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teen Thousand Millions of property | world by the industry, enterprise, returned in 1860 had been created and thrift of our people during the and added to the wealth of the eighty preceding years.
SLAVERY BEFORE THE REVOLUTION.
VICE, whether individual or general, is ever conceived in darkness and cradled in obscurity. It challenges observation only in its hardy maturity and conscious strength. Slavery is older than Civilization-older than History. Its origin is commonly referred to war-to the captivity of the vanquished, and to the thrift and clemency of the victor, who learns by experience that the gratification of killing his prisoner is transient, while the profit of sparing him for servitude is enduring; and thus, in rude ages, not merely the vanquished warriors, but their wives and children, their dependents and subjects, were accounted legitimate "spoils of victory," along with the lands, houses, flocks and herds, the goods and chattels of the conquered people. "Woe to the conquered!" is the primary rule of savage and of barbarian warfare; and the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, the destruction by Rome of Capua, of Carthage, and of other cities and peoples which had provoked her special enmity, prove that nations which regarded themselves as far advanced in civilization, were hardly more merciful than savages, when maddened by fear and hate. War wastes and devastates. The earth, plowed however deeply with cannon-wheels, yields uncertain
harvests; yet armies and their dependents must be fed. Rapacity, as well as destruction, seems almost inseparable from war. The soldier, impelled to destroy for his chief's or his country's sake, soon learns to save and appropriate for his own. The natural and necessary distinction between 'mine' and 'thine' becomes in his mind confused, if not obliterated. The right of every one to the product of his own labor is one which his vocation incites, and even compels, him to disregard. To enslave those whom, whether combatants or otherwise, he might justifiably kill, appears to him rather an act of humanity than of injustice and wrong. Hence, the warlike, conquering, dominating races of antiquity almost universally rejoiced, when at their acme of power and greatness, in the possession of innumerable slaves.
Slavery of a mild and gentle type may very well have grown up insensibly, even in the absence of war. The patriarch has shelter and food, with employment for various capacities; and his stronghold, if he be stationary, or his tents, if he be nomadic, become the refuge of the unfortunate and the destitute from the region around him. The abandoned wife, the unwedded mother, the crippled or infirm of either sex,
SLAVERY AMONG THE ANCIENTS.
the tender orphan, and the out-worn, | hend that it was cheaper to buy the
beef he required in the grass-market at Glasgow than to obtain it without price, by harrying the lowland farms. So the first man who ever imbibed or conceived the fatal delusion that it was more advantageous to him, or to any human being, to procure whatever his necessities or his appetites required by address and scheming than by honest work-by the unrequited rather than the fairly and faithfully recompensed toil of his fellow-creatures-was, in essence and in heart, a slaveholder, and only awaited opportunity to become one in deed and practice. And this single truth, operating upon the infinite varieties of human capacity and culture, suffices to account for the universality of slaveholding in the anteChristian ages, for its tenacity of life, and for the extreme difficulty of even its partial eradication. The ancients, while they apprehended, perhaps adequately, the bitterness of bondage, which many of them had experienced, do not seem to have perceived so vividly the corresponding evils of slaveholding. They saw that end of the chain which encircled the ankle of the bondman; they do not seem to have so clearly perceived that the other lay heavily across the throat of even his sleeping master. Homer-if we may take Pope's word for it-observed that
seedy prodigal, betake themselves to his lodge, and humbly solicit his permission to earn bread and shelter by tending his flocks and herds, or by any other service to which their capacities are adequate. Some are accepted from motives of thrift; others under the impulse of charity; and the greater portion of either class, exulting in their escape from hunger, cold, and nakedness, gladly remain through life. Marriages are formed among them and children are born, who grow up adepts in the labor the patriarch requires of them, contented with their station, and ignorant of the world outside of his possessions. If his circumstances require a military force, he organizes it of 'servants born in his household.' His possessions steadily increase, and he becomes in time a feudal chieftain, ruling over vassals proud of his eminence and docile to his will. Thus it has been justly remarked that the condition of Slavery has ever preceded the laws by which it is ultimately regulated; and it is not without plausibility that its champions have contended for it as a natural form of society-a normal development of the necessary association of Capital with Labor in Man's progress from rude ignorance and want to abundance, refinement, and luxury.
