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broke out in the agricultural province of Sicily, the granary of Rome, occupied by the large farms (latifundia) of the Roman aristocracy. (Florus, iii. 19.) In the first of these, under Eunus, that bold soldier mustered seventy thousand men, twenty thousand of whom lost their lives in the contest.
Considering, indeed, the relative numbers of the slave and free population—and that so many of the former were captives taken in war and inured to arms; considering the tyranny exercised over them by the caprice and cruelty of their masters—the work-houses (ergastulu) in which they were crowded together at night to be turned out in the morning, and set to labour in gangs, and, at one period, generally, in chains ;—considering, likewise, the political convulsions which perpetually disorganized the government, and might afford tempting opportunities for breaking the bonds of servitude—it has been mailer of astonishment to many writers that insurrections were not more frequent, and more fatal to the greatness of Rome. In truth, the wiser politicians seem to have been well aware of the danger which was lurking beneath the surface of society—the suppressed and brooding fire which might at any time burst out with tremendous and volcanic fury. The circumstance recorded by Seneca has been often adduced. When a proposition was made to distinguish the slaves by a peculiar dress, the majority of the senate were speedily convinced of the danger of acquainting the slaves with their relative numbers—' quantum periculum immineret, si servi nostii numerare nos coepissent.' But neither Gibbon, who quotes that sentence, nor even our author, has laid much stress on the remarkable speech which Tacitus puts into the mouth of C. Cassius. A man of high rank, the prsefect of the city, Pedanius Secundus, had been murdered by a domestic slave: according to the law, the whole household, consisting of four hundred, were condemned to death, as accomplices, because they had not prevented the crime. The more compassionate populace rose in tumultuous violence to rescue these miserable wretches from the executioner. The senate assembled, and C. Cassius stood forward, and appealed to the wisdom of their ancestors. He had too often seen that wisdom treated with irreverence by the pernicious spirit of modern innovation, but on this important occasion he would resist any mitigation of the necessary, though severe, justice of the law. If the family of Pedanius went unpunished, who would be safe? If slaves performed their duty of watching and betraying the criminal intentions of their fellows, then, aud then only, could citizens live in security, or at least be revenged after death. 'Our ancestors suspected the disposition of slaves, though born on their estates, in their houses, and attached to their masters by the earliest bonds of kindness. Now, however,
2 D 2 that
that we have whole nations in our families, of different forms of worship, with foreign religions, or no religion at all,—over such a rabble no wholesome restraint can be enforced but that of fear. But some who are guiltless will perish? So is it in the decimation
of a defeated legion No great example can be made
without injustice to individuals, which is amply compensated by the public security.1* And this great example was made; in vain the more compassionate urged the number, the age, the sex, the innocence of the sufferers; in vain the people rose, and threatened stones and firebrands. The imperial edict was issued, and the military surrounded the reeking place of execution.
But other causes probably concurred in diminishing the danger of insurrection among the slave population. During the imperial government their numbers were kept up, not so much by the importation of soldiers taken in battle—the last great supply of this kind was probably that of the Jews, of whom above one hundred thousand were made captives in the war of Titus, (Hist, of Jews, iii. 71,)—as by importation through an active slave-trade, and the natural means of propagation. Of those who w ere still taken in war, or were imported from the countries inhabited by the unsubdued barbarians, probably the hardiest and the bravest were selected as gladiators; their dangerous strength and valour were wasted in the arena. Spartacus, and the bolder chieftains in his insurrection, were swordsmen, who, in the more peaceful and prodigal times of the emperors, when those barbarous exhibitions were more frequent and destructive, might have been ingloriously 'Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday.'
Mr. Blair has very properly taken the public slaves, which were m considerable numbers, as well as those who were thus reserved for the public amusement, as au important item in his general calculation :—
'In addition to the domestic and agricultural slaves, we must allow for the gladiators, who were chiefly slaves, belonging oftener, perhaps, to individuals than to the public, and who were extremely numerous, at different periods. In the shows of the amphitheatre, the greater the slaughter of the combatants, the greater was the satisfaction of the spectators; and we may have some idea of the frequency, and pitilessness with which these were exhibited, from the restriction imposed by Augustus, who forbade magistrates to give shows of gladiators above twice in one year, or of more than sixty pairs at a time.
