Joaquim Nabuco: “We Are Seeking Our Country’s Highest Interests”(1883)
Since the law of September 28, 1871, was passed, the Brazilian government has been trying to make the world believe that slavery has ended in Brazil. Our propaganda has tried to spread to other countries the belief that the slaves were being freed in considerable numbers, and that the children of the slaves were being born entirely free. Slave mortality is an item which never appears in those fraudulent statistics, behind which is the philosophy that a lie spread abroad allows the government to do nothing at home and to abandon the slaves to their fate.
The record of manumissions—highly creditable to Brazil—dominates the official picture and obscures slave mortality, while crimes against slaves, the number of Africans still in bondage, the hunting down of fugitive blacks, the fluctuating price of human flesh, the rearing of ingênuos in slavery, the utter sameness of our rural prisons, and everything unbecoming, humiliating, and bad for the government are all carefully...
Joaquim Nabuco. Abolitionism: The Brazilian Anti-Slavery Struggle. Translated by Robert Conrad. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1977.
A Brazilian plantar traveling with his wife and slaves (Library of Congress)View Full Size