But Slavery, primarily considered, has still another aspect-that of a natural relation of simplicity to cunning, of ignorance to knowledge, of weakness to power. Thomas Carlyle,' before his melancholy decline and fall into devil-worship, truly observed, that the capital mistake of Rob Roy was his failure to compre
"Jove fixed it certain, that whatever day
but that the slaveholding relation ef fected an equal discount on the value of the master appears to have escaped him. It is none the less true, however, that ancient civilization, in its 1 In a letter on Copyright.
various national developments, was | courtly Felix tremble. The prelates habitually corrupted, debauched, of the lately persecuted Church were and ultimately ruined, by Slavery, the favored companions and counwhich rendered labor dishonorable, selors-too often, alas! the courtiers and divided society horizontally into also-of Emperors and Cæsars; but a small caste of the wealthy, edu- they seldom improved or risked their cated, refined, and independent, and great opportunity to demand obea vast hungry, sensual, thriftless, and dience, in all cases, to the dictates of worthless populace; rendered impos- the Golden Rule. The Church had sible the preservation of republican become an estate above the people; liberty and of legalized equality, even and their just complaints of the opamong the nominally free. Dioge- pressions and inhumanities of the nes, with his lantern, might have powerful were not often breathed vainly looked, through many a long into its reluctant ears. White Sladay, among the followers of Marius, very gradually wore out, or faded or Catiline, or Cæsar, for a speci- out; but it was not grappled men of the poor but virtuous and with and crushed as it should have self-respecting Roman citizen of been. The Dark Ages, justly so the days of Cincinnatus, or even of called, are still quite dark enough; Regulus. but sufficient light has been shed upon them to assure us that the accord of priest and noble was complete, and that serf and peasant groaned and suffered beneath their iron sway.
The Slavery of antiquity survived the religions, the ideas, the polities, and even the empires, in which it had its origin. It should have been abolished, with gladiatorial combats and other moral abominations, on the accession of Christianity to recognized supremacy over the Roman world; but the simple and sublime doctrine of Jesus and his disciples, of Paul and the Apostles, had ere this been grievously corrupted and perverted. The subtleties of Greek speculation, the pomp and pride of imperial Rome, had already commenced drawing the Church insensibly further and further away from its divine source. A robed and mitered ecclesiasticism, treacherous to humanity and truckling to power, had usurped the place of that austere, intrepid spirit which openly rebuked the guilt of regal, voluptuous Herod, and made
2 "In the year 990, Moorish merchants from the Barbary coast first reached the cities of Nigritia, and established an uninterrupted exchange of Saracen and European luxuries for
The invention of Printing, the discovery of America, the Protestant Reformation, the decline and fall of Feudalism, gradually changed the condition and brightened the prospect of the masses. Ancient Slavery was dead; modern Serfdom was substantially confined to cold and barbarous Russia; but African Slavery
the slavery of heathen negroes— had been revived, or reintroduced, on the northern coast of the Mediterranean, by Moorish traders, about the Tenth Century, and began to make its way among Spanish and Portuguese Christians somewhere near the middle of the Fifteenth.2
The great name of Columbus is
the gold and slaves of Central Africa."-Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. i., p.
"The Portuguese are next in the market. An
ORIGIN OF NEGRO SLAVERY IN AMERICA.
indelibly soiled and stained by his undeniable and conspicuous implication in the enslavement of the Aborigines of this continent, so improperly termed Indians. Within two years after his great discovery, before he had set foot on the continent, he was concerned in seizing some scores of natives, carrying them to Spain, and selling them there as slaves. His example was extensively followed. The fierce lust for gold, which inflamed the early adventurers on his track, incited the most reckless, shameless disregard of the rights and happiness of a harmless and guileless people, whose very helplessness should have been their defense. Forced to hunt incessantly for gold, and to minister in every way to the imperious appetites of their stranger tyrants, they found in speedy death their only relief from intolerable suffering. In a few years, but a miserable remnant remained. And now the western coast of Africa was thrown open to replace them by a race more indurated to hardship, toil, and suffering.'
tonio Gonzales, who had brought some Moorish slaves into Portugal, was commanded to release them. He did so; and the Moors gave him, as their ransom, not gold, but black Moors with curled hair. Thus negro slaves came into Europe."
"In 1444, Spain also took part in the traffic. The historian of her maritime discoveries even claims for her the unenviable distinction of having anticipated the Portuguese in introducing negroes into Europe."-Ibid., p. 166.
3" Columbus himself did not escape the stain. Enslaving five hundred native Americans, he sent them to Spain, that they might be publicly sold at Seville."-Ibid.
