Very often, those of mixed race came to choose the side of the masters because the latter offered a few breadcrumbs and some dignity. Often, pulled apart by difficult options, they allied themselves with madness and death. But some, more numerous than is often mentioned, returned to the black part of their being, and advanced to the first ranks in the struggle for freedom. Such was the case in Guadeloupe. Such was the case among the main actors of the tragedy, which included such mulattoes as Delgres, Ignace, Massoteau; and such was the case for Solitude.
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According to an old Brazilian proverb, the mulatto hangs the portrait of his father in the living room and that of his black mother in the kitchen. They had come directly from Africa, unlike the island-born sweet water blacks. Solitude lived a few radiant months there. Her body, marked by long years of hardship, came back to life.
She shivered in the wind to the African chants of her companions. She pierced the sun, they say, with the grace of a cane arrow. Then, on February 3, , the troops of General Desfourneaux captured the La Goyave settlement and exterminated its leaders. The young woman became the leader of the survivors, taking her first steps into legend.
Her small band made a noise over all of Guadeloupe. So she wandered, hunted by French troops and black militias, until Consul Napolean Bonaparte came to power. Napolean had his mind set on officially re-establishing slavery. A large fleet dropped anchor on May 5, , in the waters off of Pointe-a-Pitre, in order to enforce that decree. In , a slave rebellion started, which made the upper classes turn to the British and ask them to occupy the island. In an effort to take advantage of the chaos ensuing from the French Revolution, Britain attempted to seize Guadeloupe in and held it from April 21 to June 2.
The French retook the island under the command of Victor Hugues, who succeeded in freeing the slaves. On May 20, , slavery and the slave trade were reimposed there. Almost all at once, black Guadeloupe was on fire.
Solitude was at that point expecting the child of a Congo, an African who did not know two words of Creole but who brought her all the tenderness of the world. The joy from her belly reached her eyes and gave her the soft skin of a pretty filly dancing in the sun. At the sounds of the cannons, however, she pushed herself and her belly into the heart of the battles at Dole, Trou-aux-chiens, Fond-Bananier, and Capesterre.
From victory to victory, and then from setback to setback, she pushed herself and her womb all the way up into the mountains before the final defeat.
It is on that mountain, on the terrace of the Danglemont Plantation, that the Commandant Delgres decided that he and the last of the insurgents would blow themselves up by lighting a barrel of gunpowder with his pipe as the French troops charged in. The group of revolutionary soldiers killed themselves on the slopes of the Matouba volcano when it became obvious that the invading troops would take control of the island.
The occupation force killed approximately 10, Guadeloupeans in the process of re-taking the island from the rebels. Among the entangled bodies, Solitude, the Mulatresse, was picked up and carried to the Basse-Terre prison, which she left, with a halo of white hair, on November 29, , after giving birth. Solitude was hanged by her enslavers, who would not murder her until she after she was delivered of a little child destined to be slave material for another slave master. After her death, a shroud of silence fell over the fate of Solitude. Up until the s, no street, no alley in Guadeloupe had yet been named for her.
Her name had not even been given to any ship, as had her companion, Commander Delgres; this ship now comes and goes twice a week between Pointe-a-Pitre and the island of Saint-Barthelemy, ferrying cattle. Today, the souls of these other heroes may be at rest. Their names are on the lips of everyone and their stories are known by small children. Ignace, Massoteau, and Delgres have attained eternal life as the stuff of folklore.
As for Solitude, not only does her name now grace squares and avenues in Guadeloupe but she has also become a poem, a song, a library, and a museum room. She has even transformed herself into a very beautiful tune, played on country drums straight from Africa, whose sound she heard when she was still alive, when her companions, the maroons of La Goyave, played.
General Dessalines honored the black heroes of Guadeloupe with the following lines from a letter he wrote. Magnanimous warrior, your noble death, far from astonishing our courage, will merely tease the thirst in us to avenge or follow you.
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Filed under Uncategorized. Reblogged this on FantaSeeReign. I salute these brave brave suffering souls….
For the children they bore and lost…. For their lives deferred lost and never lived in a land not their own! Stella for the Slave Holding me. I speak for her in the 20thst Century….. She was also a Midwife and delivered both Black and white babies, praised in her Eulogy.
Gustave Aimard (Author of The Trappers of Arkansas)
You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Everything there assumes gigantic proportions, which startle the imagination and confound the reason. Mountains, rivers, lakes and streams, all are carved on a sublime pattern. His novels were enormously popularity and translated into nearly every modern language.
En , Adolphe, dessinateur paysager, et sa cousine, Miss Maria, remontent le Minnesota pour aller chez l'oncle John. Adolphe veut peindre des indiens. Les indiens attaquent toutes les fermes alentour. Tous fuient avec Jim sauf Adolphe et Will, fils de John.
Les indiens incendient la ferme et les 2 cousins fuient. Ils retrouvent les autres. Will sauve Jim de la haine des soldats. Leopold Classic Library is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive collection. As part of our on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, we have also provided you with a link to a website, where you may download a digital version of this work for free. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public.
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We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic book, and that the occasional imperfection that it might contain will not detract from the experience. Gustave Aimard was a 19th century author whose historical fiction centered on Latin America and the frontier, helping establish him as one of the era's popular Western writers.