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Petition til den danske stat om erstatning for tabt arbejdskraft (o. 1850)

 

I årene efter ophævelsen af slaveriet i Dansk Vestindien i 1848 modtog den danske stat en lang række erstatningskrav fra plantageejere på øerne. I Danmark var der store omvæltninger i perioden med overgangen til demokrati (med Grundloven i 1849) og den første slesvigske krig (Treårskrigen 1848-1850). Følgende er et uddrag fra en petition, altså en anmodning eller bønskrift, til Rigsdagen i København fra St. Thomas og St. Jan.

Uddrag fra Petition for Compensation for the Loss of Slaves by Emancipation in the Danish West Indies, St. Thomas and St. John. The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Oct., 1917). Association for the Study of African American Life and History, side 423-424.

 

PETITION FOR COMPENSATION FOR THE LOSS OF SLAVES BY EMANCIPATION IN THE DANISH WEST INDIES

We, the undersigned, inhabitants of the West India Islands St. Thomas and St. John, beg leave most respectfully to present to the Rigsdag of Denmark, this Petition, praying that just and equitable compensation may be granted us for the loss we have sustained in our property, in consequence of the ordinance of the Governor General, bearing date 3d July, 1848, by which he took upon himself to abolish Negro Slavery in the Danish Colonies, and which act received the Royal sanction on the 22d September of the same year. If, notwithstanding the heavy loss thus sustained, we have hitherto been silent, it should be attributed to the hope we had entertained, that the government, without being called upon to do so, would have taken steps to obtain compensation for us; and to the sentiments of sympathy with which we beheld the struggle of the mother country in the trying situation in which the revolt of the Duchies1, and war with many powerful enemies had placed her, a struggle which required all her resources, both intellectual and material, of which she could dispose; and thus it would have been inopportune had we at that time obtruded ourselves on the notice of the government. But now, that the clouds which obscured the political horizon have been dissipated, now, that a glorious war is concluded, and peace sheds its blessings over Denmark, we can no longer defer our just demand for compensation, lest our silence should be construed into acquiescence with the act, by which we have been despoiled of our property, or interpreted as an abandonment of our claims. We had as good a title of property to our negroes, as to our land, houses, or any other property we possess; this right was established not only by law, but the government had moreover ever encouraged the subjects to acquire such property as being advantageous to the state. For this purpose the government granted loans to the colonists upon reduced interest from the so dominated ‘negroloan’2. The government bought and sold such property, took it in mortgage, levied duties upon their importation, and imposed a yearly capitation tax, consequently not a shadow of doubt could exist of the legality of such property; and if it was a fault to become possessors of such property, it must be laid to the charge of the government which had fostered and encouraged it.

 

Tekst 49 | Oversigten over kildetekster | Tekst 51

 

1 Her menes Slesvig og Holsten og den ’første slesvigske krig’ (Treårskrigen) 1848-1850.

2 De favorable lån som den danske stat gav slaveejere så de kunne købe mange slaver mellem 1792 og 1801, altså i årene op til slavehandelens afskaffelse.

 

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