This is another broadside cataloged (TNA, MFQ 1/184) with the Declaration of Independence and I’m not exactly sure what it means. Dessalines cancels all baux-à-ferme (which I think translates as “fixed-term leases” but I’m not completely sure) on plantations. I suspect that this might have been part of a larger move by the state to acquire plantations formerly owned by white French colonists. Although the decree doesn’t explicitly say that the state would confiscate the properties, it eliminates any potential legal challenges to this move. Any other possible interpretations of this decree?
Here is my rough translation (corrections welcome):
LIBERTY, OR DEATH
GOVERNMENT OF HAYTI
From the 2nd January 1804, 1st year of the independence of Hayti
THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL ORDERS:
That all the fixed-term leases on Plantations, are and will remain terminated.
Sent to all of the principal administrators of the Departments to ensure the execution of this Arrete, that will be read, published and posted everywhere that is required.
Done at the General Square of Gonaives, the 2 January 1804, the 1st year of independence.
AT PORT AU PRINCE, FROM THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING PRESS.