Indeed although the author of the above cited text

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). Indeed, although the author of the above-cited text does not mention slavery until page 181 , he does spell out the cause-and-effect relationship between the accumulation of merchant capital through the triangular trade and the launch of powdered frigates into the salons of Paris, Bordeaux, and Versailles (Bernier 1981 : 181 ): French products went everywhere, but very few ob- jects of foreign make came into France. The bulk of trade was in foodstuffs, tobacco and colonial prod- ucts: sugar, spices, rice, tea, coffee. This allowed a number of businessmen, most from Bordeaux, to cash in on a highly profitable item of trade, referred to as le bois d’e ´be `ne (ebony wood): black slaves. Many French shipowners took part in the infamous triangular exchange of slaves sugar and rum, and prospered. The city of Bordeaux was virtually rebuilt from scratch in the late eighteenth century and still looks glorious today. It was paid for in human flesh. Where, precisely, was all of this “ebony” going? According to Klein ( 1986 : 57 ), approximately half of the slaves who crossed the Atlantic at this time were bound for a single slave colony, Saint-Domingue (as Haiti was then called): By the late 1780 s Saint-Domingue planters were rec- ognized as the most efficient and productive sugar producers in the world. The slave population stood at 460 , 000 people, which was not only the largest of any island but represented close to half of the one million slaves then being held in all the Caribbean colonies. The exports of the island represented two- thirds of the total value of all French West Indian exports, and alone was greater than the combined exports from the British and Spanish Antilles. In any one year well over 600 vessels visited the ports of the island to carry its sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, and cacao to European consumers. Six hundred vessels a year to take deliveries from that “efficient” colony: no wonder the ladies wore ships perched on their heads. This is significantly more harbor traffic than occurs today, even though the population of the island, descended from the slaves, is about twenty This content downloaded from 128.171.57.189 on Sun, 23 Aug 2015 17:08:51 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
farmer An Anthropology of Structural Violence F 311 times as numerous. The colony’s exemplary “efficiency” is, of course, disputed. Few of the slaves left accounts of their experience, but some European visitors wrote down their impressions. Among them was Moreau de Saint- Me ´ry, who saw in the colony another face of the ma- chinery of structural violence ( 1984 : 9 10 ): In St. Domingue everything takes on an air of opu- lence that dazzles Europeans. That throng of slaves who await the orders and even the lifted finger of a lone individual, confers grandeur on him who com- mands them. To have four times as many servants as one needs marks the grandiloquence of a wealthy man. As for the ladies, their main talent is to sur- round themselves with a useless cohort of maidser- vants . . . . Since the supreme happiness for a Euro-

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