but apparently not in American slave societies. Some 6 Geggus, Sugar and Coffee, 84-86, 88. 7 Marlboroughs surname may reflect the Anglophilia Charles Frostin attributes to the Grande-Anse. See Frostin, Les rvoltes blanches.

PAGE 55

45 groups, however, seem to have been named for the African port from which they embarked for the Americas. 8 One ethnonym that has received much recent scholarly attention is Congo. In the minds of their owners, Congos were short people from west-central Africa. The men were not considered to have good potential as workers in sugar fields given that the women did the fieldwork in their homeland. This planter stereotype explains in part why so many Congolese found themselves on coffee estates and not on sugar plantations. 9 Table 3-5. The Origins of Slaves on Eighteen Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 (N=606) Ethnicity N % of N Males Females S/ R Creole 10 218 35.97 105 108 97 Ngre 208 100 104 Multre 7 4 3 Griffe 2 1 0 Quarteron 1 0 1 Foreign Creole 8 1.32 4 4 100 Portuguese 1 0 1 Spanish 1 1 0 English 3 3 3 Senegambia 20 3.30 14 6 230 Senegalese 5 3 2 Bambara 7 7 0 8 Debien, Les esclaves, 39-40. 9 More recently, in his recently published dissertation on the Luso-Brazilian alcohol trade to West Central Africa during the era of the legal trans-Atlantic slave trade, Jos C. Curto asserts that sugar cane brandy (cachaa) provided Brazilian slave traders with a valuable commodity that could compete with English and French interlopers who offered European and Indian fabrics of higher quality. He contends that French traders pursued their illicit commerce both north and south of the Portuguese seat of power, the colonial capital of Luanda. Jos C. Curto, Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and its Hinterland, c. 1550-1830 (Leiden: Brill, 2004): 157-58; and David P. Geggus, Sex Ratio, Age and Ethnicity in the Atlantic Slave Trade: Data from French Shipping and Plantation Records, Journal of African History 30, no. 1 (1989): 29-30. 10 Not included is a griffe child and five children of unknown age. 11 Included in the total number of creoles but not in breakdown by phenotype and sex are five children of unknown gender and age. One griffe child whose sex and age are unknown was included under the relevant subheading but not in the columns for males and females.

PAGE 56

46 Table 3-5. Continued. Mandingue 7 3 4 Fulani 1 1 0 Sierra Leone 9 1.49 8 1 800 Sosso 7 7 0 Timbo 2 1 1 Windward Coast 15 2.48 11 4 400 Canga 8 7 1 Kissi 5 4 1 Bobo 2 0 2 Gold Coast 15 2.48 8 7 114 Mine 14 8 6 Caramenty 1 0 1 Bight of Benin 63 10.39 25 38 66 Arada 20 2 18 Barba 2 1 1 Nago 19 8 11 Cotocoli 3 1 2 Thiamba 12 14 9 5 Hausa 5 4 1 Bight of Biafra 19 3.14 10 9 111 Ibo 15 8 7 Bibi 3 2 1 Moco 1 0 1 Congo 13 200 33.00 136 76 179 Congo Franc 1 1 0 Congo 183 118 65 Mondongue 16 7 9 Mozambique 12 10 2 Other Africans 14 30 4.95 11 19 58 Unidentifie d 9 1.49 5 4 125 TOTAL 606 100.00 338 276 122 The numerical preponderance of Central Africans (i.e., Congos Francs, Congos, Mondongues, and Mozambiques) among the Grande-Anses African-born slave population (200 in the sample, or 53.9%) is similar to Gegguss samples from the West 12 Also includes Quiambas and Chambas. 13 Also note that Congos represented 54% of all Africans in the sample. 14 Includes one each of Madagascar, Meyomb, Nata, Ayouba, Gourmand, Chicart, and Cadugne and three Aheressa.

PAGE 57

47 Province (1785-1791), where Central Africans made up 52.5% of the African-born contingent of slave workforces on cafteries. Congos were, however, more prevalent in the North Province (1778-1791), where they represented 68.2% of the African-born slaves. Being a majority of Africans in the Grande-Anse does not necessarily mean West Central Africans had an overriding impact on local slave culture. It would also be necessary to know what ethnic groups predominated in the Grande-Anse before the 1780s coffee boom. By analogy, the Aja-Fon of West Africa had a strong impact on Haitian vodou not because they were the most numerous slaves in late colonial Saint-Domingue but because they were apparently the most numerous during the first years of settlement. 15 Moreover, the young age at which Congos in particular disembarked in the colony worked against survivals of their cultural traditions. Twenty-two (11%) of the Congos represented in our sample were boys younger than fifteen years old. Most of the others were well below thirty years. Embarking from Africa as boys and young men, Congo slaves in the Grande-Anse would have had limited knowledge of their culture, particularly the more esoteric parts of religion and tradition. These criticisms aside, ethnicity remains a category of analysis that must be taken seriously, if nothing more than to consider how colonial society saw the slave workforce. Table 3-5 expresses how 606 slaves classified using these colonial ethnic descriptors break down. If considered with those brought from the same slave catchment areas, or coasts, the largest African population in the Grande-Anse in the 1780s was the Congos (N=200), among whom were the so-called Congos Francs (True Congos), individuals from a wide catchment area along the coast of Angola. Another group from West-Central 15 David Geggus, Haitian Voodoo in the Eighteenth Century: Language, Culture, Resistance, Jahrbuch fr Geschichte von Staat, Windschaft und Geschelschaft Weinamerikas 28 (1991): 36-37.

PAGE 58

48 Africa were the Mondongues (N=15), whom the French reputed to be cannibals. Taken together, West Central Africans had a sex ratio of 179, a high disparity between the sexes but not as extreme as that of Africans from some other regions. Africanist historian Joseph C. Miller asserts that West Central Africans elites tended to sell more men than women into the Atlantic slave trade because, he contends, they retained females for slave breeding. An alternative interpretation is that these women were retained as multiple wives in a polygamous society. 16 Slaves from the other coasts together represented only about 30 percent of the sample population, but this does not exclude the possibility that individuals from these catchment areas could find others of identical or similar background with whom to reminisce about Africa, engage in cultural practices such as religious rituals, or have children. 17 The largest ethnic group in the sample was the creoles, slaves born in the colony. They were notable for their number (N=218, or 35.97% of the sample) and their age: most were under the age of 20 years, and many of these were born after the beginning of the coffee boom. It is unclear where the other creoles came from. Some were surely part of the 2,147 slaves present in the Grande-Anse at the time of the 1755 census, but it is unknown if these creoles, like some of the free coloreds, were immigrants from other parts of the colony, whom their migrating masters brought with them or whom their masters sold through the coasting trade. 16 Debien, Les esclaves, 49-52; and Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), 135. 17 John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 (Second Edition; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 199.

