Society of the Friends of the Blacks

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Front page of Address to the National Assembly by the Société des amis des noirs, February 1790
Front page of Société des amis des noirs, March 1791

The Society of the Friends of the Blacks (French: Société des amis des Noirs or Amis des noirs) was a group of French men and women, mostly white, who were abolitionists (opponents of black slavery and the African slave trade). The Society was created in Paris in 1788, and remained in existence until 1793. It was led by Jacques Pierre Brissot, with advice from Thomas Clarkson, who headed the abolitionist movement in the Kingdom of Great Britain. At the beginning of 1789, it had 141 members.

During the five-year period of its existence, it published anti-slavery literature and addressed its concerns on a substantive political level in the National Assembly of France. Ironically, however, any real, practical legislative mitigation of the slaves' plight would emerge only after the demise of the Society in 1793. In February 1794, the National Assembly legislated the Universal Emancipation decree, which effectively freed all colonial slaves.

Several articles and monographs have explored the question of how influential the Society was in bringing about the abolition of slavery with opinions covering the entire spectrum, from those that identify the Amis des Noirs as instrumental in the abolition of slavery, to others that say the Society was nothing more than a "société de pensée" (philosophical society).[1]

History[edit]

The economy of France was dependent upon revenues from the colonies, where slavery existed on plantations and thrived due to the lucrative trade triangle. Figures indicate that slave-trade activity during the years leading up to the French Revolution resulted in some profit percentages exceeding 100 percent. In 1784, for example, the outfitter Chaurands realized a profit of 110 percent through the use of a single ship, the Brune. In 1789, one outfitter reached 120 per cent.[2][a]

The initial formation of La Société des Amis des Noirs was undertaken by Jacques Pierre Brissot, in February 1788. A follower of the Philosophes, Brissot's anti-slavery efforts were also due to his exposure to humanitarian activities on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States, where he visited Philadelphia's constitutional convention, he became absorbed with Jefferson's humanitarian nature. In England, Thomas Clarkson invited Brissot to attend a meeting of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. So enthused was Brissot that shortly thereafter he would create his own abolitionist society in Paris. Its objectives would be to suppress the slave trade and, at a later date, to attain equal rights for free men of color.

The Amis advocated freedom in the French colonies, arguing that the ideas of the Revolution should extend to the colonies. The French concept of liberté, égalité, fraternité did not include the liberation of slaves, because the National Assembly argued that the abolition would be detrimental to the economy. The Amis des Noirs had, as was made clear by Marquis de Condorcet's program, the abolition of slavery as its immediate goal – and campaigned for it despite calls Clarkson's call for reducing their demands to activism against the slave trade only.

Activities[edit]

Abolitionist literature[edit]

The Society's founder, Brissot, decided at the outset that the method of spreading the society's message would be through literature,[4] and this he did in profusion. The Society emitted not only French translation of the English literature, but also works written by Brissot ("Mémoire sur les Noirs de l'Amerique septentrionale"[5][6]), and other members of the Amis des Noirs, such as Étienne Clavière ("De la France et des Etats-Unis" – co-written with Brissot[7]) and Condorcet ("Réflexions sur l'esclavage des negres"[8][9]). Addresses were delivered to other societies as well, such as the Amis de l'humanité,[10][11] and the Société des Amis de la Constitution.[12][13] It was a reflection of not only the "Philosophe upbringing" of the Society members, but also of their efforts to be active participants in the moulding of the revolutionary government.

La Société des Amis des Noirs was most active dispersing its anti-slavery literature in and around Paris, due to the lack of a stable and reliable communications network. The Society, nevertheless, did make attempts to convey its message to those living outside Paris. Quinney reveals one instance, during 1791, when the organization had garnered assistance from its Jacobin friends: "The Friends of the Blacks had several meetings with their friends in Jacobin clubs in provincial cities and sent to every city government a lengthy pamphlet exposing the injustices done to people of colour."[14]

Political activities[edit]

"Mortals are equal, it is not birth, but virtue alone that makes the difference".

