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Loi portant que tout homme est libre en France, Caen 1791.

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€3.700,00 EUR
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€3.700,00 EUR

All men are free, regardless of skin colour


France: Louis XVI 1(754-1793); Marguerite-Louis-François Duport-Dutertre (1754-1793).

Loi portant que tout homme est libre en France, & que, quelleque soit sa couleur, il y jouit de tous les droits de Citoyen, s’il a les qualités prescrites par la Constitution.

[colophon:] Caen, G. Le Roy, 1791.

4°. 3, [1 blank] pp. With a typographic headpiece above caption title. Printed at right side of engraved head piece above caption title: No. 1396. Contemporary signature in ink at the end.

Very rare first edition printed at Caen of the first law that declares freedom for people of all colour. This law, enacted during the French Revolution, stands as a pivotal moment in France's journey toward abolishing slavery. It articulates in two articles the principle that "Every man is free as soon as he enters France" and that "Every man, regardless of colour, enjoys all the rights of a Citizen in France, provided he possesses the qualifications stipulated by the Constitution to exercise them." However, it's essential to underscore that its provisions were not enforced in the French colonies. The law reflects the tension of the time, with abolitionists advocating for the full freedom of slaves and pro-slavery advocates resisting any radical change. It wasn't until the decree of February 4, 1794, that slavery was ultimately abolished in those territories.

In addition to its historic significance, the copy we offer here is remarkable for its rarity. Notably, this Caen edition is not referenced in major online bibliographies, including the Collective Catalog of France (CCFR), BnF, WorldCat, KvK, or auction results.

Condition: slightly browned and foxed, otherwise in very good condition.

Reference: this edition not in Martin & Walter, Révolution française.

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