PAGE 59

49 The Slaves Diet Like most early modern agricultural peoples, Domingois slaves subsisted almost entirely on starches. Planters commonly grew manioc and plantains on coffee plantations in the Grande-Anse to supplement what the slaves presumably grew themselves on their own provision grounds. suggest that the local diet followed the general pattern. Gabriel Debien states in his Les esclaves aux Antilles franaises that the nature of the slave diet followed different patterns in the colonys three provinces, and Moreau related that like those in the Windward Islands, Jrmien slaves relied on plantains, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, and manioc. 18 Inventories of property only give patchy information on food production on individual plantations. Appraisers elected by parties interested in these inventories were quite inconsistent in describing land use. No official guidelines appear to have existed, and the notaries did not enforce any sort of uniformity in the estate appraisals that they recorded. The amount of land under food cultivation was either measured in the number of individual plants or in the number of carreaux dedicated to a certain species of crop. Very common in the description of provision plots worked in common was the notation quelques vivres (some food crops) which I have interpreted as a product either of official laziness or of intercropping of seed crops like beans between rows of young coffee trees. 18 See Chapter 2 for more information about these rural food producers. No scholar seems to have addressed what may have been a pre-revolutionary peasantry. Information on these habitants is made more difficult by scanty descriptions of their properties when inventoried for sale. Fernand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1979), 106-107; and Moreau de Saint-Mry, Description . de la partie franaise, 3: 1406.

PAGE 60

50 Providing sufficient food for the slaves had been a problem in the French Antillean colonies since the seventeenth century. A series of metropolitan and colonial laws, the most important of which was the 1685 Code noir, required the habitants to provide their chattel with a minimum ration, which in the long run effected a system of food provisioning based on the cultivation of vivres in common plots on Saturday afternoons under the supervision of the commandeur, or slave foreman. The slaves were allowed small plots around their huts known as jardins-case, or jardins-ngre. Debien argues the jardins-case provided a rare space for African autonomy within the oppressive and dehumanizing forced labor regime. At the end of the eighteenth centuries, these jardins-case were removed from the areas between the slave huts to locations closer to the sugarcane fields and coffee groves where slaves did most of their work. Each slave then received a provision ground to grow vegetables to supplement the starchy staples provided by the common plots of vivres. 19 The plantation inventories that I consulted from the Grande-Anse do not discuss slave provision grounds. Rather, the notaries recorded how much acreage was devoted to food crops and occasionally delineated how much of each crop was in the fields. 20 Aside from the carbohydrate-rich vegetable foods discussed above, slaves also took the initiative in supplementing their diet with protein from both wild and domesticated sources. In the West Province, slaves in the hinterland of Port-au-Prince sought for clutches of turtle and alligator eggs. Moreau de Saint-Mry provides us with three wild 19 Debien draws his perspective on food production first from the acts of legislative-judicial bodies like the Conseil du Roi (Royal Council) and the conseils suprieurs of Saint-Domingue, Martinique, and Guadeloupe and second from the management records of various sugar and coffee plantations, particularly in Saint-Domingue. Debien, Les esclaves, Chapter 8. 20 Ibid., 177-86, 195.

PAGE 61

51 sources of protein available to the slaves. First, in the early months of the year crabs were very numerous off the coast of Saint-Domingue to the point of overrunning the fields. Slaves in the Grande-Anse welcomed the opportunity for readily available protein. Second, the Grande-Rivire de la Grande-Anse teemed with fish in the late eighteenth century. Given that slaves fished for crabs in underwater holes, slaves living the near La Grande-Rivire added fish from the river to their diet. Finally, the coffee frontier expanded into the forested highlands where for two and a half centuries feral pigs and cattle had roamed. It is within reason that at least some slaves hunted these beasts for their subsistence, as had the buccaneers of former times, and this can be substantiated by way of analogy. 21 I propose, then, that hunting and fishing may have been subsistence activities either encouraged or allowed by Domingois planters and their managers. The fish-laden Grande-Rivire, feral pigs, and an annual surge of crabs were three opportunities for the pursuit of wild sources of protein. 22 Much disease among the slaves came from nutritional deficiencies, as Kenneth F. Kiple has demonstrated in his acclaimed work The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Kiples work does have some shortcomings because he does not provide detailed analysis of the French Antilles, though he summarizes the diet of French slaves as basically lacking in protein and high in carbohydrates. As Kiple argues convincingly, 21 Trouillot, Motion in the System, 372-373. 22 Trouillot points out that the sugar planters resented the expansion of coffee production into the wilds partly because it destroyed the habitats of the feral pigs. I have not found much information on hunting in late eighteenth-century Saint-Domingue. Lacking that, I will make two observations. First, the sugar plantocracy may have engaged in hunting as an analogue to the great hunts undertaken by the European nobility. Second, on more secure grounds the assertion can be made that the expansion of coffee sealed off a frontier that may have had some cultural significance for the Dominguan elite. After all, the founders of the sugar complex were successful buccaneers. The cultural significance of the frontier is a topic unresearched in the historiography of Saint-Domingue, but it reminds one of Frederick Jackson Turners Frontier Thesis in United States history, long since abandoned by Americanist historians. Ibid.

PAGE 62

52 such a diet left a population susceptible to beriberi and other nutritional deficiency diseases. He correlates symptoms of beriberi with those of mal destomach (sic), a common and fatal disease among Caribbean slave populations. Mal destomac, also called mal coeur in the French colonies and mal de estmago in the Spanish was widespread, but the slaves, their masters, and European-trained medical professionals each had their own opinions on its etiology. 23 In accordance with their own cultural context, African bondsmen, when questioned about the disease, blamed their affliction on witchcraft. In discussing vodou before the Haitian Revolution, David Geggus has asserted that slaves practicing African or Afro-Caribbean belief systems would look for supernatural causes for misfortunes. European planters, plantation managers, and surgeons, by contrast, tended to attribute the slaves lethargy and melancholy to a loss of a will to live, an insidious admission of their slaves humanity and autonomy. Kiple, however, challenges both of these contemporary views by resorting to modern medical science. The general wasting away and lethargy of slaves in the grip of mal destomac bear resemblance to a number of diseases whose etiology is known in the present day. Kiple singles out two: beriberi and hookworm infestation and argues convincingly that the former was probably the cause of mal destomac. 24 To the point, mal destomac was the single most common disease reported among the sample Jrmien slave population. Of the five cases reported in the sample, four occurred on La Grande Habitation in May 1783, but the plantation manager reported no 23 Kenneth F. Kiple and Virginia H. Kiple, Deficiency Diseases in the Caribbean, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 11, no. 2 (1980), reprinted in Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds., Caribbean Slave Society and Economy: A Student Reader (New York: The New Press, 1991), 177-78. 24 Geggus, Haitian Voodoo, 47.

PAGE 63

53 cases among the slaves of La Ravine Blanche. Both were coffee plantations owned by Sr. Augustin Tripier, and the same manager oversaw both. The high rate of the disease appears to have been tied to the virulent hurricane of the previous September, which destroyed the grandcase (masters residence) and apparently much of the food supply as well. The manager reported that slaves on that plantation were in quite bad shape: thirteen were described simply as infirm, one was blind, three had venereal disease, and three had the skin disease known as crab yaws. In all, 25 of the 76 slaves living at La Grande Habitation complained of some sort of physical affliction. 25 Occupational Mobility on Coffee Plantations Even with the bad material conditions facing slaves in the Grande-Anse and their counterparts throughout the Caribbean basin, there was some room for advancement within the structures of plantation slavery. The most prestigious occupations available to bondsmen were available only to men. As David Geggus has demonstrated, on sugar plantations in Saint-Domingue a sizable minority of slave men became artisans, supervisors, livestock handlers, and domestic servants. Women, who came to form the majority of the field laborers on sucreries, sometimes found advancement in such onerous occupations as washerwomen and seamstresses. Female slaves, particularly older women, could also seek medical posts auxiliary to those of European physicians and surgeons. Though ridiculed and sometimes resented by their masters and other Europeans, these enslaved medical specialists no doubt earned prestige and power within their own communities. 26 25 At the time of the inventory of the estate, the manager had taken over one of the slave cabins to serve as his residence. L6A-60, JP-N. 26 Geggus, Sugar and Coffee, 84.

