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Cul de SacPatrimony, Capitalism, and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue$
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Paul Cheney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226079356

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226411774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 30 November 2021

Husband and Wife

Husband and Wife

(p.130) Chapter Five Husband and Wife
Cul de Sac

Paul Cheney

University of Chicago Press

This chapter uses the marriage between the French nobleman Etienne-Louis Ferron de la Ferronnays and his wife Marie-Elisabeth Thimothée Binau, the daughter of a creole (native born) planter as a window into conflict among the white elite of Saint-Domingue. Saint-Domingue was settled and governed thanks to a collaboration between metropolitan and creole elites, but as the eighteenth century progressed, the creoles of Saint-Domingue became more self-confident and assertive. Shortly after their marriage, Marie-Elisabeth Thimothée Binau sought to regain control of her dowry and to live independently of a husband she believed had married her for mercenary purposes; the circumstances of their legal separation furnishes an example of how little-awed the white creole elite of Saint-Domingue was by the social and political power of the military nobility who administered France's colonial empire and who made fortunes investing in its plantation complex. It also exposes some of the fault lines that would emerge once the French Revolution arrived in Saint-Domingue, and would make it impossible to re-impose order on a fractured slave society.

Keywords:   marriage, family, separation, lettre de cachet, metropole, Marie-Elisabeth Thimothée Binau, Etienne-Louis Ferron de la Ferronnays, feminine power, patriarchy, colony

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