Bonapartists in the Borderlands: French Exiles and Refugees by Rafe Blaufarb

By Rafe Blaufarb

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S. Copyright law is illegal and injures the author and publisher. For permission to reuse this work, contact the University of Alabama Press. 112 In fact, many refugees left in a relatively orderly fashion, with at least some of their moveable property. More valuable, however, than the commercial merchandise, sacks of coffee and sugar, household furniture, and family heirlooms that packed the holds of their departing ships were the slaves the refugees took with them. 113 But probably the most precious assets the refugees took with them were their skills, experience, and family relations.

The best estimates place the annual rate of mortality among the entire slave population of the colony at 5 to 6 percent and at 50 percent for newly purchased Africans within three to eight years of their arrival. Subjected to a harsh, quasi-industrial work routine that reached a killing pace during the cane harvest, slaves not only suffered extreme hardship but also lived under psychological and material conditions that strongly discouraged childbearing. Rather than slow the murderous pace and allow the slaves a touch of normal life, plantation managers deemed it more pro¤table to work the slaves mercilessly until they died and then purchase replacements.

He then ®ed to Belgium where he worked brie®y with Louis-Marie Dirat editing the opposition paper in exile, the Nain Jaune. He then proceeded to the United States, landing in Charleston under an assumed name inscribed in a false passport. You are reading copyrighted material published by the University of Alabama Press. S. Copyright law is illegal and injures the author and publisher. For permission to reuse this work, contact the University of Alabama Press. 18 / Chapter One Although the Vine and Olive colony harbored a number of political exiles and lawbreakers, most of the of¤cers associated with it faced neither proscription nor criminal charges.

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