King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences

On revolution and abolition

Title page showing inscriptionsTitle page from Essai sur les causes de la révolution et des guerres civiles d’Hayti, 1819, showing inscriptionsThe title page reproduced here is from a work written by Pompée Valentin (1781-1820), a mixed race Haitian intellectual, who served in Henri Christophe’s government and tutored his son. His titles, derived from the Haitian peerage system which Christophe set up, are visible on the title page.

Valentin wrote a number of works on the political situation in Haiti and this particular copy of his thoughts on the revolution and resulting civil wars is inscribed to William Wilberforce (1759-1833) the famous British abolitionist.

An additional manuscript rendering of ‘Wilberforce’ on the title page may be in the hand of the Briton.

A key figure in the British campaign for the abolition of the slave trade, the emancipation of African slaves and other moral and humanitarian issues, Wilberforce passed away just three days after hearing that the 1833 bill outlawing slavery in most of the British Empire would be passed.

Modern Haiti, with a population of roughly 10 million, now occupies the western side of the island of Hispaniola and suffered greatly through natural disaster and war in the 20th century.

The more politically stable territory now known as the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern part of the island.

In this exhibition

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