Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MELVIL-BLONCOURT, Sainte Suzanne (mel-vil-blon-koor), West Indian reformer, born in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, 23 October, 1825. He is the son of wealthy mulattoes, and received his early education in Basse-Terre, but finished it in Paris, where he was graduated in law in 1846. He then devoted himself to the anti-slavery cause, wrote several pamphlets on abolition, organized a club of which the members pledged themselves to do justice to the negroes, and won to their cause several statesmen, including Victor Schoelcher. In 1848 Schoeleher was made under-secretary for the colonies, and, being reminded of his promises by Melvil, caused a decree to be issued freeing all the slaves in the French dominions. The liberated negroes showed their gratitude by electing Melvil their deputy to the constituent assembly in 1848. In 1849, and during the whole of Napoleon III.'s reign, Melvil devoted his time to literary purposes, wrote on the colonies in most of the French magazines, and published biographies of many colored citizens of South America. In 1871 he was again elected deputy of Guadeloupe, but was condemned for participation in the commune, and took refuge in Switzerland till 1880, when he was allowed to return to his own country. He is preparing a complete edition of his sketches of the West Indies.
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