Today’s entry from Darwin’s Beagle diary:
29th May 1832
Rio de Janeiro
Cloudy greyish day, something like an Autumnal one in England; without however its soothing quietness. I wanted to send a note this morning into the city & had the greatest difficulty in procuring anybody to take it. All white men are above it, & every black about here is a slave. This, amongst other things, is one great inconvenience of a slave country.
Darwin was in fact strongly anti-slavery. As a grandson of Josiah Wedgwood he was probably brought up that way, but his experiences visiting Brazil reinforced it and stayed with him for the rest of his life. Still, it’s not the most felicitous bit of phrasing.