The political activities of the Friends of the Blacks also included addresses to the National Assembly. Addresses promoting the abolition of the slave trade were made in February and April 1790.[15] Another address was delivered a few months later.[16][17] Four months later, a discourse was presented concerning the violence in Saint Domingue.[18][19] In July 1791, Clavière addressed the National Assembly's commercial interests, discussing trade relations between France and its colonies.[20][21]

The Society also addressed government individuals such as Barnave, who was a member of the Committee on Colonies, and Jacques Necker, France's Controller-General Of Finance. Although Necker was a believer in the in-humaneness of slavery, he could not sanction emancipation unless the practice of slavery and the slave trade were halted simultaneously in every country. In this manner, the existing economic balance between nations would be maintained.[22] Nevertheless, in a letter written in 1789 the Society urged Necker to form a committee similar to the one in England and expressed hopes that the conduct of the English parliament might have a positive effect on the Estates-General.[23][24] Other Society addresses extended to denunciations of colonial individuals. One such incident occurred in 1791, when the Amis des Noirs responded to criticisms written by pro-slaver Arthur Dillon, Député de la Martinique,[25][26] and owner of a large plantation.

In 1789, the royal government had requested petitions of grievances from all parts of the country. During the election of representatives to the Estates-General, Condorcet asked that there be inserted into the cahiers de doléances a demand for the abolition of the slave trade.[27] Out of the six hundred cahiers assembled, less than fifty called for an end to the slave trade and slavery.[28]

In the fall of 1789, Society member Abbé Grégoire's recommendation that two deputies chosen from the population of free coloured men be admitted[29] was accepted by the Committee on Verification of Credentials in the National Assembly. He was unable to present the recommendation to the National Assembly because every time he rose to speak, he was shouted down by the colonists in the Assembly.[30] In March 1790, Grégoire questioned the article on voting rights in the National Assembly, wishing to ensure that men of colour also received the right to vote. The colonial deputies persuaded the National Assembly to close discussion of the matter.[31] During that same month Barnave, a pro-slavery advocate, delivered his report on maintaining the slave trade. When Mirabeau, another member of the Society, advanced to the rostrum to protest, he was drowned out by the cries of the opposition.[32]

Focusing on the rights of free men of colour, Grégoire and Alexandre Pétion (another member of the Society) essentially told the Assembly on 15 May 1791 that if these people were not given their rights, then violence would ensue.[33] Because of the increasing conflict in the colonies, as well as the growing influence of free men of colour with some deputies, Barnave felt that the members of the Society could not be ignored: "We can't win against the influence of the Friends of the Blacks."[34] The result was the 15 May decree that all men of colour would be granted equal rights if they were born of free parents.[35] Further legislation passed on 4 April 1792 (with influence from La Société des Amis des Noirs), stating that every free man of colour now enjoyed equal rights.[36]

Opposition from pro-slavery groups[edit]

The Committee on Colonies[edit]

The Committee on Colonies was formed in March 1790 to deal with escalating problems arising from slavery unrest in the colonies. Its resolution of the problem leaned heavily in favour of the colonists, and its membership was permeated by those who bore little sympathy for the plight of the slave. The members of the committee included colonial landowners, slave owners, lawyers and merchants, and all were advocates of French commercial interests.[37] Not surprisingly, the final report of the Committee did not alleviate any of the problems relating to slavery. In fact, it stressed the point that it did not wish to interfere in the commercial interests of the colonies: "The National Assembly declares that it had not intended to innovate in any branch of commerce direct or indirect of France with its colonies..."[38]

A group of National Assembly deputies who were either colonists or slave trade merchants actively campaigned the French chambers of commerce and city governments to maintain the slave trade and slavery, proclaiming that economic disaster would result from its abolition. The deputies argued their point so effectively that even La Société des Amis des Noirs feared abolition would cause chaos.[39] One such pro-slavery group was composed of the lobbyists for the French chambers of commerce, who designated themselves as the "Deputies Extraordinary of Manufactures and Commerce."[40] Their main efforts focused on influencing the Committee on Agriculture and Commerce to maintain slavery and the slave trade. Since revenue from the colonies was collected mainly from the sale of slaves and crops, the Committee was investigating the economic ramifications should this source of income cease to exist. The lobbyists were evidently successful in their efforts, for Quinney claims that Barnave's non-committal report to the National Assembly was a result of his knowledge that the Committee on Agriculture and Commerce "had already decided to advise the National Assembly to retain the trade and slavery."[38]

The Massiac Club[edit]

A pro-slavery organization called the Massiac Club, headquartered in Paris, was composed of colonial planters living in Paris and throughout France. The club had its main headquarters in Paris, with chapters located in the provinces.[41] Realizing that success related to political influence, the club proceeded to systematically contact government officials.[b]

