the tender orphan, and the out-worn, 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.
before his melancholy decline and fall into devil-worship, truly observed that the capital mistake of Rob Roy
was his failure to comprehend 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 ante-Christian 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 bondsman; they do not seem to have so clearly perceived that the other lay heavily across the throat of even his sleeping master.
— if we may take Pope
's word for it — observed that
Jove fixed it certain, that whatever day Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away;
but that the slaveholding relation effected 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