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racter, 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.
• In general, prisoners of war were sold, as soon as possible, after their capture; and if a subsequent treaty provided for their release, 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 sold by the consul Popilius, 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 publie, 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 Aquilonia, 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 Æmilius, was 150,000. On the Romans' descent upon Africa, in the first Punie war, they took 20,000 prisoners. Gelon, prætor 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 100,0001. Augustus, having overcome the Salassi, sold, as slaves, 36,000, of whom 8,000 were capable of bearing arms. Julius Cæsar 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 for them. The latter fact shews the general feeling on 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
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.'
pp. 17--21., * This people, of whose war-laws we are apt to think so highly', remarks Michaelis, “for a long time, even to the days of Cæsar,
massacred their prisoners in cold blood, whenever they survived the disgrace of the triumph.'* Slavery was the bitter alternative ; å striking illustration of the fact, that “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” +
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 theré, 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 píratical 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 have 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 was not such as to give much weight to this objection. In trafficking
Laws of Moses, Vol. I. p. 331.
+ 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 Pænulus of Plautus shew that such practices were not unusual in the East, when they, or their originals, were written; and St. Paul, in denouncing man-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," [servi pænæ,) 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 miy 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 each 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;