The Massiac members did not wish to risk the possibility of any type of abolition legislation being passed, and communicated with every colonial deputy to ensure that pro-slavery interests were maintained. Mirabeau stated that when he attempted to sway the deputies in favour of abolition, every official he spoke to had already been approached by a member of the Massiac club.[40] Like the Amis des Noirs, the Massiac group published and distributed literature, responding in toto[42] to practically every idea the Amis des Noirs had put forward.[43]

As well, the Massiac Club delivered accusations in a leaflet distributed to the members of the Comité de Commerce de l'Assemblée Nationale that the Amis des Noirs were involved in subversive activity.[44]

To discredit the Amis des Noirs, the Massiac Club published a handbill that said the abolitionists were not truly humanitarian philanthropists, but rather an organization attempting to subvert social order. They claimed the Amis des Noirs should be viewed as counter-revolutionaries, and pro-British.[45] The pro-slavers also distributed leaflets denouncing individual members of the Société: Brissot, Grégoire and Pétion.[46] They supported the slave trade in debates held in district assemblies within Paris,[47] and attempted to influence voting in these districts when the question of the slave trade was introduced.[48]

Criticisms[edit]

Organisational failings[edit]

Researchers conclude that the Society was virtually impotent due to its organization, strategy, and membership criteria. In terms of organization, Quinney refers to the group's ineffective operations, stating that the government, which contained pro-slavery elements, had a nationwide propaganda network, while the Society was mainly Paris-based.[49] Resnick concurs when he states: "Both leadership and membership at large were drawn heavily from the Paris area, with no established network of regional filiations."[1]

Additional evidence of this deficiency was seen in the irregular holding of meetings, without full membership present. Even in 1789, Thomas Clarkson commented upon the poor attendance the meetings were receiving.[50] The lack of organization and continuity among the Society's activities is further evidenced by the fact that Brissot, though inaugurating the Society's first meeting in February 1789, was to depart for America[51] four months later, to meet that country's leading abolitionists. He was not active within the Society until the spring of 1790,[51] when he again became the Society's president. Brissot was able to become eligible upon his return from America, due to a regulation of the Society that the organization must have rotating presidents every three months, a condition that would hinder the continuity of effort within the organization.[52][53] Another structural hindrance was a regulation that an inner "General Assembly" would be elected within the Society. This body would not only represent the Society and make the rules, but would also hold exclusive voting rights in the election of the officials.[52][54] Hence, from the organization's inception, any rank and file membership would be excluded from participating in the Society's operations.

Elitist membership policies[edit]

Examination of the membership list of the Society reveals that there are an overwhelming number of privileged names. Although possessing great influence, the effectiveness of these people would be muted and Paris-based, partially due to a lack of popular participation. The founding members of the Society included such notables as Brissot, Condorcet, Saint-Lambert, Lafayette, La Rochefoucauld, and Clavière.[55] The Society began with a handful of abolitionists, increased to ninety-five by 1789, and would swell to a maximum of 141[56] associates in later years. An analysis of membership lists published seventy-five years ago shows that out of the 141 members, twenty-five percent were government employees, twenty-nine percent were nobility, and thirty-eight were professionals, thus bringing the cumulative sum of the elitist membership to ninety-two percent of the total.[57] Cohen has observed this fact as well, stating: "It [the Society]... concentrated on having important, well-connected members, rather than large members ... The members [were] drawn from the French social elite ..."[45]

The small member base of the agency was elitist-oriented, but another reason for the lack of a "grass-roots" following was the organization's insistence on having dues payable, and four reference signatures, to become a member. Moreover, there were different fee scales: two Louis per year for those who lived in Paris, and 24 livres per year for those living in the provinces.[52]La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 6, pp. 19–20.</ref> Undoubtedly, the membership practices of La Société des Amis des Noirs both hampered its attempt at increasing in size, and affected its ability to become a credible and effective entity. These prerequisites to membership, along with a weak structural foundation and somewhat ill-prepared organization, compromised La Société des Amis des Noirs' contribution to the fight against slavery.

Relationship to English abolitionists[edit]

Perroud states that Brissot's trip to London in November 1787 prompted him to form an identical chapter in France.[58] The English society had only been formed a few months earlier, in May 1787.[45] Just how much influence London really had is revealed in a discussion amongst a group of abolitionist friends in Paris.[59] It states how the London society encouraged others to join its cause, as well as mentioning that France and England had a commonality[60] with respect to abolishing slavery.[60]

Adherence to the English abolitionist movement also included the translation and publication of English anti-slavery literature. This is evidenced in a letter written by Brissot, shortly after the creation of the Society, to Quaker James Philips, an original member of the English abolitionist society. In it he states that the Amis des Noirs would translate and publish English anti-slavery works for distribution to the French public.[61] The intention of using English publications surfaced even before the formation of the Amis des Noirs.[62]

Many French citizens believed that the Society was an offshoot of the English abolitionist society, to the point of being paid by its English counterpart.[63] This resulted in a loss of credibility in the eyes of the French populace. Britain and France had been antagonistic towards each other for many years, in terms of colonial acquisitions and economic superiority. Therefore, any influences from England were seen as "dealing with the enemy." This view extended to encompass the activities of the Society. The perception that it was a vehicle for English infiltration into French matters overshadowed its real intentions.

Outcome[edit]

The Society was rendered inactive by the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution, begun as a slave rebellion, as well as by the major crisis of the First French Republic (with the start of the French Revolutionary Wars). It remained active until 1793, publishing its calls in papers such as Patriote français, L'Analyse des papiers anglais, Le Courrier de Provence, and La chronique de Paris.

On 4 February 1794 (16 Pluviôse an II), approximately a year after the demise of the Amis des Noirs, the National Convention passed the Emancipation Declaration:

La Convention Nationale déclare que l'Esclavage des Negres dans toutes les Colonies est aboli: en conséquence elle décrete que tous les hommes, sans distinction de couleur, domiciliés dans les colonies, sont Citoyens Français, et jouiront de tous les droits assurés par la Constitution. Elle renvoie au comité de salut public, pour lui faire incessamment un rapport sur les mesures a prendre pour assurer l'exécution du présent décret.[64]

Notable members[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This is further corroborated by Atlantic slave ship tonnage statistics.[3]
  2. ^ "Le club, en fait, forme avant tout un lobby. Il n'a pas de représentant en tant que tel B l'Assemblée nationale mais joue sur l'influence de certains élus, en tLte desquels l'avocat grenoblais Barnave, membre des Jacobins." Biondi, J.P. – Zuccarelli, F. 16 Pluviose An II, p. 42

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Resnick (1972), p. 562
  2. ^ Stein (1975), p. 782
  3. ^ Viles (1972), pp. 530–531
  4. ^ Seeber (1937), pp. 160–161
  5. ^ Brissot (1789)
  6. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968)
  7. ^ Seeber (1937), p. 172
  8. ^ Condorcet (1788)
  9. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 6, p. 34.
  10. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1790b)
  11. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 8, p. 86.
  12. ^ Brissot (1791)
  13. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 8, p. 173.
  14. ^ Quinney (1970b), p. 555
  15. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1790a)
  16. ^ Brissot (1790)
  17. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 7, p. 245.
  18. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1790c)
  19. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 8, p. 90.
  20. ^ "A toutes les Villes de Commerce, a toutes les Manufactures, aux Colonies, a toutes les Sociétés des Amis de la Constitution; Addresse dans laquelle on approfondit les relations politiques et commerciales entre la Métropole et les Colonies, etc."
  21. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 9, p. 1.
  22. ^ Lokke (1968), p. 77
  23. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1789c)
  24. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 7, p. 53.
  25. ^ "La Société des Amis des Noirs a Arthur Dillon, Député de la Martinique a l'Assemblée Nationale"
  26. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 8, p. 173.
  27. ^ Cahen (1906)
  28. ^ McCloy (1954), p. 291
  29. ^ Garrett (1916), p. 33
  30. ^ Necheles (1971), p. 59
  31. ^ Quinney (1970a), p. 126
  32. ^ Quinney (1970a), p. 125
  33. ^ Quinney (1970b), p. 550
  34. ^ Quinney (1970b), p. 553
  35. ^ Cochin (1979), p. 10
  36. ^ Gaston-Martin (1948), p. 214
  37. ^ Quinney (1970b), p. 545
  38. ^ a b Quinney (1970b), p. 547
  39. ^ Quinney (1970b), p. 549
  40. ^ a b Quinney (1970b), p. 548
  41. ^ McCloy (1961), p. 67
  42. ^ Hazard (1873), p. 116
  43. ^ Vidalenc (1957), p. 64
  44. ^ Resnick (1972), p. 564
  45. ^ a b c Cohen (1980), p. 139
  46. ^ Benot (1988), p. 154
  47. ^ Quinney (1970a), p. 123
  48. ^ Quinney (1970a), p. 124
  49. ^ Quinney (1970a), pp. 124, 126–127
  50. ^ Clarkson (1808), pp. 381–404
  51. ^ a b Perroud (1916), p. 124
  52. ^ a b c La Société des Amis des Noirs (1789a)
  53. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 6, pp. 27–28.
  54. ^ La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage (1968) 6, p. 26.
  55. ^ Benot (1988), p. 40
  56. ^ Perroud (1916), p. 144
  57. ^ There were two sources used to accumulate the names of the members: Tableau des Membres de la Société des Amis des Noirs. Année 1789 – S.I. (Paris), s.d. (1789) and Perroud (1916) (A list of members is presented at the end of this article.)
  58. ^ Perroud (1916), p. 123
  59. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1788), p. 2
  60. ^ a b La Société des Amis des Noirs (1788), p. 16
  61. ^ Seeber (1937), p. 161
  62. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1788), p. 15
  63. ^ Quinney (1970a), p. 122
  64. ^ La Société des Amis des Noirs (1794), pp. 320–323

