I’ve previously blogged about a 20th century poetic find in our collection – here’s another I came across recently from the late 18th century, coincidentally ‘echoing’ quite a similar theme…
An interesting email was passed to me a few weeks ago enquiring about searching for evidence of oral culture of those enslaved during the transatlantic trade. I expected to find very little using a simple search, as the preservation of such culture would be rare, at least without in-depth research, particularly amongst the records of the companies and governments involved in the trade for profit. However, a chance try of “slave AND song” in Discovery returned a result which sparked my interest to take a closer look.
The box that arrived is typical of uncatalogued material, bundles of papers housed together with little further information available.
With some very careful handling and the help of a colleague who passed further than “Je suis…” at school, we leafed through the papers. They belonged to one ‘Francois Lavignolle’, listed on Discovery as an administrator on a Haitian plantation, whose papers were intercepted and filed with the High Court of Admiralty paperwork.
There, amongst the accounts papers, was a little folded booklet of songs and rhymes. Continue reading »