PAGE 64

54 In the colonys coffee plantations, by contrast, slaves had few chances for occupational advancement. Whereas slave men on sugar plantations had a chance of advancing within the building trades and as personal servants of the more superfluous sort, these routes were often denied to slaves on coffee plantations. Coffee planters tended to hire entrepreneurs de btiments to have new buildings erected and old ones extended and repaired, and only rarely did small planters keep many personal servants. Local conditions also played a role: bad roads limited the efficacy of keeping a coachman at the ready. In the Grande-Anse, a little less than half of the coffee plantations sampled lacked any elite slaves at all. Those that did generally maintained only commandeurs, or slave foremen, above the pool of field slaves. According to Debien, the commandeur was a man that the common workers were to hold in great respect and fear. That authors sources, generally absentee sugar planters, directed their plantation managers (grants) not to castigate their commandeurs publicly. Ideal commandeurs, in Debiens analysis, were to be vigorous men who knew the plantation work regimen. Knowledge of several African languages was also an advantage, the better to incorporate bossales into the plantations society. Mirroring the colonial principle of divide and rule, the planter or his grant should appoint a commandeur who was not of the same ethnicity of the majority of the workers. As in other aspects of slave life in Saint-Domingue region, crop type, and workforce size appear to have been important factors in the social structure of slave society in the Grande-Anse. From descriptions in extant plantation inventories we can catch some glimpses at least of how the commandeurs on these plantations appeared to white observers (Table 3-6) My sample of commandeurs on coffee and mixed-crop plantations

PAGE 65

55 in the Grande-Anse shows the diverse origins of slave drivers. Unlike sugar plantations, coffee plantations tended to be relatively new operations, which may go far to explain why so many Africans were appointed as slave drivers instead of creoles, who tended to be much too young and inexperienced for so much responsibility. 27 Table 3-6. Profiles of Commandeurs on Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1792 Year Plantation Name Slaves Name Nation Age Description Monetary Price (livres coloniaux) 1784 Lelevain Prince Congo 35 Branded Lelevain 2000 1785 Dangluze Pierre Creole 35 N/A Not given 1786 Paret Lafortune Congo 25 N/A Not given 1787 Fondelin Balthazard Creole 35 N/A Not given 1789 Dufour Jean Spanish Creole 45 One hand missing 3000 1789 Pigal Francisque Thiamba 55 Scales on his eyes Not given Housing and Community The plantation, in its role as a self-sufficient unit of agricultural production, provided the slaves with lodging in addition to nutrition. According to Pre Jean-Baptiste Labat and other seventeenth-century observers, slaves built their own houses (cases ngres) in the colonies early years, and, as was the case of their masters, the slaves built their dwellings in accordance with their own aesthetics. 28 In the eighteenth century, and particularly on the sugar estates, planters began to have the slaves lodging built for them according to what the masters preferred. In this regard, Jrmien coffee planters seem to have agreed. Usually lacking slaves trained in 27 Debien, Les esclaves, 122-23. 28 In the seventeenth century Barbadian sugar planters forced both their African slaves and European indentured servants to build their own huts. See Hilary MacD. Beckles, Sugar and White Servitude: An Analysis of White Indentured Labor during the Sugar Revolution of Barbados, 1643-1655, Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 36, no. 3 (1981): 236-46.

PAGE 66

56 the building trades, habitants regularly contracted with entrepreneurs de btiments for the construction of cases ngres. A few such contracts have survived in the Jrmie Papers, most of which were with S. Bernard Fourcand, a former ships carpenter who obviously found a lucrative business during with the building boom in Jrmie and its hinterland in the 1780s. 29 Table 3-7. Slave Housing on Small and Middling Coffee and Mixed-Crop Plantations in the Grande-Anse, 1780-1789 (N=9) Plantation No. of Slaves No. of Cabins Slaves/Cabin Average Dimensions Marcorelle 10 2 5.00 Not given Vigneau 12 2 6.00 Not given Fondelin 13 4 3.25 Not given Lelevain 16 1 16.00 40 x 14 Paret 27 2 13.50 40 feet long Dangluze 32 2 16.00 Not given Pigal 32 3 10.67 Not given Dufour frres 38 12 3.16 Not given Canonge & Dulaud 47 8 5.88 30 x 15 The proportions and number of the cases built by the entrepreneurs, or rather the colored carpenters working for them, allow some room to speculate about sleeping arrangements on specific plantations. Table 3-7 presents a sample of nine small and medium-sized plantations for which data exist on slave housing. Many plantation inventories neglect slave housing altogether, which for some plantations may have meant that slaves slept wherever they could. Only in nine of the fourteen inventories sampled were slave quarters mentioned at all, and only in three of these cases did the notary note the dimensions of the structures. From the data available, it seems that small plantations 29 Personal correspondence with Andre-Luce Fourcand.

PAGE 67

57 (in this sample, 10-15 slaves) had smaller dwellings more akin to the African huts Labat and other observers describe for the late seventeenth century. It is reasonable to assume that individual families (however defined) each had a house of their own or that slaves of specific ethnicities lived together. Medium-sized plantations, however, seem to follow the trend Debien finds for eighteenth-century sugar plantations towards larger slave quarters that more closely resembled barracks. Professional carpenters built these structures, which were too uniform in dimension to have been built by unskilled slave labor. The slaves on the Canonge & Dulaud cafterie, by contrast, lived in eight buildings of uniform dimension, 30 feet long by 15 feet wide. Each occupant thus had 76.5 square feet of personal space and an average of 6 persons lived in each unit. The only other plantation list that allows for the same calculation is that for the Lelevain plantation, whose sixteen slaves lived under one roof; in this case, each slave had 35 square feet of personal space. From this small sample, it is difficult to contemplate to what degree such variables as personal space, occupants per dwelling, and sex ratio determined slave fertility. Conclusions Notarized inventories of coffee plantations in the Grande-Anse suggest that slave life there had many parallels with cafteries in other parts of Saint-Domingue. In the sample of eighteen coffee and mixed-crop plantations that I have presented here, where crop type was the only constant, workforce size appears as a major determinant of certain aspects of slave life, particularly the fertility of slave women. Many of these plantations had been established relatively recently compared to sugar plantations in the colonys plains. Their workforces were quite young and more African than most sugar estates, but

PAGE 68

58 even in these relatively new plantations, locally born creoles constituted over a third of the entire slave population.

