Did You Know?

The Financial Importance of the Enslaved

The lives of slaves were so important financially to those who owned slaves in French America, in fact, that for those who intentionally harmed slaves there was a heavy penalty to pay. One example to illustrate this fact is the case of one young European male who shot two slaves. He was criminally charged and sentenced to three years in the galleys and a 500 £ fine. Other soldiers and poor whites who attacked slaves could be prosecuted as criminals as well. At times owners would defend their slaves accused of deviant behavior because it was too expensive to buy new ones. Some suggest, however, that the prosecution of those who committed crimes against slaves was limited to the poor and those lower in prestige with almost no social capital (Midlo Hall 1992).

NPS Ethnography Program