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Manuscript - Slave Deed of Sugar Estate - La Perle - Sale of 50 Slaves
St. Lucia, 1821. Castries, 12 January 1821. Original manuscript document recording the sale of 50 slaves from the plantation "La Perle" in the Soufriere district of Saint Lucia, belonging to a Mr. & Mrs. Pupin of Brittany, also conveying the estate on lease-to-own terms, both to Peter Muler, a merchant from Castries, being a contemporary true copy translated from the French, for the English party in the transaction. Docketed to verso. Qto. 11 pages on three ribbon-tied double-leafs watermarked Edmonds 1821 and featuring the Britannia. Leafs measure approximately 31,5 x 20 cm. Very good, original condition, an uncommon document pertaining to an early plantation estate in Saint Lucia which is today a posh resort. The present is an exceedingly scarce primary source document relating to one of Saint Lucia's foremost sugar estates built upon slavery, and situated on the outskirts of the island's first capital, Soufrière. Mirroring the history of the island on which it sits, this estate has a history of changing hands from French to English and back again. Herein, La Perle Estate is being conveyed from a Mr. & Mrs. Pupin of Brittany, France, to an English merchant residing just north in Castries, Mr. Peter Muler. Fifty slaves, some being children born into slavery, are named, and callously described as property, more specifically "things to be enjoyed or discarded" by the purchaser. Although disrespected, the slaves are the principal asset in this conveyance. Each woman, man, and child, has been assigned a European name, their age estimated, and, after a cursory visual examination, an individual monetary value assigned. The appraisal of the estate's 50 slaves is presented in the island's obsolete currency, the Saint Lucia Livre, which would be replaced by the British Pound in 1851. Presented as "a sale of fifty slaves," this agreement further included the estate as a whole for a sum of 144,220 Livres, the terms for purchase taking the shape of a mortgage. A deposit of approximately one third is recorded, and a formula is specified for payment of the balance, the latter to come from part of profits sugar production, forwarded annually until the agreement has been satisfied in full. In addition, the seller agrees to furnish supplies and other articles for sugar manufacturing, at the current market prices found in Castries. Excerpts from the manuscript: "Mr. & Mrs. Pupin residing at Avranches in Brittany... who agreeable to the covenant made and agreed upon between him and the said Mr. Peter Muler of this City of Castries, merchant...." "Doth hereby declare to sell assign transfer set over and make corporal deliver... indemnifying from all Troubles and other Impediments... " "... the number of fifty male and female Negroes of different ages and described as follows... Leon employed as a mason, Benjamin aged 36 years... Philogêne aged 12 years... Aspasie aged 9 months... Louis Malin aged 66 years... Bibianne aged 42 years... belong to the said Mr. & Mrs. Pupin..." "For the said purchaser in the names and capacities aforesaid to enjoy do with and dispose of the said male and female negroes sold as above, as a thing belonging to him... "... the sum of One hundred and forty-four thousand two hundred and twenty Livres... the amount of the Appraisement..." "... Purchaser hath at present paid into the hands of the said seller the sum of fifty thousand Livres... currency of the island..." "... Seventy thousand pounds weight of sugar... arising from the Estate or Plantation called La Perle, situate in the District of La Soufirière... promises and engages to deliver every year... out of the first Sugars that shall be manufactured... to be placed to the Credit of the Account of Mr. & Mrs. Pupin... " "Done and Passed in this said town of Castries... the twelfth of the month of January in the Year One thousand sight hundred and twenty one in the forenoon..." "Here follows the Appraisement of the Negroes... 144,220 Livres" End excerpts. La Perle estate was later owned by André Cornibert Duboulay (1898-1982), born in Soufriere, and officially titled Managing Director of La Perle Estates Ltd. He was a nominated member of the legislative council of the Soufriere district. He was also a leading administrator of the St. Lucia Lime Producers Ltd., and a member of the board of the Trinidad-based West Indian Limes Association. In 1953 the Copra Manufacturers Ltd. was formed with Duboulay as its director. He was a founding member of the St. Lucia Coconut Growers Association, serving as Manager-Director for over thirty years. Still today La Perle Estate contains a fully working 400-acre plantation today, as well as an exquisite resort, together called the "Still Plantation & Beach Resort." Situated in the district of Soufriere, on the south west coast of St Lucia, (only forty-five minutes from Hewannora International Airport), the grounds are lush with a variety of tropical flora, fruit, and fauna. The Still Beach House, a quaint family-operated beach side resort is situated on the picturesque Soufriere Bay waterfront, nestled against the rise of the Soufriere cliffs and looking out over the glassy bay to the iconic Petit Piton - a defining landmark of Soufriere. The French established the first permanent settlement on the island of Saint Lucia in the latter part of the seventeenth century, building expansive plantations to be worked by slaves from Africa. Soufrière was the first town on the island, founded in 1746, and quickly becoming a center for trade and agriculture. By 1775 there were over 100 estates in the environs of the town, most producing sugar or coffee. These foremost plantation estates included La Perle, Ruby, and Diamond. The town was all but devastated by a hurricane in 1780. In 1784 the road between Roseau and Soufriere was built by the corps of French Artillery. Around that same time Baron de Laborie ordered the construction of a mineral bath at Diamond for use by his majesty?s troops, after an analysis of the waters at Sulphur Springs revealed a striking similarity with waters of the famous French spas. (Unfortunately, these baths were destroyed during the Brigand War of 1795-1797.) Although caught in a perpetual battle between the French and the English, stability was slowly regained following a campaign of the French Revolution when in 1794 the French governor of the island declared that all slaves were free, Captain La Crosse arrived to execute Royalists, and a group of recently freed slaves known as the 'Brigands' forced out the British army and every white slave-owner. In 1803 the British regained control of the island. Many of the rebels escaped into the thick rain forests where they evaded capture and established maroon communities. Slavery continued for a short time, but abolitionist sentiment was rising in Britain. The British stopped the import of slaves by anyone, white or coloured, when they abolished the slave trade in 1807. Saint Lucia continued to be contested by France and Great Britain until the British secured it in 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris ending the Napoleonic Wars. Thereafter Saint Lucia was considered part of the British Windward Islands colony. In 1836 the institution of slavery was abolished on the island and throughout the British Empire, after which all former slaves had to serve a four-year "apprenticeship" to accustom them to the idea of freedom. During this period, they worked for their former masters for at least three-quarters of the work week. Full freedom was duly granted by the British in 1838. In 1832, before the abolition of slavery, there were 653 sugar estates in cultivation and over 500 coffee plantations in the British West Indies. The British Slavery Abolition Act provided grant totalling £20 million to compensate the slave-owners for the loss of their "human property"! Almost all the men and women awarded compensation under the 1833 Abolition Act are listed in what is called a Parliamentary Return, an official reply by a government body to a request from an MP. The return is often referred to as the Slavery Abolition Act: An account of all sums of money awarded by the Commissioners of Slave Compensation while its full title is Accounts of slave compensation claims; for the colonies of Jamaica. Antigua. Honduras. St. Christopher's. Grenada. Dominica. Nevis. Virgin Islands. St. Lucia. British Guiana. Montserrat. Bermuda. Bahamas. Tobago. St. Vincent's. Trinidad. Barbadoes. Mauritius. Cape of Good Hope. It can be found in House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1837-1838 (215) vol. 48 and is 365 pages long. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2016-08-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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