Primary Source Question for Wednesday

Considering Jean-Francois and Biassou’s letter to the new group of commissioners, why was the Colonial Assembly not convinced by Jean-Francois and Biassou’s warning about the possibility of destabilizing relations further?

Jean-Francois and Biassou argue that giving liberty to the commanders would allow them to effectively return their followers back to the plantations (101). Being the chiefs, they carried a lot of power over the slaves. However, as the preamble stated before the document, this negotiation “fell through… because of the intransigence of the whites in the Colonial Assembly” (99-100). Even Gros, who was a prisoner in the insurgent’s camps, supported Jean-Francois. Gros stated that Jean-Francois was “far more disposed toward peace” than continuing to fight for liberty (106). But he also recognized that the Africans would “never return to work without repression and partial destruction” (107). Therefore, while Gros outlines the severity of the situation, he also understands that Jean-Francois intentions were not to fight the French, but rather to deal with conflict diplomatically. It was obvious that the Europeans did not want to do that at the time.

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