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The French in St. Domingo had in their possession, this year, 480,000 Negro slaves.
Edwards, vol. iii. p. 13.
and particular orders decreed upon the subject. Therefore, in order to remedy such abuses, and having in consideration, that, in consequence of the liberty granted to my subjects by my royal order of the 28th of last February, for carrying on the slave trade, the number of slaves will be considerably augmented in America, and having a due attention to this class of indi. viduals, in the mean time that the general code of laws, which is forming for the dominions of America, is established, and that they are published, I have resolved, that, for the present, the following instruction shall be punctually observed by all the masters and possessors of slaves in my said dominions :
“ CHAPTER 1.-Education. “ Every one who has slaves, of whatever class and condition he may be, is obliged to instruct them in the principles of the Roman Catholic religion, and in the necessary truths, in order that they may be baptised within the year of their residence in my dominions; taking care to explain to them the Christian doctrine every holy day, on which they shall not be obliged nor permitted to work neither for them. selves nor for their masters, excepting at the time of the crop, when it is customary to grant them liberty to work on holy days. On those, and other days, when they are obliged to hear mass, the owners of the estate shall be at the expense of maintaining a priest to say mass to them, and to explain to them the Christian doctrine, as likewise to administer the holy sacraments, not only on such days when he is obliged to do it, but likewise whenever he is wanted ; taking care that every day, as soon as their work is finished, they say the rosary in presence of the master or of the steward with the greatest composure and devotion.
“ CHAPTER II.-Food and Clothes. “ It being manifest that the masters of slaves are under the obligation of feeding and clothing them, as likewise their wives and children, whether these be of the same condition or free, until they can earn their own bread, which it is presumed they are able to do when the females arrive at the age of twelve, and the males at that of fourteen ; and not being able to give any
quality of the food and clothes which are to be given them, on account of the difference of climates, constitutions, and other particular causes, it is ordered, that with respect to those matters, the justices of the districts in which the estates are situated, with the approbation of the magistrates and syndic, or recorder, as protector of the slaves, shall fix upon and determine the quantity and quality of the food and clothes which are daily to be given them, according to their ages and sexes, and conformable to the custom of the country, and like those which are commonly given to day labourers, and linen, the same as the work people, who are free, have. Which determination, after having been approved of by the audience of the district, shall be fixed upon the door of the townhouse, and the churches of every place, and of the oratories or hermitages of the estates, that every one may know it, and that no one may plead ignorance. “ CHAPTER III.-Occupation of Slaves.
“ The first and principle occupation of slaves must be agriculture, and not those labours that require a sedentary life ; and thus, in order that their masters and the state may be benefited by their work, and that they perform it as they ought to do, the justices of towns and villages, in the same form as has been mentioned in the foregoing chapter, shall regulate the work to be done in the course of the day, and they shall have two hours to themselves, to be employed in manufactures or other occupations, for their own advantage ; neither the masters nor their stewards can oblige those slaves to work who are sixty years old, or younger than seventeen ; nor employ the women slaves in any business which is not conformable to their sex, or in which they must be with the males ; and the said masters shall contribute two dollars every year for their domestic service, as it is ordered in the eighth chapter of the Royal Order, published on the 28th of last February.
“ CHAPTER IV.-Diversions. « On holy days, when masters cannot oblige nor permit their slaves to work, after they have heard mass and the Christian doctrine explained to them, the said masters, or their stewards, shall allow the slaves to sence; but they shall not allow them to be amongst those of the other estates, nor even with the females ; hindering them from excess in drinking, and taking care that their diversions are ended before prayer time. “ CHAPTER V.-Habitations and Infirmary.
The colonists summoned parochial and provincial meetings, for the purpose of electing deputies to be sent to the states-general then
Edwards, vol. iii. p. 16.
« All masters of slaves must give them habitations, distant those of the men from those of the women, if they are not married; and they must be commodious, and sufficient to defend them from the inclemencies of the weather, with beds, blankets, and every thing necessary. Each man shall have his own bed, and there shall be no more than two in a room. Another habitation, separated from the rest, which must be warm and commodious, shall be destined for the sick, who must be assisted with every thing necessary by their masters : and in case that the latter, on account of not having room enough, or being near some town, do wish to send them to the hospital, they shall contribute a daily sum, which shall be determined by the justices, for their assistance, in the manner and form mentioned in the second chapter; and if any of them should die, it is the master's obligation to pay the charges of the funeral. «« CHAPTER VI.-Old Men, and those who
are constantly ill. “ Slaves who, on account of old age or illness, are not able to work, as, likewise, children of either of the two sexes, must be maintained by their masters; and these latter cannot give them their liberty in order to get rid of them, except by giving them a sufficient stock, which must be approved of by the justices and syndic, to maintain them without any other assistance.
“ CHAPTER VII. Marriages of Slaves.
