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[159]

Chapter 5:

Slavery. Dissolution of the London company.

while Virginia, by the concession of a represen-
Chap V.}
tative government, was constituted the asylum of liberty, by one of the strange contradictions in human affairs, it became the abode of hereditary bondsmen. The unjust, wasteful and unhappy system was fastened upon the rising institutions of America, not by the consent of the corporation, nor the desires of the emigrants; but, as it was introduced by the mercantile avarice of a foreign nation, so it was subsequently riveted by the policy of England, without regard to the interests or the wishes of the colony.

Slavery and the slave-trade are older than the records of human society: they are found to have existed, wherever the savage hunter began to assume the habits of pastoral or agricultural life; and, with the exception of Australasia, they have extended to every portion of the globe. They pervaded every nation of civilized antiquity. The earliest glimpses of Egyptian history exhibit pictures of bondage; the oldest monuments of human labor on the Egyptian soil are evidently the results of slave labor. The founder of the Jewish nation was a slave-holder and a purchaser of slaves. Every patriarch was lord in his own household.1

1 Gen. XII. 16; XVII. 12; XXXVII. 28.

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