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Société des Amis des Noirs


  1. Adresse de la Société des Amis des Noirs, à l'Assemblée nationale, à toutes les villes de commerce, à toutes les manufactures, aux colonies, à toutes les sociétés des amis de la Constitution: adresse dans laquelle on approfondit les relations politiques et commerciales entre la métropole et les colonies has translation author



Jacques Brissot founded the Society of the Friends of Blacks in February 1788 to agitate against the slave trade and slavery. He modeled it on the London Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, established in 1787. He hoped that the two groups might cooperate in an international effort to eliminate the slave trade. The French society, under Condorcet's cautious leadership, knowing that the colonial and commercial interests invested in slavery still exercised great power, cautiously advanced its proposals. This caution was well–founded, since some deputies faced personal attacks in the streets of Paris for their unpopular views.

As the roster shows, its membership included leading intellectuals, politicians, functionaries and many aristocrats. The marquis de Condorcet was its president and M. de Gramagnac its secretary. It remained active until 1793, when it had over 140 members.

A membership list from 1789, 'Tableau des Membres de la Société des Amis des Noirs' can be found at https://revolution.chnm.org/d/339. It includes three of the Lameth brothers, two publishers, Agasse and Cuchet, one Englishman, "Pigot, Geneva" (Charles Pigott's brother, Robert) and one associated foreigner, Piattoli. While Jefferson could not attend for obvious political reasons, his secretary, William Short, was a member. The most comprehensive online resource, including records of all meeting between 1788–90, can be found on https://www.unicaen.fr/mazarine/san/accueil.html.

See also Jean-Pierre Brissot's 'Memoirs', ed. Claude Perroud (1910), ii: 74ff & 86 (fn) & Claude Perroud, 'La Société Française des Amis des Noirs', in La Révolution Française, no.69 (1916), pp.122-47.