Religion was speciously invoked to cover this new atrocity with her broad mantle, under the plea of relieving the Indians from a servitude, which they had already escaped through the gate of death. But, though the Papacy was earnestly importuned to lend its sanction to this device, and though its compliance has been stoutly asserted, and was long widely believed, the charge rests upon no evidence, is squarely denied, and has been silently abandoned. For once, at least, avarice and cruelty have been unable to gain a sacerdotal sanction, and compelled to fall back in good order upon Canaan and Ham. But, even without benefit of clergy, Negro Slavery, once introduced, rapidly, though thinly, overspread the whole vast area of Spanish and Portuguese America, with Dutch and French Guiana and the West India Islands; and the African slave-trade was, for two or three centuries, the most lucrative, though most abhorrent, traffic pursued by or known to mankind.' It was the subject of
"In 1500, the generous Isabella commanded the liberation of the Indians held in bondage in her European possessions. Yet her native benevolence extended not to the Moors, whose valor had been punished by slavery, nor to the Africans; and even her compassion for the New World was but a transient feeling, which relieves the miserable who are in sight, not the deliberation of a just principle."-Bancroft's Hist. U. S., vol. i., p. 128.
"It was not Las Casas who first suggested the plan of transporting African slaves to Hispaniola; Spanish slaveholders, as they emigra ted, were accompanied by their negroes."Ibid.
"Even the voluptuous Leo X. declared that 'not the Christian religion only, but nature herself, cries out against the state of Slavery.' And Paul III., in two separate briefs, imprecated a curse on the Europeans who would enslave Indians, or any other class of men.”—Ibid., p. 172.
'Upon the suggestion of Las Casas in favor of negroes for American slaves, in contradiction to the Indians, negroes began to be poured into the
"It had been proposed to allow four for each emigrant. Deliberate calculation fixed the number esteemed necessary at four thousand. That very year in which Charles V. sailed with a powerful expedition against Tunis, to attack the pirates of the Barbary States, and to emancipate Christian slaves in Africa, he gave an open, legal sanction to the African slave-trade."—Ibid., p. 170.
gainful and jealous monopolies, and its profits were greedily shared by philosophers, statesmen, and kings.*
When, in 1607, the first abiding English colony-Virginia-was founded on the Atlantic coast of what is now our country, Negro Slavery, based on the African slavetrade, was more than a century old throughout Spanish and Portuguese America, and so had already acquired the stability and respectability of an institution. It was nearly half a century old in the British West Indies. Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and British vessels and trading companies' vied with each other for the gains to be speedily acquired by purchasing, or kidnapping, young negroes on the coast of Guinea, and selling them in the American colonies of their own and other nations. The early colonists of Virginia were mainly adventurers of an unusually bad type-bankrupt prodigals, genteel spendthrifts, and incorrigible profligates, many of whom had left their native country for that country's good, in obedience to the urgent persuasion of sheriffs, judges, and juries. All were intoxicated by the common illusions of emigrants with regard to
8"A Flemish favorite of Charles V. having obtained of this king a patent containing an exclusive right of importing four thousand negroes annually to the West Indies, sold it for twentyfive thousand ducats, to some Genoese merchants, who first brought into a regular form the commerce for slaves between Africa and America."-Holmes's Annals of America, vol. i., p. 35.
"In 1563, the English began to import negroes into the West Indies. Their first slave-trade was opened the preceding year on the coast of Guinea. John Hawkins, in the prospect of a great gain, resolved to make trial of this nefarious and inhuman traffic. Communicating the design to several gentlemen in London, who became liberal contributors and adventurers, three good ships were immediately provided; and, with these and one hundred men, Hawkins sailed to the coast of Guinea, where, by money,
the facilities for acquiring vast wealth at the cost of little or no labor in the Eden to which they were attracted. Probably no other colony that ever succeeded or endured was so largely made up of unfit and unpromising materials. Had it not been backed by a strong and liberal London company, which enjoyed for two or three generations the special favor and patronage of the Crown, it must have perished in its infancy. But the climate of tide-water Virginia is genial, the soil remarkably fertile and facile, the timber abundant and excellent, while its numerous bays and inlets abound in the choicest shellfish; so that a colony that would fail here could succeed nowhere. Tobacco, too, that bewitching but poisonous narcotic, wherewith Providence has seen fit to balance the inestimable gifts of Indian Corn and the Potato by the New World to the Old, grew luxuriantly on the intervals of her rivers, and was eagerly bought at high prices by the British merchants, through whom nearly every want of the colonists was supplied. Manual labor of all kinds was in great demand in the English colonies; so that, for some time, the
treachery, and force, he procured at least three hundred negroes, and now sold them at Hispaniola."—Ibid., p. 83.
"Ferdinand" (in 1513) "issued a decree declaring that the servitude of the Indians is warranted by the laws of God and man."-Ibid., p.32.
"Every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what nation or religion whatsoever."-Locke's Fundamental Constitution for South Carolina.
According to Bancroft, upon the establishment of the Assiento Treaty in 1713, creating a Company for the prosecution of the African Slave Trade, one-quarter of the stock was taken by Philip of Spain; Queen Anne reserved to herself another quarter, and the remaining moiety was to be divided among her subjects. "Thus did the sovereigns of England and Spain become the largest slave-merchants in the world."