Critically discuss why the food industry uses food safety management systems based upon HACCP principles.

Critically discuss why the food industry uses food safety management systems based upon HACCP principles.

By 1789 France’s Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue wus h OIlI {, 10 Ih,\
largest, wealthiest, and most self-confident free popularioll of Al denn dl’
scent in the Americas. Comprising close to half the colony’s Cree puplI l.I
tion, these gens de couleurwon civil equality. with whites frolll tl w FIt’nrl,
Legislative Assembly in April 1792 and their political demands hcllWd P”)
ouce the Haitian Revolution. This article lays the found ali on for ;1 rr’lJ1
praisal of the actions bf Saint-Domingue’s free men of color in rhe.’ Pn’IH’h
Revolution by drawing attention to the role of gender in n> lolli,,1 1.1\ i,,1
discourse before the fall of the Bastille.
After ‘1763 legal and social prejudice against free mulattoes al\~1 utllill
nonenslaved people of African descent in Saint-Domingue Will’ h,I\lNI \til
feminized stereotypes. Colonial writers began to describe frct’ nWI1 ;IIld
women of color as passionate, narcissistic, and parasitic. B CC,lUIiC II/ tl l~l,~.!
dangerous vices, elite white society increasingly excluded free pl'()plt’ III
mit I th~ IllUar f’!!l\lot(‘\
·l~ndllll. IlhQut dlt’ Hilfutt” uf whit,.
p(1liricnl pow!!r ~ml
S.thlt . UoIJlil1~ne produced thill III
Ilion of i’ncilll nod gcuder l,!UfCgOriCS. Af~t!t the SCVI:I1 Yearll’ Wnr new itnmi
I-IratlPI1 (rom E UfO P C and the increasingly “civi ” lOne of cli te colo nial
society raised the question of ho w “FrcI1ch” Sain t-Domingue could become.
C ould a slave plantation colony produce a civic-minded public of the sort
said to be emerging in France at this time?1 Many colonial planters, magj li~
trates, and merchants wanted to believe it could. The appropriation of
metropolitan political discourse in an intense feud between the colon y ‘s
Conseils superieurs (high courts) and royal administrators led these elites to
an explanation of how free Dominguan society differed from France. U sing “”
gender to solidify and expand the social category gens .de couleur, placing
it firmly outside French colonial society, white Saint-Domingue argued for
its ‘ own freedom from ministerial despotism. Engendering the image of
people of mixed blood answered troubling questions about white behavior
in Saint-Domingue and seemed to guarantee that an orderly, rational colonial public could emerge. Feminized stereotypes reinforced the rejection of r
people of color who in nearly every other way, wealth, education, distance
from slavery, even physical appearance, were indistinguishable from whites.
Aft<lelltl IlIICCliltI y.
C~lltul’I\1 idellllt)’ hi
Before the dominance of sugar slavery in the 1700s, censuses of SaintDomingue counted free men, women, children, and servants, not “whites”
and “mulattoes.”2 In the colony’S rough-and-tumble seventeenth-century
1. For the. current historiographical debate on this issue see Joan G. Landes, Women and
the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988)
and the following critiques: Keith Michael Baker, Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on
French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century (New York : Cambridge University Press,
1990); Baker, “Defining the Public Sphere in Eigltteenth-Century France: Variations on a
Theme by Habermas,» in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge:
MIT Press, 1991),181-211; Roger Chartier, The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution,
trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991); Dena Goodman, “Public
Sphere and Private Life: Toward a Synthesis of Current Historiographical Approaches to the
Old Regime,” History and Theory 31 (1992): 1-20; David A. Bell, “The ‘Public Sphere,’ the
State, and the World of Law in Eighteenth-Century France,” French Historical Studies 17 (Fall
1992): 912-34; Daniel Gordon, “Philosophy, Sociology, and Gender in the Enlightenment
Conception of Public Opinion,” French Historical Studies 17 (Fall 1992): 882-911; Sarah Maza,
“Women, the Bourgeoisie, and the Public Sphere: Response to Daniel Gordon and David
Bell,” French Historical Studies 17 (Fall 1992): 935-50; and Dale K. Van Kley, “New Wine in
Old Wineskins: Continuity and Rupture in the Pamphlet Debate of the French Prerevolution,
1787-1789,” French Historical Studies 17, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 447-65.
2. For example, the 1720 census of lands in the southern peninsula that had been under
the control of the Compagnie de Saint-Domingue (Archives Nationales Section Outre-Mer,
henceforth ANSOM, G’509 No. 17) did not count free coloreds, but a 1713 general colonial
Im~’l~lm,,(‘\’ .”dtltfl fill ” WU } tilt’ OhS~~tiNiilU it wuuld hucr bccornc:. Before
th\! JIlasl/iv~ itnptlt’mtillu (If Africnn slaves f()J’ sugar wod~1 children of rl’Jlxcd
dcsccm were nppul( lItiy considered free from birth. Even in 1685. the met..
ropolitan ;\ulhors of the Code Noil’ were more concerned about sin than
ro.ce and racial mixtu re. The code ordered the confiscation of mixed-race
·hil.dren and slave concubines, but stated that if a master married his slave
mistress, she would be automatically free, as would ~he children of their
IInion. Under the original terms of the Code Noir, ex-slaves enjoyed all the
rlghts accorded to whites. 3
As plantation slavery developed in the eighteenth century, colonial practice modified these laws to protect the hierarchy of “white” over “black”
on which S(1gar profits depended. But concubinage between European men
And African women was extensive and the sorts of master/slave marriages
dcscribed in the Code Noir occurred as well. 4 Most European men left
their wives and daughters behind in France and constituted new, ostensibly
temporary, households with colonial women who shared their table, managed their domestic affairs, and often bore their children. By the 17205
many of these women were Caribbean-born, of mixed African and European ancestry. In this early period free men of color were often former
slaves who were clearly “nonwhite. ” However, the social position of many
free women of color was blurred by their relationships with white men. In
the general census of 1730, for example, officials across Saint-Domingue
reported the number of mulatres lib res but left the category mulatresse libre
blank for more than half the colony.s Evidence suggests that in the first half
of the century, local authorities often included the wives, free mistresses,
and racially mixed children of colonists in their enumerations of “white”
society. Free women who owned property, could read and write French,
and were faithful to the French church, were counted as white.
