Haiti and Abolitionism in 1825: The Example of Sophie Doin Print

Slavery and abolition gained newfound prominence as popular sub­ jects in the 1820s after having been suppressed through censorship for the nearly two decades since Haiti had gained its independence from France in 1804. Incidents contributing to the renewed interest in these subjects include the abolition of the slave trade at the Congress of Vienna in 1814; the scandal surrounding the sinking of the Meduse off the coast of Africa in 1816; the resumption of abolitionist activity by the Societe de la morale chretienne in 1821; the publication of Thomas Clarkson's Cries of Africa in 1822, which brought graphic, empirical evidence of the abuses of the slave trade; and the choice of abolition by the Academie franc;aise as the subject of the poetry prize in 1823.

An important catalyst sparking enthusiasm specifically for the subject of Haiti was C harles X's recognition of that country's independence in 1825, which then opened the door for recognition by other countries, who had been loath to incur the displeasure of France. The price that Haiti paid for the acknowledgment of its legitimacy as a nation was exorbitant reparations earmarked to repay former colonists for their lost property. Those reparations proved ruinous to Haiti's economy and were not paid off for nearly a century. 1 French w riters at the time, however, saw Charles X's act as a huma nitarian gesture that would make H aiti a symbol of hope for oppressed people worldwide and a first step in bringing about the end to France's failure to deal with its ille­ gal slave trade and with the inhuma n treatment of slaves in the re - I. Before having been driven into exile on February 29, 2004, the president of Haiti, Jean -Bertrand Aristide, demanded repayment for those reparations of $22 billion dollars. His successor, the U.S. -backed leader Gerard Latortue, has dropped those demands, which he has called ridiculous.

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maining French colonies. The literary record for 1825 contains nu­ merous encomiums for Charles X along with various other works ex­ pressing sympathy for Haiti or concern for the welfare of enslaved blacks elsewhere.2
A representative example of these works may be found in the writ­ ings of a little -known abolitionist writer, Sophie Doin, born in 1800. Although no personal ties linked her to Haiti or the French colonies, the fate of those places and their inhabitants clearly concerned her throughout the 1820s, when the recognition of Haitian independence surfaced as an urgent issue in France. Subsequent literary, journalistic, and autobiographical writings she published up to the time of her death in 1846 focused on the plight of the working poor and the social bene­ fits of a non -doctrinaire, ecumenically conceived Christian religion. Sharing her abolitionist convictions with her husband William Tell Doin, a Protestant doctor and writer, Doin informed herself about the activities of the abolitionist Societe de la morale chretienne, whose publications -newspapers, letters, and English brochures about slav­ e r y -s h e refers to in her own writings. In one of the many footnotes from her didactic novel La famille noire, she admonishes her reader to consult "all that has been published in England, an admirable nation, one must agree, when it comes to generous sacrifices and philanthropic associations" (Doin, 54).
Sophie Doin's proclaimed goal was to extend the reach of the elitist French abolitionist movement to the common people, an objective that had met with greater success in England than in France. At the begin­ ning of La famille noire, Doin explains that her purpose is to "instill in all ranks of society a feeling of horror for the slave trade" by conveying information about the misfortunes to which Africans have been sub­ jected for centuries. She goes on to claim that "no work has yet made known to the masses in our country the true position of blacks; I do that here"; and she specifies that, by using the "light form" of litera - 2. See Benoit Joachim, "L'indemnite coloniale de Saint-Domingue et la question des rapatries," Revue historique 246 j1971): 359 -76; Lydia Polgreen, "200 Years After Napoleon, Haiti Finds Little to Celebrate," New York Times, January 2, 2004, 3; Yvan Debbasch, "Poesie et traite:!'opinion fran aise siecle," Revue franyaise d'histoire d'outre-mer 48(1961): 311 -52; Leon Fran ois mann, Le Negre romantique: personnage litteraire et obsession collective jParis: Payot, 1973); Doris Y. Kadish, "Presentation," in Sophie Doin, La famille noire, ou la Traite et ]'esclavage, suivie de trois nouvelles blanches et noires !Paris: L'Harmattan, 2002), ix ­ xxxv. This content downloaded rrom 131.94.J 6.10 on Mon, 28 Ocl 201 3 23:13:! 9 PM A ll use su bject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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ture, she will assure that "truth will shine through for all classes."3 Looking closely at the plot and characters in three w or k s -th e novel La famille noire and two short stories, Blanche et noir and Noire et b lan c-th is essay examines how Sophie Doin placed Haiti at the cen ­ ter of a new vision of abolitionism that gave a voice to both persons of color and women. The importance of doing so for both groups cannot be emphasized enough. At stake for blacks was nothing less than their very huma nity: a recognition that they were feeling, thinking huma n beings endowed with the same moral and intellectual capacities as whites. For women, the sta kes were similarly high. Historians such as Karen Offen and James Smith Allen have observed that, unlike English or American feminists in the nineteenth century, who sought political rights, women in France defined equality largely through writing as a gesture of autonomy. For women of D oin's generation, social cohesion required complementary roles for men and women: public and politi ­ cal for men, moral and intellectual for women.4 To claim, as I do here, that Doin deserves consideration for having exercised the moral and in ­ tellectual authority of female authorship is not to say that she thereby stands as a first-rank author, feminist, or figure in the abolitionist movement of the 1820s. But by wielding her authority as a writer at the particular historical moment when she wrote, when the French public was still largely indifferent toward and uninformed about the horrific conditions of the slave trade and slavery, she did enter the fray in at ­ tempting to affect how the French viewed Haiti and abolitionist causes. Works such as hers functioned to affirm the rightness of the Restora ­ tion's recognition of Haiti and build confidence in the black republic's future. Doin is also worthy of study as representative of the many mi ­ nor women writers who similarly wrote about blacks in the 1820s. For too long scholars have looked at the treatment of blacks in this period through the prism of a few famous authors such as Claire de Duras and Victor Hugo, whose perspectives are then assumed to be the only or most representative ones. Study of an admittedly minor author like Sophie Doin has the potential to illuminate a broader range of attitudes toward Haiti and blacks held by writers of her time.
This essay also looks at a number of other, nonliterary authors to 3. Doin, La famille noire, 6. All translation s are mine. 4. Karen Offen, European Feminisms 1700-1950: A Political Histor y (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 90 -91; James Smith Allen, Poignant Relations: Three Mod ern French Women (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), 178- 80. This content downloaded from 0 on Mon. 28 Oct 2013 23:13:19 PM AH usc subject to JSTOR Te1ms and Conditions

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whom Doin refers in the footnotes of La famille noire. Other tha n Clarkson, Doin also referred to the writer, publisher, and former naval officer Bouvet de Cresse, who published L'histoire de la catastrophe de Saint-Domingue in 1824, and the black writer, Juste C ha nlatte, the sec­ retary of the Haitian king Henry Christophe, who is identified as the author of the major portion of the text that bears Bouvet de C resses name.5 My aim in following up on these nonliterary sources provided in Doin's footnotes is not to track down the "objective" story of Haiti or slavery. Objective fact did not sta nd in opposition to literature for abolitionists. Doin does not look to Clarkson or Bouvet de Cresse as white, male, Europeans endowed with an intellectual superiority de­ nied to her as a woman or C ha nlatte as a black. Nor do Clarkson or Bouvet de Cresse conceive of a uthority or knowledge in such a man­ ner. Rather, Doin reconfigures mastery, as did those authors them­ selves, as deriving from sources that were both literary and nonliterary, black and white, ma sculine and feminine, European and Haitian. Her writing thereby expresses in literary form the very freedom from re­ pressive forms of domination that Haiti as a locus of freedom and black empowerment embodied in the nineteenth century.

Doin's focus on Haiti is most apparent in her short stories-Blanche et nair and Noire et blanc-and in the closing pages of her novel La famille noire. Although Blanche et nair does not name Haiti until the last para­ graph of the story, from the sta rt the revolutionary events the story re­ counts point clearly to that country as its setting. Moreover, the future viability and value of the new nation is central to the plot, which fo­ cuses on the way in which the slave Domingo gains his freedom and lives happily ever after in a free and prosperous independent Haiti. Or­ phaned at a young age, Domingo grows up with Pauline, the daughter of his kindly white mistress, Mme. de Hauteville, who educates him alongside her own child. Domingo revels in his love for Pauline despite his enslaved condition. However, as signs of the approaching revolu­ tion loom, M. de Hauteville, a haughty, prejudiced plantation owner, arranges the marriage of Domingo's beloved Pauline to Leopold, whom she respects but does not love. At this time, Ha uteville also becomes
5. Auguste Jean Baptiste Bouvet de Cresse, Histoire de la catastrophe d e Saint­ Domingue (Paris: Librairie de Peytieux, 1824). Bouvet de Cresse identifies the author in a footnote as "M. J. C., an orator, historian and poet, and one of the most distin guished writers of the New World"; the writer identifies him self in the Author's preface as J...E CH.......E. This conten t dO\vnloadcd from 131.94. 16. 1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23:13:19 PM All usc subject to JST OR T etm s and Condition s

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suspicious of Domingo, who has in fact become increasingly commit­ ted to the cause of freedom spreading through the island. Domingo de­ cides to flee, promising Pauline on the night of his departure to protect her and those she loves from the furor of the rebels. At a point in the ensuing battles when Hauteville, defending the property of the white plantation owners, faces certain death, Domingo comes to the rescue. Although Hauteville is unable to survive the injuries sustained in bat­ tle, he expresses his thankfulness to Domingo on his death bed: "You deserved to be w hite" (Doin, 93). Pauline's expression of gratitude is even greater. Instead of marrying Leopold and returning with him to France, she chooses a solitary forest retreat in Haiti with Domingo as her husband. There, years later, her black neighbors, who admire the mixed couple's happiness and devotion to one another, ironically echo the words of M. de Hauteville when they observe that "she deserved to be black" (Doin, 94). The existence of harmonious relations between blacks and whites is the condition that Doin envisions in the years to come for Haiti. Noire et blanc similarly prefigures a happy outcome for Haiti. The story begins with the revolutionary events:

A whirlwind of flames rose over the city of Le Cap. Human blood foamed in the streets. Everywhere torrents of vengeance paid for mur­ der with murder, torture with torture. The independence of blacks had just been proclaimed, and degraded creatures, brutish slaves flocked from everywhere, with hatred in their hearts and weapons in their hands, asking that barbarous masters account for having destroyed their intelligence and crushed their freedom. (Doin, 97)

In the midst of this scene of disorder, Nelzi rescues her white master, Charles de Mericourt, thereby setting in motion a drama about relations between blacks and whites that corresponds closely to the drama of dealings between Haiti and France in the years leading up to the recog­ nition of Haitian independence in 1825. Like those two countries, in the years following the traumatic events in Haiti, Nelzi and Charles, who live together in exile in America, experience but do not fully realize the depth of the lasting affective and moral bonds that unite them. A turn­ ing point in their personal relationship occurs, however, that parallels the public events of 1825. Charles is summoned to return to France where his uncle's fortune awaits him, under the condition that he marry his cousin Mlle. Darbois. As with Restoration France, so too with Charles and Nelzi, the freedom and equality that form the legacy of rev- This content dow nloaded f rom 1 31.94. 16.1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 19 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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olution are put in doubt. Ultimately, however, French society proves ca­ pable of tolerance and justice. Although Charles comes close to suc­ cumbing to the class expectations placed upon him and abandoning the woman to whom he owes his life, a benevolent Frenchwoman, Mme. de Senneterre, intervenes to bring the couple back together and enable are­ pentant Charles to see the error of his ways. Charles's public recogni­ tion of his love for Nelzi emblematizes France's public recognition of Haiti's independence and the lasting bonds of friendship, filiation, mu­ tual interest, and loyalty that unite the two countries. The future of Haiti is similarly bright in La famillenoire, which pre­ sents Phenor, a brave and compassionate young African, who has lived through the horror of seeing his compatriots and family members en­ slaved. Devoted to his mother, he surrenders himself to slave traders, believing that he is sacrificing his freedom for hers. Indifferent to his sacrifice, however, the whites capture and mistreat her, prompting Neala, a complete stranger who shares Phenor's compassionate nature, to offer herself in exchange for his mother's freedom, thereby demon­ strating her profound respect for the value of motherhood. Although her sacrifice too is in vain, the two young Africans, now slaves, fall in love, marry, and bear a son. When Neala spurns her master, who has tried to seduce her, she and her son are sold and sent away, causing Phenor to fall into a mood of deep despair. Merville, a French aboli­ tionist traveler who meets the despondent Phenor, vows to help him recover his lost family. The two men set off in search of Neala, glimps­ ing from afar "beautiful Haiti . . . land of justice and freedom" (Doin, 62 -63 ), that has risen above its past under slavery and achieved there­ spect due to a free nation. Merville explains that God has forgiven the Haitian people for the ferocity and violence of the slave revolts leading up to independence in 1804 "because he undoubtedly felt that the whites alone should be held accountable for a rage that their cruelty had nurtured for so long." He emphasizes the agency exercised by blacks who "discovered heroes in the midst of ignominy. These heroes gave them strength, led them to glory and broke their claims." He goes on to explain how they declared themselves independent and created a country, where"a wise leader now presides . . . over a regenerated black people. Wisdom, talent, and genius illuminate all its efforts and assure the glory and prosperity of happy Haiti. Time and perseverence have strengthened its progress and its power; the republic no longer has en­ emies. . . . Haiti, land of justice and freedom, you will bear the burden This conlent downloaded from 13J .94.16.10 on Mon. 28 Oct 2013 23:13: 1 9 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Condit io n s 114 Yale French Studies of slavery no longer" (Doin, 62 -63). 6 The two travelers ultimately dis­ cover Neala on another island where slavery still prevails. But at the very moment when she rushes forward to embrace her long lost hus ­ band, her cruel master strikes her with a fatal blow. Heartbroken, Phenor dies of grief, leaving behind a son whom Merville raises and ed ­ ucates as his own. No longer willing to remain on the island that wit ­ nessed Neala's tragic death, Merville chooses to live in Haiti, where the boy is able to receive "the treasures of the most rigorous and distin ­ guished education" (Doin, 67). The seeds planted in his young mind bear fruit. Merville leaves Haiti when the boy reaches manhood and can himself assume the responsibilities of educating and leading his people.
Doin's works assign important roles to women that, although not equivalent to those played by men, indicate the moral and intellectual significance, if not superiority, she attributed to women and the degree to which their authority is envisioned as central to the future of Haiti. In Blanche et noir two women exemplify feminine authority. As the name Hauteville implies, Mme. de Hauteville is endowed with the lofty intellectual mission of educating the black child Domingo, whose later accomplishments depend in part on her. Continuing along the path traced by her mother, Pauline plays the exemplary moral role of rising above common prejudices of color in choosing Domingo as her husband. Her moral authority can perhaps best be appreciated if we choose to compare her to Virginie, the heroine of the best known treat ­ ment of colonial relationships at the time, Bernardin de Saint Pierre's Paul et Virginie. Pauline's name recalls that of Virginie's beloved Pauli and the slave Domingue in Bernardin's novel reappears as Domingo in Doin's work. Salient differences can be noted, however. In contrast with Paul and Virginie, who attempt, ineffectually, to help a mistreated runaway slave they encounter on their island, Pauline acts in a mean ­ ingful way to combat prejudice and racism. Also, instead of sacrificing herself to an outmoded notion of feminine virtue, like Virginie, Pauline asserts her will to live and to choose her partner, who happens to be a 6. After Henry Christophe became paralyzed on August 15, 1820, his control of the northern part of Haiti waned and insurgents increasingly gained the upper hand, con ­ spiring to unite the part controlled by Christophe with the southern part under the con ­ trol of the mulatto President Boyer. On October 8, Christophe took his own life, after which Boyer declared himself president of a united Haiti on October 28. He is the "wise" leader to whom Doin refers, despite the fact that he showed no interest in the kind of sup ­ port for education and social improvement for blacks that Christophe emphasized. This content dow nloaded f rom 1 31.94. 16.1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 19 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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black man. She thus stands as a model of the will to liberate herself, nonviolently, from the racist conventions of her society, to achieve a humanity free of prejudice and based on love, and to participate in the founding of a new multiracial Haitian society. In Noire et blanc, Doin attributes feminine authority to black and white women alike. Nelzi is not a mere passive recipient of Charles's love and gratitude for having rescued him at the time of the revolution. Like Boyer, whom Doin implicitly praises in La famille noire, Nelzi fights to forge and cement her ties with France in the person of her beloved Charles. Moreover, like the enlightened Haiti that Phenor's son also emblematizes, Nelzi is an apt and eager student, to whom Charles is able to teach the natural sciences, arts, religion, and other subjects that will make her an equal intellectual partner in the future. Mme. de Senneterre, like Mme. de Hauteville, Pauline, and Merville, is a model of tolerance and compassion. Not content merely to embody benevolent attitudes, she actively exerts her influence in French soci­ ety in order to assist a black woman and to combat social inequality and injustice in France.
In La famille noire, Phenor's wife Neala shoulders a heavy narrative and symbolic burden. Her initial sacrifice in the futile but noble at­ tempt to save Phenor's mother sets the tone for her moral exemplarity and her profound devotion to the ideal of motherhood. Subsequently she works diligently, acts intelligently, and faces with courage and de­ termination the task of surviving under often insufferable conditions. In keeping with her irreproachable character, she is granted the exalted charge of bringing forth Phenor's son, the symbol of the future of Haiti. As the maternal source and creator of this son, she thus shares in the authority exercised in other ways by the four other main narrative agents: the fictional white abolitionist author, the white male aboli­ tionist Merville, Phenor, and his son. The importance of Neala's Afri­ can origin cannot be overlooked. Prefiguring the early twentieth -cen­ tury notion of negritude, Doin posits Africa as the ultimate source from which Haitian identity derives.
Along with shared authority between men and women, Doin's writ­ ing develops to a significant extent the notion of authority shared be­ tween whites and blacks. In Blanche et nair, Domingo, the black pro­ tagonist, exerts moral authority through his conduct, both with blacks, as a participant in their fight for freedom, and whites, as the rescuer of Pauline's father. His actions thus go against two common pro -slavery views: first, that whites were responsible for giving blacks their free - Thi s conten t downloaded from 1 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM Al l usc subject to JST OR Term s and Conditions

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dom; and, second, that all blacks were savage and cruel in their treat­ ment of whites during the uprisings. Still another widespread miscon­ ception that Domingo serves to counter is that blacks were incapable of intelligent thought and meaningful discourse. The opening sentence of Blanche et noir is significant. Its very first words evoke Haiti as a "land of freedom." But freedom is not a mere gift that Domingo has re­ ceived. Doin emphasizes the political agency of her black protagonist, who helped to gain that freedom, by making him an active narrative participant and highlighting his voice: "Land of freedom, I salute you; finally I am a free man, I am free! 0 sun . . . may your salutary rays warm our glorious country, may they make it fertile, with the help of God and our independent arms" (Doin, 85). Although "the help of God" is acknowledged, it is put on an equal level with the force of "our in­ dependent arms." After this opening section of the story, Doin estab­ lishes the kind of narrative partnership characteristic of her writing, with an omniscient narrator taking over the task of telling the story of how Domingo acquired his liberation from enslavement.
Noire et blanc presents two individuals of different races, each con­ tributing to the common good of their partnership, as abolitionists envisioned Haiti and France cooperating in the future. Nelzi demon­ strates the heroism of the successful Haitian revolution in her coura­ geous rescue of Charles, whereas he embodies the civilizing factors of education and religion that Doin sees as the positive legacy of the French colonizing mission. At the close of the novel, Charles and Nelzi will presumably marry. But the prospect of their physical union is not what matters to Doin. Although she does not explicitly rule out the possibility of mixed race children, as Duras does in Ourika, she chooses not to dwell within the pages of Noire et blanc on interracial marriage as a means of bringing forward a next generation of mixed race children. As the title of this story and Blanche et nair both indicate, black and white ultimately remain distinct and separate. But the separation in no way implies hostility or indifference. On the contrary, by locating shared authority between whites and blacks within the innermost space of the family unit, Noire et blanc articulates the primacy of racial equality, commitment, and loyalty as the bases of the future moral and political ties between France and Haiti.
Shared black and white authority is developed even further in La famille noire. A privileged authorial voice makes statements at the be­ ginning of the novel such as the following: "This book is not a novel, it is the scrupulously faithful story of the crimes that the slave trade and Thi s content downl oaded from 131.94.16. \ 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 19 PM A ll usc s ubjccl to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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the enslavement of blacks caused and continue to perpetuate to this day" (Doin, 5). That voice, identifiable as that of a white abolitionist having access to a wide range of historical and political sources, later disappears, replaced by the closely related white, abolitionist voice of Merville. But with his entry into the story, there is a shift from a mono­ logic to a dialogic narrative structure. Merville, unlike the omniscient authorial voice in the beginning, does not himself display his command of issues relating to slavery; instead, through long discussions with Phenor, he shares his information and learns from his African inter­ locutor, whose direct experience bears equal if not greater weight tha n Merville's purely second -hand knowledge as a European. And in the fu­ ture, we learn, it is the voice of Phenor's son who "w ill honor his new country by his talents, who will illustrate it by his eloquence, and, in works filled with energy and truth, will enlighten the world and con­ sole his afflicted brothers" (Doin, 67). The white abolitionist Merville, a stand -in for Doin herself, thus continues the pattern of sharing au­ thority with Phenor by extending it to Phenor's son, Merville's black pupil. Merville may have provided for the young man's education, as abolitionists aimed at facilitating the successful future of Haiti; but when the boy comes of age, as Haiti has in 1825, whites need to bow out as a sign that they fully recognize the intellectual as well as the po­ litical independence of blacks. At the end of La famille noire, the abo­ litionist effort will be fought on two fronts: by Phenor's son, a black writer in Haiti, and by Merville, a white abolitionist in France. Doin's novel thus actively promotes a strong component of black authority. Significantly, the son, whose lack of a name suggests the nonspecific, allegorical role that he is called upon to play, is presented as an author. The future of Haiti, for Doin, must ultimately lie to a significant ex­ tent in black hands.
The abolitionist nature of D oin's shared authority can be illumi­ nated through comparison to the notion of a uthority in the painting Oath of the Ancestors (1822) by the Guadeloupian artist G uilla ume Guillon -Lethiere, a little -known painting that Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby has recently analyzed in the pages of Yale French Studies. 7 The paint­ ing, which depicts two leaders of the Haitian revolution and founders of the n a ti o n -t h e m ulatto officer Alexandre Petion and the black 7. My analysis of this paintin g is based on Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby's "Revolution ­ ary Sons, White Fathers, and Creole Difference: Guillaume Guillon -LethH:re's Oath of the Ancestors (1822)," Yale French Studies 101 (2001): 201 -26. This content downloaded from 0 on Mon. 28 Oct 2013 23:13:19 PM AH usc subject to JSTOR Te1ms and Conditions

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slave leader Jean-Jacques D essalines-ha rks back to Haiti's revolu ­ tionary past. (See Figure 1.) Its subject matter represents a departure in the artistic career of Lethiere. A member of the elite class of per ­ sons of color living in France, he was a successful, respected painter during the Restoration, holding prestigious appointments as director of the Academy in Rome, member of the Legion of Honor, and pro ­ fessor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Unlike Doin, who was wealthy but marginalized by her Protestant religion and female gender, Lethiere belonged to the fashionable salon culture during the Restoration in which hostile feelings about the slave uprisings in Haiti were the or ­ der of the day. Those feelings, famously expressed by the black hero ­ ine of Claire de Duras's O u rika -"U n til then, I had been distressed at belonging to a prescribed race; now I was ashamed of belonging to a race of barbarians and m u r derers"-w ere commonplace in Duras's salon among conservatives like Chateaubriand, who declared: "who would still dare to plead the cause of blacks after the crimes they have committed?"8
Lethiere clearly does not share the hostility toward the past ac ­ tions of Haitian blacks that Duras and Chateaubriand expressed. Drawing on his positive feelings toward Haiti's revolutionary past dating back to the French Revolution, and his commitment to the Haitian cause at that time, Lethiere chose to paint this work and have it personally delivered, covertly, to the Haitian people by his son. He thus anticipated the Restoration government's act of recognizing Haiti's legitimacy three years later and paid tribute to its heroic past: "O ath of the Ancestors was therefore a surreptitious revolutionary picture made in honor of another revolution won at France's expense. In this painting Lethiere aligned himself with . . . the black and mu ­ latto men who rebelled as soldiers. . . . Lethiere's painting bravely re­ fuses to repress the w a r -th e c o n flict-that brought Haiti into exis ­ tence" (Grigsby, 212).
Nevertheless, significant limits are apparent in Lethiere's alle ­ giance to Haiti's revolutionary past. Despite Lethiere's race and the Haitian audience for whom his work was destined, ultimately he sub ­ ordinated both the black and mulatto figures in the dark foreground of the painting to the white God who hovers over and sheds light on them:

8. Doris Y. Kadish and Fran oise (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1994), 203, 42. This content dow nloaded f rom 1 31.94. 16.1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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Figure 1. Guillaume Guillon-Lethiere, Oath of the Ancestors, 1822. Photo: Gerard Blot. Photo credit: Reunion des musees nationaux/ Art Resource, NY. National Museum, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This content dow nloaded f rom 1 31.94. 16.1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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[t)his clandestine, indeed rebellious, act by a man of color sadly rein­ scribed the ultimate authority of the white patriarch. . . . Recognition is a gift, not an accomplishment; recognition represents benevolence toward a subordinate rather than surrender to a victor. Moreover, the Haitian revolution, this picture implies, remains incomplete without the recognition of the white French father. (Grigsby, 216) Visually privileging the mulatto figure of Petion over the black figure of Dessalines, the painting indicates a diagonal line descending from God the father toward Petion, not toward Dessalines (Grigsby, 221). That privileging corresponds to the sense of privilege that in real life the painter enjoyed and can be related to his persistent attempt to ob­ tain legitimacy from his white father.
Matters are far different in the abolitionist rendering of similar dra­ matic scenes involving men of two races that occur in the final pages of two of Doin's works. At the end of Blanche et noir, Leopold and Domingo stand before Pauline, presenting her with the choice between returning to France with a white man or living in Haiti with a black man. As Leopold promises to join with her "on the steps of the altar" (Doin, 94), Pauline interrupts him to announce her choice to remain in Haiti. Instead of bowing to the white, religious authority evoked in Lethiere's painting, Domingo, in the closing scene of Blanche et noir, "remained bowed for a long time before his divinity" (Doin, 94), his wife Pauline. I t is Pauline with whom he is living happily, twelve years later, at the end of the story, "when the republic of Haiti was gloriously established on solid ground" (Doin, 94). The degree to which both black men and white women are empowered in this scene contrasts sharply with the privileging of the white father and his elite mulatto son in Oath of the Ancestors.
In La famille noire, the beach scene occurs when Merville's ship leaves Haiti. As Phenor's son kneels, with arms outstretched, in affec­ tion toward his protector, both men look upward toward the sun shin­ ing down benevolently upon them. "My God!exclaimed the Black, pro­ tect my father! My God! spoke Merville, grant your benediction to this regenerated being! Watch over his destiny and the destiny of Haiti!" The last sentence of the novel -"A n d you, Haiti! may your splendor be not only a brilliant meteor, but an immortal beacon of salvation and freedom !" -is followed by a lengthy footnote praising the Christian king who, by recognizing Haiti's independence, sanctifies the regener­ ation of this oppressed race of men. I t ends, "May his protective hand stretch out equally over all Blacks who still suffer!" (Doin, 68). As in This content dow nloaded f rom 1 31.94. 16.1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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Oath of the Ancestors, two men of different races appear beneath the benevolent eye of a God whose transcendent powers parallel those pos­ sessed on earth by the white patriarchal figures of fathers and kings. Lethiere's and Doin's works are ultimately very dissimilar, however. Lethiere aspires to be recognized by and be a part of the patriarchal sys­ tem he evokes. Doin, in contrast, calls into question its oppression of the downtrodden. Although she respectfully acknowledges the powers of God and the white king, she places greater emphasis on human agency, and especially the shared strength that educated black Haitians and enlightened white Europeans can derive from relationships of re­ spect and reciprocity.
Ironically, the Lethiere family history comes closer to the novelist's vision than to that of the painter. Lethiere's son Lucien, who brought Oath of the Ancestors to Haiti in 1822, chose to define himself as a "man of color" and to remain in Haiti, where he married a Haitian woman (Grigsby, 224). Like Domingo and Phenor's son, Lucien Lethi­ ere, whose death occurred several years after his return to Haiti, had faith in the future of the former French colony. Like Pauline he made a conscious choice to pick an uncertain but hopeful future in Haiti over a secure and established life in France. And like Phenor's son, he pre­ sumably believed that the place for the educated man of color was on Haitian, not on French soil. Those choices, whether real or fictional, are indicative of how much the kind of black agency that abolitionists sought to promote differed from the recognition passively received from white fathers that Oath of the Ancestors implies.
The first of the published sources that Doin refers to in the footnotes of La famille noire that I wish to discuss is L'histoire de la catastrophe de Saint-Domingue, a work that embodies a similar notion of shared authority as that which occurs in Doin's texts. The structure of Bouvet de C resses work recalls that of literary works like Ourika in which a white European provides prefatory remarks followed by a story in the voice of a black; in the case of Ourika, a white doctor's words are fol­ lowed by those of the ailing black woman whom he is attempting to cure. Similarly, in L'histoire de la catastrophe de Saint-Domingue, Bouvet de Cresse introduces the author of the work he is publishing, who, as noted earlier, can be identified as a black writer in the entourage of Henry Christophe, Juste Chanlatte.
Why Bouvet de Cresse chooses to identify Chanlatte only in a foot­ note and only as "M. J. C.," or why Chanlatte opts to identify himself This content downloaded from 0 on Mon. 28 Oct 2013 23:13:19 PM AH usc subject to JSTOR Te1ms and Conditions 122 Yale French Studies in the a uthor's preface only as "J...E CH.......E" is unclear. One recalls Doin's reticence in naming Phenor's son, as if in both cases the act of black authorship needs to be protected from the white enmity that a too public declaration might incur. Hostility on the part of former white colonists would have been especially strong in 1824 when Bouvet de Cresse's work was published, and when hope for blocking the recognition of Haiti's independence was still being fueled by ultracon­ servative political forces. I t is undoubtedly to placate such unsympa­ thetic French readers that the opening sentences of the author's pref­ ace hasten to ma ke clear that references to Frenchmen, colonists, and Europeans in this work do not refer to "those whose honorable traces marked their passage on the island of Saint -Domingue" (Bouvet de Cresse, i). To draw on examples from Doin's literary texts one could say that M.de Hauteville and Neala's cruel master, not Mme. de Hauteville and Merville, are the whites who are targeted in L'histoire de la catas­ trophe de Saint -Domingue. "Catastrophe" in the title refers to what happened to whites after the French left, for which the Haitian leaders, according to C ha nlatte, were not at fault: indeed, he claims that Chris­ tophe did all he could to protect white property owners in Haiti (Bou­ vet de Cresse, 77). Elsewhere in the book, acknowledgment is given to all those whites who fought for the black cause, especially Englishmen like the "immortal Wilberforce": "We will always look upon these benevolent creatures, who devoted their night hours and their writings to the amelioration of the fate of mankind, as divinities" (Bouvet de Cresse, 89 -90). One is struck by the similarity between C hanlatte's designation of benevolent whites as divinities and Domingo's similar language in describing his feelings for that exemplar of tolerance and good will, Pauline.
Chanlatte provides an eye -witness, first -hand account, which he chooses to present in the collective voice of all formerly enslaved Haitians: "G o speak to the unhappy victims whom you have con­ demned to the torme nts of hell; here is what they say through my mouth: 'W hat good things have you done for us? What gratitude do we owe you? Rather, what well justified injustices are we not entitled to reproach you w ith?"' (Bouvet de Cresse, 15 -16). What follows is page upon page of arguments against w hites' claims to have acted in a civi­ lized way toward blacks and to occupy a moral and intellectual high ground. The lita ny of horrors perpetrated by whites that Cha nlatte pro­ vides serves as the basis for his conclusion, which Doin makes hers as well: that the violence that occurred during the Haitian revolution has This content down loaded from 1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

