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From Saint Domingue to Louisiana
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division

A Refugee's Pass

In order to leave Saint Domingue, refugees needed an authorization from the Civil Commissioners of the French Republic, sent in 1792 to the "French islands of America to restore order and public peace." This pass, established on July 16, 1793, was given to a man and his two children, who were allowed to embark for "New England and leave the colony within eight days from this date, otherwise this present permit will be void." The pass was signed by Commissioner Leger-Felicité Sonthonax - who proclaimed the abolition of slavery a few weeks later, on August 29 - and countersigned on August 10 by the French consul in Philadelphia, where the family had landed.

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