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suffered, by their being thus of no value. In the instance just mentioned, the soldiers began to kill them, if not privately bought off by their friends; and, in the earlier civil commotions, captives were openly massacred by Sylla and the Triumviri; which, perhaps, would not have been done, to the same extent, had those prisoners been saleable.'
'This people, of whose war-laws we are apt to think so highly', remarks Michaelis, 'for a long time, even to the days of Caesar, 'massacred their prisoners in cold blood, whenever they survived 'the disgrace of the triumph.' * Slavery was the bitter alternative; a striking illustration of the fact, that "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." -f
When a property in man was thus established, originating in violence, the trade in men speedily commenced. Prisoners of war were first sold; and then, to supply the market once opened, the harmless and unoffending were kidnapped, or hunted down, and carried off from their country by the pirates of the ancient world. The chief emporium of the Roman slave-trade was Delos.
* The slave trade which they encouraged was so brisk, that the port became proverbial for such traffic, and was capable of importing and re-exporting 10,000 slaves in a single day. The Cilician pirates made Delos the great staple for sale of their captives, which was a very gainful part of their occupation. Sida, a city of Pamphylia, was another market of these robbers, for the disposal of their prisoners, whom they sold there, avowing them to be free men. The pirates of Cilicia were put down by Pompey, who burned 1,300 of their ships; but the eastern part of the Mediterranean was never free from piratical adventurers, by whom captives, for sale or ransom, were considered valuable booty. Delos ceased to be a great mart after the Mithridatic war; and it seems probable, that, afterwards, the slave-trade was transferred to the various ports nearest those countries whence the slaves came.
'The most regular supply of valuable slaves to the Italian market, was originally procured through trade. Other nations, no doubt, sold to the Roman dealers, slaves taken in wars with which Rome had not been concerned. In most countries, too, it was common for parents to sell their children into slavery. When the privileges of Roman citizenship were highly esteemed, and rarely obtained, it was not unusual for the allies to give their children as slaves to masters in Rome, on condition of their being ultimately manumitted, and so made to participate, as freedmen, in the envied advantages of citizens; until the practice was checked by a special enactment, in A. u. c. 573. Doubts nave been thrown upon the extent of the slave-trade carried on by the Romans, from the vastness of its cost; but the value of ordinary slaves , not such as to give much weight to this objection. In trafficking
Laws of Moses, Vol. I. p. 331. t Prov. xii. 10.
with comparatively barbarous nations, dealers procured slaves by barter, at a very cheap rate. Salt, for example, was anciently much taken by the Thracians, in exchange for human beings. Even had the cost of slaves been higher than we have good authority for estimating it, the wealth of the Romans was certainly so immense, that great capital might be supposed to have been engaged in a trade which had become absolutely necessary; besides, we have many positive testimonies to the fact, of great numbers of foreign slaves being imported into Italy- Man-stealing appears to have been, at all times, a very prevalent crime amongst the ancients; there is every reason to think that Terence was kidnapped from Carthage; the Persa and Paenulus of Plautus shew that such practices were not unusual in the East, when they, or their originals, were written; and St. Paul, in denouncing inan-stealers as sinners of the worst class, impresses us with the belief that these offences were very frequent. The number of Roman laws passed, at various periods, against man-stealing, [plagium,'] evinces at once the sense which the Legislature entertained of its enormity, and the difficulty experienced in its suppression.' pp. 29—31.
'Free-born Romans might be reduced to slavery by the operation of law. Criminals doomed to certain ignominious punishments were, by effect of their sentence, deprived of citizenship, and sunk into a state of servitude. They were then termed " slaves of punishment," Q«rw pccnce,] and belonged to the fisc, in later times, whence we may judge them to have been the property of the public during the commonwealth. This severe consequence was inferred by condemnation to death, or to the arena, or to labour for life, in the mines or the public works; and a pardon, or a remission of the penalty, left the convict still a slave, unless he was restored to his former rank by a special act of grace. But the condition of penal slaves was entirely abolished by Justinian. We must not omit here to mention, that during the early persecutions of Christianity, reduction to slavery in a very horrid form, was employed as a punishment for the embracing of our faith.' pp. 38—39.
