Alphonse de
Sur l'émancipation des esclaves. Discours prononcé à la Chambre des Députés, séance du 15 février 1838
Abolition Campaigns
Bibliothèque Nationale de France
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Speech Emancipation Slaves Abolition Slavery French Parliament Chamber Deputies Passy Law
In this parliamentary speech, the French writer,politician and abolitionist Alphonse de Lamartine responds to the free-womb reform of colonial slavery proposed by Hippolyte de Passy on 10 February 1838. Passy's proposal was met with frustration by Lamartine, who had unsuccessfully tried to instigate his own abolitionist project in 1836. Despite lending his official support, Lamartine saw Passy's proposal as too conciliatory and timid. He predicts that sooner or later France, as the nation that "sanctified the rights of its citizens" (402), would proclaim full emancipation of its slaves. He suggests that the British abolition of slavery would inevitably help to spread the "contagion of liberty" (405), and that it could be an opportunity for France to finally end slavery around the world, via colonial possessions in Africa and Asia and political influence.
In Œuvres complètes de M.A. de Lamartine (Paris: Charles Gosselin, Furne & Co, Pagnerre, Dufour, Mulat, 1850), vol. IV, 400-11.