PAGE 69

CHAPTER 4 FAMILY, RACE, AND PATRONAGE IN THE GRANDE-ANSE BEFORE THE FRENCH REVOLUTION The study of social patterns among the free population in the Grande-Anse is a topic that the notarial records open up. Given the abundant recent work on free coloreds before the Revolution, it is worthwhile to pursue the family structure and social relations of both free coloreds and petits blancs and how these relations intersected. With that objective in mind, sacramental records and marriage contracts take on much importance. A primary means of understanding Jrmien society is marriage and baptismal patterns. The analysis that follows takes into account such records from 1781, the only year falling within the parameters of this study whose ecclesiastical records have survived in their entirety in the Jrmie Papers. Given the small size of my database on this matter, I intend for the conclusions made below to be suggestive of the way Jrmien society functioned in regards to the rate of legitimacy of births, the phenotypical composition of the gens de couleur libres, and local patterns of patronage. Table 4-1. Infants Baptized in the Parish of Jrmie, 1781 Year N Legitimacy 1 Blanc Multre Quarteron Tierceron Mtif Sang Ml 2 1781 47 68% 15 7 7 3 1 2 Source: Ecclesiastical Records, 1781, Jrmie, JP-G. 1 I have calculated legitimacy based on the formula: number of children baptized with known father divided by those baptized without a known or recognized father. 2 Here I have abbreviated for sang-ml. Literally meaning mixed blood, this descriptor was applied to those individuals who were deemed to have some detectable trace of non-European ancestry. 59

PAGE 70

60 The first factor to consider is the ratio of white to non-white participants in baptism. In 1781, the curate of the church in Jrmie baptized twenty children of color, fifteen white children, and twelve children of unknown phenotype, for a total of forty-seven. In aggregate, their parents reflected the diverse phenotypical composition pervasive throughout Saint-Domingue and other slave societies in the Greater Caribbean. As is the case with slave families, understanding the structure of free families is an undertaking complicated by problems of paternity. The rate of illegitimacy (32%) compounds these difficulties. In aggregate, eighteen individual white fathers came before the priest with thirteen white mothers. To explain this discrepancy, it is necessary to state that the five discrepant cases involved poor ecclesiastical reporting. In some cases some whites who lacked any standing in the community were given no designation, as was the British prisoner-of-war, Andr (Andrew) Cavanagh, when he and his wife presented their newborn daughter for baptism. Similarly, the priest quite often left out the racial designation of important free coloreds. In a great many other cases, children were baptized unrecognized by their fathers. Although Stewart R. King asserts that men were likely to recognize paternity at the baptisms of their illegitimate children, my data for the Grande-Anse reveal no such instances of recognition of paternity. 3 A sample of thirty testaments recorded in the Grande-Anse between May 1780 3 King advocates establishing parentage based on the white godfather of colored children, but, based on the data that I have, I believe this approach to lack the rigor necessary to be an efficacious method of recreating family structure. In many cases white men of some standing in the community stood as godparents for colored children, both legitimate and illegitimate. It is tempting to argue as King does, because in many cases these white godfathers stood for children of color of a whiter phenotype than their mothers. Without other evidence (e.g., a last will and testament), I have refrained from naming fathers for children of color where the basis for this assumption in the sources is lacking. For his view of white godparentage of colored children, see King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig, 13.

PAGE 71

61 and August 1789 provide room for some general conclusions before discussing how testators used these documents to protect their dependents after their own demise. There is a clear correspondence between gender and phenotype. Of the 30 testaments sampled, 23 (77%) of the testators were men, and only one of these men was nonwhite (see Table 4-2). The most common testator was an aged habitant concerned about those he would leave behind; the median age of the eighteen testators who gave their ages was 48 years. Although there is no way to compare this figure with the average age of the free population, it does not coincide with the image of the young immigrant fresh from the metropole, intent on his fortune. Likewise all of the female testators were women of color: 1 ingnue, 4 2 ngresses, 1 mtive, 2 multresses, and 1 griffe. 5 Table 4-2. Occupations of Male Testators (N=23) Habitant Trader 6 Merchant 7 Bureaucrat Artisan None Occupation 8 14 2 2 1 3 1 Sources: L6A-13, L6A-14, L6A-23, L6A-41, L6A-70, L6A-98, L6A-121, L6A-138, L6A-139, L6B-2, L6B-6, L6B-36, L6B-39, L6B-55, L6B-61, L6B-155, M1-13, M1-16, M1-89, G5-82, G5-101, G5-114 G5-130, all in JP-N. As mentioned above, men in the Grande-Anse who fathered illegitimate children did not accept their offspring as their own through baptismal rites. Instead, they preferred 4 Ingnu (feminine ingnue) in colonial practice referred to a person of free birth but presumably of some African or, less likely, indigenous ancestry. 5 With this obvious bias in mind, it is still useful to tap this means of understanding Jrmien society. As outlined in Table 3.7, half of the testators were landowners, or habitants, including one ingnue. Over a quarter more identified themselves as members of the urban sector. Finally, seven gave no occupation, six of whom were women. Daniel Scott Smith found that 36 percent of men and 6 percent of women left wills in Hingham, Massachusetts. Daniel Scott Smith, Underregistration and Bias in Probate Records: An Analysis of Data from Eighteenth-Century Hingham, Massachusetts, William and Mary Quarterly 32, no. 1 (January 1975), 104. 6 Marchand, a term indicating someone engaged only in local trade. 7 Ngociant, a term indicating someone engaged in international trade. 8 None refers to individuals without any stated means of gainful employment. Habitant/e refers likewise to landowners, no matter their socioeconomic power.

PAGE 72

62 to give tacit recognition through material support by way of testaments and, less often, by acts of donation. By reading through the lines, we can establish through a few examples the kinds of relationships that existed between menalmost always white menand their illegitimate offspring. In July 1782, Sr. Franois Desormeaux, a habitant residing at Trou Bonbon, delivered a heifer to le nomm Hildevert Sonfillers, the illegitimate son (fils naturel) of mtive Marie Louise Legendre, a plantation owner in her own right at Grande-Rivire. If Desormeauxs appointment as executor and attorney (procureur) to his fellow habitants is any indication of his standing in the local community, he could simply have shown paternalistic, not necessarily paternal, feelings toward Sonfillers: he also gave two cows to his goddaughter, but his donation due to the amity and humanity he felt for the young man suggests there was something more going on. 9 Another, clearer case of tacit paternal recognition came to pass with the testament of Sr. Joseph Pjac, a mason who resided at Les Camittes. As he lay dying of a hemorrhage, Pejac dictated his final wishes that, among other things, four quarteron children, presumably his, be given an allowance for their maintenance until they married or reached their majority. Two days later, Pejac, still on his deathbed and now claiming to be a navigator by profession, altered the legacy to his four children to be 1000 livres each for ten years. He showed special concern for the eldest, fifteen-year-old Franois, whom he described both times as an imbecile. He stressed his concern for all of the children, 9 His goddaughter, Demoiselle Bonne, the daughter of master surgeon Sr. Dominique Lelevain, produced three bulls and a gazelle by the time of the latters succession in February 1784. Donation of gazelle from Sr. Franois Desormeaux to le nomm Hildevert Sonfillers, 18 July 1782, Jrmie Papers, Notaries: L6A-38; and Succession of Sr. Dominique Lelevain, in life master surgeon at Trou Bonbon, 7 February 1784, ibid.: L6A-66.

