Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry

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Médéric Louis Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry (1750–1819) was a Creole colonist born at Fort-Royal (present-day Fort-de-France) in Martinique.[1] He was a lawyer and writer with a career in public office in France, Martinique, and Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti). He is best known for his publications on St-Domingue and Martinique.

Education and Influences[edit]

Although he did not come from a family of significant means, Moreau used the inheritance he received from his grandfather to study law in Paris. There, he argued that colonial law, drafted in France, was not fitting for the realities of the French Caribbean.[1] He was a freemason and a member of the Cercle des Philadelphes — a colonial scientific society — and sought to document life in the colonies.[2] He was influenced by the scientific projects of the Enlightenment.[3]

Writings[edit]

Moreau produced in-depth studies of the colonies only years before St-Domingue’s revolution. As such, he spent time traveling in the Caribbean and returning to France to write and lobby until his involvement with the French Revolution led to the issuing of a warrant for his arrest.[4] His most notable work, Déscription de la partie française de Saint-Domingue, which he wrote in 1789, has not been translated into English.

Politics[edit]

A well-educated slave owner, he rejected the principle of the Natural Rights of Man in order to defend legal slavery and segregation on the basis of race.[2] In his roles in the French parliament and on the colonial Governing Boards, he sought to maintain an economic system based on slave labor. To this end, he pursued the rights of colonists — mostly white planters — and sought a degree of self-determination for the French Caribbean.[5]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Dubois, Laurent (2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Moreau de Saint-Méry, Médéric Louis (1958). Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie française de l’isle Saint-Domingue. Société de l’histoire des colonies françaises.
  • Taffin, Dominique, ed. (2006). Moreau de Saint-Méry ou les ambiguïtés d’un créole des Lumières. Martinique: Société des amis des archives et de la recherché sur le patrimoine culturel des Antilles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taffin, Dominique (2006). Moreau de Saint-Méry ou les ambiguités d'un créole des Lumières. Martinique: Société des Amis des Archives et de la Recherche de la Patrimoine Culturel des Antilles. p. 5. 
  2. ^ a b Dubois, Laurent (2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 10. 
  3. ^ Introduction to Déscription by Etienne Taillemite, xv
  4. ^ Dubois, Laurent (2004). Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 8. 
  5. ^ Taffin, Dominique (2006). Moreau de Saint-Méry ou les ambiguités d'un créole des Lumières. Martinique: Société des Amis des Archives et de la Recherche de la Patrimoine Culturel des Antilles. p. 6.