Pétition aux MM. les membres de la chambre des députés. Abolition de l'esclavage, division des terres, indemnité; par un propriétaire d'esclaves
Abolition Campaigns
Bibliothèque Nationale de France. British Library.
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Petition Chamber Deputies French Parliament Abolition Slavery Colonies Land Indemnity Compensation Plantation Slave Owner Martinique Antilles
In this petition, Louis Vitalis, a French Caribbean plantation owner, considers the problem of slavery and compensation. He suggests that it might be a surprise to the French parliament to receive a petition in favour of abolishing slavery from a white planter, but suggests it is "a sign of the times" (5). Vitalis argues that the British abolition of slavery, as well as an increase in support for abolition which had "penetrated all social classes" (6), had made French colonial emancipation inevitable at some point. Meanwhile, he points out, deferring the problem was increasingly dangerous, as the iron chains of the enslaved had been worn down over time "the slightest effort on their part could break them" (9). He calls for the emancipation of colonial plantations over five years, and government compensation to plantation owners (although following a different model to the British).
Vitalis includes a plan for a work collective of freed former slaves to be established on plantations after emancipation (24-30), and a number of financial calculations in support of his petition for compensation.