PAGE 73

63 however, by making provision for his executor to be deposed if the latter did not enforce their legacy. 10 A third interesting case of a white mans attention to his presumed natural children was that of Sr. Jean-Baptiste de St. Martin. De St. Martin, a habitant at le Vieux Bourg, dictated his will as he prepared to depart from the Grande-Anse on business. He apparently felt less insecure than Pjac that his final wishes would be carried out. De St. Martin declared that he owed his housekeeper Marie Franoise dite Leloy 13,000 livres for the previous thirteen years of dedicated service. He also left a legacy for her two natural sons, born Dieudonn, baptized as Jean Baptiste Augustin and Pierre Fortun (the quantity of which, unfortunately, time has rotted away on the original manuscript) and ordered his creole slave driver (commandeur) Jean Baptiste to serve the two young quarterons for four years, after which time they were to appeal to the governor and intendant of the colony for his liberty. 11 Not only men used testaments to protect natural children from post-mortem legal entanglements. In her October 1786 testament, ngresse libre Marie Magdelaine Lizette Zbat moved to protect her multresse daughter whom she described as fille naturelle provenant de ses oeuvres." The work to which Zbat refers is elusive (perhaps prostitution), though couples seeking the sanctification of their unions often mentioned 10 Pejac, a native of Boudelat, diocese of Auch in Gascogne, had a partnership with the griffe Laurince Lachaume to run a store (magasin) at Les Camittes, apparently a warehouse where local planters (e.g., the Lafonds and Nol Azor, discussed below) stored their coffee while awaiting export to Jrmie or elsewhere. His four children discussed here were not Laurinces: all her children were multres and multresses. [1st] Testament of Sr. Joseph Pejac, 19 Sept 1785, ibid.: L6A-139; Dissolution of partnership between Sr. Joseph Pejac and la nomme Laurince grif libre, dite Lachaume, 20 September 1785, ibid.: L6A-140; 2nd Testament of Sr. Joseph Pejac, 20 September 1785, ibid.: L6A-141; and Testament of la nomme Laurince, griffe libre, dite Lachaume, 21 September 1785, ibid.: L6A-144. 11 Testament of Sr. Jean Baptiste de St. Martin, 26 June 1789, ibid.: T1-89.

PAGE 74

64 children who resulted from their oeuvres together. By her testament Zbat gave her daughter 300 livres a year pension until she reached her majority. The bulk of her estate was destined, however, for her executor, the multre Jean David, a man of unknown relation to the testator. 12 Unlike Zbat, ngresse Marguerite Boucan used her testament to seek the manumission of her son Jean Baptiste who had been enrolled in the towns police force as a cheap way to earn his freedom. Declaring that she lacked another legal heir (and not wanting or able to leave her estate to her son, a slave), Boucan willed her property to her executor, multre habitant Franois Roo dit Licaq. As in similar cases, Roo dit Licaq would have taken Jean Baptiste into his clientele following his mothers demise. 13 Finally, Marguerite Rozaire, the ingnue (free-born) widow of Sr. Alxis Humbert Bouchereau, sought to protect her son from the avarice of his older and legitimate half-siblings. She had borne him in her widowhood, and when she caught a fever she called for the notary in order to protect the boys interests. The clauses of her testament underlined her concern for his future welfare: she gave him two slaves from her plantations workforce and, to better protect him, she appointed the boys godfather as her executor. 14 These six vignettes suggest the ways in which men and women used their testaments to express their anxiety over the fate of their illegitimate children after their deaths and devised ways to protect those without to protect them from legitimate heirs 12 Testament of Marie Magdelaine Lizette Zbat, 5 October 1786, ibid.: L6B-45.. 13 Testament of Marguerite Boucan, 12 July 1785, ibid.: L6A-112. On military manumissions, see King, Blue Coat or Powdered Wig, 109. 14 L6A-52.

PAGE 75

65 who would seek to deprive them of material support in the future. In effect, they implied (in some cases stronger than others) that the executor of their respective estates was to be the patron and protector of children left without other legal recourse, and as the guardian of the deceased persons estate and its resources, the executor was in an ideal position to show favoritism to illegitimate but cherished heirs. 15 Paternalistic sentiment extended beyond just protecting illegitimate children, however. Godparentage was one way to create special ties between families, and these ties went both vertical from patron to client and horizontally between families of equal standing. In May 1781, Jacques Lafond of Fond dIcaque stood as godfather to the infant son of Celestin Betouzet of La Voldrogue, thus strengthening the bond between two prominent colored planting families. Three months later, Lafond became the godfather of his nephew Paul Fortunat, this time bringing his own family closer together. 16 Vertical connections forged through godparentage are easier to see. In 1781, the priest at Jrmie baptized fifteen illegitimate colored children. In these cases, the men who stepped forward to godfather these children represented patrons to whom the children and their mothers could turn for support. The prevalence of white men in this role suggests that whites played a significant role as the patrons of the gens de couleur. 17 This is not to say that men of color did not play their role as patrons to other people of color who lacked their success or advantages. Quarteron planter Jean Cadet Atlasse, 15 In the case of the male testators described above, it is telling that they threatened and begged their executors to care for their illegitimate offspring but never officially recognized them, a step that would have made these children legitimate heirs on equal footing with relatives in France, for instance. 16 Ecclesiastical records, 1781, Jrmie, JP-G. 17 Ibid.

PAGE 76

66 for instance, was the court-appointed guardian of Jean Marie Madre, a young man of color who entered into a partnership with another young multre to plant coffee in La Guinaude, the same canton where Atlasse lived. 18 Another commonplace mechanism for patronage within this society was individual slave manumissions, in a way similar to that of Sr. de St. Martins creole commandeur who would continue to serve the masters family in case of his death. Patronage presents an ideological explanation for the economically illogical habit of liberating ones obedient and, often, elite slaves such as drivers, artisans, and domestics, who were often quite valuable both in terms of crude monetary value and potential for profit. In January 1785, Jacques Lafond acted out the patrons role towards a ngresse named Marie-Claire who belonged to the Berquier family. He and his wife, Jeanne Petit dite Jeannette, explained to the notary that in 1776 while the latter was married to her first husband, Paul Fortunat, she had Monsieur Berquiers approval for her to send a slave to work in Marie-Claires place for ten years. In the 1785 act, Berquiers widow agreed to have Marie-Claire emancipated in return for this second slave to compensate for the necessary liberty tax. 19 While the paternal relationship between patrons and clients was important in Jrmien society, so was friendship. In October 1784, Louis Lacheville donated his coffee plantation at Fond d'Icaque to Jean Baptiste Cophi. Both men were hommes de couleur libres (free men of color): Lacheville was a multre and Cophi a ngre. Though the document formalizing the donation gives no indication of the relationship between the 18 Partnership between Jean Marie Madre and Gilles Bouquet, multres, JP-G. 19 Ratification, 25 January 1785, L6A-90.

PAGE 77

67 two men, it is apparent that it was a close one. Lacheville agreed to donate all his property to Cophi but retained use of it until his death. Reading between the lines, it seems that Lacheville was establishing Cophi as his heir on the stipulation that he care for him in his old age. This donation appears to be an example of the strong binds of friendship found occasionally in notarial documents, evidence perhaps of the need for a trusted friend in a society like that of Saint-Domingue numerically dominated by immigrant men, both free and enslaved. 20 The importance of exchanging property with ones friends comes out in testaments, when the testators closest friends became his executors and, if he lacked any kin to inherit his estate, his universal heirs as well. Placing friends in such trusted positions insured that ones debts were paid and that beloved but illegitimate heirs were protected from less well-regarded ones who had better claims on the estate. A necessary addition to this discussion of connections within society is marriage patterns. To do this, I will reconstruct two free colored planting families. Unlike their counterparts in those parts of the North and West studied by Stewart R. King, the free coloreds of the Grande-Anse do not appear to have generated a military elite. Archers de police occasionally left their mark in the notaries registers, but the data I collected 20 Aside from the interpersonal relationships that can be deduced from the document, other details of Lacheville's economic life also come to light. He owned 6000 coffee trees, thirteen horses--seven mares and six foals--and one slave, a Congolese man named Joli Coeur. Aside from his income from coffee, and given the relatively small number of trees on his land and his very small workforce, horse-trading may have been a profitable enterprise. He acquired most of his horses from Noel Azor and Jacques Lafond, hommes de couleur who lived nearby and about whom more will be said below. The very high fertility rate among his horses (86 per 100) indicates that he was actively breeding his stock, perhaps with an neighbor as a business partner. Donation of habitation from Louis Lacheville to Jean Baptiste Cophi, L6A-74, 8 Oct 1784, Jrmie Papers.

PAGE 78

68 indicates no significant connections involving men who identified themselves as being of that occupation. 21 The case is stronger for a free colored planter elite in the Grande-Anse, but identifying its members using Kings methodology presents problems. For whatever reason, free coloreds did not sell large properties worth 10,000 livres. Perhaps they held onto what they possessed, or maybe the free coloreds in the quartier were not wealthy individuals. It is necessary, then, to resort to qualitative means of determining who was important among the local free coloreds. I have decided then to focus on the connections forged by two families whose members appear to have been quite important to less affluent free coloreds, the Lafonds and the Atlasses. The Lafonds who appear in the notarial and ecclesiastical records of the 1780s were the quarteron sons and daughters of Sr. Antoine Lafond, a European who married Genevive Gagnard, a multresse, before 1765. To understand the origin of this family, one has to begin with the cursory observations Moreau de Saint-Mry made in his Description. As he guides his reader on a tour of the parish from west to east, the author stops for a moment to describe Fond dIcaque, which he notes was a dependency of Les Camittes and a place named for the many plants called icaquiers growing in its vicinity. Fond dIcaque is a long, narrow valley running east to west. The valleys bottom is a 21 Only one individual encountered in the Jrmie Papers claimed to have served in the colored expeditionary forces, the Chasseurs-Royaux, that King indicates was so important, but and he was an emigrant from the North. This mans testament is important, however, because it shows how notaries tampered with the racial designations of their clients. In preparing his draft of the testament, the notary disputed Duponts claim to have been born as issue of a legitimate marriage and downgraded his phenotype from mtif to multre.

PAGE 79

69 marsh, but Moreau asserts that the habitants grew coffee in the higher places in the marsh and ran pigs on the slopes. 22 By the early 1780s, a free colored enclave existed on the land grant of 1,400 carreaux that Sieur Lafond received from the Crown. His son Jacques Lafond, fils, and son-in-law Nol Azor prospered as coffee planters, and the scant evidence available indicates that family members owned adjacent properties. His sons and sons-in-law became godfathers to each others children, and when Genevive Lafonds husband Paul Fortunat met an untimely death her brother Pierre and brother-in-law Nol Azor became the legal protectors of her children. 23 A second colored planter family that is well-documented in the notarial archive, is that of Jean Cadet Atlasse. The family matriarch, Marguerite Laroche dite Atlasse, was manumitted in 1728. As a freedwoman she immigrated to the Grand'Anse by January 1771, when her freedom papers were registered with the local government registrar. In August of that year, she bought up sieur Jean Agasses half of the coffee plantation that he owned with sieur Jean Georges Sauvanelle. In late August 1787 she sold the plantation in the canton of la Guinaude to a white named Joseph Fondelin for 100,000 livres but retained use of her own bedchamber in the grandcase. 24 The following month, Marguerite Atlasse's three daughters banded together behind their brother Jean Cadet 22 The modern editors of Description . de la partie franaise indicate that Antoine Lafond was a native of Bourg Saint-Andol, habitant propritaire at Fond dIcaque, parish of Jrmie, husband of Genevive Gagnard, multresse. He died 3 January 1780, at the age of about 70 years. They based this and other biographical details on documents consulted at the Archives Nationales, Paris. Moreau, Description, 3: 1390-1391, 1506. 23 Marriage contract between Louis Macaya and Genevive Lafond, 19 February 1789, L6B-167. 24 Sale of coffee plantation at la Guinaude by sieur Joseph Fondelin to les nomms Jean Cadet Atlasse et al., 4 September 1787, M-15, Jrmie Papers.

PAGE 80

70 Atlasse to buy back their mother's estate from Fondelin for 10,000 livres more than their mother had sold it for. Fondelin pocketed the extra money, and Marguerite Atlasse gained a yearly pension from her children as Fondelin passed his mortgage on the property to them. Before discussing connections established by the Lafond and Atlasse through marriage, it is necessary to discuss free colored marriage choice in more general terms. A sample of marriages drawn from the 1781 ecclesiastical records and from marriage contracts drawn up during the 1780s suggests that officially sanctioned marriages, unlike casual or consensual unions, were nearly always endogamous, in the sense of whites marrying whites and nonwhites marrying nonwhites. A sample of ten marriages involving white spouses bears this out: in nine of the cases, both parties were white; in the tenth, the phenotype of the bride is unknown. More to the point is a sample of 21 marriages involving free coloreds (see Table 4-3). In 62% (13) of the cases, both of the spouses were of the same phenotype. When the spouses were of different hue, there was a nearly even division between those cases in which the groom was darker and in those cases in which the bride was the darker spouse. In all cases involving marriages between persons of different phenotypes, there was almost always one degree of difference in color between the spouses. For example, Jean Baptiste Franois Etienne Bazile dit Estienne, a multre, brought 4500 livres when contracting marriage with Julie Brgard, a quarteronne who brought 4300 livres worth of property into the marriage. The implications of this match are clear: Estienne, a multre of illegitimate birth contracted to

PAGE 81

71 marry a quarteronne of similar circumstances and of similar wealth. In their case, socioeconomic position negated any phenotypical differences. 25 Table 4-3. Marriage Choice among the Gens de couleur libres (N=20) Phenotype: Groom-Bride Frequency Degree of Difference 26 Multre-Multresse 8 0 Mtif-Multresse 1 2 Quarteron-Quarteronne 2 0 Ngre-Ngresse 2 0 Indien 27 -Ngresse 1 1 Tierceron-Tierceronne 1 0 Quarteron-Multresse 2 1 Grif-Multresse 1 1 Mtif-Quarteronne 1 1 Multre-Quarteronne 1 1 Note: Excluded from this table is one couple; the groom was described as affrachi, and the bride was a ngresse. Such a model is, however, reductionistic and leaves out any ideological factors at play, such as how the parties felt towards each other. The sources do not allow us to go so far as to say that parties contracting marriage before a notary and celebrating marriage before a priest were in romantic love in the modern sense. Some did, however, relate feelings of friendship (amiti), one to the other as grooms in particular planned for the dissolution of their marriage by death. Marriage contracts, both between whites and between coloreds, occasionally included clauses allowing the survivor rights of usufruct 25 Marriage contract, 5 May 1786, G5-106. 26 Using Moreau de Saint-Mrys description of racial mixture as a guide, I have attempted to show here that marriages between persons of different phenotypes occurred without a great jump in color difference. 27 It is unknown whether the indien in question, Nicolas Bessin, was of ancestry indigenous to Hispaniola or of elsewhere. Moreau de Saint-Mry argued that descent from West Indians (indiens occidentaux) should be calculated as for the multres to whom he compared them, that they were in effect straight-haired mulattoes.

