Faith in Humanity: Philanthropists in the Colonial Clergy
The Catholic religieux promoted liberty and equality in revolutionary Saint-Domingue. Scholars have suggested that after the colonial government expelled the Jesuits for being sympathetic to slaves in 1763, other members of the Catholic religieux did not advocate for people of African descent. However, the Capuchin order, whose province extended over two-thirds of the island, was active before 1789 in promoting slave well-being and religious instruction. After the revolution erupted, the Capuchins first called for equal rights for free people of color and then emancipation. The humanitarianism of the colonial religious contributed to the development of an alliance with the revolutionaries, allowing the Catholic religieux to take an active part in the political and social upheaval during the Haitian Revolution.