Primary sources[edit]

The following list of letters, addresses, and minutes were obtained from a collection of pamphlets entitled La Révolution française et l'abolition de l'esclavage. 12 vols. Paris: Editions d'histoire sociale. 1968. 

  • Brissot, J. P. (1789). Mémoire sur les Noirs de l'Amérique Septentrionale, lu a l'Assemblée de La Société des Amis des Noirs, le 9 février 1789. Paris: Bureau du Patriote. 
  • Brissot, J. P. (1790). Seconde Addresse a l'Assemblé Nationale, par la Société des Amis des Noirs, etablie a Paris. Paris: Imprimerie du Patriote François. 
  • Brissot, J. P. (1791). Discours sur la nécéssité de maintenir le décret rendu le 15 mai en faveur des hommes de couleur libres, prononcé le 12 septembre 1791, à la séance de la Société des Amis de la Constitution. Paris: Imprimé par ordre de la Société. 
  • Clarkson, T. (1808). History of the Rise, Progress and Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament. London. pp. 381–404. 
  • Claviere, E. (1791). Addresse de la Société des Amis des Noirs, a l'Assemblée Nationale, a toutes les Manufactures, aux Colonies, a toutes les Sociétés des Amis de la Constitution; Addresse dans laquelle on approfondit les relations politiques et commerciales entre la Metropole et les Colonies (2nd ed.). Paris: Desenne et au Bureau du Patriote François. 
  • Condorcet, J. A. N. de Caritat, marquis de (1788). Réflexions sur l'esclavage des negres. Par M. Swartz [Condorcet's pseudonym], Pasteur du Saint Evangile a Bienne, Membre de la Société économique Nouvelle édition revue & corrigée. Neufchatel et Paris: Froullé. 
  • Wadstrom, Charles-Bernard (1796). Additions aux réglemens de la Société des Amis des Noirs et des Colonies. Paris. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1788). Discours sur la nécessité d'établir a Paris une Société pour concourir, avec celle de Londres, a l'abolition de la traite & de l'esclavage des Negres. Prononcé le 19 Février 1788, dans une Société de quelques amis, rassemblés a Paris, à la priere du Comité de Londres. Paris. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1789a). Reglemens de la Société des Amis des Noirs. Paris. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1789b). Tableau des Membres de la Société des Amis des Noirs. Année 1789. Paris. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1789c). Lettre de la Société des Amis des Noirs, B. M. Necker, avec le Résponse de ce Ministre. Paris. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1790a). Addresse a l'Assemblée Nationale, pour l'abolition de la Traite des noirs Par le Société des Amis des Noirs de Paris. Paris: Imprimerie de Potier de Lille. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1790b). Addresse aux Amis de l'humanité, par la Société des amis des Noirs, sur le plan de ses travaux Lue au Comité, le 4 juin 1790, et imprimée par son ordre. Paris: Imprimerie du Patriote François. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1790c). Reflexions sur le Code Noir, et Dénonciation d'un crime affreux, commis a Saint-Dominigue; addressés a l'Assemblée Nationale par la Société des Amis des Noirs. Paris: Imprimerie du Patriote François. 
  • La Société des Amis des Noirs (1794). Decret de la Convention Nationale, du 16. jour de Pluviôse, an second de la République Française, une & indivisible, Qui abolit l'esclavage des Negres dans les Colonies. Paris. 

