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measure restrained by the gradual progress of government. Although the institution of slavery was permitted to remain, regulations came to be made, by which the master was prevented from such wanton exercise of his power as must have been highly prejudicial to his interest, and could only be regarded as an absurd abuse of his property.

In the Jewish law, we meet with some regula tions for this purpose at an early period.

"If a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall surely "be punished.

"Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, " he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

"And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or "the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let "him go free for his eye's sake.

"And if he smite out his man-servant's tooth, "or his maid-servants tooth; he shall let him go "free for his tooth's sake *."

At Athens, the slaves who had been barbarously treated by their master were allowed to fly for sanctuary to the temple of Theseus, and to com

* Exodus, chap. xxi. ver. 20, 21, 26, 27. It has been a question whether the last quoted laws, in ver. 26 and 27, related to the slaves acquired from foreign nations, or only to such of the Israelites as had been reduced into a state of servitude. Grotius is of the latter opinion. Vide Grot. com. ad cit. cap.

mence a suit at law against their master, who, if their complaint appeared well founded, was laid under the necessity of selling them *.

Various equitable laws, upon this subject, were made by the Roman emperors. At Rome, the absolute power of the master was first subjected to any limitation in the reign of Augustus, who appointed that the Praefectus urbi should afford redress to such of the slaves as had been treated with immoderate severity. In the reign of the emperor Claudius, it was enacted, that if a master abandoned the care of his slaves during their sickness, he should forfeit the property of them; and that if he put them to death, he should be held guilty of homicide. Soon after, the inhuman practice of obliging the slaves to fight with wild beasts, which was carried to a prodigious height, and which appears to have afforded a favourite entertainment to men of all ranks, was in some measure restrained. Other statutes were afterwards made, in the reigns of Adrian, of Antoninus Pius, and of Constantine, by which it was finally established, that the master who killed his own slave by design, and not from the accidental excess of chastisement, should suffer the ordinary punishment of murder †.

*See Potters' Antiquities of Greece, book 1. chap. 10. Vide Hein. antiq. Rom. lib. 1. tit. 8.


Causes of the freedom acquired by the labouring people in the modern nations of Europe.

By what happy concurrence of events has the practice of slavery been so generally abolished in Europe? By what powerful motives were our forefathers induced to deviate from the maxims of other nations, and to abandon a custom so generally retained in other parts of the world?

The nothern barbarians, who laid the foundation of the present European states, are said to have possessed a number of slaves, obtained either by captivity or by voluntary submission, and over whom the master enjoyed an unlimited authority *.

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*The following account is given by Tacitus, concerning the state of the slaves among the ancient Germans, " Aleam,” says he, speaking of that people, "sobrii inter seria exercent, "tanta lucrandi perdendique temeritate ut cum omnia defecerunt, extremo ac novissimo jactu, de libertate, et de corpore contendant. Victus voluntariam servitutem adit. Quamvis junior, quamvis robustior, alligare se ac venire pa❝titur; ea est in re prava pervicacia: ipsi fidem vocant: "servos conditionis hujus per commercia tradunt, ut se quo66 que pudore victoriae exsolvant.

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"Ceteris servis, non in nostrum morem descriptis per fa"miliam ministeriis, utuntur. Suam quisque sedem, suos pe"nates regit. Frumenti modum dominus, ut colono injungit : "et servus hactenus paret. Cetera domus officia, uxor ac li

When these nations invaded the Roman empire, and settled in the different provinces, they were enabled by their repeated victories to procure an immense number of captives, whom they reduced into servitude, and by whose assistance they occupied landed estates of proportionable extent. From the simple manner of living to which those barbarians had been accustomed, their domestic business was usually performed by the members of each family; and their servants, for the most part, were employed in cultivating their lands.

It appears that, upon the settlement of these invaders in the Roman empire, no immediate change was produced in their notions with respect to slavery, and that the slaves which they gradually acquired by the success of their arms were, at first, in the same condition with those which they had anciently possessed. The master exercised an unlimited power of chastising them, and might even put them to death with impunity. They were liable to be alienated, or impledged by the master at pleasure, and were incapable, either of marrying, or of entering into any other contract, without his consent. They were so much his property, that he might claim them from every possessor, by the ordinary action which was given for the recovery

"beri exsequuntur. Verberare servum, ac vinculis et opere "coercere rarum. Occidere solent, non disciplina et severi"tate, sed impetu et ira, ut inimicum, nisi quod impune." Tacit. de mor, German. § 24, 25.

of his goods; and in consequence of this, it was held they could have no civil rights; so that whatever was acquired by their labour belonged to the master, from whom they usually received nothing but a precarious subsistence. In a public capacity, the people of this class were viewed in a light no less humiliating; they enjoyed none of the privileges of a citizen, and were seldom permitted to give evidence against a free man in a court of justice *.

The situation, however, of these bond-men, and the nature of the employment in which they were usually engaged, had a tendency to procure them a variety of privileges from their master, by which, in a course of ages, their condition was rendered more comfortable, and they were advanced to higher degrees of consideration and rank.

As the peasants belonging to a single person could not be conveniently maintained in his house, so in order to cultivate his lands to advantage, it was necessary that they should be sent to a distance, and have a fixed residence in different parts of his estate. Separate habitations were therefore assigned them; and particular farms were committed to the care of individuals, who from their residing in the neighbourhood of one another, and forming small villages or hamlets, received the appellation of " villains."

* Potgiesserus de statu servorum, lib. 2. cap. 1, 3, 4, 5, 9. Ibid. cap. 10. § 3, 7, 8. Ibid. lib. 3. § 1, 3.

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