Download PDF by Déborah Crombie: Chambre noire

By Déborah Crombie

Née au Texas, diplômée en biologie, Deborah Crombie a longtemps vécu en Ecosse et en Angleterre, où elle retourne fréquemment effectuer des recherches pour ses livres. Elle est l'auteur d'une série de romans policiers mettant en scène un couple d'enquêteurs, Duncan Kincaid et Gemma James. Son œuvre est traduite dans de nombreuses langues.

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In the virgin lands of Guiana, however, enclosure became the rule for all inhabitants of the Mana colony, isolation providing the possibility of reform according to religious and moral values that she saw as compromised elsewhere. Unlike most Europeans of her time, Javouhey believed in the perfectability of blacks, provided that they were instructed in Christian beliefs and behavior. Africans, despite their race and color, she argued, were not “totally lacking in those qualities that made men in society” and could, as she saw it, be safely freed.

Curtis 45 6. Javouhey, Lettres, no. 54, to father, March 1822. 7. Although outlawed during the Restoration, laws against trading in slaves were badly enforced in the French Empire. See William B. Cohen, The French Encounter with Africans: White Response to Blacks, 1530–1880 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 187. 8. Javouhey, Lettres, no. 59, to Mère Clothilde Javouhey, end of April, beginning of May 1822. 9. This latter school failed to attract many pupils, however, and by 1832 local French administrators thought its cost not worth the effort.

88 Hence, they had no reason—and perhaps, officials suggested, as women, not enough knowledge—to undertake the large-scale agricultural production that would make the colony truly profitable. 91 To the colonial government Mana was redefined as a failed experiment because it enriched the Soeurs de St-Joseph de Cluny without adding to Guiana’s prosperity. 92 According to this new analysis, Mana’s economic structure also prevented its residents from developing the work habits that only a free enterprise economy could sustain.

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