European fears of immigration, redux

The first time was tragedy, the current time is farce. A lawyer for the Parlement of Paris in the 1750s:

“The introduction of too many blacks into France, whether as slaves or in any other guise, is dangerous. We will soon see the French nation disfigured,” Poncet wrote, reacting to the case of a mulatto named Louis who had just been declared free and rewarded back wages. β€œThe negroes are, in general, dangerous men. There is practically not one of those to whom one has given their liberty who has not abused it.”

Three hundred years later you could easily substitute Muslim for negro and this would not sound amiss.

From The Black Count, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Alexandre Dumas’ father (of the same name): a mixed-race general during the French Revolution. More generally it’s an interesting and unusually well-written insight into the revolutionary era.

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