Michaelis, in his Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, is disposed to defend the legislative policy which would perpetuate slavery, on this ground; that, where it does not subsist, 'many 'crimes which might otherwise be more advantageously, and per'haps more effectually, and at the same time also more mildly 'punished by condemnation to slavery, must be made capital 'offences; such as theft and wilful bankruptcy! Nor is there', he adds, 'any proper means of preventing the idleness of 'beggars; for work-houses, which, after all, form almost a species 'of slavery, cost the public more than they bring in. Nor, again, 'can the settlement of debts be in any way so summarily and 'securely effected, as when the creditor has it in his power to sell 'the debtor for his slave! * Upon the whole, the establishment 'of slavery under certain limitations', the learned German con
* Michaelis, Laws of Moses, Vol. II. p. 157,
tends, 'would prove a profitable plan."' When we meet with such sentiments as these in the pages of a philosophical and Christian jurist of the eighteenth century, we cease to wonder at the injustice and cruelty of the penal laws of other days. But this very defence of slavery includes the important admission, that it is a penal condition,—one which might be deemed a sufficient punishment of crimes of the deepest dye,—a substitute for capital punishments, milder only than the extreme sanction of the law, and, for the purpose of terror, not less effectual. Without entering upon the argument relating to the expediency of such a mode of punishment, we put it to our readers, What is the character of that system which inflicts the punishment of guilt upon the innocent? which, without the pretext of national hostility, wages perpetual war against human nature in the persons of those who have never sinned, nor their fathers, against society? The same relation which this severest of secondary punishments bears to capital punishments, the crime of inflicting it upon the innocent must bear to murder. The difference is merely one of degree; and as to colonial slavery, the nature of the bondage makes it little better than slow murder. Negro life is constantly melting away, and the race is diminishing under the dreadful penalty of slavery; a penalty inflicted not for the crimes of its victims, but for the gains of their masters: a system of gratuitous and arbitrary punishment of the unoffending, for the pure advantage and convenience of a handful of white tyrants! The marked distinction between the ancient and the modern slavery, as to its origin and principle, is forcibly put in an eloquent sermon, just published, on 'The Sinfulness of Colonial Slavery', by Mr. Halley, the Classical Tutor at Highbury College.
• In those early times, the claim of the master was founded in the acknowledged laws of war. These might have been unjust and immoral, inhuman and cruel. It is neither my business nor my inclination to justify war; but, still, it is essentially distinct from the practice of man-stealing. In the patriarchal age war was unquestionably tolerated, and slavery was the unavoidable result. But then ench party was exposed to the danger. Every man, in hope of the spoils, put his life in jeopardy. He ventured, if he survived the day, his limbs and liberty upon the fortune of war. The understood condition of every combat was, in the words of the champion of Gath, "If ye be able to fight with me, then will we be your servants ; but, if I prevail against him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us."
'When a property in man was thus established, the practice of seizing and selling the harmless and peaceable very soon commenced. The one facilitated the introduction of the other; but who cannot distinguish between the two? Is there no difference between the claim to a prisoner of war, who had attempted your life, and the title of the Midianite merchants, when they purchased Joseph, an inoffensive youth, from his brethren? Retaliation is the principle of the former; the latter is the unprovoked infliction of injury. The pure light of the gospel was necessary to discover the evil of the former, which, in the times of ignorance, God winked at, in those who had no conscience of the guilt; the iniquity of the latter, condemned even by heathen moralists, must have been detected by the feeble and obscure glimmering of the light of nature. For the former might have been pleaded the reason of self-defence, the right of reprisals, and even the humanity of sparing the life of a captive; for the latter nothing whatever could have been offered in extenuation. The mighty man of valour in that age might lead home his captives with the conqueror's song, " Blessed be the Lord, my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight;" but the reflections of the man-stealer, unless his heart were iron, must have been like those of the patriarchs, " We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear." There is as essential a difference between the two acts of enslaving, though the slavery were the same, as there is between the slaughter of a soldier on the field of battle, and the murder of a traveller for the sake of gold. Joshua was a man of war from his youth; but you can all distinguish him from the murderous assassin.
