A Colony in Crisis

Abby Broughton, Kelsey Corlett-Rivera and Nathan Dize from the University of Maryland have transcribed and translated primary sources relating to the Grain shortage in Saint-Domingue in 1789, as part of the university’s Revealing La Révolution project.

They describe their approach as follows:

The website is designed to provide online access to both the French originals and the English translations of key primary sources dealing with the grain shortage faced by the colony of Saint-Domingue in 1789, which are found under the Translations menu. Alongside the French original, each translation is presented with a brief historical introduction to situate the reader in the time period and help understand how this particular pamphlet fits into the episode.

The sources are intended to make primary sources available, especially for undergraduate students, and “to grapple with existing historiographies of this period and geography.” Along these lines, the authors note that

[o]ne particularly interesting pamphlet – Succinct Response from the Saint-Domingue Deputies, Regarding the Merchants of Sea Ports – documents a heated exchange between the colonial deputies of Saint-Domingue and the French merchants responsible for providing the colonies with their supply of flour and grain. Each side argued that they were being cheated by the other. The colonial deputies believed that the merchants were shorting them large quantities of flour, causing widespread famine among the slave population and threatening the economic viability of the colony; the merchants believed that the colonial deputies were trying to break up their trading monopoly by suggesting that foreign commodities be introduced into the colony. This is a crucial and yet little-known episode in the history of not only Colonial Saint-Domingue, but also in the history of the Atlantic. It brings up issues of commerce during the Ancien Régime, and is one of the first major issues that was brought forth to the newly formed National Assembly in 1789.

The site also provides links to a zotero library of works on the Haitian Revolution, compiled by John Garrigus.

Source link: