Faure Family Coffee Plantation Correspondence and Inventory
Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
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Overview and metadata sections
François Faure was a French-born colonist and coffee plantation owner in the Dondon parish of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). Faure was born around 1710 in Tours, France, and married Marie-Marguerite Lejeune Faure (born circa 1720). By the 1760s, François Faure had returned to France and left the plantation under the care of his nephew Pierre Faure and others. François and Marie-Marguerite Lejeune Faure's daughter, Marie-Elisabeth Faure, was born around 1740 in Dondon, Saint-Domingue, and married Valentin Loiseau (1727-1788) in 1764. Loiseau was the Lieutenant-General of Police in Tours and became a magistrate judge in 1787. Marie-Valentine Loiseau, the daughter of Marie-Elisabeth Faure and Valentin Loiseau, married French politician Prudent-Jean Bruley (1759-1847). She and her husband inherited portions of the family property in Saint-Domingue and were absentee plantation owners leading up to Haitian Revolution. The Faure and Loiseau families, as well as the related Trémais family, lost their property holdings in Dondon following the successful self-liberation and insurrection of enslaved laborers on their estates in the early 1790s.
Consists of correspondence and an inventory related to a coffee plantation owned by François Faure in the Dondon parish of Saint-Domingue, a French colony on the portion of the island of Hispaniola (Taíno: Haiti) that became the Republic of Haiti in 1804. The collection documents the plantation's operations under the management of Faure's nephew Pierre Faure and a Monsieur M. Fauquet during Faure's absence in the 1760s. Correspondence consists of ten letters from Pierre Faure and M. Fauquet to François Faure in France (including one letter addressed to his son-in-law Valentin Loiseau) containing updates about the status of the estate. The letters are accompanied by a meticulous 10-page inventory conducted in 1763, which lists enslaved laborers, crops, furniture, equipment, buildings, and livestock on the estate. The materials in this collection provide a detailed account of the operations of a large colonial coffee plantation in the mid-18th century; they also contain evidence of the practice of marronage and other tactics of resistance to slavery in pre-revolutionary Haiti.
The multi-paged letters from Faure and Fauquet discuss the cultivation and production of coffee; planning and accounting related to supplies, equipment, and the maintenance of buildings; animal husbandry; and the management of enslaved laborers. They report on coffee crop yields, inventories taken of the estate, buildings in disrepair, deaths of people and animals from illness, the births and pregnancies of enslaved women, and resistance from the enslaved inhabitants of the estate. Racial tensions and burgeoning revolutionary sentiments in Saint-Domingue can be seen in the descriptions of slavery and enslaved people on the Faure plantation. The correspondence and inventory both note various instances of self-liberation and include the names of enslaved persons who escaped, likely to join the maroon communities that were prevalent in pre-revolutionary Haiti. In one early letter, Pierre Faure refutes accusations that he had sexual relations with an enslaved woman named Margot and recounts how, as a result, enslaved men on the plantation watched him at night in order to protect Margot from his advances. Another letter briefly mentions a rebellion of enslaved laborers in 1765. By the mid- and late-1760s, Faure and Fauquet regularly complain in their letters about the need for additional enslaved laborers, after many had died, become ill, or escaped from the plantation.
Sources consulted in the creation of this finding aid include: Bulletin de la Société archéologique de Touraine, Volume 34 (1966). Retrieved from http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6551244z Force, Pierre. Wealth and Disaster: Atlantic Migrations From a Pyrenean Town in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016. Leveel, Pierre. Histoire de Touraine et d'Indre-et-Loire. Chambray-lès-Tours: C.L.D., 1988. Zinna, Alison. "Haitian Marronnage: Voyages and Resistance." Retrieved from https://sites.duke.edu/marronnagevoyages/
Purchase, 2017 (AM 2018-17).
This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in September 2017. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in September 2017.
No materials were separated during 2017 processing.
- Coffee plantations -- Haiti -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Colonists -- Haiti -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Fugitive slaves -- Haiti -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Maroons -- Haiti -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Plantation owners -- Haiti -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Slaveholders -- West Indies, French -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Slavery -- West Indies, French -- History -- 18th century -- Sources
- Enslaved persons -- Emancipation -- Haiti -- 18th century -- Sources
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelly Bolding
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
There are eight letters addressed from Pierre Faure and two letters from M. Fauquet. All are addressed to "Monsieur Faure" (François Faure), with the exception of the last letter, which is addressed to his son-in-law Valentin Loiseau. Some of the letters to Faure are addressed care of Loiseau, with whom Faure was likely residing in France.Physical Description
Consists of a detailed ten-page inventory and statement of the condition of enslaved laborers, equipment, livestock, and crops on François Faure's Saint-Domingue coffee plantation. The inventory was conducted by Faure's nephew Pierre Faure and M. Fauquet, who managed the estate during his absence. The document lists enslaved men, women, and children (referred to as "négrittes") on the plantation, as well as those who escaped from bondage (referred to as "nègres marrons"), including information about their names, ages, places of origin, and ethnicities. The list includes people from various locations and ethnic groups in Africa, including those from the Bight of Benin region, the Congo, Senegal, and other parts of West Africa, including people from the African Yoruba and Mandé language groups. Nation labels given to those on the list include "Tiamba," "Arada," "Congo," "Nago," "Ibo," "Tapa," "Senegal," "Bambara," "Mandiga," and "Minan," and others are described as "Creole." The inventory indicates which enslaved people were working, sick or injured, or had escaped; it also lists children born to enslaved women during François Faure's absence. Additionally, the inventory contains an account of the quantity of coffee produced on the plantation, the state and condition of the coffee bushes, as well as of furniture, equipment, buildings, and livestock, including mules and horses, on the plantation.Physical Description