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[165]

The amelioration of the customs of Europe had

Chap. V.}
proceeded from the influence of religion. It was the clergy who had broken up the Christian slave-markets at Bristol and at Hamburg, at Lyons and at Rome. At the epoch of the discovery of America, the moral opinion of the civilized world had abolished the traffic in Christian slaves, and was fast demanding the emancipation of the serfs: but bigotry had favored a compromise with avarice; and the infidel was not yet included within the pale of humanity.

Yet negro slavery is not an invention of the white man. As Greeks enslaved Greeks, as the Hebrew often consented to make the Hebrew his absolute lord, as Anglo-Saxons trafficked in Anglo-Saxons, so the negro race enslaved its own brethren. The oldest accounts of the land of the negroes, like the glimmering traditions of Egypt and Phenicia, of Greece and of Rome, bear witness to the existence of domestic slavery and the caravans of dealers in negro slaves. The oldest Greek historian1 commemorates the traffic. Negro slaves were seen in classic Greece, and were known at Rome and in the Roman empire. It is from about the year 990, that regular accounts of the negro slave-trade exist. At that period, Moorish merchants from the Barbary coast first reached the cities of Nigritia, and established an uninterrupted exchange of Saracen and European luxuries for the gold and slaves of Central Africa. Even though whole caravans were sometimes buried in the sands of the desert, and at others, without shade and without water, suffered the horrors of parching thirst under a tropical sun, yet the commerce extended because it was profitable; and

1 Herodotus, l. IV. c. 181—185. Compare Heeren, XIII. 187 and 231; Blair's Roman Slavery, 24.

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