D O R IS Y. K A D IS H 123

as its root cause the culpable conduct of whites: "O n whom should the blame fall, the responsibility for these disasters, if not on those who provoked them?" (Bouvet de Cresst\ 82-83). In contrast with the fre ­ quently quoted condemnation of the revolutionary events that Duras enunciates in Ourika, or the implied reprobation Hugo expresses by emphasizing the ferocity of the black rebels in Bug-Jargal, C ha nlatte points to the mistreatment of slaves as the salient feature of Haiti's tragic past.
The emphasis on intellectual achievement as the solution to Haiti's future is another common thread in the writings of Doin and the author of L'histoire de la catastrophe de Saint- Domingue. But whereas Doin only touches on black intelligence by giving Domingo voice and agency in Blanche et noir, by bringing out Nelzi's intellectual capacities in Noire et blanc, and by designating Phenor's son as a future writer at the end of La famille noire, C ha nlatte dwells on this subject at great length in his work, providing a long catalogue of the arguments upon which Doin and other abolitionists could draw in ma king the case for Haiti's promise for the future. His plea to the French to provide "zealous teach ­ ers" (Bouvet de Cresse, 10) to guide Haitians on the path to enlighten ­ me nt announces the pedagogical function assumed by Merville. His praise for those new Haitians who succeed in ma nifesting "sparks of genius and erudition" (Bouvet de Cresse, 19-20) recalls Phenor's son. And, most importantly, his faith in the intellectual and artistic future of Haiti, like Doin's, is unshakable: indeed, he envisions the moment when true civilization and creativity will stem less from Europe tha n from "the virgin energy, joined w ith the merit of experience and in ­ struction" of the New World (Bouvet de Cresse, 29).
Bouvet de C resses role in promoting acceptance of Haiti comple ­ ments C ha nlatte's. By coordinating the publication of the work, pol ­ ishing the writing, and writing a series of lengthy footnotes, he explains that his purpose is "to teach our political dreamers who count money for everything and the blood of their compatriots for nothing that it is physically impossible and morally stupid to take back Saint-Domingue through the force of arms and thus pointlessly expose the French army to danger again in this torrid climate" (Bouvet de Cresse, vi-vii). He also states that he is fulfilling a promise made some twenty years ear ­ lier to"th e youngest of the sons of Toussaint Louverture, my friend, on an island in the western ocean" (Bouvet de Cresse, 70). It is highly prob ­ able that in his capacity as official printer for the navy, Bouvet de Cresse had close familiarity with colonial affairsi and thus it is not surprising This content down loaded from 1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

124 Yale French Studies

that he had formed bonds of friendship with Toussaint Louverture. Fol­ lowing C ha nlatte's account, Bouvet de Cresse presents correspondence from general Leclerc, Napoleon's brother -in-law, who basely betrayed Toussaint, along with letters to Henry C hristophe and others proving the deception that the French practiced toward Haiti. He thereby bol­ sters the case that abolitionists were eager to ma ke against further po­ litical or military action against Haiti and in favor of diplomatic ties and commercial development between the two countries.
The fact of the black a uthorship of L'histoire de la catastrophe de Saint- Domingue clearly matters to Doin, for in a footnote she recom­ mends that readers consult this 11 admirable book by a black" (Doin, 20). What is more, one is struck by the degree to which the style, tone, themes, and arguments of La famille noire resemble those found in Chanlatte's writing. As noted above, her justification for the violence that occurred during the Haitian revolution echoes his, as does the cen­ tral place she assigns to arguments in favor of the huma nity and intel­ ligence of blacks. Of course many of the similar features of the two works occur throughout the body of abolitionist writing of the time. But justifying Haiti for the writers in question had little to do with orig­ inality. I t had to do with disseminating information, especially that derived from reliable sources and from first -hand accounts such as Chanlatte's. Doin's role in this affair could be described as that of an in­ termediary, someone who could reach out to the French people, in­ cluding women, translating abolitionist writings into touching stories. Interestingly, Bouvet de Cresse makes a point of saying in his preface that women should not read the work he is publishing:

11 they would be too painfully affected; there would be too much danger for them even in glancing at this long series of crimes against humanity" (Bouvet de Cresse, vi). T his sentence suggests the role that an enlightened media­ tor such as Doin could have seen herself called upon to perform. As a woman and a writer, she would be an appropriate choice to produce stories bringing the abolitionist program suitably to the attention of women readers.
The other writer to whom Doin ma kes extensive reference in La famille noire is Thomas Clarkson. Although his reputation has often been eclipsed by that of Wilberforce, whose parliamentary advocacy of the cause of abolitionism was more visible, Clarkson devoted his en­ tire life to that cause, publishing works about the subject as early as 1786 and traveling extensively to interview witnesses and procure other kinds of empirical information. Well known in France, where he This content down loaded from 1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

D O R IS Y. K A D IS H 12 5

played a role in initiating the first abolitionist society in France, the So­ ciete des amis des noirs founded in 1788, Clarkson worked actively dur­ ing the Restoration. Louis XVIII actually encouraged him to try to in­ form the French public of the horrors of the slave trade. Realizing how powerful colonial interests were in France and how ignorant the pub­ lic was of the facts, the king conveyed to Clarkson through Wellington that "he would welcome a 'current of popular feeling' which would al­ low him to ban the trade."9 Disseminating Clarkson's writings, as Doin does in La famille noire, was a high priority in French abolitionist cir­ cles.