PAGE 82

72 over some or all of the communal estate or the claim to property from the estate up to a specified value (often 1000 livres but more for wealthier couples). The marriage patterns of members of the Lafond family correspond with the samples discussed above. It remains unclear what free coloreds found desirable in a spouses conditions of color and birth. Sieur Lafonds daughter Genevive married the first time to Paul Fortunat, a quarteron, and the second to Louis Macaya, a multre of unrecognized paternity. The apparent factors at play in her second choice apparently included finding a stepfather for her young children from her first marriage, but in reductionistic terms, she was actually marrying down in society, because Macaya was, unlike her, illegitimate and was darker than her. According to the colonial discourse related by Moreau de Saint-Mry, coloreds should be whitening, but on the frontier in Fond dIcaque, in relative isolation ten leagues from the sea, free coloreds seemed able to define a discourse that only survived as fragments in the notarial archive. Members of the Atlasse family, though of different social origins, demonstrated similar marriage patterns. Marguerite Atlasses four children pursued different routes in establishing their own households. Jean Cadet Atlasse married a multresse, had at least three children, and managed his own plantation in La Guinaude adjacent to the one he and his sisters bought from Fondelin. One of his sisters, Barbe Gertrude Gaucherelle, was an habitante at Les Roseaux and a widow by 1787. Her daughter Elizabeth Viard, herself only two generations from slavery, married a white immigrant from Bordeaux, Jacques Eglize, in 1787. The second sister, Franoise Atlasse, married Franois Bouchereau, a quarteron coffee planter from La Grande-Rivire, with whom she had at least three children. The third sister, Marie Thrze Sauvanelle dite Sanite, never married but had

PAGE 83

73 five children nonetheless. She diversified her investments between a small store in La Haute-Ville and a share in the family plantation at La Guinaude, and at the time of her death in 1789 she was nearly worth enough to give each of her children the 10,000 livres that she wanted to. 28 From the marriage patterns of the couples included in the samples discussed above and of the members of the Atlasse and Lafond families, it appears that free coloreds usually married individuals of their own phenotype (e.g., multres tended to marry multresses) but that when they married individuals of color different from their own that they did so within certain limits. If this is true, multres tended to marry griffes, quarteronnes, and perhaps ngresses but not persons of phenotypes very much lighter or darker than they. Religious Belief Although testaments are a useful source for understanding personal relationships, they are also an interesting source for exploring religious belief. In an area which lacked a parish church and where the rectory shared a town lot with a powder magazine, it is interesting to probe briefly into how testators invoked the supernatural, or not, as they declared their final intentions. As with similar documents, we can know only what they cared to tell the notary, perhaps not what their inner beliefs were. Most were content with commending their spirit to the Almighty, to be received, they hoped, into the presence of the bien heureux or with affirming that they were good Catholics who wished to die in the faith. Some were more creative. Sr. Isaac Delahaye, by 1789 a blind old planter, declared that I commend my soul to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit . to be placed 28 Rental of a petit magasin, 26 October 1789, G5-132, JP-N.

PAGE 84

74 in the Kingdom . [and I ask] all the Saints of Paradise and especially St. Isaac, my patron, to intercede on my behalf. Likewise, as he lay sick in bed, Sr. Joseph Vigneau expressed his hope that as a Christian, Catholic, Roman, and Apostolic, he commends his soul to God, the Father in all persons, to the Bien heureuse Virgin Mary, to the saints of Paradise, asking His Divine Majesty to have mercy upon him and to receive his soul after its Separation from his Body. Finally, habitant Sr. Antoine Dolle expressed his desire for a simple funeral sans pompe and left the details to the good sense of his executor. 29 The Free Coloreds Rise Up While they participated in the economic and social life of the quartier with whites until the end of the ancien rgime, the prominent men of color in the Grande-Anse also played their part in opposing the forces of white supremacy in the Revolution. While the slaves in the North began their famous uprising in August 1791, the free coloreds of the West started their own struggle for equality, though the two movements were unrelated and had quite different ends. 30 The free coloreds of the Camittes region likewise converged on Fond dIcaque, where Jacques Lafond, Nol Azor, and a third man named Page led a rebellion, no doubt calling upon their friends, relatives, and clients to play their part. Not much is known about this rebellion, aside from those contained in a memoir entitled Prcis historique. The author, who was residing in Port-au-Prince during the early years of the revolution, related that the Fond dIcaque free coloreds rose up, 29 Testament of Sr. Isaac Delahaye, 10 August 1789, G5-130, JP-N; and Testament of Sr. Joseph Vigneau, 23 December 1781, L6A-23, ibid. 30 David Patrick Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2002), 99-102.

PAGE 85

75 apparently in sympathy with other rebels closer to the colonial capital. According to the authors account, the blood of the whites flowed in long streams. Nearly 80 whites had their throats cut. They did not spare the women, not the pregnant Dame Desjourn nor Dame Plinquet and her little ones. The whites responded with force, arming their slaves to put down the revolt and never forgiving the free coloreds for the atrocities they held them to have committed. 31 The rebellious brothers-in-law survived the abortive revolt and the subsequent violence against the gens de couleur. Following the British withdrawal from Jrmie in 1793, Lafond acted as justice of the peace for the commune du Corail, at least for a time. He was dead by 1797, when his widow rented out his plantation. Our last glimpse of Azor comes a year earlier, when the officers of the snchausse (operating under the supervision of the occupying government) auctioned two of his slaves for his part played in aiding the enemies of His [Britannic] Majesty. 32 Conclusion Patterns of marriage and other social interaction in the Grande-Anse revolved around patronage. Godparentage circulated patronage within free colored families, strengthened bonds between families, and created ties with social inferiors, and marriage both legitimized consensual relationships and any children born of those relations and extended ties between families. The Lafond and Atlasse families are examples of prominent free colored planters who created connections between its members and with other free coloreds. These connections were ultimately important in the Haitian 31 Anonymous, Prcis historique, 1: 64; and David P. Geggus, Slavery, War, and Revolution 32 L8-134, JP-N.

PAGE 86

76 Revolution, particularly in its early stages, when free coloreds fought against the white supremacy that had been the colonial status quo.

