Trading with Saint-Domingue will be Punished by Death

After the evacuation of the French troops from the western side of the island at the end of  1803, a small contingent of French soldiers, under the leadership of Jean-Louis Ferrand, fled to the city of Santo Domingo on the eastern side of the island. Since the evacuation agreement signed by the French general Donatien Rochambeau and the General-in-Chief of the Armée Indigène Jean-Jacques Dessalines did not explicitly state that the French relinquished control of the colony, Ferrand and his troops claimed to be the legal authorities for the entire island. Ferrand tried to convince foreign government representatives to prohibit trade with Haiti and enforced his own prohibition of trade with French and Spanish privateers. On February 5, 1805, he issued the Ordinance below that punished anyone caught trading with the “revolted of Saint-Domingue” with death. My research has shown–especially in the case of St. Thomas (a Danish colony) and  Curaçao (a Dutch colony)–that governors were reluctant to support Ferrand’s prohibition on trade. Furthermore, even after they conceded and prohibited the trade, the prohibition was only loosely enforced.[1] This Ordinance, however, was publicized in both colonies and this copy is from the Danish National Archives.

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1804 Census, Gros Morne, Haiti

This brief census report from October 1804 in Gros Morne, Haiti is in the collection at the John Carter Brown Library. It’s an amazing source, and I haven’t seen anything like it for this time period!

There are a number of really interesting features in the document, including the fact that it is a form that was ten years out of date; slavery had been abolished in 1793 but the form has a number of categories for “esclaves,” (the entries for “esclaves” are left blank except for the total population of “Nègres” at the bottom of the reverse).

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