Opinion prononcée dans la séance du 27 juin 1821, par M. Benjamin Constant, député de la Sarthe
Abolition Campaigns
Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Bibliothèque de la Société de l'histoire du Protestantisme français, Paris.
Speech Opinion Constant French Parliament Slave Trade Sanctions Illegal Punishment Elisa Rodeur Estelle Ships
In this speech, published as a pamphlet, Constant makes two main points: firstly he calls for more effective laws and more rigorous enforcement against slave traders; and secondly he argues that there can no longer be any doubt that the illegal French slave trade was still in operation, contrary to official reports which had recently been issued by the Naval Ministry. He compares the relatively light sanctions against the trade under French legislation to the fines, transportation, and even capital punishment imposed by other European nations and by the United States. Constant argues that if the French navy was not going to submit to Britain's demands for mutual right of search, then France should implement its own programme of sanctions against the slave trade. He ends by citing a number of notorious cases, like the Elisa, the Rodeur and the Estelle, and presents the Minister with the shipping details of the former, including lists of slaves purchased and sold.