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For APRIL, 1833.

Art. I. An Inquiry into the Stale of Slavery amongst the Ramant; from the earliest Period till the Establishment of the Lombards in Italy. By William Blair, Esq. 12mo. pp. xii. 301. Price 6s. Edinburgh, 1833.

'outline of the most important chapter in the great his•*- tory of servitude', is from the pen of a gentleman who has had an opportunity of personally observing the condition of the slaves in two of our colonies; the Cape of Good Hope and the Mauritius. He is the son of the late Lord President Blair of the Court of Session, and was sent out as a Commissioner, in 1825 — 9, to inquire into the state of those colonies. In this volume, he does not, however, attempt to institute any comparison between modern colonial and ancient slavery. Wherever the 'bitter draught' is mingled, 'many of the ingredients ', he remarks, ' must ever be the same; but, on some points, the two 'systems differ so widely, that they could serve but little to illus'trate each other.' The work has no direct reference, therefore, to the subject which is at present agitating the public mind. It is purely an historical inquiry, relating to ' a people who, above * all others, have furnished employment to the studious and 'amusement to the idle; who have scarcely left behind them a, 'coin or a stone which has not been examined and explained a 'thousand times, and whose dress, food, and household- stuff, it 'has been the pride of learning to understand.' Nevertheless, the state of slavery among the Romans, has hitherto received little attention from literary men in this country. Mr. Stephen, in his invaluable work, " The Slavery of the British West India Colonies delineated", has occasionally, for the purpose of illustration, referred to the ancient system; and the advocates of Negro Slavery have not been ashamed to plead the example of the pagan Romans as a sanction, claiming for it the tacit countenance or perVol. ix. — x.s. L i.

mission of Christianity itself. On this account, in addition to the historic interest attaching to the inquiry, it is important that the nature of that system of servitude should be fully understood, to which, in the New Testament, there is repeated reference. The inquiry may be rendered subservient to the purpose of Biblical illustration; and an examination of the details will enable the reader to judge, how far a system which was undoubtedly coexistent with primitive Christianity, can be regarded as compatible with its dictates, and sanctioned by its tacit recognition.

Slavery, of some kind or other, has existed as the condition of a certain class of the population, in almost every country, from the remotest antiquity. No great nation of the ancient world, of which any accounts have come down to us, seems to have been wholly without a servile class. From the records of the Old Testament, a condition of absolute bondage appears to have been established as a regular institution in Asia and in Egypt. The Patriarchs had slaves, as well as the Canaanites and the Arabians. It existed in every part of Greece, and may be traced in the remains of all those States into which Italy was divided anterior to the foundation of Rome. Instead of being confined to any race, it prevailed in every branch of the human family. The black races held in bondage the less civilized whites; the descendants of Ham made captives and bondsmen of those of Shem and Japhet, who indiscriminately held in slavery the descendants of their respective progenitors, and those of the supposed parent of the sable children of the Sun, upon whom some authors have absurdly represented slavery to be peculiarly entailed. Britain, down to a late period, supplied slaves to the Roman market; and ' his'torians have often repeated the singular aneedote told by Bede, 'of Gregory the Great having been moved to suggest the con'version of our ancestors, by the sight of many fine English 'youths exposed to sale in the market of Rome.' According to Strabo, British slaves were prized for their stature, on which account they were assigned by Augustus to the service of the theatre. England was disgraced by the exportation of her natives long after the age of St. Gregory; and the practice of kidnapping, not Africans, but British and Irish children, was long carried on, not by Algerines, but by English corsairs and Bristolian slave-traders.

Such is the high antiquity, such the universal prevalence in former times, of Slavery. Whence could such a state of things have originated? There can be little doubt that it had its first origin, as Michaelis remarks, in war. The claim of the master was founded upon the supposed right of conquest, or rather, upon the clemency or humane policy which spared the lives of the conquered. Captivity was a commutation of the bloody law of war. Slavery was, therefore, in its origin and essential character, a penal condition. Those who were taken in war, were dealed with as rebels, or persons obnoxious to vengeance. All wars have been levied upon some pretext which might throw the blame upon the weaker party, and give to the vindictive or predatory incursion the semblance of retribution or penal justice. How unjustly soever the innocent victims might be reduced to bondage, it is clear, that they were regarded as having forfeited life, before they were deprived of liberty. The right to enslave another, is founded on the right to take away his life. Hence, the difference in the estimated value of a slave's life and that of a freeman. The former is an imperfect life, part of which has been taken by the sword of vengeance, and part is left. National enemies and domestic criminals were viewed in the same light, and placed alike beyond the pale of humanity. The apology for massacre in war, and for the milder punishment, slavery, is substantially the same. Thus we find Michaelis palliating the cruelties of the ancient warfare by asking, 'whether a magistrate has a right to 'proceed more severely against a band of robbers, than one nation

