For anyone that desires the full context of this quote:
In 1787, Count Constantine de Volney — a French nobleman, philosopher, historian, orientalist, and politician — embarked on a journey to the East in late 1782 and reached Ottoman Egypt were he spent nearly seven months.
Constantine de Volney was troubled much by the institution of slavery. His expressed opinion that the ancient Egyptians were black Africans much departed from the typical European view of the late eighteenth century, but it gave many people cause for reflection. During his visit to Egypt he expressed amazement that the Egyptians – whose civilization was greatly admired in Europe – were not White!
“All the Egyptians,” wrote de Volney, “have a bloated face, puffed-up eyes, flat nose, thick lips – in a word, the true face of the mulatto. I was tempted to attribute it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key to the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remembered the remarkable passage where Herodotus says:
’ As for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians
because, like them, they are black with woolly hair…
“When I visited the Sphinx, I could not help thinking that the figure of that monster furnished the true solution to the enigma(of how the modern Egyptians came to have their ‘mulatto’ appearance)
“In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans. That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Greeks and Romans, must have lost the intensity of its original color, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mold.
“Just think,” de Volney declared incredulously, “that this race of Black men, today our slave and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, and even the use of speech! Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of people who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery, and questioned whether Black men have the same kind of intelligence as whites!
“In other words the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same stock as all the autochthonous peoples of Africa and from the datum one sees how their race, after some centuries of mixing with the blood of Romans and Greeks, must have lost the full blackness of its original color but retained the impress of its original mould.”
M. Constantine de Volney, Travels through Syria and Egypt in the Years 1783, 1784, and 1785 (London: 1787), p. 80-83.