census did (ANSOM G’509 No. 12). In the 1730 general census [ANSOM G’509 No. 20],
officials from the West prolince did not record numbers for free women of color, only for
men in this class, though the North province provided data on both sexes. Only from 1739
(ANSOM G1509 No. 21) do surviving general censuses systematically report the population
of free men and women of color.
3. See Le Code Noir (Paris, 1767 [Basse-Terre, 1980)), 33-34, 55; and the interpretation
in Alan Watson, Slave Law ill the Americas (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989), 83-90.
4. Pierre de Vaissiere, Saint-Domingue: La societe et la vie creoles sous l’ancien regime
1629-1789 (Paris : Librairie Academique Perrin, 1909), 65, cites the example from the 1730s
of one of the richest planters in Saint-Domingue who began by marrying a free black woman
who owned thirty slaves.
5. ANSOM G’509 No. 20; however throughout the slave-owning Americas, women and
mixed-race ohildren were nrice as likely as men to be freed, especially when there were few
European women in the colony, as was the case in Saint-Domingue. Herbert S. Klein, African

dozen children, As adults thcse I11cn and WOIIH!It, lilH’
their I1Wt!WI’S, owned property, abided by the l;tw, attcuded church. ,\1111
s/>”I< ,., reud, and wrotc French well. By all documentary indications, IH,.i l
officials regarded Marie and Fran~oise Begassc as “white” up to the 1 7(,O~
‘fhey did not describe their skin color and did accord thcm the reslwcrf II I
tides of “Demoiselle” and “Dame.” According to Moreau de Saint-M ~I y
in 1730 Bainet had only twelve free people of color and 317 whites. But ,1
visiting official touring the parish the following year said that there well’
few whites there, since most had married into wealthy families of c%r. 11
Indeed Marie and Fran~oise Begasse had a whit~ father and a black moth cl’,
But only in the 1760s would the two women be consistently identified ill
documents as muiatresses fibres. With the establishment of the plantation
economy, social categories in Saint-Domingue became increasingly based
on genealogy rather than cultural identity.7 In the 1730s men were morc
likely than women to be labeled “colored”; by the 1760s many whites
argued that the free population of color was dangerously feminized.
The expansion of sugllr also changed colonial attitudes about militia service.
The hunters and pirates of the seventeenth century lent their sabers and
muskets to French imperial strategy, reaping rewards in Spanish treasure.
But by the 1740s colonists had bent their swords into sugar mills. Planters
fought the royal administration over militia obligations and from the middle
of the eighteenth century this issue was at the core of the debate about
whether Saint-Domingue could ~have a “public” in the new sense of the
word and whether people of color would be a part of that public.
Colonial governors, drawn from the royal army or navy, favored a strong
militia as the basis of local government. Parish militia captains answered to
Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986),
227; Arlette Gautier, Soeurs de Solitude (Paris: Editions Caribeennes 1985), 172-74.
6. AN Colonie Fl 91, pp. 96-97; Census cited in Mederic Louis Elie Moreau de SaintMery, Description topographique, physique, ovile, politique et historique de Ia partie franraise
de I’isle Saint Domingue, ed. Blanche Maure! and Etienne Taillemite (1797); (Paris: Societe
d’histoire d’Outre-Mer, 1984), 1155.
7. For more on the Begasse and a longer development of this argument, see John D.
Garrigus, “Blue and Brown: Contraband Indigo and the Rise of a Free Colored Planter Class
in French Saint-Domingue,” The Americas 50 (October 1993): 233-63.
dlr 14i’Vfllllli, 1I11Il’lI,’,1 ifl l~R.,kll l’l tilt, pC.Ht “,HI tHI~ll ,HI kll li’P’;’ll “H!”~
111111’1 . nut Ih”il IHltl;)ltlttlf’t ” ~”nh’d tltt~ illtlhOl’\t y .tilt! S”hu 1)1I1J11Hiii~j,
two rOl’Ht’I/J ,IU,wkl”d lhfl ‘JUtl.i jlldid”l ml~ (If 1111:/1/’ Cliftlilill rt. ‘l’hl1 tu;;.”/” ‘L” ~
were hi[4h CCJurt~ t\1.\t Vm’$.,i lll.’li h.\(l originnlly IIlttflt’d with ell bW l-.Iu”.,(
iUld influential planters as a wny of IIlr(.’I1glhclling Ft'(‘!H:!l ru le. r lowrv,’,’,
Ihes~ magistratcs came to ,~ce themselves :11-1 colonial /),Idi’ml’nttilll’I, !till I
to royal policies, especially lhe milid.l. H
Cr iticism of the militia system became a way fur ~’~1 10Ili ll l jlulg(‘1/ 10 dll\\
Ihey led opposition
It’nge the power of royal governors and their local appoinl(·”·s. MUIIY 1I111t-\i N
rrates and planters believed the conseils, not royal o/(id.,kltllll. Ijllllllid
oversee local administration, so that the “rule of /(tw” ~ou Jd I'(‘ phllr< Ihl’
“:1rbitrary” power wielded by parish captains, co)oninlj.\()Vl’1I101 ~ .llIll . \III i
ma~dy, Versailles.