* against another that has behaved with as much hostility and

* cruelty as robbers can do.' * His argument is, that if it is not deemed unjust to inflict capital punishments, and even torture, on banditti, who are subjects, it cannot be absolutely unjust to treat foreign enemies with equal severity. It is due to the learned Writer to remark, that his object is, to vindicate from the objections of sceptics, the cruelties practised in the wars of the Israelites, which he shews to have been strictly conformable to the Asiatic law of nations at that period. According to the same law which doomed the males to massacre, the women and children were carried into captivity. If any who had borne arms were spared to become slaves, that was considered as an act of clemency, an exercise of compassion. Such was undoubtedly the origin of a servile class among most ancient nations; and the slave was either a captive or the child of one. 'The Romans % Mr. Blair remarks:

'seem to have usually acted upon the rule of granting life and liberty to enemies who surrendered without a contest; but of carrying away, as prisoners, those who had made resistance. The most of such captives, often after the humiliation of being led in triumph, were sold into slavery, or sent to fight in the amphitheatre, as gladiators or combatants with wild beasts; but some were usually retained by the state, as public slaves. Romulus, after his first successes over his neighbours, directed, that not all the vanquished of the age of puberty should be put to death or sold, but that some of them should be allowed to become citizens of Rome; and the exception made by him, shews us what was the prevailing custom in that early age.

* Michaelis's Laws of Moses, Vol. I. p. 330.

L I. -'

'In general, prisoners of war were sold, as soon as possible, after their capture: and if a subsequent treaty provided for their releaw, it would appear, that a special law was passed, ordering the buyers of such slaves to give them up, on receiving (from the treasury) repayment of the original purchase money. At least, we have one instance of this proceeding, with regard to a body of Ligurians, who had surrendered, and were soW by the consul Popilins, while the senate was deliberating about their treatment. It was feared, that no other enemies would ever yield themselves, if these were kept in slavery; and a decree was issued, annulling the previous sales, and compelling the respective purchasers to set free the Ligurians ,• but with restitution, by the public, of the prices which had been paid. Prisoners belonging to a revolted nation were, without exception in favour of voluntary surrender, sold into servitude; and sometimes, as a more severe punishment, or greater precaution, it was stipulated, at their sale, that they should be carried to distant places, and should not be manumitted within twenty or thirty years. The most common terms for slaves are generally thought to be derived from words expressive of capturing, or of preserving; and a few examples will suffice to shew, how abundant a supply of bondsmen was obtained, by the Romans, in their wars. After the fall of the Samnites at Aqailonia, 2,553,000 (or 2,033,000) pieces of brass were realized by the sale of prisoners, who amounted to about 36,000. Lucretius brought from the Volscian war, 1250 captives: and, by the capture of one inconsiderable town, no less than 4000 slaves were obtained. The number of the people of Epirus taken, and sold, for behoof of the army, under Paulus .'Km ilius was 150,000. On the Romans' descent upon Africa, in the first Punic war, they took 20,000 prisoners. Gelon, praetor of Syracuse, having routed a Carthaginian army, took so many captives, that he gave 500 of them to each of several citizens of Agrigentum. On the great victory of Marius and Catulus over the Cimbri, 60,000 were captured, When Pindenissus was taken by Cicero, the inhabitants were sold for more than 100.000/. Augustus, having overcome the Salassi, sold, as slaves, 36,000, of whom 8,000 were capable of bearing arms. Julius Caesar is said, by Plutarch and Appian, to have taken, in. his Gallic wars alone, no fewer than a million of prisoners; a statement which is, no doubt, much exaggerated, but which shews, that the number was considered to be great: perhaps, we may adopt the estimate of Velleius Paterculus, who says, merely, that they exceeded 400,000.

'Both law and custom forbade prisoners, taken in civil wars, to be dealt with as slaves; yet the rule was sometimes disregarded. Brutus proposed to sell his Lycian captives, within sight of the town of Patra; but finding, that the spectacle did not produee the effect he expected on the inhabitants, he quickly put an end to the sale. On the taking of Cremona, by the forces of Vitellius, his general Antonius ordered, that none of the captives should be detained; and the soldiers could find no purchasers ror them. The latter fact shews the general feeling en the subject, and is not weakened, as a proof, by the apparent anticipations of the troops; for the spirit of parties was, at that time, peculiarly acrimonious, and Cremona had made so obstinate a defence, that some signal vengeance might be thought due. Prisoners often

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