Guillaume-Thomas-François, abbé Raynal
Historical Period: The 18th Century
Guillaume-Thomas-François, abbé Raynal (1713-1796) was an Enlightened historian who wrote on the Dutch Stadholderate and the English Parliament. His most famous work was the 8 volume Histoire philosophique et politique, des établissements et du commerce des européens dans les deux Indes (1770) which went through some thirty editions by 1789, was put on the Index in 1774 and publicly burned. The book was found objectionable because of its treatment of religion and its advocacy of the popular right to consent to taxation and to revolt, among other things. Its sometimes incendiary treatment of the slave trade became canonical in the debate over abolition that it did much to spur.