Montesquieu

If I had to defend the right we have had to make sla­ves of Negroes, here is what I would say :

The peo­ples of Europe having exter­mi­na­ted those of America, they had to make sla­ves of the peo­ples of Africa in order to use them to clear all that land.

Sugar would be too dear if we did not have the plant that pro­du­ces it ten­ded by sla­ves.

The peo­ple in ques­tion are black from head to toe, and they have such flat noses that it is almost impos­si­ble to pity them.

We can­not put it into our minds that God, who is a wise being, has put a soul, espe­cially a good soul, in an all-black body.

It is so natu­ral to think that it is color that cons­ti­tu­tes the essence of huma­nity, that the peo­ples of Asia who make eunuchs always deprive blacks of their rela­tion­ship to us in a more deci­sive way.

The color of the skin may be jud­ged by that of the hair, which among the Egyptians, the best phi­lo­so­phers in the world, was of such great conse­quence that they put to death all the red­hai­red men who fell into their hands.

One proof that Negroes have no com­mon sense is that they make more of a glass neck­lace than a gold one, which among civi­li­zed nations is of such great conse­quence.

It is impos­si­ble for us to assume that these peo­ple are men, because if we assu­med they were men, peo­ple would begin to think we are not our­sel­ves Christians.

Petty minds make too much of the injus­tice we do to Africans. For if it were as great as they say, would it not have occur­red to the prin­ces of Europe, who make so many use­less conven­tions among them­sel­ves, to make a gene­ral one in favor of com­pas­sion and pity ?