Letter to Victor Hugo
'Une demande de soutien à Hugo pour la lutte contre l'esclavage des noirs à Puerto Rico', L'Écho Hugo: Bulletin de la Société des Amis de Victor Hugo no. 5 (2005). French.
Abolition Campaigns
Biblioteca Nacional de España
click here
Letter Spanish Abolitionist Society Vizcarrondo Hugo France Puerto Rico Slavery Capital Punishment
On 28 June 1866, the exiled Puerto Rican activist Julio Vizcarrondo, founding member of the Spanish Abolitionist Society (Sociedad Abolicionista), wrote to the well-known French public figure Victor Hugo. His letter drew Hugo's attention to the plight of 600,000 slaves in the Spanish Caribbean colonies. Vizcarrondo points to existing support in Spain, as well as in France, Britain, the Netherlands and the United States. He describes a suicide pact of two slaves, the survivor of which was executed by the colonial courts, and asks for Hugo's powerful patronage and help: "You alone are worthy of telling the world about this, and your powerful pen will help break the last remaining links of these shameful chains which still afflict humanity". Hugo responded on 23 October 1866, declaring himself touched by Vizcarrondo's letter and promising help. He refers to a forthcoming publication on "pending social questions: slavery, death penalty, war, prostitution, parasitism, free and compulsory schooling etc.", and suggests that the "terrible and poignant" case of the two slaves could be usefully included in this book.
Vizcarrondo's letter to Victor Hugo and Hugo's reply were both published as part of a selection of documents on the history of Puerto Rican slavery, in Boletín Histórico de Puerto Rico, VI (San Juan: Cantero, Fernández & Co, 1918), 200-204. They have more recently been translated into French and published in the online Bulletin of the Society of Friends of Victor Hugo (see weblink above).