Laffon de Ladebat
Discours sur la nécessité et les moyens de détruire l'esclavage dans les colonies, lu à la séance publique de l'Académie royale des sciences, belles lettres et arts de Bordeaux, le 25 août 1788
Michel Racle
Abolition Campaigns
Bibliothèque Nationale de France. British Library.
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Speech Slavery Colonies Abolition Academy Arts Sciences Literature Bordeaux
A banker, abolitionist and politician from the slave trading port of Bordeaux, André Laffon de Ladebat published this speech in 1788, arguing for the gradual abolition of slavery and comprehensive political and legal reform in the French colonies, as: "at last public opinion is united in a desire for humanity and justice"(3). Ladebat rebukes the "criminal abuses" (8) of the "so-called enlightened nations" (11) of Europe on the rest of the world and the violation of natural laws of social order, liberty and justice inherent in the slave trade and slavery. He also argues for the practical and economic advantages of free labour, suggesting that he had already started to experiment with the possibility of free plantation labour in the colony of French Guiana.
Cites British abolitionist pamphlets: Cooper's Letters on the Slave Trade (1788) and Newton's Thoughts upon the African slave trade (1788), as well as French enlightenment political theorists and philosophers Montesquieu, Rousseau, Raynal and Condorcet (whose Reflections on Slavery were also re-published in 1788).