“ The masters of slaves must not allow the unlawful intercourse of the two sexes, but must encourage matrimony. Neither must he hinder them from marrying with slaves of other masters; in which case, if the estates are distant from one another, so that the new married couple cannot fulfil the object of marriage, the wife shall follow the husband, whose master shall buy her at a fair valuation, set upon her by skilful men, who shall be nominated by the
a third shall be appointed by the justice to fix the price. If the master of the husband does not agree to the purchase, the master of the wife shall have the same faculty. ~ CHAPTER VIII. - Obligations and
Punishments of Slaves. “ As masters of slaves are obliged to maintain them, to educate, and to employ them, in useful work, proportioned to their strength, age, and sex, without forsaking their children and those who are old and sickly, so, on the other hand, there is an obligation on slaves to obey and respect their masters and the stewards, to perform the work which is given them to do, conformable to their strength, and to venerate them as heads of the family. Thus he who will not fulfil any of those obligations must be punished, either by the master of his estate, or by his steward, according to the nature of his offence, with prison, chains, or lashes, which must not exceed the number of twenty-five, and those must be given them in such a manner as not to cause any contusion or effusion of blood; which punishment cannot be imposed on slaves but by their masters or their stewards. slaves but by the “ CHAPTER IX. – Of the Imposition of
greater Punishments. “ When slaves commit crimes against their masters, mistresses, the children, stewards, or any other person, which require greater punishments than those mentioned in the before-going chapter, the master, his steward, or any one else who was present when the offence was committed, shall secure the delinquent, and inform the justice of it, that in the audience of the slave's master and of the attorney who defends the cause of the former, a law-suit may be commenced against him, and a punishment imposed upon him according to the importance and circumstances of the offence; observing in every thing what is ordered by the laws with respect to the causes of other delinquents in general. And if the slave be sentenced to pay onethird of the charges of the law-suit, his master shall be responsible for it, besides the corporal punishment which, according to the importance of the crime, the delinquent shall suffer, after having been approved of by the audience of the district, whether it be death or mutilation of
sitting in France: eighteen were elected, six for each province; who, without any authority from the French ministry or the colo
Edwards, vol. iii. p. 16.
" CHAPTER X-Defects or Excess of their suit against the criminal, and the attorney, Masters and their Stewards.
as protector of slaves, shall defend his “ The master or his steward, who does
cause. not fulfil what is ordered in the before-going
“ CHAPTER XII.-List of Slaves. chapters, with respect to the education, " The masters of slaves shall be obliged habitations, &c. of slaves, or who shall every year to deliver in to the justice of the forsake their children, and those that are town or village, in the district of which old and sickly, shall be fined fifty dollars their estates are situated, a list, signed and for the first time, one hundred for the sworn to by them, of all the slaves which second, and two hundred for the third; they have, with distinction of sexes and and those fines shall be paid by the master, ages, in order that the notary of the towneven in the case that the fault had been house may take an account of them in a committed by his steward only, if the separate book, which is to be kept for this latter were not able to pay it; one-third of purpose at the said town-house, together which belongs to the informer, another to with the list presented by the master, who, the judge, and the other is to be put into whenever any of his slaves die, or absent the fine chest, which will be treated of themselves from his estate, must inform afterwards : and in case the before-men- the justice of it, within the term of three tioned fines should not produce the desired days, that, by order of the attorney-geneeffect. and they should commit the same ral, it may be noted in the book, in order fault again, other greater punishments to avoid all suspicion of having been shall be inflicted upon them, as disobedient killed : and if the master does not fulfil to my royal orders; and as soon as I am this, he shall be obliged fully to prove informed of their disobedience, I shall either the absence of the slave or his take my measures accordingly. When natural death, for, on the contrary, a lawtheir masters or their stewards are guilty suit will be commenced against him. of excess in punishing the slaves, causing “CHAPTER XIII.-Method of investigating them contusion, effusion of blood, or muti
the Excesses of Masters or Stewards. lation of members; besides paying the before-mentioned fines, they shall be pro
“ The distance of some estates from the secuted as criminals, and have a punish
towns; the inconvenience that would ment inflicted upon them according to the
result from permitting slaves to go out crime which they had committed ; and
without an order from their master, under the slave shall be confiscated and sold to
the pretext of complaining; and the just another master, if he is able to work,
regulations of the law, which orders that putting the amount of him into the fine
no fugitive slave shall be assisted, prochest; and if he cannot be sold on account
tected, or concealed ; require that means of being unable to work, he shall not
be facilitated which are proportioned to all be restored to his master, who shall be
those circumstances, in order that it may obliged to allow him a daily sum, which
be known how they are treated by their shall be fixed upon by the justice, for his
masters; and one of those is, that the maintenance and clothes during the re.
priests who go to the estates to explain to mainder of his life, paying it every three
them the Christian doctrine and to say months in advance.
mass, do obtain information from the said
slaves how they are treated by their “ CHAPTER XI.-Of those who injure Slaves. masters and the stewards, and if every
“ As masters and stewards can alone thing be observed which is ordered in the chastise slaves with that moderation which before-going chapters, in order that they is required, no other person who is not may give a secret and reserved notice of it their master, or his steward, shall injure, to the attorney-general, and that he may chastise, wound, or kill them, without cause it to be investigated whether the incurring the punishment enacted by the masters or their stewards are wanting in the laws against those who commit the like whole or in part of their respective obligaexcesses towards free people ; and the tions; and the said priests, who, by reason master of the slave who has been injured, of their ministry, do give the said secret
nial government, embarked for France, as the legal representatives of an integral part of the French empire. M. Duchilleau, the governor, issued proclamations to prevent the meetings, which were treated with indignity and contempt. The deputies arrived at Versailles in June, about a month after the states-general had declared themselves the National Assembly. Eighteen deputies from one colony was thought excessive; and it was with difficulty six were allowed their seats among the national representatives.
