Estimation d'un livre ou d'un manuscrit
Abolition de l’esclavage. Examen critique des préjugés contre la couleur des Africains et des sang-mêlés
A LANDMARK IN THE HISTORY OF EUROPEAN ANTI-SLAVERY.
INSCRIBED BY VICTOR SCHŒLCHER TO THE LAWYER ADOLPHE GATINE : TWO MAJOR FIGURES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST SLAVERY IN FRANCE.
EN FRANÇAIS DANS LE TEXTE, N° 257.
FIRST EDITION dedicated “au peuple” (“to the people”)
12mo (136 x 86 mm). Fictitious mention of a second edition on the wrapper, as in the copies at the Library of Congress and the Goldsmiths' Library
COLLATION : 187 pp. ; printer’s catalog :16 pp.
AUTOGRAPH INSCRIPTION signed :
Offert à Mr. Gatine
“Gifted to Mr. Gatine
by the author
BINDING SIGNED BY BERNARD BICHON. Spine and corners in brown morocco, preserved wrappers and spine, untrimmed
PROVENANCE : Adolphe Ambroise Alexandre Gatine (1805-1864 ; inscription) -- André Roumieux (1932-2020 ; ex-libris)
1) of the book
– two copies on the auction market : Paris, 2018, contemporary half-cloth binding, much foxing, €1,390 with fees-- Paris, 2019, as issued, €2,800 with fees. Nothing in Berès files concerning this title
– seven copies in libraries according to ViaLibri : four in France : BnF, Mazarine, Institut Catholique de Paris, Quai Branly. One copy in the United Kingdom : Goldsmiths’ Library. Absent from the British Library. Two copies in the United States : Library of Congress and Harvard. Absent at the New York Public Library, Morgan Library, Columbia, Michigan, Chicago, Princeton, Yale and Austin, which all refer to the digitized copy of the Library of Congress or of Goldsmiths' Library
2) of the inscription
– on the market : no inscription registered in this book in the internet auction directories (RBH, ABPC, Gazette Drouot) since 1977
– no inscription kept in the libraries according to ViaLibri
–Berès Files : in January 1993, the Chamonal bookstore proposed an inscription by Victor Schœlcher on another title, Des Colonies françaises (1842), at FF8,500
Very light foxing
Nelly Schmidt, famous historian of slavery and its abolitions, presented this major work in the history of anti-slavery, during the exhibition En français dans le texte at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in 1990 :
“At the end of two trips to Mexico, the United States, Cuba in 1829-1830 and then throughout the insular Caribbean in 1840-1841, Schœlcher published a series of determining works and articles for the knowledge of the societies of this region of the world. In it he advocated the abolition of slavery and subjected the colonial systems to a rigorous critical analysis. Let’s especially cite De l’Esclavage des Noirs et de la législation coloniale (1833), Abolition de l’esclavage (1840), Des Colonies françaises. Abolition immédiate de l’esclavage (1842), Colonies étrangères et Haïti (1842-1843) and Histoire de l’esclavage pendant les deux dernières années (1847). [… ]. Abolition de l’esclavage ; examen critique des préjugés contre la couleur des Africains et des sang-mêlés, dedicated “To the people”, earned Victor Schœlcher [1804-1893] the prize of the Société des Amis des Noirs [Society of Friends of the Blacks] in response to the question posed by Abbé Grégoire [1750-1831] in his will : “What would be the means of extricating the unfair and barbarian prejudice of the whites against the color of the Africans and mixed bloods ?”. The response of Schœlcher in 1840 [… ] was founded at the same time on the reports of travels and missions in Africa, particularly published by the British, on his own observations of colonial societies in the Caribbean, and on these Republican social and political conceptions.”
Adolphe Gatine (1805-1864), recipient of the inscription on this copy became a lawyer at the Court of Paris in 1827. He was soon interested in the cause of the abolition of slavery. In 1831 he signed a petition at the Chamber of Deputies promising the rights of slaves to appeal at the Court of Cassation. It was however a legal dispute that would make Gatine known : the famous “Virginie Affaire” of 1841. A slave named “Virginie” had been freed by will at the death of her mistress, but nothing had been specified for her children. Gatine used article 47 of the Code noir [Black Code] of 1685 according to which : “the pre-pubescent child cannot be separated from its mother.” The Court of Cassation took a position in favor of the claimant and its judgment established case law acknowledging that it was a matter of : “a law of humanity in accordance with the principles of natural law which does not want that children be deprived of the care of their parents. “This legal triumph asserting the humanity of slaves allowed Gatine to be included in the Commission for the abolition of slavery of March-April 1848. Then it was at the request of Schœlcher that Gatine was appointed General Commissioner of the island of Guadeloupe, immediately after the act of abolition.
Through its inscription, this copy brings together two important abolitionist figures at a turning point in the history of the Second Republic, Schœlcher and Gatine both having directly contributed to the signature of the abolition decree of April 27, 1848, putting an end to slavery on all French territories.
BIBLIOGRAPHY : En français dans le texte, n° 257, notice de N. Schmidt -- Sabin, n° 77740 --N. Schmidt, Abolitionnistes de l’esclavage et réformateurs des colonies, 1820-1851. Analyse et documents, Paris, 2000, pp. 348-363 et passim -- Goldsmiths’ Library, University of London, Goldsmiths’-Kress n° 31760
WEBOGRAPHY : N. Schmidt, “Victor Schoelcher (1804-1893). Une vie, un siècle”, en ligne : https://www.senat.fr/evenement/victor_schoelcher/index.html