Conflict over the militia system reached its zenith duritll-: til” S(‘VI~tI Vfllt … •
War. Colonists loudly insisted that the time and money 1’l1CY NIli’1I1 Ill! 11,
fense duties were ruining their plantations. After GlIiuldollp,· W;\N ~IIIHin,.!l
by the British, Versailles was worried abollt Oomingll.m loyall Y ,1I111 IiMftll·d
10 disband the colonial militia. When hostilities had {·ndC.’d, 1″11 jH/J (41’1,1111.
would be replaced by a syndie chosen locally under c(I/l!Jcil Htlthm II y. \I
Though much celebrated in the colony, this reform was shot,! hv.:d. Til
duc de Choiseul’s reorganization of French imperial del enM~” ,!ft~’1 17′, \
reinstated the militia. In fact, the aftermath of the war trallsfofllH.·” I hllUili
guan society ~_w2′ leading to new attitudes about 111(” In”’
population of color. First of arr:-the reestablishment of the unpl11,u l.1I IIll/hlll
embittered the struggle between the eonseils and royal administr(tum. ~~.t
ond, after the loss of Canada, Saint-Domingue more than CVCI’ Iw(‘.1I1I(I til
~of French immigration, commerce, and slave traffic. Peill’C :1c(,I·II.’I’«1 NI
the growth of the Dominguan economy but it also created .. new dlllili III
angry white men-petits blanes-who were unable to fu/fiJl t11(‘i, dlt’.1U11I
of sugar riches. _’I.!!ird~ peace brought more administrators and j.\()vernhH’uf
functionaries to France’s most valuable possession, changing L1w WIl(‘ ~Uld
tempo of urban society. Printing presses, theaters, public p:1d~$. 1U1I1 M
sopic lodges were established in the colony. In short, white Saint ~ J )olllin!{lH!
8. ,Charles Frostin, “Histoire de I’autonomisme colon de la partic fran,aisc dr St I )Plllfll.1I
aux XVII< et XVIII’ siecles: Contribution a I’etude du sentiment amcricnjn “‘jlldl·IlMlt,lIh”’·
(Thesis, Universite de Paris, 1972), 213; Pierre Pluchon, ed., Histoirc dcs II/II/I/fll lit ,If’ I”
Guyane (Toulouse: Privat, 1982),83.
9. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Loix et constitutions des colonies franraises dt: l’IIIII(‘r/l{11I1 ttl1Jf /,
‘!lent (Paris, 1784-90),4:538-39.
hltl~.ii lli li\iUi1 hij·ow 1\ J~\lhlk _p111ft ‘f’ltt\~~ ( hill1j&.. 11 hfl”UI \.111111111 ill1ltwdi
Ito’iv \Vhll fhl’l 111’1 iVltln( II tt{‘W ~~nVN’ItU! III 11t1’\.
~hill’h·\ (:tltm~ tl’HlIlttill!\\ cillll’l(tlti whh tt’itl.nol1il1g tht! llliJiti:l ill 1764,
Wlh the fl(,~l of It new I’ifyJC of admi nilltrlltnr for Saint·t)ollJinguc. Earning
l~!\ to fifteiln thm~tllhe snl;try of hi ll pl’cdcccssors; d’Escaing installed himself
It! the. ct’lt.JIlY with Il large household staff, armorial dinner service, expen~
sivc wine aHd books, and an elaborate wardrobe. 10
He also Came equipped with his own ide,as about how to reinstate the
militia. The new governor believed that a lack of patriotism was at the heart
of France’s military problems and he tried to muster a new civic spirit in
the colony. He established prizes, medals and new ranks, and renamed the
militia La Legion Nationale. D’Estaing hoped this cultural re-engineering
would popularize the institution and spare him a confrontation with colonial magistrates. It
He was disappointed. In 1764 and 1765 the Port·au-Prince eonseil
branded his militia reforms illegal. Printed placards, petitions, and pamphlets criticizing the governor circulated widely in the colony. D’Estaing was
labeled a tyrant and his personal wealth was presented as evidence of corruption and his insatiable desire for power. 12 The eonseil would not register
his ordinance and Versailles called in another chief administrator in 1766.
This new governor, the Prince de Rohan·Montbazon, adopted ~he same
ostentatious style. Like d’Estaing he was rebuffed by the Port-au-Prince
eonseil, which by now probably included twelve avoeats sent from the obstreperous Parlement of Paris. 13 After several years of fierce political con10. Michel Verge-Franceschi, “Fortune et plantations des administrateurs coloniaux aux Jles
d’Amerique aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles,” in Commerce et plantation dans Ia Carai’be XV/lIe
et X/Xe siecles: Actes du colloque de Bordeaux, 15-16 Mars 1991, ed. Paul Butel (Bordeaux:
Maison des pays iberiques, 1992), 124.
11. AN OB17, d’Estaing’s MS. “Objets principaux que j’ai eu dans .. . I’ordonnance des
milices,” dated 15 January 1765; AN OB17, d’Estaing’s memoir entitled “Observations particulieres” dated 14 June 1765, N°20bis; AN C 9B 17bis, 18 August 1765, letter from d’Estaing
to Choiseul, the colonial minister.
12. Verge-Franceschi. “Fortune et plantations des administrateurs coloniaux, .. 124; AN Col.
P179, p. 56. “Arrete du Conseil du Port-au-Prince qui nomme quatre commissaires pour
faire Ie releve des pouvoirs du General et de l’Intendant; du 24 Janvier, 1765.” However, the
most public statements of this perspective carne in the local assemblies convoked by d’Estaing’s
successor, the Prince du Rohan, in 1766. AN Col. FJ180, p. 322.