• The inimitable language of Tacitus can only be feebly transfused :—' Suspects majoribus nostris fuere ingenia servorum, etiam cum in agris, in domibui iisdem nascerentur, caritatemque dominorum statim acciperent. Postquam veto nationes in familiis habemus, quibus diversi ritus, externa sacra, aut nulla sunt, colluviem istam
non nisi metu coercueris Habet aliquod ex iuiquo omne magnum exemplum,
quod contra singulos salute publica rependetur.'—Ann. xiv. 44.
Other Other attempts had previously been made to limit the dangerous es» tablishments of gladiators; but they must have been weak, as Julius Caesar exhibited at once three hundred and twenty pairs. Tiberius restricted the number of combatants; but Caligula and Domitian violated the rules, and the shows were, afterwards, often immoderate. Trajan exhibited them for one hundred and twenty-three days, in the course of which ten thousand gladiators fought.'—pp. 13, 14.
Mr. Blair has an interesting chapter on the slave-trade of the Romans. The internal African slave-trade appears to have been conducted, from very remote antiquity, nearly in the same manner as at present; but the shores of the Euxine seem to have been to the ancient slave-dealers what the coast of Guinea has been in modern times.* Scythian, instead of Negro, was the common name for
* Britain was a great mart fur slaves. Mr. Pitt made noble use of this topic in a speech which surpasses, in oratorical splendour, all that survives of his eloquence. It is probably the finest thing which the long debates on the slave-trade produced. Our readers who remember it will be glad to have its impression renewed—those who do not, will thank us for pointing it out. We have only room for some fragments of the glorious passage :—
'And these circumstances, with a solitary instance or two of human sacrifices, furnish the alleged proofs that Africa labours under a natural incapacity for civilization; that it is enthusiasm and fanaticism to think that she can ever enjoy the knowledge and the moralB of Europe; that Providence has irrevocably doomed her to be only a nursery of slaves for us free and civilized Europeans! Allow of this principle, as applied to Africa, and I should be glad to know why it might not also have been applied to ancient and uncivilized Britain? Why might not some Roman senator, pointing to Briliih barbarian*, have predicted, with equal boldness—" There is a people that will never rise to civilization —there is a people destined never to be free —a people without the understanding necessary for the attainment of useful arts; depressed by the hand of nature below the level of the human species; and created to form a supply of slaves for the rest of the world?"
'We, Sir, have long emerged from barbarism—we have almost forgotten that we were once barbarians—we are now raised to a situation which exhibits a striking contrast to every circumstance by which a Roman might have characterized us, and by which we now characterize Africa.' . . . [The orator proceeded to a most splendid view of the civilization, the laws, the religion of Britain.]—' From all these blessings we must for ever have been shut out, had there been any truth in those principles which some gentlemen have not hesitated to lay down as applicable to the case of Africa. Had these principles been true, we ourselves had languished to this hour in that miserable state of ignorance, brutality, and degradation, in which history proves our ancestors to have been immersed, llad other nations adopted these principles in their conduct towards us; had other nations applied to Great Britain the reasoning which some of the senators of this very island now apply to Africa, ages might have passed without our emerging from barbarism; and we, who are enjoying the blessings of British civilization, of British laws, and British liberty, might, atthis hour, have been little supeiior, either in morals, in knowledge, or in refinement, to the rude inhabitants of the coast of Guinea.
