various national developments, was habitually corrupted, debauched, and ultimately ruined, by Slavery, which rendered labor dishonorable, and divided society horizontally into a small caste of the wealthy, educated, refined, and independent, and a vast hungry, sensual, thriftless, and worthless populace; rendered impossible the preservation of republican liberty and of legalized equality, even among the nominally free.
, with his lantern, might have vainly looked, through many a long day, among the followers of Marius
, or Catiline, or Caesar
, for a specimen of the poor but virtuous and self-respecting Roman citizen of the days of Cincinnatus
, or even of Regulus
The Slavery of antiquity survived the religions, the ideas, the polities, and even the empires, in which it had its origin.
It should have been abolished, with gladiatorial combats and other moral abominations, on the accession of Christianity to recognized supremacy over the Roman
world; but the simple and sublime doctrine of Jesus and his disciples, of Paul
and the Apostles, had ere this been grievously corrupted and perverted.
The subtleties of Greek
speculation, the pomp and pride of imperial Rome
, had already commenced drawing the Church
insensibly further and further away from its divine source.
A robed and mitered ecclesiasticism, treacherous to humanity and truckling to power, had usurped the place of that austere, intrepid spirit which openly rebuked the guilt of regal, voluptuous Herod
, and made courtly Felix
The prelates of the lately persecuted Church were the favored companions and counselors — too often, alas!
the courtiers also — of Emperors and Caesars; but they seldom improved or risked their great opportunity to demand obedience, in all cases, to the dictates of the Golden Rule
had become an estate above the people; and their just complaints of the oppressions and inhumanities of the powerful were not often breathed into its reluctant ears.
White Slavery gradually wore out, or faded out; but it was not grappled with and crushed as it should have been.
The Dark Ages, justly so called, are still quite dark enough; but sufficient light has been shed upon them to assure us that the accord of priest and noble was complete, and that serf and peasant groaned and suffered beneath their iron sway.
The invention of Printing, the discovery of America
, the Protestant Reformation
, the decline and tell of Feudalism, gradually changed the condition and brightened the prospect of the masses.
Ancient Slavery was dead ; modern Serfdom was substantially confined to cold and barbarous Russia
; but African Slavery — the slavery of heathen negroes — had been revived, or reintroduced, on the northern coast of the Mediterranean, by Moorish traders, about the Tenth Century, and began to make its way among Spanish and Portuguese Christians somewhere near the middle of the Fifteenth.1
The great name of Columbus