13. On Rohan-Montbazon, .see Verge-Franceschi, “Fortune et plantations des administrateurs coloniaux,” 124-25; AN Col. C9b18 ·Copie de la lettre de Mgr Ie Duc de Choiseul
a M. Etienne Batonnier de l’ordre des avocats. De Versailles Ie 3 mars 1766.” This letter was
apparently written in frustration at the difficulties that the Port-au-Prince Conseil raised for
d’Estaing: “Le Roi etant. Monsieur. dans I’intention de rendre sedentaires les Conseils
flke. wlihl i’liJllkn 1ml.,!” t’lhlt,t” Jih’,,~ly ltnlH Ihl” kill” ‘lIlhtll)’ ttIThtii’i1t
I1tilllilit i.-. f\If~t’. 4.llmtmwtl til bldTnI.’ th(, rdt.llHl Uti Ittll”I11-_ I’tyt’Mt tt¥I.”
riley refused to IItll!lt~r .t.. ordcrt·d ItI1J were. dt,hlUtct\ by ruyal
loynl militia units in ~~nrly J169, i~
Thesc CVClitS COllfil’nled i he brood aliKmncntof \loloniat <it1d llH, trli l’c1I1t””
I’olitic;ll discourse down to the Revolution. 15 M;\gistrntcl; ami thdr 1I1lppurr..
:1’S portrayed royal administrators as corrupt couni(‘rli ucvult’d Ii\llrly l\J
personal advancement. They debated why” civic spidt th:tt t1li~ht h’m,’~”
this despotism was slow to arise in Saint-Dotningl,lC. 1f• Royal adtllillil’lu’l\tufli
nlso lamented the lack of public-spiritedness, which for thcllllrW.lnl willluK”
ness to serve in the militia. With headstrong s!avcowncrs, unt’ tl1ploYl’d fir/ill
blanes, and few church or family influences, th e CO lllll Y was 1H1~OV(‘1 nubl ••
they re~orted.17
Despite these political struggles, or perhaps beta us\.’ of till””. ,\fl rf’ l1i,’
observers generally agreed that white Saint-D\)min~\l t’ W~~II bCC(HnlnR j’IllttH
civilized,» more French. In fact, accelerating slav~’ i011’Of’lN wt'(‘l’ 1I1\\ldl’f; til
colony even more African, demographically:’N cvt:tthck’$s Mnn1tHI tiflliulllf
Mery dubbed this the colony’S “second age”: IN “Finlll\y lh~’ IIflllt III dVIIi.
tion and politesse appeared after the peace of 1763, which bl’o\l~llllltlIlY
regiments, officiers genereux, lavish intendants, the fnllhinmlblt’ (II lry •• ry
station … the simple and steadfast ways of the coJOl1illtli tll”‘W f hIli!’ t\1
those of the home country. “19
Saint-Domingue’s eonseils followed more closely than ever tilt’ IItyhl lluLl
pretensions of France’s parlements. The populations of Cap Franr.,::lis. PortSuperieurs de St. Domingue et de les composer de Sujets instruits et eprou v6s, “Ill prop\t,CII
S. M. de prendre douze avocats du Parlement de Paris pour remplir un pardi l’Iofl\hr~ tic 1’1~l’I’~
de Conseiller qui sont vacantes dans les deux Conseils superieurs. S. M. aynnt ~Ippn Ive
vouloir bien m’indiquer les sujets qui voudront prendre ce parti … “
14. AN Col. fl180, p. 340 “Lettre du Ministre a M. L~ Chevalier Prince de Rull’llI . 111′ II’
retablissment des Milices, 14 juin 1767″; AN Col. FJ 180, p. 363-64, “Lettre de M. Ie (111m !.’
de Rohan au ministre sur les milices … 10 Novembre 1767″; AN Col. P18l, pp. 141 , H .
See the account in Charles Frostin, I,.es revoltes blanches (Toulouse: Editions de I·E~·(lll’. 11)7′).
15. On the ministerial versus magisterial tensions in prerevolutionary pamph kf lil enUUIl1.
see Dale Van Kley, “New Wine in Old Wineskins,” 454, 455.
16. AN Col. PJ 192, anonymous MS dated 1785, “Reflexions sur la positiqn !\clUdlr \It!
St Domingue.”
17. AN C!J1. FJ192, “Reflexions sur la position actuelle de St Domingue”; AN C\\I. Il’ 1’10.
Cte Dautichamp, “Observations sur … St Domingue, ” MS dated 1781.
18. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description, 31.
19. AN Col FJ76, p. 151. See also Justin Girod-Chantrans, Voyage d’lt» SlItS,I t’ ,1,uII I,.,
Colonies d’Amerique, ed. Pierre Pluchon (Paris : Tallandier, 1980), 118 n. 2. Jean 1<!)\ldulr!lt
Les Plaisirs de Saint-Domingue: Notes sur sa vie sociaie, litteraire et artistique (PorteaU’·I’J’irH PI
John D. Garrigus
au-Prince, and other port ClUes exploded in the 1770s and 1780s. New
construction gave colonial cities a previously unknown air of permanence,
even urbanity. Cap Frans;ais boasted parks, seventy-nine public buildings,
public fountains, drainage, defenses, and hospitals. Theaters, Vauxhalls,
booksellers, printers’ offices, journals, social clubs, and Masonic lodges
sprouted in the main ports and then in secondary towns. In the 1780s, Cap
Frans;ais became home to a royally chartered scientific academy that could
consider itself the peer of any in provincial France. 20
This transformation of white urban society was superficially similar to
changes occurring in France. The new press, improved postal service, and
urban sociability mobilized popular opinion against the governor and intendant. Colonial writers began to refer to a “public” and the weight of its
opinion. Nevertheless, Saint-Domingue was clearly not France. Could a
“public” of the SOrt emerging in France be created in a slave society?
