the insurgents presented themselves as defending church and king in the first years of the uprising. Their subsequent alliance with the Jacobin government of revolutionary France, which authorized a comprehensive emancipation of slaves in the French colonies in 1794, had little impact on the popular Catholicism that remained an animating force in the revolution. The founders of Haiti at independence in 1804 and after made a point to contrast the embrace of Catholicism in this the second free republic in the Americas with the godless-ness of Napoleonic France which restored slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in 1802.22
Such contrasts between a pious attack on slavery and its impious defence mark a profound transformation in Christian attitudes towards human bondage. In the age of revolution, several of the most dynamic religious movements in Christendom were beginning to regard the venerable proslav-ery tradition in Christian thought as an embarrassment, an affront to true faith. The exponents of this new perspective denounced those who would invoke Scripture to justify inhumanity. Anglo-American Protestantism during the late eighteenth century tended to square itself with the Enlightenment faith in moral progress, but to reinterpret beneficial change as the workings of divine providence. The decision of Napoleonic France to restore slavery in 1802 seemed to show one consequence of valuing too highly the dictates of utility and reason. 'For Britons, at least', as the historian David Brion Davis has written, 'the long struggle with "infidel France" reinforced the conviction that Christianity, if unadulterated and wedded to free institutions, would inevitably promote the moral and material progress of every human race'.23 Revealed religion could achieve for humanity what the new science of man, with its preoccupation with human difference, would not: the individual and collective commitment to the salvation and dignity of mankind.
In most respects, the British critique ofthe Catholic powers was correct. Anti-slavery movements failed to develop in the Spanish and Portuguese empires duringthe long eighteenth century. The more pervasive antislavery sentiment in France produced only a short-lived antislavery movement, and then only among those bourgeois reformers conspicuously sympathetic to the British campaigns and sceptical of the religious authority of the Catholic Church. Abbe Henri Gregoire, a consistent opponent of slavery and racial prejudice, was the exception who proved the rule. Gregoire hoped that Haitian independence would contribute to the spiritual regeneration of the church and invest it with a new sense of purpose. He looked forward to the formation of an indigenous clergy who would promote Christianity in Haiti and beyond. Gregoire was, however, a singular figure, and his comfortable position within
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