Shared authority of the kind found in the writings of Doin and Bouvet de Cresse clearly pertains to the writing of this celebrated En­ glish abolitionist. Cries of Africa, published in 1822, followed a five­ year correspondence between Clarkson and King Henry Christophe, in which the English writer played the role of friend, foreign policy advi­ sor, and good-will ambassador. Impressed with Christophe's positive accomplishments -instituting a new code of law, breaking up large plantations, developing irrigation, disciplining the army, promoting education, among others -Clarkson formed a relationship with Chris­ tophe that was built on strong trust and led to Clarkson's intense in­ volvement in Haitian affairs. For example, Clarkson intervened to en­ list the support for Haiti from the emperor of Russia by showing him a copy of one of Christophe's letters. I t produced the desired effect:
He had been taught by the French and German newspapers . . . that Hayti was inhabited by a people little better than savages. He now saw them in a very different light. The letter w hich I had shown him was a letter of genius and talent. I t contained wise, virtuous, and liberal sen­ timents. It would have done honour to the most civilized Cabinets of Europe. To see, said his Imperial Majesty, a person rising up in the midst of slavery and founding a free Empire was of itself a surprising thing, but to see him, in the midst of ignorance and darkness, founding it on the pillars of education under Christian auspices was more surprising and truly delightful.lO
This example of Clarkson and Christophe's relationship recalls the col­ laborative partnerships of Phenor and Merville, or Bouvet de Cresse and 9. Ellen Gibson Wilson, Thomas Clarkson: A Biography (London: Macmillan, 1968), 127 -28. 10. Henry Christophe, Henry Christophe eiJ Thomas Clarkson; a Correspondence, ed. Earl Leslie Griggs and Clifford H. Prator (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968), 121 -22. This conten t dO\vnloadcd from 131.94. 16. 10 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23:13: 19 PM All usc subject to JST OR T etm s and Condition s
12.6 Yale French Studies
C hanlatte. And although Haiti is not directly mentioned in Cries of Africa, it is clear that its future weighed heavily on Clarkson when he wrote that book in 182.2.. After Henry Christophe's death in 182.0 and the brutal execution of his sons at the hands of his enemies, Clarkson helped orchestrate the removal of Queen Marie-Louise Christophe and her two daughters to England, where they were house guests of Clark ­ son and his wife for nearly a year (Christophe, 78 -79). It is Mrs. Clark ­ son who, with the help of a young French refugee, Benjamin Laroche, translated Cries of Africa (Wilson, 157 -58 ).
It is interesting to observe the ways in which Clarkson promoted black agency and developed the kind of shared a uthority in Cries of Africa that inspired Doin and other abolitionists. From the start, he quotes extensively from the account of how Africans are enslaved that is provided in Mungo Park's Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa published in 1799. Park's trip, which began in 1795 and ended two years later, was sponsored by the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Districts of Africa, which had been formed in 1788 by me n of wealth with the goal of improving knowledge of African geography and markets and, by peaceable means, bringing civilization to what were considered barbarian nations. Subscribers were from both sides of the slavery debate. Although Park devotes an entire chapter to the in ­ stitution of slavery in Africa, and was often appalled by what he saw, he can hardly be said to ma ke an argument for doing away with it as a practice. Indeed, he considers it so pervasive in Africa that European ef ­ forts would probably do little to affect its continued practice. Leaving such reservations about the possible benefits of the English antislavery movement aside, Clarkson draws on those parts of Park's work that had the greatest potential for furthering the abolitionist cause, such as hu ­ man interest stories. What Clarkson saw as uniquely valuable in those stories was their potential for giving a voice to Africans and thus pro ­ ducing first-hand testimony to the ill effects of slavery on real individ ­ ual lives. Peter Kitson observes that Cries of Africa owed much of its originality to Clarkson's willingness to let Africans speak, thus going beyond "the sentimental ventriloquism of William Cooper's and Han ­ nah Moore's abolitionist verse." 11 D rawing upon Travels in the Inte­ rior Districts of Africa for both facts and narrative material, Clarkson's work functions in relation to Park's as Doin's does to both his and Bou- 11. Peter J. Kitson, "'Bales of Living Anguish ': Representations of Race and the Slave in Romantic W riting," ELH 67/2(2000): 522. This conten t dO\vnloadcd from 131.94. 16. 10 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23:13: 19 PM All usc subject to JST OR T etm s and Condition s