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Brown, G. (1922). "The Origins of Abolition in Santo Domingo". The Journal Negro History 7: 365–376. 
  • Cahen, L. (1906). "La Société des Amis des noirs et Condorcet". La Révolution française 50: 481–511. 
  • Despin, J. (1977). "Montesquieu était-il esclavagiste?". La Pensée 193: 102–112. 
  • Foubert, B. (1974). "Colons et esclaves du sud de Saint-Domingue au début de la Révolution". Revue Française d'histoire d'outre-mer 61 (223): 199–217. 
  • Geggus, D. (1989). "Racial Equality, Slavery, and Colonial Secession during the Constituent Assembly". American Historical Review 94: 1290–1308. 
  • Hunting, C. (1978). "The Philosophes and the Question of Black Slavery 1748–1765". Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (3): 405–418. 
  • Krebs, A. (1956–57). "La Fayette et le Probleme de L'Esclavage". Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de L'Histoire de France: 49–60. 
  • McCloy, S. (1945). "Negroes and Mulattoes in Eighteenth-Century France". The Journal of Negro History 30: 276–292. 
  • McCloy, S. (1954). "Further Notes on Negroes and Mulattoes in Eighteenth-Century France". The Journal of Negro History 39: 284–297. 
  • Perroud, C. (1916). "La Société Française des Amis des Noirs". La Révolution Française 69: 122–147. 
  • Quinney, V. (1970a). "Decisions on Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Civil Rights for Negroes in the Early French Revolution". Journal of Negro History 55 (2): 117–130. 
  • Quinney, V. (1970b). "The Problem of Civil Rights for Free Men of Color in the Early French Revolution". Journal of Negro History 55 (2): 544–557. 
  • Resnick, Daniel P. (1972). "The Société des Amis des Noirs and the Abolition of Slavery". French Historical Studies 7 (4): 558–569. 
  • Stein, R. (1975). "The Profitability of the Nantes Slave Trade". Journal of Economic History 35 (3): 779–793. 
  • Stein, R. (1981). "The Free Men of Colour and the Revolution in Saint Domingue, 1789–1792". Social History 14: 7–28. 
  • Tarrade, J. (1989). "Les colonies et les Principes de 1789: Les Assemblées Révolutionnaire face au Probléme de L'Esclavage". Revue française d'Histoire d'Outre-Mer 76: 9–34. 
  • Vidalenc, J. (1957). "Les traite des negres en France au début de la Révolution (1789–1793)". Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française 146: 56–69. 
  • Viles, P. (1972). "The Slaving Interest in the Atlantic Ports, 1763–1792". French Historical Studies 7 (4): 529–543. 
  • Whitman, D. (1977). "Slavery and the Rights of Frenchmen: Views of Montesquieu, Rousseau and Raynal". French Colonial Studies 1: 17–33. 
  • Baker, K. (1975). Condorcet. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 
  • Benot, Y. (1988). La révolution française et la fin des colonies. Paris: Éditions La Découverte. 
  • Blackburn, R. (1988). The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery 1776–1848. London: Verso. 
  • Biondi, J. P. (1989). Zuccarelli, F. 16 Pluviose An II. Paris: Éditions Denoel. 
  • Cochin, A. (1979). L'Abolition de L'Esclavage. Fort-de-France. Editions Emile Désormeaux. 
  • Cohen, W. B. (1980). The French Encounter with Africans. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. 
  • Cooper, A. (1988). Slavery and the French Revolutionists (1788–1805). Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. 
  • Davis, D. (1969). The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 
  • Ellery, E. (1970). Brissot de Warville. New York: Burt Franklin. 
  • Gainot, Bernard; Dorigny, Marcel (1998). La Société des amis des noirs, 1788–1799. Contribution à l'histoire de l'abolition de l'esclavage. Collection Mémoire des peuples, Paris, Éditions UNESCO/EDICEF. ISBN 92-3-203306-2.  (this book contains protocols of the society and can only ordered from UNESCO; content in French)
  • Garrett, M. (1916). The French Colonial Question 1789–1791. Ann Arbor, Michigan: George Wahr. 
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