The register of grievances of Charolles and of Toulon-sur-Arroux (Saône-et-Loire)
“May no vestige of slavery remain under French empire!”
Article 10 of the Register of grievances of Toulon-sur-Arroux of 17 March 1789
The register of grievances of Toulon-sur-Arroux
Benefiting from the convocation of the Estates General launched in August 1788 to be held in Versailles in May 1789, the abolitionist Society of the Friends of the Blacks sent to the bailiwicks a petition to ask the people to denounce slavery in the registers of grievances. In that of the bailiwick of Charolles, and especially in the register of the parish of Toulon-sur-Arroux, on the initiative of its mayor, Jean-Philippe Saclier, lawyer in the Parliament of Burgundy, we find a visionary call to the solidarity of the Nations to eradicate slavery.
Capture and convoys of slaves in Africa
The register of the Third Estate of the bailiwick of Charolles is a synthesis of the 83 registers from the 83 parishes of the Charolais, obtained in the Auditoire du Bailliage, very close to the count's castle. It asks in its article IV - 9: "May slavery be abolished in the French colonies “.
But it is the village of Toulon-sur-Arroux which expresses in article 10 of its register of grievances a claim of a much greater scope, aiming at slavery, trafficking, and the universal abolition of it by means of an international agreement, in the following terms:
“May no vestige of slavery remain under French empire! May the measure of public fortune be no longer calculated on the number of unfortunates! Finally, may slavery be abolished in the colonies, may the nation renounce forever the slave trade, and may the King, following the movement of his heart, invite all nations to abjure this monstrous trade by a general pact that Humanity demands. »
Article 10 of the register of grievances and the memorial that hold the memory of the wish of the inhabitants of Toulon-sur-Arroux on 7 March 1789.
The author of this brief, clear and powerful text is the mayor of Toulon-sur-Arroux, Jean-Philippe Saclier, a lawyer in the Parliament of Burgundy, a liberal and enlightened spirit. He was born in Toulon-sur-Arroux, where he died in 1819.
Article 10 of the register of grievances of Toulon-sur-Arroux remains, with the one of the inhabitants of Champagney in Haute-Saône, exceptional, because there were few demonstrations against the system. So:
- Out of one hundred and sixty-four registers of bailiwick or seneschalty written by the Third Estate, twelve call for the abolition of the slave trade, four of which the abolition of slavery, the eight others showing their disapproval of these practices, although with caution. The registers of grievances of parish, with rare exceptions like that of Champagney or of Toulon-sur-Arroux, do not address the subject.
- Out of one hundred and fifty registers written by the nobility, three call the abolition of the slave trade, two of which the abolition of slavery, and seven others make an imprecise wish on this subject;
- Out of one hundred and fifty-five registers written by the clergy, eight call for the abolition of the slave trade, four of which the abolition of slavery, four others approach the subject with circumspection.