For colonial administrators the militia controversies had proven how little
“public-spiritedness” the white population possessed. The free population
of color, however, assembled for monthly musters and hunted escaped
slaves without complaint. Administrators had long recognized the military
superiority of these amateur soldiers; in 1764 d’Estaing had proposed them
as the core of his cont~oversial Legion N ationale. Drawing on the neoclassical rhetoric of many military reformers, he had described free men of
color as frugal patriots, loyal sons, and self-sacrificing citizens. 22 D’Estaing
“Sons of the Same Father”
had planned to honor virtuous members of this class and allow the lightestskinned families to be counted as white. 23
His opponents, on the other hand, believed the free population of color
was the core of colonial corruption. The reestablishment of the militia in
1769 demonstrated the power of colonial governors and military rule. Colonial writers and judges were more than ever struck by how weak social
bonds were in Saint-Domingue. These reversals prompted whites to fashion
another image of the colony’S growing free population of color, drawing
on the misogynistic rhetoric of some French opponents of royal despotism.
By the late 1760s both sides of the colonial political spectrum agreed
that politics, family, and society in Saint-Domingue were corrupted by the
weakness of “legitimate” bonds and by the force of pride and individual
will. 24 But a number of writers associated with the conseils and opposed to
military rule blamed the frailty of colonial society on the sexual power free
and enslaved women of color exerted over white men. According to the
Swiss traveler Girod-Chantrans,
These women, naturally more lascivious than European women,
flattered by their control over white men, have collected and preserved all the sensual pleasures [voluptes] they are capable of. La
jouissance has become for them an object of study, a specialized and
necessary skill [used] with worn-out or depraved lovers, who simple
nature can no longer delight. 25
Imprimerie de l’Etat, 1955),28-53, cites Wimpffen, Hilliard d’Auberteuil, and announcements
in the colonial press.
20. AN Col. P76, p. 151; James E. McClellan III, Colonialism and Science: Saint Domingue
in the Old Regime (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 75, 78-81, 94-96,
106-8. He notes that “overall … the book collections in Saint-Domingue did not differ in
character from those in bourgeois-professional and robe circles in France in the same period”
(102). See his evocative description of Cap FraJ;lcais, 83-94. Figures on Cap Fran<,;ais are from
Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description, 479-80. See also David P. Geggus, “Urban Development
in 18th Century Saint-Domingue,” Bulletin du Centre d’histoire des espaces atfantiques 5
(1900): 197-219; and Geggus, “The Major Port Towns of Saint Domingue in the Later Eighteenth Century,” in Atlantic Port Cities: Economy, Culture and Society in the Atlantic World,
1650-1850, ed. Franklin W. Knight and Peggy K. Liss (Knoxville: University of Tennessee
Press, 1991), 87-116.
21. See for example the affair of the COUnt deGravier, a parish militia captain accused of
abusing his power, who then published a pamphlet to expose the facts of the case to the public;
AN Col. P191, pp. 198-265, especially p. 222. See also Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description,
415 and 1003.
22. AN Col. C I7 MS. “Objets principaux’ dated 15 January 1765; Moreau de SaintMery, LoVe et constitutions, 4: 820-24; Auguste Nemours, Haiti et fa guerre d’Independance
americaine (Port-au-Prince: Henri Deschamps, 1952),29-31; on the importance of neoclassical
imagery among military reformers in France, see Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the
In the 1770s and 1780s this feminine sexuality, described as “un-natural” in
women of mixed ancestry, came to symbolize the “foreign-ness” of SaintDomingue’S free population of color. For Moreau de Saint-Mery,
The whole being of a muldtresse is given over to sensual pleasure
and the flame of this goddess burns in her heart so as only to be
French Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1989), 169-74; Jean Chagniot, Paris et l’armee au xviii
siecle: Etude politique et sociale (Paris: Economica, 1985), 656-57; Andre Corvisier, Armies
and Societies in Europe, 1494-1789, trans. Abigail T. Siddall (Bloomington: Indiana University
Press, 1979), 103. See also d’Estaing’s own play, Les Thermopyles, tragtidie de circonstance
(Paris, 1791).
23. AN Col. C 9B 17 MS. “Objets principaux· dated 15 January 1765; Moreau de SaintMery, LoVe et constitutions, 4: 820-24; Nemours, Hafti, 29-31.
24. AN Col. PI92, “Reflexions sur la position actuelle de St Domingue”; AN Col. F 3 190,
Cte Dautichamp, “Observations sur … St Domingue,” MS dated t 781; AN Col. E 233,
dossier “J ussan .•
25. Justin Girod-Chantrans, Voyage d’un Suisse, 152.
John D. Garrigus
“Sons of the Same Father'”
snuffed out with life itself…. Even the most inflamed imagination
can conceive of nothing that she has not fathomed, concocted, experienced. Her sole vocation is to bewitch the senses, deliver them to
the most delicious ecstasies, enrapture them with the most seductive
temptations; nature, pleasure’s accomplice, has given her charms,
endowments, inclinations, and what is indeed more dangerous, the
ability to enjoy such sensations even more keenly than her partners,
including some unknown to Sappho.26
As this ambiguous passage suggests, feminine sexuality, for Moreau, was
“both the danger and the delight” of men. 27 The work of other colonial
wJ;iters reveals more clearly the political fears generated by what Hilliard
d’Auberteuil described as an “empire based on libertinage” enjoyed by
women of color over white men. 28 An army officer and amateur poet Gabriel Bruey d’Aigailliers used Roman and Renaissance figures, and images
of corruption and disease, to portray women of color in these verses.