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vet de Cresse's. Advancing the abolitionist cause required translating relevant material into a form that was effective and appealing to large audiences of uninformed readers. One especially touching episode, which appears in both Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa and Cries of Africa and then finds its way into La famille noire, provides an apt illustration of the strategies at work in abolitionist literature. Park describes Nealee, a young girl be­ ing led to the coast in a procession of slaves, who is too weak and suf­ fering to keep up with the others. Having refused food and drink, com­ plained of extreme pain in her legs, and suffered an attack by a swarm of bees as well as numerous beatings, Nealee is left by the leaders of the group in a deserted place, "where undoubtedly she soon perished, and was probably devoured by wild beasts." 12 This is the episode that Clarkson includes in Cries of Africa, with reference to Park as his source.1 3 In Doin's novel, the reference is to Clarkson, and the episode is changed, perhaps to make it less shocking for women readers, al­ though the name Neala that Doin gives to her character would have clearly signaled Clarkson's or Parks's versions of this story to certain informed readers (Doin, 40 -41). In all three versions, the episode fo­ cuses on a young African girl who is uprooted and made to suffer and who expresses the wish that her tormentors just kill her rather tha n force her to go on. The difference is the black agency that Doin attri­ butes to Neala: first she chooses to sacrifice herself for Phenor's mother; and later she revives and is able to rally Phenor's will to live. Doin takes Clarkson's strategy of giving a voice to black subjects a few steps further by transforming Nealee, a mere victim, into a Neala who possesses both a voice and a will of her own. For both Park and Clarkson, writing about women was a key to achieving a popular appeal; and thus, along with instances of victims such as Nealee they, like Doin, acknowledged women's a uthority in matters of race and slavery. Park claims that charity and solicitude were constants in the character of African women: "I do not recall a sin­ gle instance of hardheartedness toward me in the wome n" (Park, 240). An arresting example of women's agency occurs in Chapter 15 of Trav- 12. Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, ed. Kate Ferguson Mar­ sters (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 286. 13. Thomas Clarkson, The Cries of Africa to the Inhabitants of Europe (London: Har­ vey and Darton, 1822), 2 1 -2 3. In the same year, the same publisher published the French translation of this work, Cri des Africains contre les Europeens, leurs oppresseurs (Lon­ don: Harvey and Darton, 1822). This content dow nloaded f rom 1 31.94. 16.1 0 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23: 1 3: 1 9 PM A ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 128 Yale French Studies els in the Interior Districts of Africa, a touching scene in which African women take pity on Park, a lost and starving traveler, and offer to feed and lodge him. As he lies down to sleep, the women continue their work of spinning cotton and compose a song about him, which begins: "The winds roared, and the rains fell.- The poor white man, faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. -H e has no mother to bring him milk; no wife to grind his corn. Let us pity the white man . . ."(Park, 196). Clark­ son repeats this episode as well (Clarkson, The Cries of Africa , 12-13). What is more, Park chooses to include as a postscript a poem that this episode in his book inspired, entitled "A Negro Song" and penned by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who presumably read Park's book before it reached the final stage of publication. She also had a composer put her poem to music. Park observes that he is honored by this poetic and musical production, "in both parts of which the plaintive simplic ­ ity of the original is preserved and improved" (Park, 196). I find Park's comment about literature's ability to "improve" his first-hand account revealing. It suggests that literature was viewed as possessing an au ­ thority that complemented rather than competed with eye-witness tes ­ timony because it could touch people in ways that objective accounts were unable to do. That "A Negro Song" has both a feminine subject and author supports my argument about the centrality of women to the abolitionist cause. Georgiana, like Doin, could make a contribution that was recognized as valuable and unique. Other practices emerge when one looks at the way in which Clark­ son's work was translated into French.14 The change in the title alone is revealing: Cries of Africa to the Inhabitants of Europe becomes the far more aggressive and polemic Cri des Africains contre les Europeens, leurs oppresseurs [Cries of Africans against Europeans, their oppres ­ sors!. Whereas the preface in English is addressed "To the Benevolent Reader," the French text reads merely "Preface de I'auteur" [Preface of the Authorj; and the more personal "you" to address the "benevolent reader" disappears. In these and many other cases, it would appear that the English text strikes a note of appealing to the good will of a public more receptive to the message of abolition than in France. The French text, in contrast, adopts a somewhat confrontational stance, adding 14. French translation s of The Cries of Africans drawn from the published transla ­ tion Cri des Africains appear in quotation ma rks. My English translations that appear in brackets are intended either to tran slate words added in the French translation or to show the extent to which it departs from the original English text. I also provide a translation in brackets of a passage from Doin 's La famille noire. This content downloaded from 0 on Mon. 28 Oct 2013 23:13:19 PM AH usc subject to JSTOR Te1ms and Conditions D O R IS Y. K A D IS H 12 9 phrases like "ce commerce adieux" [this odious trade] that do not ap­ pear in the original version (Cri des Africains, 6). There are also fre­ quent uses of a more emotive language in the French translation, pre­ sumably better suited to the stylistic expectations of French readers at the time, and especially, perhaps, to huma nitarian -minded women. Significantly, although the text of Georgiana's poem does not appear in either the original or translated versions of Clarkson's text, Cri des Africains does include a complete poem in a footnote entitled "Ro­ ma nce," which the translator presents as "an imitation of the poem that Mungo Park recites through the m outh of his hostesses" (Cri des Africains, 14 -15). As an example of the emotive language used in the French translation of Clarkson's work one finds "Ask any man in Eu­ rope . . . whether he does not consider war as one of the greatest plagues with which the human race can be visited" (Clarkson, The Cries of Africa, 4) translated as"Ah!quel est l'Europeen qui . . . n' a pas dit dans son coeur que la guerre est le plus grand des fleaux qui puissent affliger la malheureuse huma nite" [Ah!what European has not said in his heart that war is the greatest plague that can afflict suffering huma nity] (Clarkson, Cri des Africains, 4). Doin's text, relying not on the original but on the translation of Clarkson's text, echoes this tone, w ith the ad­ dition of myriad rhetorical flourishes including repetitions, exclama­ tions, a ntitheses, and any other stylistic tool capable of touching the heartstrings of the sensitive reader. For example, "Q uelle epouvantable effronterie! Eh! quel fruit doivent tirer de ta nt de meurtres, d'infamies et de crua utes les Europeens insatiables?" (Doin, 14). [What astonish­ ing insolence!Ah! what benefit can the insatiable Europeans draw from so much murder, infamy, and cruelty?] Interestingly, this is one of the passages in Cri des Africains to which Doin refers the reader. The com­ bination of a reference to an objective source and this flowery language may seem incongruous to us today; but for Doin it was undoubtedly just another instance of drawing on multiple strategies to achieve a common goal and of refusing to see the literary and nonliterary as di­ chotomous forms of writing. Sophie Doin positioned H aiti at the center of an abolitionism that gave a voice to both persons of color and women. She accomplished this ta sk in various ways. They include providing first -hand accounts, telling touching stories, identifying black authors, mediating between edu­ cated and popular audiences, putting graphic material into a form suit­ able for women, and modifying texts through translation for different This conten t dO\vnloadcd from 131.94. 16. 10 on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23:13:19 PM All usc subject to JST OR T etm s and Condition s 130 Yale French Studies audiences. Her writing provided authority to Haiti as a nation, but in a nonauthoritarian way that entailed sharing information and relying on a multiplicity of sources and voices. As noted at the start of this essay, Sophie Doin may not be well known as a prominent abolitionist, al­ though frequent references to her in works against the slave trade in the beginning of the nineteenth century indicate her importance among literary abolitionists of her time (Debbasch, 316 -51). Most im­ portantly, however, the strategies she deployed in Blanche et nair, Noire et blanc, and La famille noire are significant, both in their own right, and in their congruence with similar strategies used by writers who were abolitionist leaders such as Thomas Clarkson. And to the ex­ tent that her writing illuminates the literary, political, and intellectual history of France in the 1820s, as I hope to have shown here that it does, she deserves to emerge from the almost total obscurity to which liter­ ary history has condemned her for so many years.

  • Written by: DORIS Y. KADISH
  • Tuesday, 03 June 2014


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