Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery: and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain

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Cugoano, Ottobah “Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery: and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain”, RelRace, item créé par Béatrice Bertrand, dernier accès le 25 Feb. 2024.
Contributeur Béatrice Bertrand
Sujet Réfutation des malédictions de Cham et de Caïn
Description Dans son pamphlet antiesclavagiste, l'ancien esclave Ottobah Cugoano évoque les malédictions de Cham et de Caïn censées justifier de l'esclavage des Noirs pour mieux les réfuter.
Auteur Ottobah Cugoano
Date 1787
Éditeur Londres, s. e.
Langue en



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[...]Wherefore we may justly infer, as there are no inferior species, but all of one blood and of one nature, that there does not an inferiority subsist, or depend, on their colour, features or form, whereby some men make a pretence to enslave others; and con|sequently, as they have all one creator, one ori|ginal, made of one blood, and all brethren de|scended from one father, it never could be lawful and just for any nation, or people, to oppress and enslave another.

And again, as all the present inhabitants of the world sprang from the family of Noah, and were then all of one complexion, there is no doubt, but the difference which we now find, took its rise very rapidly after they became dispersed and settled on the different parts of the globe. [...]

Only Noah, a righteous and just man, who found grace in the sight of God, and his three sons, Japheth, Shem and Ham, and their wives, eight persons, were preserved from the universal deluge, in the ark which Noah was directed to build. The three sons of Noah had each children born after the flood, from whom all the present world of men descended. But it came to pass, in the days of Noah, that an interdiction, or curse, took place in the family of Ham, and that the Page  34 descendants of one of his sons should become the servants of servants to their brethren, the descen|dants of Shem and Japheth. This affords a grand pretence for the supporters of the African slavery to build a false notion upon, as it is found by his|tory that Africa, in general, was peopled by the descendants of Ham; but they forget, that the prediction has already been fulfilled as far as it can go. p.32

There can be no doubt, that there was a shame|ful misconduct in Ham himself, by what is relat|ed of him; but the fault, according to the pre|diction and curse, descended only to the families of the descendants of his youngest son, Canaan. The occasion was, that Noah, his father, had drank wine, and (perhaps unawares) became ine|briated by it, and fell asleep in his tent. It seems that Ham was greatly deficient of that filial vir|tue as either becoming a father or a son, went in|to his father's tent, and, it may be supposed, in an undecent manner, he had suffered his own son, Canaan, so to meddle with, or uncover, his fa|ther, that he saw his nakedness; for which he did not check the audacious rudeness of Canaan, but went and told his brethren without in ridicule of his aged parent. This rude audacious behaviour of Canaan, and the obloquy of his father Ham, brought on him the curse of his grandfather, Noah, but he blessed Shem and Japheth for their decent and filial virtues, and denounced, in the spirit of prophecy, that Canaan should be their servant, and should serve them. pp. 33-34