December 29, 2015

Proclamation. In the Name of the Republic. We, Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, Civil Officer of the Republic, Delegate in the Islands of the French West Indies to Re-establish Law and Public Order

In August 1791, slaves in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) staged a massive revolt, setting in train the chain of events that ultimately led to the founding of independent Haiti in 1804. In 1792, the de facto government of revolutionary France sent Etienne Polverel and Léger-Félicité Sonthonax as civil commissioners to the colony for the purpose of enforcing a decree by the National Assembly, which enfranchised free blacks and mulattoes but did not yet free the colony’s slaves. Presented here is a broadside with the text of a proclamation issued by Sonthonax on August 21, 1793, concerning the marriage rights between a free man and an enslaved woman, whose master would receive compensation paid by the Republic. Under growing pressure from the revolt and threatened by invading British forces, on August 29, 1793, Sonthonax issued a decree freeing the slaves in the northern part of the colony, for which he was responsible. Polverel followed two weeks later with a proclamation freeing all slaves in the west. The document is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Proclamation. In the Name of the Republic. We, Etienne Polverel and Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, Civil Officers of the Republic, Whom the French Nation Sent to this Country to Establish Law and Order

The broadside presented here is a rare copy of the official Creole text, translated from the French, of a proclamation issued in the colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) granting freedom to enslaved women and to the children of newly emancipated slaves. The articles describe the procedures by which slaves could be married and the laws that governed the status of women and children after marriage. The document also specifies the value of women and of children of both sexes by age and thereby the amount of indemnity to be paid to their masters. The translation into Creole was a radical step, taken so that the slaves might know exactly what rights they had under the proclamation. In August 1791, slaves in Saint-Domingue staged a massive revolt, setting in train the chain of events that ultimately led to the founding of independent Haiti in 1804. In 1792, the de facto government of revolutionary France sent Etienne Polverel and Léger-Félicité Sonthonax as civil commissioners to the colony for the purpose of enforcing a decree by the National Assembly enfranchising free blacks and mulattoes, but that did not yet free the colony’s slaves. Under growing pressure from the revolt and threatened by invading British forces, on August 29, 1793, Sonthonax issued a decree freeing the slaves in the northern part of the colony, for which he was responsible. Polverel followed two weeks later with a proclamation freeing all slaves in the west. The proclamation presented here was issued by both Polverel and Sonthonax— in the name of the French Republic. The document is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Dominique), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Almanac of Saint-Domingue for the Year 1765, with the Names of the Public Officials in the Colony

This almanac of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) for the year 1765 was published by the firm of Antoine Marie, official printers for the colony, in Cap-Français (present-day Cap-Haïtien). The book begins with a listing of the major Catholic religious holidays, predicted eclipses, and other general information, followed by entries for the twelve months of the year. The listing for each month shows the days of the month, the saint or religious feast associated with each day, and the four phases of the moon (full, last quarter, new, and first quarter) for the month. The calendar of months is followed by a list of the princes and princesses of France and their dates of birth, beginning with King Louis XV and his wife, Queen Marie. Most of the remainder of the book is taken up by a comprehensive listing of the government and religious officials in the colony, such as the members of the royal council and other governing officials, the apostolic prefect and the curés of all parishes, naval and military officers, judges and lawyers, notaries, and many others. The last pages are taken up by a schedule of the courier services on the island linking the towns and cities of Fort-Dauphin (present-day Fort-Liberté), Port-de-Paix, Port-au-Prince, Saint-Marc, Léogane, and several other locations. Almanach de Saint Domingue pour l'année 1765 is one of the earliest books printed in the colony. The book is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Essay on Paper, Read in the Public Meeting held by Cercle des Philadelphes, August 15, 1788

In the second half of the 18th century, the French colony of Saint-Domingue emerged as one of the wealthiest territories in the Western hemisphere. Its economy was heavily based on slave labor and the production of sugar. Cap-Français (present-day Cap-Haïten) was the cultural capital of the colony and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Americas. In August 1785 a group of white residents of the city founded the Cercle des Philadelphes, a society whose aim was to elevate the intellectual and cultural level of their colony. In its brief seven-year existence, the society became one of the most prestigious of the colonial learned societies. Its members applied themselves to the study of the physical conditions, natural history, and medicine of the colony, with the goal of promoting improvements in agriculture, manufactures, and the arts and sciences. Presented here is the published version of an essay that was read to the society on August 15, 1788, on the topic of the preservation of paper. The author, Charles Arthaud, was royal physician and head of the society. The essay contains a review of the methods used by different civilizations, including the Egyptian, Roman, Chinese, and pre-Columbian Mexican and Peruvian, to create and preserve a written documentary record, and it offers observations on the types of paper that seemed best able to resist damage and destruction by insects in the tropical climate. The essay concludes by noting the decision of the society to sponsor a competition and to offer a prize to anyone who could succeed in manufacturing in the colony an insect-resistant paper. The book is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Laws of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue

Toussaint Louverture (circa 1743−1803) was the leader of the slave revolt and independence movement in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) during the French Revolution. He won military victories over the French colonial forces and then negotiated an arrangement under which the colony became self-governing as a French protectorate. Lois de la Colonie française de Saint-Domingue (Laws of the French colony of Saint-Domingue) is a compilation of 19 laws promulgated by Louverture in July and August 1801 in accordance with the constitution of July 7, 1801, also promulgated by Louverture. The laws concern the territorial division of Saint-Domingue into departments, arrondissements, and parishes; religion and the establishment of Roman Catholicism as the state religion; the status and rights of children born outside of marriage; civil and criminal courts and the justice system; the maintenance of public health and safety; municipal administration; the colonial guard or militia; debts; financial administration; and several other topics. Louverture was forced to relinquish power in May 1802 after defeats inflicted by an invading French army led by General Charles Emmanuel Leclerc, brother-in-law of Napoleon. He was arrested and deported to France, where in died in prison on April 7, 1803. The book is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Dominigue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

B. D. Stewart, Morocco Leather Manufactory. Southeast Corner of Willow Street and Old York Road, Philadelphia

This advertising print from 1847 shows the multi-storied manufactory of Benedict D. Stewart, located at Willow Street and Old York Road (i.e., 435-437 York Avenue) in Philadelphia. Signs bearing street names, the name of the proprietor, and the name of the business (“Morocco Leather Manufactory”) adorn the building. Windows on the lower level have shutters, while the upper two floors of windows have slats. To the left of the building, broadsides adorn the small fence that surrounds the courtyard located between the main building and the partially visible rear building of the factory. A man can be seen entering the doorway of the main building, while another gentleman walks on the sidewalk outside the factory. In the right foreground, laborers transport, pile, and load sacks and crates (some marked) onto a horse-drawn dray. Stewart opened his factory at this address in 1839.