Quobna Ottobah
Thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, by Ottobah Cugoano, a native of Africa
Réflexions sur la traite et l'esclavage des nègres, traduites de l'anglais, d'Ottobah Cugoano, Africain, esclave à La Grenade et libre en Angleterre (1788). French.
Abolition Campaigns
British Library. Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature, University of London.
Thoughts Traffic Slavery Commerce Human Species Britain Africa Americas
The Ghanaian-born Ottobah Cugoano, who had been sold into slavery as a child and had undergone the middle passage to the West Indies, published his thoughts on slavery as abolitionism began to take shape in London, where he was living at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1791 the book was reprinted, and its author went on a speaking tour around Britain in order to raise support for the political campaign against the slave trade. Writing in religious and moral condemnation of the slave trade, he describes it as the "great shame and disgrace of all Christian nations" (1). Cugoano condemns the racial inequalities that were used to justify slavery and persecution in the Americas (he writes extensively about the Incas and native Caribbean peoples). He also cites a number of other writers in the debate over abolition, particularly James Ramsay's Essay on the treatment and conversion of the African slaves (1784).
Cugoano's 'Thoughts and Sentiments' was translated into French by the free trade economist Antoine Diannyère. It was also discussed by the French abolitionist Abbé Henri Grégoire in his book, De La Littérature Des Nègres (1808). An abridged version of Cugoano's text appeared as 'Narrative of the Enslavement of Oottbat Cugoano, a Native of Africa, published by himself, in the Year 1787’, in The Negro’s Memorial, or Abolitionist’s Catechism; by an Abolitionist (London: Hatchard & Co., J. & A. Arch, 1825), 119-27.