Si je voulais en phrases ingenues
Decrire aussi des sujets libertins
Je vous p’eindrais des Messalines nues
Entre les bras de nouveaux Aretins,
Rivalisant de debauches honteuses,
Vous les verriez ces couples gangrenes
Plonger sans choix leurs ames crapuleuses.
Amour, pudeur, sentiments les plus doux
Fuyez, fuyez ces rives dangereuses!
So us votre masque on s’y moque de VOUS.29
If, in innocent sentences
I were to describe those libertines
I would paint for you naked Messalinas
26. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description, 104; for similar stereotypes in the British Caribbean
see Hilary Beckles, Natural Rebels: A Social History of Enslaved Black Women in Barbados
(New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989), 147, and Barbara Bush, Slave Women in
Caribbean Society, 1650-1838 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 14-17.
27. AN Col. P76, p. 151.
28. Hilliard d’Auberteuil, Considerations sur l’etat present de la colonie franraise de Saint
Domingue, ouvrage politique et legislatif (Paris, 1776), 2: 27.
29. Cited in Jean Fouchard, Plaisirs de Saint-Domingue: Notes sur sa vie sociale, litteraire
et artistique (Port-au-Prince: Imprimerie de l’Etat, 1955), 89-91.
In the arms of new Arentino,
Competing in shameful debauchery.
You would see these gangrenous couples
Aimlessly immerse their dissolute souls.
Love, modesty, the sweetest feelings,
Flee, flee these dangerous shores
For, beneath your mask, you are mocked here.
For the Baron de Wimpffen,
these Priestesses of an American Venus … have made sensual pleasure [Ia volupte] a kind of mechanical skill they have taken to the
highest perfection. Next to them Aretino is a prudish school
boy…. They combine the explosiveness of saltpeter with an exuberance of desire, that scorning all, drives them to pursue, acquire
and devour pleasure, like a blazing fire consumes its nourishment. 30
The sexual power of free women of color over white men was especially
disturbing because of the public nature of that power. White men lived
openly with their black and brown mistresses and acknowledged their
mixed-race children. Though born in Martinique, Moreau de Saint-Mery
was shocked by Saint-Domingue’s mulatresses. “One is not protected.
by the public decency that preserves morality [even] in [Europe’s] capitals. . . . Publicity, I repeat, is one of the sweetest pleasures [of SaintDomingue’S mulatresses].” These women took money that should have gone
to legitimate families in France to satisfy their own “insatiable” desire for
rich fabrics and jewels. 31
Contemporaries were troubled by what such behavior revealed about
colonial society as a whole, particularly about the inability of individual
colonists to sacrifice their immediate pleasures for a larger public good.
Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, widely read in Saint-Domingue by 1765,
disCUssed the physical and political effects of warm climates and warned of
the dangerous consequences of female vice. 32 f~ pu61ic f~eedom of women
was either a symptom of despotism that “feminized” men, or it produced
30. Cited in Pierre Pluchon, Negres et Juifs au XVIIle siide: Le Racisme au siide des
Lumieres (Paris: Tallandier, 1984), 286.
31. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description, 31-33, 105, 109.
32. AN Col. PI92, “Reflexions sur la posicion actuelle de Saint-Domingue. » Montesquieu,
The Spirit of the Laws, trans. Thomas Nugent (New York: Hafner, 1949), 102; see book 7
John D. Garrigus
social chaos. Those who hoped that the power of the governor and intendant would be tempered by rational public debate, or that the isolation
and social violence of Dominguan life would give way to some form of
recognizable community, saw the colony’s free women of color as a reminder, even a reason, that Saint-Domingue could never be France. 33
For Moreau de Saint-Mery and others the sensuality and narcissism of
women of color was not only a property of their sex, but characterized the
entire mixed-race population, female and male. In his encyclopedic Description of the colony Moreau devoted five pages to island-born white men and
five to white creole women, but gave only one-and-a-half pages to “Ie
Mulatre.” “La Mulatresse,” in contrast, received five-and-a-half pages. In
his opinion “all the advantages given by nature to the Muidtre are lavished
upon the Muidtresse.” These defining characteristics were largely sexual;
for the muidtre as for the muidtresse, “pleasure is his sole master, but it is
a despotic master. “34
Such passages illustrate that prejudice against Saint-Domingue’s free
population of color was not simply an extension of the racism that held
nearly half-a-mil.1ion colonial slaves in bondage. The new feminized definition of the free popul\ition of color incorporated French political cliches
while providing hope that a rational public might yet emerge, if these corrupt beings could be effectively shut out.
A.fter 1763 administrators and judges enacted a variety of measures to
exclude this “vicious” class from Saint-Domingue’s white world. Manumission was made more difficult and time-consuming, and female slaves were
made twice as expensive to free as males. In 1773 free people of color were
forbidden to use European names and were directed to take names of obvichap. 8, ‘Of Public Continency,» and chap. 9, ·Of the Condition or State of Women in
Different Governments.» The interpretation is that of Joan Landes, Women and the Public
Sphere, 35-38.
33 . The views of colonial intellectuals were also influenced by the debate over American
nature. Moreau de Saint-Mery believed that whites born in the colony had a physical and
psychological constitution distinct from European-born men and women. In Philadelphia in
1798 Moreau wrote that the calculating and passionless teenage girls of that city engaged in
masturbation and lesbian activities from an early age. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Voyage aux
Etats-unis de l’Amerique, 1793-1798, ed. Stewart L. Mims (New Haven: Yale University Press,
1913), 302-3. See also Antonello Gerbi, The Dispute of the New World: The History of a
Polemic, 1750-1900, rev. and enl. ed., trans Jeremy Moyle (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh
Press , 1973).
34. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description, 103, 104.
“Sons of the Same Father”
ous African origin. 35 They were excluded form honorable professions and
required to prove their freedom in all legal documents after 1778. They
were forbidden to wear extravagant clothing, carry a sword, or sit with
whites in churches, theaters, or music halls. 36
The feminization of free colored stereotypes was not only a product of
white attitudes and French political imagery; through the 1760s free women
of color wielded far more economic power within their social category than
did their counterparts in the white population. In one local census .from
rnidcentury, free colored women were four times more likely than white
women to be heads of rural households. 37 Free women of color were at least
four times more likely to participate in real estate transactions involving free
people of color than white women were to be involved in similar transactions involving only whites. 38 In the 1760s women of color brought an
average of 3S percent more property than their spouses to formally contracted marriages while white brides brought slightly less property than
their grooms.
Yet, by the 1780s, a new free colored elite had come to the fore. This
third or even fourth generation of mixed ancestry was wealthier than its
35. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Loix et constitutions, 5 :448-49. This statute gave rise to a
number of responses. Inversion of former names made Jean Decopin into Jean Pain Corde, or
Denis Pilorge into Denis Golerep. Others adopted other names from their family networks,
so that Michel Depas, the free descendent of a Jewish commercial family at Bordeaux, became
Michel Medina, after another prominent trading family. Others resorted to hyphenations, so
that Michel Depas became Depas-Medina. Still others adopted African names or invented
African-style names; the mulatto daughter of a militia commander was no longer Jeanne Maignan, but Jeanne Foedina. ANSOM, 14 December 1784, Gaudin reg. 742, Nippes, procuration.
36. Yvan Debbasch, Couleur et liberte: Le feu du critere ethnique dans un ordre esclavagiste
(Paris: Dalloz, 1967),94, 100-104; Moreau de Saint-Mery, Loix et constitutions, 4:225, 229,
342, 412, 466, 495; 5 :384-85, 823; AN Col. P243, p. 341; Col. P273, p. 119; AN Col.
P91, p. 115; AN Col. P189, decree of 2 June 1780.
37. ANSOM G’509 No. 26.
38. In a sample of 4,882 notarial contracts from the 1760s, free women of color participated
in 21 percent of rural land sales involving free coloreds, while only 16 percent of sales including
whites involved a woman. In a 1780s sample of 2,679 notarial documents from the same
districts free women of color were involved in 43 percent (68 of 160) of rural land sales
involving their class, while white women accounted for only 11 percent (39 of 340). In the
1760s free women of color participated in 21 of the 28 sales of urban property that involved
this class-75 percent. In the 1780s they were involved in 60 percent (53 of 88) of free colored
urban sales, compared to white women who were in only 18 percent (29 of 165). In the 1760s
and 1780s free women of color were involved in nearly 58 and 43 percent, respectively, of the
leases of urban property in which free coloreds participated, compared to a female participation
rate of only 21 and 4 percent among whites for the same periods. ANSOM, Saint-Domingue
notarial archives.
John D. Garrigus
“Sons of the Same Father»
predecessors, well-educated, light-skinned, and locally respected. 39 Moreover, these elite families of color were increasingly led by men, not women.
In the 1780s, free colored men brought far more property than free women
of color to formal marriages, reversing the early trend. 40
The emergence of this new generation of wealthy men of color in the 1780s
did not alter the racial and gender imagery established after 1763. In the
1780s these men began to fight their exclusion from public life, challenging
the stereotypes of racial pollution and tropical vice. They allied with Versailles against colonial whites and advanced a three-part argument that
stressed their virtue and virility at every opportunity. Their economic virtue
was demonstrated by their plantations and slaves; their social virtue was
illustrated by their filial piety and obligations as husbands and fathers; and
their civic virtue was seen in faithful militia service .• ‘7
– ‘
White Saint-Domingue, which had been unable to prevent the reestablishment of the militia in 1769, responded by rejecting militia service as a sign
of virtue. In March 1779, at the very moment Saint-Domingue’s free men
of color were volunteering for an expedition against the British in North
America, the colonial
, press defined white colonial patriotism as commer39. See Garrigus, “Blue and Brown, and Garrigus, “Color, Class and Identity on the Eve
of the Haitian Revolution: Saint-Domingue’s Free Colored Elite as Colons americains,» Slavery
& Abolition 17 (April 1996): 20-43.
40. In the 1760s the average value of the property of nonwhite brides (slaves and free
women of color) when listed, was 9,371 livres. For free colored grooms, the average was 6,881
li vres. Among white couples, grooms listed more property than brides while the largest value
a free man of color brought to marriage in the 1760s was less than half that of the largest
recorded value brought by a free woman of color.
However, in the 1780s the average value of the property nonwhite brides brought to their
marriages was 13,425 Iivres, while grooms from this racial category brought, on average,
23,497 livres. When Julian Raimond, a prominent indigo planter and man of color, married
in 1782, he claimed to own nearly ten times what the wealthiest free man of color had claimed
in the 1760s. Although the value of free colored bridal property also increased over this period,
the wealthiest free colored bride of the 1780s brought only about 30 percent more in value
than her counterpart of the 1760s. This data comes from the analysis of 4,882 notarial contracts
for the period 1760-69 in the Nippes, St. Louis, and Cayes quartiers of Saint-Domingue and
2,679 contracts from these same districts in the years 1780-89.
