Whites Threaten a Black Servant, Hispaniola,1809


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Image Reference
JCB_05748-1

Source
Dorvo-Soulastre, Voyage par terre de Santo Domingo: capitale de la partie Espagnole de Saint-Domingue, au Cap-Francais, capitale de la partie francaise de la meme isle (Paris, 1809), facing title page. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)

Comments
An artist's constructed scene, which shows a black man pleading with a white man who holds a knife over him (while other whites are present), saying, "O maitres blancs! vous pas tuyer moi, pauvre la Prudence, faire tout pour blancs; bon dieu secourir nous!" (Oh, white masters! You are not going to kill me, poor La Prudence, [who] does everything for whites; good god help us!). The following notes are taken from the John Carter Brown website, Archive of Early American Images: "Scene is taken from the end of the recounting of a trip from Santo Domingo to Cap Fran├žais on the island of Hispaniola, present-day Haiti and Dominican Republic. A group of Frenchmen making the journey by boat were captured by the English and then let go on a low 'island' which the English appear to have believed to be Cuba. Told by the captain of the English ship that they could walk to a Spanish garrison, the freed captives wandered for days with nearly no provisions. On the point of dying of thirst and hunger, the captain of the group decided to kill La Prudence, the black who served them, in order to eat him and thus preserve the lives of the rest of the group. The rest of the men protested, and La Prudence begged for his life in the words of the image title. He was spared and a short time later found the body of a cayman which provided the sustenance that made it possible for the men to build a raft and make their way to Cuba where they were nursed back to health."