PAGE 87

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The coffee boom that swept through the highlands of the French colony of Saint-Domingue in the 1770s and 1780s brought about great social, economic, and demographic change in its wake. In the quartier de la Grande-Anse on the southern peninsula, these changes meant an increase in trade with both Europe and other colonial ports, the massive importation of African slaves to work newly created coffee and mixed-crop plantations, and a large immigration of settlers from Frances Atlantic ports and Caribbean colonies. The most obscured effect of the boom is its ecological component. The three major strata of the colonial populationwhites, coloreds, and slavesall experienced huge increases, but this was a phenomenon felt throughout the colonys coffee zones. The difference in the Grande-Anse is that whites formed the majority of the free population, both before the boom and after it began. Though some free coloreds did make it well as coffee planters, an indeterminate number also operated small market farms to feed the plantations and the nascent towns. Others competed with whites as carpenters and other artisans in the building trades to construct the plantation homes, stores, millhouses, and slave quarters so much in demand. The number of African slaves imported to work on the coffee plantations also increased in leaps and bounds during the 1780s, but so did the creole slave population, which represented over a third of the slave population in our sample presented in Chapter 3. Of the imported slaves, those from West Central Africa predominated, which suggests 77

PAGE 88

78 the importance of Congos to slave culture in the Grande-Anse. We have also discussed, provisionally, the diet, housing, and family structure of Jrmien coffee slaves. Finally, in Chapter 3, we discussed marriage patterns and patronage among the free population, particularly people of color. From the evidence available, it appears that in the 1780s most marriages in the Grande-Anse were within ones own race. Free coloreds married free coloreds and whites married whites. One of the interesting issues under consideration is marriage choice among free coloreds based on the phenotype and legitimacy of ones spouse. The small sample presented in this chapter suggests that coloreds married individuals most often married individuals with their own phenotypes or otherwise those not much lighter or darker than their own. Finally, we considered the limited evidence for Jrmien colored participation in the Haitian Revolution, both in the initial revolts in 1793 and the war for independence that lasted 1802-1803. All of the elements of Jrmien society presented in this thesis are meant to be preliminary analyses of a region of Saint-Domingue largely neglected by historians until now. Though by no means the largest or most cosmopolitan of colonial towns, Jrmie was important for the export of coffee and other tropical commodities through the islands entrepts and was a significant disembarkation point for the Atlantic slave trade. Further evidence for Jrmies commerce lies hidden in the predominant colonial newspaper, Les Affiches Amricaines, awaiting compilation of shipping notices and coffee prices. The Jrmie Papers, upon which this study is largely based, also promise more than enough documentation for a social history of the turbulent 1790s, when the Grande-Anse became a British protectorate for five years. As we have noted in Chapter 1,

PAGE 89

79 it appears that many of the affluent white families stayed on in Jrmie, at least until the final French withdrawal in 1803. In perspective, the significance of the Grande-Anse is as a counterpoint to dominant trends in the rest of the colony. Its free population remained white throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century, rather than becoming predominantly colored with the coffee boom. Perhaps in part because of this demographic feature, the quartier welcomed the British occupation as black and colored revolutionaries threatened white supremacy. The present work is a seminal effort to understand the history of this interesting region, but much remains to be done to explain how society developed on one of Saint-Domingues internal frontiers.

PAGE 90

LIST OF REFERENCES Primary Sources: Manuscripts Debien, Gabriel, ed. Prcis historique des annals de la colonie franoise de Saint-Domingue (Juillet 1789 Mai 1802): manuscript anonyme. 2 vols. Typescript, Archives de la Vienne, n.d. Jrmie Papers, Department of Special and Area Collections, George A. Smathers Library, University of Florida. Notaries: Lpine, Thomas, Girard, Lefrotter. Greffe: Ecclesiastical Records, 1781 Primary Sources: Contemporary Printed Matter Barb-Marbois, Franois. tat des finances de Saint-Domingue. Paris: Imprimerie Royale: 1790. Laborie, Pierre-Joseph. The Coffee Planter of San Domingo. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1798. Moreau de Saint-Mry, M. L. E. Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie franaise de lisle Saint-Domingue. Edited by Blanche Maurel and tienne Taillemitte. 3 vols. Paris: Socit de LHistoire des Colonies Franaises, 1958. Secondary Sources Beckles, Hilary McD. Sugar and White Servitude: An Analysis of White Indentured Labor during the Sugar Revolution of Barbados, 1643-1655. Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 36, no. 3 (1981): 236-46. Curto, Jos C. Enslaving Spirits: The Portuguese-Brazilian Alcohol Trade at Luanda and Its Hinterland, 1550-1830. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Craton, Michael. Empire, Enslavement and Freedom in the Caribbean. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 1997. Curtin, Philip. The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969. 80

PAGE 91

81 Debien, Gabriel. Les esclaves aux Antilles franaises, XVIIe-XVIIIe sicles. Basse-Terre: Socit dHistoire de la Guadeloupe, 1974. Fick, Carolyn. The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990. Frostin, Charles. Les revoltes blanches Saint-Domingue aux XVIIe-XVIIIe sicles. Paris: Lcole, 1975. Garrigus, John. Blue and Brown: Contraband Indigo and the Rise of a Free Colored Planter Class in French Saint Domingue. Americas 50, no. 2 (October 1993): 233-63. ________. A Struggle for Respect: The Free Coloreds of Saint Domingue, 1770-1779 Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1989. Geggus, David P. Haitian Revolutionary Studies. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2002. ________. Haitian Voodoo in the Eighteenth Century: Language, Culture, Resistance. Jahrbuch fr Geschichte von Staat, Windschaft und Geschelschaft Weinamerikas 28 (1991): 1-31. ________. Slave and Free Colored Women in Saint Domingue. In David B. Gaspar and Darlene C. Hine, eds. More than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas, 259-78. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996. ________. Slavery, War, and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 1793-1798. Oxford: Clarendon, 1982. ________. Sugar and Coffee Cultivation in Saint Domingue and the Shaping of the Slave Labor Force. In Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas, 73-97. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993. Higman, B. W. Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984. James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint LOuverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Knopf, 1963. King, Stewart R. Blue Coat or Powdered Wig: Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001. Kiple, Kenneth F. The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

PAGE 92

82 ________ and Virginia H. Kiple. Deficiency Diseases in the Caribbean. Journal of Interdisciplinary History 11, no. 2 (1980), reprinted in Hilary Beckles and Verene Shepherd, eds. Caribbean Slave Society and Economy: A Student Reader. New York: The New Press, 1991. Klein, Herbert S. The Colored Militia of Cuba, 1568-1868. Caribbean Studies 6 (1966): 17-27. McClellan, James E., III. Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue in the Old Regime. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. Miller, Joseph C. Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988. Scott, Daniel. Underregistration and Bias in Probate Records: An Analysis of Data from Eighteenth-Century Hingham, Massachusetts. William and Mary Quarterly 32, no. 1 (January 1975): 100-110 Socolow, Susan. Economic Roles of the Free Women of Color of Cap Franais. In David Gaspar and Darlene Hine, eds. More than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas, 279-97. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996. Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Coffee Planters and Coffee Slaves in the Antilles: The Impact of a Secondary Crop. In Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, eds. Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas, 124-37. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993. ________. Motion in the System: Coffee, Color, and Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Saint Domingue. Review 8 (Winter 1982): 331-88. Vovelle, Michel. Pit baroque et Dchristianisation en Provence au XVIIIe sicle. Paris: ditions du C.T.H.S., 1997.

PAGE 93

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Keith Anthony Manuel was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, in 1981. After graduating from Port Barre High School in Port Barre, Louisiana, in 1999, Mr. Manuel attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, from which he was graduated with honors in 2003 with a bachelor of arts in history. He began graduate studies at the University of Florida in August 2003. After graduating, Mr. Manuel plans to continue his studies in Latin American and Caribbean history at that institution with the goal of receiving a doctoral degree. He currently resides in Gainesville, Florida, with his wife Bridget, his daughter Rebecca, and two small felines. 83