'Colonial Slavery is the bondage, not of the warrior, but of the kidnapper and man-stealer. Were we to go back to the infancy and earliest rudiments of the world, we could not vindicate it, even by the license of that imperfect state of morals and religion. It is not retaliation, which was then permitted, but the original and unprovoked infliction of wrong. Were we Jews, it is forbidden by Moses; were we heathens, it is condemned by the light of nature. When did the negro race attempt to enslave us or our ancestors? When did their vessels visit our shores, and their armed men burn our villages, break up our families, carry away our children, and doom them to cruel, hopeless, exhausting, interminable Ixmdagc? Do you resign your Christianity to justify slavery, by an appeal to the law of Moses, or the license of the patriarchs? Where is even that un-Christian pretext? Had we seized an Algerine corsair, and sold his crew to work the plantations, we might have appealed for our precedent to patriarchal times. But that one race—the most inoffensive, and, from its situation and character, altogether indisposed, and utterly unable even if disposed, ever to interfere with the politics of Europe, should have become the common prey of every plunderer,—should, for ages, have its several tribes bribed and stimulated to mutual wars by a traffic with professed Christians, in order to supply the slave-markets of the world; should, though it had never lifted an arm against its oppressor, have seen its villages in ruins, its rivers and creeks infested with slave-boats, its fields stained with the blood of the wounded and defenceless, its shores watered with the salt tears of its children, torn for ever from the land of their birth and the love of their friends, and transported across the Atlantic to become an oppressed and degraded population, from Virginia to La Plata: this is the burden of Britain, the scarlet and crimson stain of Christendom, the opprobrium of our religion, the blaspheming of our God among the Gentiles. It is pure, gratuitous, unprovoked injury. What to be compared with this was ever conceded to the hardness of Jewish hearts? What equal injustice was ever tolerated in the ignorance and rudeness of the patriarchal ages? Go out of your place from Jerusalem above, the mother of us all, to Mount Sinai in Arabia, in bondage with her children; as sons of the bondwoman more than the free, consult the schoolmaster of the infant world, in preference to Christ, the teacher of its maturer age; and, from its weak and beggarly elements learn, if you choose, your lessons of morality. Ask Moses, or even the fathers, why the negro may be excommunicated from the family of man ?—why his unprovoked wrongs should remain unredressed?—why his wife and children are not his own ?—why you may claim, what the conscience and laws of a Christian people dare claim in no other child of Adam, a property and freehold in his flesh and sinews, his life and his limbs .
'I have alluded to the Mosaic, in connexion with the patriarchal dispensation; but, as the servitude among the Israelites is often adduced in defence of Colonial Slavery, it may require a distinct examination. Slavery was, as we have already seen, not of Moses, but of the fathers. It was a more ancient institute, which we acknowledge he permitted, but did not establish. It had become, at that time, prevalent among many nations; but, as their languages shew, the general idea was, still, the service of prisoners of war, rendered to the conquerors to whose clemency, or cupidity, they owed the preservation of life. As Moses permitted war, I see not how he could consistently have prohibited slavery, in an age when the exchange of prisoners was utterly unknown. The Israelites, indeed, were warriors by a divine commission. The result of their battles must have been either bondage or death. Moses tolerated the smaller evil, slavery, to prevent the greater, indiscriminate massacre. He legislated for a people intrusted to execute the commination of Noah upon the posterity of Canaan, in which some would now unwarrantably involve all the tribes of Africa.'
Halley, pp. 4—7
That the Canaanites were negroes, has not, so far as we recollect, been gravely maintained by any writer; but it is strange to find biblical commentators, down to the present day, speaking of the descendants, not of Canaan merely, but of Ham, as condemned to degradation and servitude. From the race of Ham sprang the most famous conquerors of the old world; and we have sometimes thought, that the very best pretext that could have been devised by the whites, for reducing the black races to bondage, would have been the plea of retaliation, since the ancestors of the whites were held in subjection by sable lords, when a fair skin was no patent of nature's nobility. The ancient slavery was, however, very impartial in this respect, and, like Mohammed's law of polygamy *, allowed a community of all
* We do not vouch for the fact, that Mohammed sanctioned polygamy with the view of allowing every man who could afford it, to have four wives of different colours, white, black, mahogany, and olive; but
vOL. IX. U.s. M M