Item #5000894 Discours prononcé par le Gouverneur pour le Roi, en Séance publique du Conseil privé... à l'occasion de la remise des Médailles d'or, encouragement accordé aux grands perfectionnements agricoles. Henri de FREYCINET.

Discours prononcé par le Gouverneur... à l'occasion de la remise des Médailles d'or…
Discours prononcé par le Gouverneur pour le Roi, en Séance publique du Conseil privé... à l'occasion de la remise des Médailles d'or, encouragement accordé aux grands perfectionnements agricoles.

[Cayenne, French Guiana]: speech delivered 14 May, 1827.

Quarto, 4 pp; stitched in original plain green wrapper.

Henri de Freycinet and slave labour in the French colonial sugar industry

Rare printing of a speech by Henri de Freycinet as governor of French Guiana, the French possession on the north Atlantic coast of South America perhaps most famous today for its penal colony of Devil's Island. Freycinet, a career diplomat at this stage of his life, had been moved from the governorship of Ile Bourbon to the governorship of Guyane in January 1826. Here, a year later, in the capital Cayenne, he is implicitly endorsing the extensive use of slave labour by presenting gold medal awards to Thomas Ferdinand Ronmy and his colleague M. Bernard for their achievements in the development of the sugar industry along the banks of the Torcy canal. Originally envisaged as a key to the development of the French colony, this would become "a series of misplaced hopes, mistakes, and disappointments. By the end of the July Monarchy the plantations along its shores were facing stagnation and inexorable decline. This in turn led to abandonment after the reorientation of Guianese priorities, the decline of sugar prices in the late 1830s and especially in the 1840s, and the abolition of slavery in 1848. In many ways the Torcy Canal epitomized the plight of French Guiana as a whole in the early nineteenth century. Faced with the vicissitudes of nature, inadequate government funding, erratic planning, unfavourable economic forces, and unmitigated demographic decline after the banning of the slave trade, both the Torcy and the colony as a whole contended with nearly insurmountable difficulties on their path to development. Lacking resources and an adequate supply of labour, both struggled to advance and prosper..." (Jennings).

Rare printing of a speech by Henri de Freycinet as governor of French Guiana, the French possession on the north Atlantic coast of South America perhaps most famous today for its penal colony of Devil's Island. Freycinet, a career diplomat at this stage of his life, had been moved from the governorship of Ile Bourbon to the governorship of Guyane in January 1826. Here, a year later, in the capital Cayenne, he is implicitly endorsing the extensive use of slave labour by presenting gold medal awards to Thomas Ferdinand Ronmy and his colleague M. Bernard for their achievements in the development of the sugar industry along the banks of the Torcy canal. Originally envisaged as a key to the development of the French colony, this would become "a series of misplaced hopes, mistakes, and disappointments. By the end of the July Monarchy the plantations along its shores were facing stagnation and inexorable decline. This in turn led to abandonment after the reorientation of Guianese priorities, the decline of sugar prices in the late 1830s and especially in the 1840s, and the abolition of slavery in 1848. In many ways the Torcy Canal epitomized the plight of French Guiana as a whole in the early nineteenth century. Faced with the vicissitudes of nature, inadequate government funding, erratic planning, unfavourable economic forces, and unmitigated demographic decline after the banning of the slave trade, both the Torcy and the colony as a whole contended with nearly insurmountable difficulties on their path to development. Lacking resources and an adequate supply of labour, both struggled to advance and prosper..." (Jennings).

Provenance: Freycinet family archives at the Château d'Age, with the red "Archives de Laage" stamp; private collection (Sydney).

Lawrence C. Jennings, "The Torcy Canal and the Failure of Development in early Nineteenth Century French Guiana" (online resource).

Condition Report: In fine condition, as issued.

Price (AUD): $3,250.00

US$2,111.06   Other currencies

Ref: #5000894

Condition Report