First American Edition of Grégoire's An Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties, and Literature of Negroes, 1810

GRÉGOIRE, Henri (French, 1750-1831). An Enquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties, and Literature of Negroes. Brooklyn: Thomas Kirk, 1810.

8vo (126 x 208 mm). (Occasional toning, ink stain on fore-edge.) Contemporary marbled calf, smooth spine in 6 compartments gilt, with black morocco gilt-lettered spine label (very light rubbing to extremities). 

FIRST AMERICAN EDITION of this important early defense of the intellectual capacity and capabilities of Black individuals by humanist and revolutionary leader Henri Grégoire, familiarly known as Abbé Grégoire. An ardent abolitionist and advocate of universal suffrage, he was a prominent member of the Society of the Friends of Blacks (Société des amis des noirs), and it was on his motion that in May 1791 the Constituent Assembly passed a law allowing some free men of color the same rights as whites in French colonies. Originally published in Paris in 1808 and translated into English by D.B. Warden. Grégoire dedicates the book: "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." Blockson notes that "this now scarce volume set the standards by which most biographical and historical works on gifted blacks were written during the following decades. Grégoire's book was an important and authoritative contribution to Afro-American historicity." Blockson 101, 18; Sabin 28728.

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