The amelioration of the customs of Europe
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
, of Greece
and of Rome
, bear witness to the existence of domestic slavery and the caravans of dealers in negro slaves.
The oldest Greek
commemorates the traffic.
Negro slaves were seen in classic Greece
, and were known at Rome
and in the Roman
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