An Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties, and Literature of Negroes ...

GRÉGOIRE Henri.; WARDEN D.B. trans (1810.)



First American edition. 8vo. A very good copy in contemporary tree calf, black morocco label to spine gilt, text toned in places. viii, 253, [1], [2ads]pp. Brooklyn, Thomas Kirk,

A handsome copy of an important work. While many abolitionists focused on the inhumane conditions of the slave trade and captivity, in this work,Gregoire produced the first significant defense of people of African descent due to their achievements and capacity. First published in Paris in 1808, Blockson writes: "This now scarce volume set the standards by which most biographical and historical works on gifted blacks were written during the following decades. Gregoire's book was an important and authoritative contribution to Afro-American historicity."


The first part of the book discusses the definitions of the terms "negro"; "Opinions relative to the inferiority of the Negroes"; "Moral qualities of Negroes, their love of industry, courage, bravery, paternal tenderness, filial generosity &c"; "Talents of the Negroes for arts and trades. Poliyical Societies organised among the Negroes"; and "Literature of Negroes." This is followed by  brief biographies of, among others, Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), Olaudah Equiano (d.1797), Ignatius Sancho (c.1729-1780), and Ottobah Cugoano (c.1757- not before 1791).


Grégoire dedicates this work "To all those men who have had the courage to plead the cause of the unhappy blacks and mulattoes, whether by the publication of their works or by discussions in national assemblies, etc." He was a prominent member of the Société des amis des noirs and as a member of the Constituents Assembly was instrumental in the 1791 vote that gave free men of colour the same rights as white French colonists.


Blockson, 18; Sabin, 28728; Work, p.455.

Stock Code: 243487

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