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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

2 - On slavery



Any society which wants to stimulate general interest must explain to the public the reasons why it has been formed and the aims it intends to fulfil; a task which is more important for the Society of the Friends of Negroes than for any other of the many societies this century has nurtured. These other tributes to humanity and benevolence needed simply to be publicised in order to evoke compassion; the unfortunate people who needed help were there, before our very eyes; the help requested was merely financial and could be obtained simply by directing the public’s attention towards the picture of misfortune. The Society of the Friends of Negroes does not have the same advantages: the unfortunate victims we have befriended are being sacrificed far away; the men who could become their true protectors are themselves blinded by cruel prejudice; and no amount of money could ease their suffering. But just because their hardship is linked with powerful political interests, because their chains are made heavier still by the blind force of prejudice and because there are great obstacles to overcome, we must not forget that this time it is not just a small group of people that we are trying to help, but an entire race; part of the world, crushed beneath the weight of its chains, cries out to us for the restoration of its sacred human rights.

To understand the reasons for the formation of the Society of the Friends of Negroes, we need simply think for a moment about the negro slave trade and trace its development through to the present, when its victims are groaning under the yoke of slavery.

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Condorcet: Political Writings
  • Online ISBN: 9781139108119
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