Upon the 20th of August, the National Assembly voted the declaration of rights, the promulgation of which in St. Domingo occasioned a general ferment: it declared, that “ all men are born and continue free and equal as to their rights.” The colonists declared it was calculated to convert their contented Negroes into implacable enemies, and render the whole country a scene of bloodshed.
Orders were sent from France to convoke the inhabitants, for the purpose of forming a legislative assembly for interior regulation. The inhabitants of the northern district had already constituted a
Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 17. 19. 21.
thing, even supposing that the complaints of the slaves are not just; for this notice is given only to the attorney-general that he may demand for the justice to nominate an individual of the town-house, or another person of approved conduct, who is to investigate the business, and to form the first proceeding which he is to deliver in to the justice, who shall pursue the proceedings, and determine the cause, according to law, giving information of it to the audience of the district, and admit. ting of appeals in all such cases as are authorised by the laws.
“ Besides those means, it will be necessary that people of good characters and conduct be appointed by the justices and magistrates to visit the estates three times a year, and to make inquiry whether every thing be observed which is ordered in the foregoing chapters, informing the said justices of it, who must apply the remedy; and it is likewise declared to be a popular action, that of informing against a master or his steward for not obeying one or the whole of the said chapters, as the name of the informer shall not be made known, and he shall have the part of the fine which he may deserve, without being re sponsible in any other case than in that where it is proved that the information is false. And lastly, it is likewise declared, that the justices and attorney-general, as
able for any neglect of theirs in not having made use of the necessary means to have my royal resolutions put into execution.
“ CHAPTER XIV. - Chest of Fines. “ In the towns and villages where the before-mentioned regulations are to be formed, and where the courts of justice are, a chest with three keys shall be made, and kept in the town-house; one of which keys shall be delivered to the justice of the peace, another to the governor, and the third to the attorney-general, in order to keep in the said chest the produce of the fines which are to be laid on those who do not fulfil my royal orders; and the said produce shall be employed in the necessary means of making them to be observed, neither can there be a single maravedi taken out of it for any other purpose, without an order signed by the three who keep the keys, expressing its destination, and they shall remain responsible, and under the obligation of restoring what has been spent or employed to other purposes, for fear that for those reasons, or for others, their accounts, which must be remitted every year to the intendant of the province, together with the attestation of the produce of the fines, may not be approved of by him.
“ In order that all the rules prescribed in the before-going chapters may be ful
the west met mittees catio
a provincial assembly, which met at Cape François in November. The western and southern provinces did the same. The western assembly met at Port-au-Prince, the southern at “ Les Cayes.” Parochial committees were at the same time established, for a more immediate communication between the people and their representatives.
All these provincial assemblies concurred in the necessity of a full and speedy colonial representation, and voted, that if instructions from the King for calling such an assembly should not be received within three months, that the colony should itself adopt and enforce the measure.
Large bodies of Mulattoes, determined to claim the full benefit of all the privileges enjoyed by the Whites, appeared in arms in different parts of the country; but acting without sufficient concert, were easily overpowered. They were defeated at Jaquemel, and their chiefs imprisoned. At Artibonito, the revolt was more extensive; but on the submission of the insurgents, an unconditional pardon was granted.
Against such of the Whites as had taken part in favour of the people of colour, the rage of the populace was extreme.
M. Ferrand de Beaudierre drew up a memorial in the name of the Mulatto people, claiming the full benefit of the declaration of rights. This was considered as a summons to the Negroes to revolt, and the author was committed to prison; but the populace took him from thence by force, and put him to death.
The first Methodist meeting-house was built in Barbadoes by subscription this year : it was sufficiently large to contain six or seven hundred people, and was opened on the 16th of August. Mr. Pearce, the missionary, by whose zeal it was built, landed upon the island in the latter end of 1788, and began to build, trusting to a bank of faith to pay the expences. Several tradesmen, who could not afford to give money, contributed their labour. In March, the whole number of persons belonging to the Methodist society amounted to fifty, of whom only sixteen were Whites.
They soon began to attract attention : large mobs pelted the building with stones, and frequently interrupted the prayers with hideous noises. Some of the most riotous were carried before a magistrate, who observed, that “the offence was committed against Almighty God; it therefore does not belong to me to punish.”
this year: it w-house was built in
Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 22, 23.
Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. pp. 143. 145.
custom which are opposed to them; and I command my supreme council of the Indies, viceroys, presidents, audiences, governors, intendants, justices, ministers,
cuted whatever is decreed in this my royal order, for this is my will.
“ Published at Aranjuez, the 31st May, 1789."- African Institution, Fifth Report,