41. See, for example, Raimond ‘s manuscript memoirs to the colonial ministry from 1786,
AN Col. P91, pp. 171-83; these archival documents are copies of Raimond’s text and none
but the first are dated. The first bears the notation “I” memo ire de Raimond, en 7bre [SeptemberJ 1786. See also his early preparations to bid for free colored representation in the Estates
Generale in Andre Maistre de Chambon, “Acte notarie rdatif aux doleances des ‘gens de
couleur’ de Saint-Domingue, (29 juillet 1789),· Memoires de la Societe ‘archeologique et histo rique de la Charente (June 1931): 7-8.
cial, not martial. 42 The Affiches americaines extolled the idea that SaintDomingue follow the example of Paris and several French provinces in
presenting Louis XVI with a frigate of thirty-six to forty cannons. The
newspaper contrasted this proposal with classical ideals of civic virtue and
concluded that the ancients had been “harsh” and “severe”:
To the honor of humanity, undoubtedly one will never again see a
barbarian and ferocious mother send her son to his death with a dry
eye, see him again pale and bleeding without emotion and believe
she owes this horrible sacrifice to the fatherland. . . . These awful
traits, so long admired by our fathers, are not natural and make any
respectable and sensitive soul tremble. H
Moreau de Saint-Mery, writing in the 1780s, affirmed that free colored
military discipline did not contradict the. image of the sensual and selfserving mulatto.
It seems that then [in the ranks a mulatto] loses his laziness, but all
the world knows that a soldier’s life, in the leisure it provides, has
attractions for indolent men …. A mulatto soldier will appear exactly to the calls of day, perhaps even to those of the evening, but it
is in vain that one tries to restrict his liberty at night; [the night]
belongs to pleasure and he will n,ot indenture it, no matter what
commitments he has made elsewhere.«
Such pronouncements helped white colonists reconcile their resentment
of militia service with their fears of tropical corruption. But in France the
ideal of the citizen-soldier was growing in popularity in the 1780s, with
dramatic results in 178’1 and thereafter. Although the wealthiest of SaintDomingue’S free families of color joined the white campaign to donate a
frigate to the king in 1782, these same families and other less prosperous
free men of color made military service a centerpiece of their claims for
citizenship in the French Revolution. By 1789 their spokesmen had adopted
a Rousseauean stance, blaming whites for corrupting colonial society and
42. See Garrigus, “Catalyst or Catastrophe? Saint-Domingue’s Free Men of Color and
the Savannah Expedition, 1779-1782,· ReviewlRevista Interamericana 22 (Spring-Summer
1992): 109-25.
43. Affiches americaines (mardi 30 mars 1779): no. 13; BN 4, Ie 1220122.
44. Moreau de Saint-Mery, Description, 103-4.
“Sons of the Same Father”
John D. Garrigus
portraying themselves as natural men, colons americains, inherently virtuous
and natively patriotic. As sons of French fathers, France was their patrie
and Frenchmen were their brothers, literally as well as figuratively. ~5
The “feminization” of the free population of color had been designed to
exclude them from the “civilized” colonial public. Yet by exaggerating the
cultural gulf between whites and free people of color, such stereotypes
ultimately worked in their victims’ behalf. After 1789 the French Revolution’s conflation of militia service, natural virtue, and universal brotherhood
allowed Saint-Domingue’s free men of color working in Paris and in the
colony to expose prerevolutionary racial distinctions as artificial. Their victory over discrimination opened the way for the eventual inclusion of haIfa-million slaves in the liberte, if not the fraternite, of the French Revolution.
This accoUnt of the construction and dismantling of racial categories
corroborates two elements of the new scholarship on the origins of the
French Revolution. First of all, conditions in Saint-Domingue clearly point
to the emergence of a public sphere in the years 1763 to 1789. This development is perhaps even clearer in the colony than in France, since white
inhabitants of this immensely profitable territory had so little in the way
of ··community” before the end of the Seven Years’ War. Saint-Domingue
was a place where the ‘lives of African men and women were cheap, compared to the price of sugar and the ambitions of their masters. Frenchmen
talked only of returning home the moment they set foot in the colony,
though many never did. Nevertheless after 1763 the extraordinary rush to
establish printing presses, theaters, post offices, Masonic lodges, urban
parks, and other sites for elite sociability reveals the colony’s appetite for
the kind of “public” emerging in France.
Second, because the risks of this path were far deeper in Saint-Domingue
than in the metropolis, the colonial story underlines the way contemporaries used gender to define this new public. Saint-Domingue’s inhabitants
were recognized to be black, white, and brown. Some prosperous people
of mixed ancestry might even be recognized as white, early in the eighteenth
century. But after 1763 those who hoped to create an effective colonial
45. On the citizen-soldier in prerevolutionary France, see Jean Chagniot, Paris et l’arrntie
au xviii siecle: Etude politique et sociale (Pris: Economica, 1985), 611-13, 617. For free colored
participation in the royal donation, see AN Col. F’91, p. 189. For free colored political claims
in the early Revolution, J. M. C. americain, Precis sur les gemissements des sang-meles dans
les Colonies Fram;oises (Paris, 1789); Abbe Cournand, Reponse aux Observations d’un habitant
des colonies, sur Ie Memoire en faveur des gens de couleur … (Paris, 1789); Abbe Gregoire,
Lettre aux philancropes, sur les malheurs … des gens de couleur de Saint-Domingue (Paris,
1790); and any of the works published in Paris from 1789 to 1792 by Julien Raimond.
public sphere worried that this racial continuum would ultimately bring
some free people of color into that sphere. They might even win a place
over less-talented whites, calling the whole racial hierarchy into question.
Drawing on metropolitan images, colonial reformers used gender-in addi. tion to race-to explain the disturbing behavior of French male colonists
who treated their mulatto and quadroon children like French sons or daughters. Mutually reinforcing gender and racial constructions barred people of
color from elite status in a place where nearly half-a-million Africans and
their descendents worked and died for the profit of roughly 40,000
French colonists.


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