'Some of us may live to see a reverse of that picture from which we now turn our eyes with shame and regret. We may live to behold the natives of Africa engaged in the calm occupations of industry, in the pursuits of a just and legitimate commerce. We may behold the beams of science and philosophy breaking in upon their land, where at some happy period, in still later times, they may blaze with full lustre—and, joining their influence to that of pure religion, may illummate and invigorate the most distant extremities of that immense continent. Then may we hope that even Africa,
though for a slave. But these imported slaves from remote and opposite quarters of the world, of different habits and languages, some broken to servitude from their birth, others, as the greater part of the Asiatic slaves, considered of weak frame and effeminate character, were little likely to combine for any great effort of freedom, or to entertain individually generous and independent feelings of repugnance at their degradation and misery. The iron had entered into their souls, and eaten away all that was free, vigorous, or noble. It was, indeed, a base condition, to which, if born free, they had to tame and school their minds. Mr. Blair thus describes the legal condition and the relative situation of the slave to the freeman :—
'The original condition of slaves, in relation to freemen, was as low as can be conceived. They were not considered members of the community, in which they had no station nor place. They possessed no rights, and were not deemed persons in law; so that they could neither sue, nor be sued, in any court of civil judicature, and they could not invoke the protection of the tribunes. So far were those notions carried, that when an alleged slave claimed his freedom, on the ground of unjust detention in servitude, he was under the necessity of having a free protector to sue for him, till Justinian dispensed with that formality. Slaves could not enter into matrimony, even with parties of their own rank, their union with whom was of an imperfect nature, violation of which was not accounted adultery;—the Christian church itself did not maintain openly the validity of slave nuptials, till after the period embraced by this treatise. Attempts of free persons to form marriages with slaves were severely punished. Slaves had not the usual paternal power over their children, and no ties of blood among slaves were recognized, except in respect to incest and parricide, which were regarded with horror by the law of nature; yet, if slaves became free, their former relationships received effect; hut their contubernium did not tacitly obtain the force of a regular marriage. Slaves were incapable of holding property, or directly exercising any power over it independently of their lord, although they might, with his sanction, be proprietors of land. Whatever they ac
though last of all the quarters of the globe, shall enjoy at length, in the evening of her day, those blessings which have descended so plentifully upon us in a much earlier period of the world. Then also will Europe, participating in her improvement and profi|>erity, receive an ample recompense for the tardy kindness (if kindness it can be called) of no longer hindering that continent from extricating herself out of the darkness, which, in other mure fortunate regions, has been so much more speedily dispelled.— « Hos primus equis Oriens afflavit anhelis,
Illic sera rnbens accendit lumina Vesper." Then, Sir, may be applied to Africa those words, originally used, indeed, with a different view— "His demum exactis
Deven6re locos lsetos, et amcna vireta
Foitimalnrmn neinornm, sedesque beatas:
Largior hie campos tether, et lumine vestit
PurpuQM.—" —Pill's SjieecAes, vol. ii. p. 80.
quired belonged to their master. The latter frequently allowed them to enjoy property of their own, (peculium,) consisting sometimes of other slaves; but they possessed it by tolerance only; and any legal proceedings connected with it were necessarily conducted in the name of the master, who alone was regarded as the true proprietor, whether plaintiff or defendant.'—p. 51-53.
'The slave had no protection against the avarice, rage, or lust of the master, whose authority was founded on absolute property, and the bondsman was viewed, less as a human being, subject to arbitrary dominion, than as an inferior animal, dependent wholly on the will of his owner: hence, perhaps the command of his master was accepted, by public justice, as an excuse for the slight misdemeanor of a slave; although, from expediency, his master's order or co-operation was not admitted to justify his commission of a grave crime. At first, the master possessed the uncontrolled power of life and death; he might kill, mutilate, or torture his slaves, for any or no offence: he might force them to become gladiators or prostitutes; the temporary unions of male with female slaves were formed and dissolved at his command; families and friends were separated when he pleased; the laws recognised no obligation upon the owner of slaves to furnish them proper food and clothing, or to take care of them in sickness. Slaves could have no property but by sufferance of their master, for whom they acquired everything, and with whom they could form no engagement, which would be binding upon him; since any contract between such parties was nugatory, as fulfilment of it could not be enforced, at law, by the slaves ;—for, even if they had been qualified to litigate, the master's superior and engrossing right to all that belonged nominally to the slaves would have afforded a ready answer to the claim—except in one particular case. Philosophers exercised their ingenuity upon the question, whether it were possible for a slave to confer a benefit upon his master; and Seneca, while he argues in favour of the affirmative, shows that the general feeling upon such points was much inclined to the opposite side.'— pp. 77, 7S.
It was under the emperors that the law seems first to have interfered in behalf of the slave population, and this interference, whether suggested by policy or humanity, no doubt had its effect in averting the mischiefs which might have been apprehended from their numbers. The period of the worst treatment of slaves appears to have been the latter days of the republic. In the olden times, when the manners were more simple, and slaves fewer in number, the consul, summoned from his plough, had been partaking in the toil, probably in the diet, of his assistant. 'Possibly,' as Denina, quoted by Mr. Blair, has observed, 'masters then remembered, that in the course of frequent wars between neighbours, each individual ran the risk of being at some time made a slave.' We are tempted to quote the noble lines of Massinger, to illustrate this primitive period:— 'Happy