Vincent Ogé motion to the Assembly of Colonists in Paris (1789)
This document from 1789 shows the complexity of the racial and hence political situation in the colonies; the mulattos wanted to align themselves with the white planters, because like them they held property and slaves. But the white planters resisted any such coalition for they feared that such an alliance might encourage the slaves to demand changes in their status. When the slaves of Saint Domingue began their revolution in August of 1791, the mulattos and free blacks took varying and sometimes contradictory positions, some supporting the whites, some taking the side of the slaves, some trying to maintain an independent position. By then Ogé himself had died, executed in Le Cap for leading a rebellion in the fall of 1790. (Center for History and New Media)
If we do not take the most prompt and efficacious measures; if firmness, courage, and constancy do not animate all of us; if we do not quickly bring together all our intelligence, all our means, and all our efforts; if we fall asleep for an instant on the edge of the abyss, we will tremble upon awakening! We will see blood flowing, our lands invaded, the objects of our industry ravaged, our homes burnt. We will see our neighbors, our friends, our wives, our children with their throats cut and their bodies mutilated; the slave will raise the standard of revolt, and the islands [in the Caribbean Sea] will be but a vast and baleful conflagration; commerce will be ruined, France will receive a mortal wound, and a multitude of honest citizens will be impoverished and ruined; we will lose everything.
But, Sirs, there is still time to prevent the disaster. I have perhaps presumed too much from my feeble understanding, but I have ideas that can be useful; if the assembly [of white planters] wishes to admit me, if it desires it, if it wants to authorize me to draw up and submit to it my Plan, I will do it with pleasure, even with gratitude, and perhaps I could contribute and help ward off the storm that rumbles over our heads.
(Hunt p. 103f)
- Jean Baptiste Chavannes - An associate of Vincent Ogé, who had pleaded to ask for the freedom of all including the slaves, instead of only asking for the rights of mulattos as Ogé ended up doing.
- Letter to the Citizens of Color and Free Negroes of Saint-Domingue - 1791 letter by Henri Grégoire refering to Ogé.
- Thomas Clarkson - British abolitionist and supporter of Vincent Ogé.
- Thomas Clarkson - Thoughts on The Haitian Revolution - Excerpt from a book published in 1823.
- Hunt, Lynn. (1996) The French Revolution and Human Rights: A Brief Documentary History (The Bedford Series in History and Culture). Translated, edited, and with an introduction by Lynn Hunt. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312108028 (paper)
- Center for History and New Media (George Mason Univeristy) and American Social History Project (City University of New York):
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution .