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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

Part 6 out of 52

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honorable estimation. Agriculture being pre-eminently a _Jewish_
employment, to assign a native Israelite to _other_ employments as a
_business_, was to break up his habits, do violence to cherished
predilections, and put him to a kind of labor in which he had no skill,
and which he deemed degrading. In short, it was, in the earlier ages of
the Mosaic system, practically to _unjew_ him, a hardship and rigor
grievous to be borne, as it annihilated a visible distinction between
the descendants of Abraham and the Strangers--a distinction vital to the
system, and gloried in by every Jew.

_To guard this and another fundamental distinction_, God instituted the
regulation contained in Leviticus xxv. 39, which stands at the head of
this branch of our inquiry, "_If thy brother that dwelleth by thee be
waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as
a bond-servant._" In other words, thou shalt not put him to _servants'
work_--to the _business_, and into the _condition_ of _domestics_.

In the Persian version it is translated thus, "Thou shalt not assign to
him the work of _servitude_," (or _menial_ labor.) In the Septuagint
thus, "He shall not serve thee with the service of a _domestic or
household servant_." In the Syriac thus, "Thou shalt not employ him
after the manner of servants." In the Samaritan thus, "Thou shalt not
require him to serve in the service of a servant." In the Targum of
Onkelos thus, "He shall not serve thee with the service of a household
servant." In the Targum of Jonathan thus, "Thou shalt not cause him to
serve according to the usages of the servitude of servants[A]." In fine,
"thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond-servant," means, _thou
shalt not assign him to the same grade, nor put him to the same
services, with permanent domestics._

[Footnote A: Jarchi's comment on "Thou shalt not compel him to serve as
a bond-servant" is, "the Hebrew servant is not to be required to do any
thing which is accounted degrading--such as all offices of personal
attendance, as loosing his master's shoe latchet, bringing him water to
wash his feet and hands, waiting on him at table, dressing him, carrying
things to and from the bath. The Hebrew servant is to work with his
master as a son or brother, in the business of his farm, or other labor,
until his legal release."]

We pass to the remainder of the regulation in the 40th verse:--

"_But as an hired servant and as a sojourner shall he be with thee_."
Hired servants were not incorporated into the families of their masters;
they still retained their own family organization, without the surrender
of any domestic privilege, honor, or authority; and this, even though
they resided under the same roof with their master. While
bought-servants were associated with their master's families at meals,
at the Passover, and at other family festivals, hired servants and
sojourners were not. Exodus xii. 44, 45; Lev. xxii. 10, 11. Not being
merged in the family of his master, the hired servant was not subject to
his authority, (except in directions about his labor) in any such sense
as the master's wife, children, and bought servants. Hence the only form
of oppressing hired servants spoken of in the Scriptures as practicable
to masters, is that of _keeping back their wages_.

To have taken away these privileges in the case stated in the passage
under consideration, would have been preeminent _rigor_; for the case
described, is not that of a servant born in the house of a master, nor
that of a minor, whose unexpired minority had been sold by the father,
neither was it the case of an Israelite, who though of age, had not yet
acceded to his inheritance; nor, finally, was it that of one who had
received the _assignment_ of his inheritance, but was, as a servant,
working off from it an incumbrance, before entering upon its possession
and control[A]. But it was that of _the head of a family_, who had lived
independently on his own inheritance, and long known better days, now
reduced to poverty, forced to relinquish the loved inheritance of his
fathers, with the competence and respectful consideration its possession
secured to him, and to be indebted to a neighbor for shelter,
sustenance, and employment, both for himself and his family. Surely so
sad a reverse, might well claim sympathy; but there remaineth to him one
consolation, and it cheers him in the house of his pilgrimage. He is an
_Israelite--Abraham is his father_, and now in his calamity he clings
closer than ever, to the distinction conferred by the immunities of his
birthright. To rob him of this, were "the unkindest cut of all." To have
assigned him to a _grade_ of service filled only by those whose
permanent business was _serving_, would have been to _rule over him with
peculiar rigor_.

[Footnote A: These two latter classes are evidently referred to in Exod.
xxi. 1-6, and Deut. xv. 12]

Finally, the former part of the regulation, "Thou shalt not compel him
to serve as a bond-servant," or more literally, _thou shall not serve
thyself with him, with the service of a servant_, guaranties his
political privileges, and secures to him a kind and grade of service,
comporting with his character and relations as a son of Israel. And the
remainder of the verse, "But as a _hired_ servant, and as a sojourner
shall he be with thee," continues and secures to him his separate family
organization, the respect and authority due to his head, and the general
consideration in society resulting from such a station. Though this
individual was a Jewish _bought_ servant, the case is peculiar, and
forms an exception to the general class of Jewish bought servants. Being
already in possession of his inheritance, and the head of a household,
the law so arranged his relations, as a servant, as to _alleviate_ as
much as possible the calamity which had reduced him from independence
and authority, to penury and subjection.

Having gone so much into detail on this point, comment on the command
which concludes this topic in the forty-third verse, would be
superfluous. "_Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear
thy God_." As if it had been said, "In your administration you shall not
disregard those differences in previous habits, station, authority, and
national and political privileges, upon which this regulation is based;
for to exercise authority over this class of servants, _irrespective_ of
these distinctions, and annihilating them, is _to__rule with rigor_."
The same command is repeated in the forty-sixth verse, and applied to
the distinction between the servants of Jewish, and those of Gentile
extraction, and forbids the overlooking of distinctive Jewish
peculiarities, so vital to an Israelite as to make the violation of
them, _rigorous_ in the extreme; while to the servants from the
Strangers, whose previous habits and associations differed so widely
from those of the Israelite, these same things would be deemed slight

It may be remarked here, that the political and other disabilities of
the Strangers, which were the distinctions growing out of a different
national descent, and important to the preservation of national
characteristics, and to the purity of national worship, do not seem to
have effected at all the _social_ estimation, in which this class of
servants was held. They were regarded according to their character and
worth as _persons_, irrespective of their foreign origin, employments,
and political condition.

The common construction put upon the expression, "_rule with rigor_,"
and an inference drawn from it, have an air so oracular, as quite to
overcharge risibles of ordinary calibre, if such an effect were not
forestalled by its impiety. It is interpreted to mean, "you shall not
make him an article of property, you shall not force him to work, and
rob him of his earnings, you shall not make him a chattel, and strip him
of legal protection." So much for the interpretation. The inference is
like unto it, viz. Since the command forbade such outrages upon the
_Israelites, it permitted and commissioned_ the infliction of them upon
the _Strangers_. Such impious and shallow smattering, captivates two
classes of minds, the one by its flippancy, the other by its blasphemy,
and both, by the strong scent of its unbridled license. What boots it to
reason against such rampant affinities!

In Exodus, chap. i. 13, 14, it is said that the Egyptians "made the
children of Israel to _serve_ with rigor," "and all their _service_
wherein they made them _serve_, was with rigor." The rigor here spoken
of, is affirmed of the _amount of labor_ extorted from them, and the
_mode_ of the exaction. This form of expression, "_serve with rigor_,"
is never applied to the service of servants either under the
Patriarchal, or the Mosaic systems. Nor is any other form of expression
ever used, either equivalent to it, or at all similar. The phrase, "thou
shalt not RULE over him with rigor," used in Leviticus xxv. 43, 46, does
not prohibit unreasonable exactions of labor, nor inflictions of
personal cruelty. _Such were provided against otherwise_. But it
forbids, confounding the distinctions between a Jew and a Stranger, by
assigning the former to the same grade of service, for the same term of
time, and under the same national and political disabilities as the

We are now prepared to survey at a glance, the general condition of the
different classes of servants, with the modifications peculiar to each
class. I. In the possession of _all fundamental rights, all classes of
servants were on an absolute equality_, all were _equally protected_ by
law in their persons, character, property and social relations. All were
_voluntary_, all were _compensated_ for their labor. All were released
from their regular labor nearly _one half of the days in each year_, all
were furnished with stated _instruction_; none in either class were in
any sense articles of _property_, all were regarded as _men_, with the
rights, interests, hopes, and destinies of _men_. In these respects the
circumstances of _all_ classes of servants among the Israelites, were
not only similar but _identical_, and so far forth, they formed but ONE


1. _Hired Servants_.--This class consisted both of Israelites and
Strangers. Their employments were different. The _Israelite_, was an
agricultural servant. The Stranger was a _domestic_ and _personal_
servant, and in some instances _mechanical_; both were _occasional_,
procured _temporally_ to serve an emergency. Both lived in their own
families, their wages were _money_, and they were paid when their work
was done. As a _class of servants_, the hired were less loved, trusted,
honored and promoted than any other.

2. _Bought Servants, (including those "born in the house.")_--This class
also, was composed both of Israelites and Strangers, the same general
difference obtaining in their kinds of employment as was noticed before.
Both were paid in advance[A], and neither was temporary.

[Footnote A: The payment _in advance_, doubtless lessened considerably
the price of the purchase; the servant thus having the use of the money
from the beginning, and the master assuming all the risks of life, and
health for labor; at the expiration of the six years' contract, the
master having experienced no loss from the risk incurred at the making
of it, was obliged by law to release the servant with a liberal
gratuity. The reason assigned for this is, "he hath been worth a double
hired servant unto thee in serving thee six years," as if it had been
said, he has now served out his time, and as you have experienced no
loss from the risks of life, and ability to labor which you incurred in
the purchase, and which lessened the price, and as, by being your
permanent servant for six years, he has saved you all the time and
trouble of looking up and hiring laborers on emergencies, therefore,
"thou shalt furnish him liberally," &c.]

The Israelitish servant, in most instances, was released after six
years. (The _freeholder_ continued until the jubilee.) The Stranger, was
a _permanent_ servant, continuing until the jubilee. Besides these
distinctions between Jewish and Gentile bought servants, a marked
distinction obtained between different classes of Jewish bought
servants. Ordinarily, during their term of service, they were merged in
their master's family, and, like the wife and children of the master,
subject to his authority; (and of course, like them, protected by law
from its abuse.) But _one_ class of the Jewish bought servants was a
marked exception. The _freeholder_, obliged by poverty to leave his
possession, and sell himself as a servant, did not thereby affect his
family relations, or authority, nor subject himself as an inferior to
the control of his master, though dependent upon him for employment. In
this respect, his condition differed from that of the main body of
Jewish bought servants, which seems to have consisted of those, who had
not yet come into possession of their inheritance, or of those who were
dislodging from it an incumbrance.

Having dwelt so much at length on this part of the subject, the reader's
patience may well be spared further details. We close it with a
suggestion or two, which may serve as a solvent of some minor
difficulties, if such remain.

I. It should be kept in mind, that _both_ classes of servants, the
Israelite and the Stranger, not only enjoyed _equal natural and
religious rights_, but _all the civil and political privileges_ enjoyed
by those of their own people, who were _not_ servants. If Israelites,
all rights belonging to Israelites were theirs. If from the Strangers,
the same political privileges enjoyed by those wealthy Strangers, who
bought and held _Israelitish_ servants, _were theirs_. They also shared
_in common with them_, the political disabilities which appertained to
_all_ Strangers, whether the servants of Jewish masters, or the masters
of Jewish servants.

II. The disabilities of the servants from the Strangers, were
exclusively _political_ and _national_.

1. They, in common with all Strangers, _could not own the soil_.

2. They were _ineligible to civil offices_.

3. They were assigned to _employments_ less honorable than those in
which Israelitish servants engaged; agriculture being regarded as
fundamental to the prosperity and even to the existence of the state,
other employments were in far less repute, and deemed _unjewish_.

Finally, the condition of the Strangers, whether servants or masters,
was, as it respected political privileges, much like that of
unnaturalized foreigners in the United States; no matter how great their
wealth or intelligence, or moral principle, or love for our
institutions, they can neither go to the ballot-box, nor own the soil,
nor be eligible to office. Let a native American, who has always enjoyed
these privileges, be suddenly bereft of them, and loaded with the
disabilities of an alien, and what to the foreigner would be a light
matter, to _him_, would be the severity of _rigor_.

The recent condition of the Jews and Catholics in England, is a still
better illustration of the political condition of the Strangers in
Israel. Rothschild, the late English banker, though the richest private
citizen in the world, and perhaps master of scores of English servants,
who sued for the smallest crumbs of his favor, was, as a subject of the
government, inferior to the veriest scavenger among them. Suppose an
Englishman, of the Established Church, were by law deprived of power to
own the soil, made ineligible to office, and deprived unconditionally of
the electoral franchise, would Englishmen think it a misapplication of
language, if it were said, "The government rules over that man with
rigor?" And yet his life, limbs, property, reputation, conscience, all
his social relations, the disposal of his time, the right of locomotion
at pleasure, and of natural liberty in all respects, are just as much
protected by law as the Lord Chancellor's. The same was true of all "the
strangers within the gates" among the Israelites: Whether these
Strangers were the servants of Israelitish masters, or the masters of
Israelitish servants, whether sojourners, or bought servants, or born in
the house, or hired, or neither--_all were protected equally with the
descendants of Abraham._

Finally--As the Mosaic system was a great compound type, made up of
innumerable fractional ones, each rife with meaning in doctrine and
duty; the practical power of the whole, depended upon the exact
observance of those distinctions and relations which constituted its
significancy. Hence, the care everywhere shown to preserve inviolate the
distinction between a _descendant of Abraham_ and a _Stranger_, even
when the Stranger was a proselyte, had gone through the initiatory
ordinances, entered the congregation, and become incorporated with the
Israelites by family alliance. The regulation laid down in Exodus xxi.
2-6, is an illustration, _"If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years
shall he serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If
he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married,
then, his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a
wife, and she have borne him sons or daughters; the wife and her
children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if
the servant should plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my
children, I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto
the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post;
and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall
serve him forever."_ In this case, the Israelitish servant, whose term
expired in six years, married one of his master's _permanent female
domestics_; but the fact of her marriage, did not release her master
from _his_ part of the contract for her whole term of service, nor
absolve him from his legal obligation to support and educate her
children. Nor could it do away that distinction, which marked her
national descent by a specific _grade_ and _term_ of service. Her
marriage did not impair her obligation to fulfil _her_ part of the
contract. Her relations as a permanent domestic grew out of a
distinction guarded with great care throughout the Mosaic system. To
permit this to be rendered void, would have been to divide the system
against itself. This God would not tolerate. Nor, on the other hand,
would he permit the master, to throw off the responsibility of
instructing her children, nor the care and expense of their helpless
infancy and rearing. He was bound to support and educate them, and all
her children born afterwards during her term of service. The whole
arrangement beautifully illustrates that wise and tender regard for the
interests of all the parties concerned, which arrays the Mosaic system
in robes of glory, and causes it to shine as the sun in the kingdom of
our Father. By this law, the children had secured to them a mother's
tender care. If the husband loved his wife and children, he could compel
his master to keep him, whether he had any occasion for his services or
not, and with such remuneration as was provided by the statute. If he
did not love them, to be rid of him was a blessing; and in that case,
the regulation would prove an act for the relief of an afflicted family.
It is not by any means to be inferred, that the release of the servant
from his service in the seventh year, either absolved him from the
obligations of marriage, or shut him out from the society of his family.
He could doubtless procure a service at no great distance from them, and
might often do it, to get higher wages, or a kind of employment better
suited to his taste and skill, or because his master might not have
sufficient work to occupy him. Whether he lived near his family, or at a
considerable distance, the great number of days on which the law
released servants from regular labor, would enable him to spend much
more time with them than can be spent by most of the agents of our
benevolent societies with _their_ families, or by many merchants,
editors, artists, &c., whose daily business is in New York, while their
families reside from ten to one hundred miles in the country.

We conclude this Inquiry by touching briefly upon an objection, which,
though not formally stated, has been already set aside by the whole
tenor of the foregoing argument. It is this,--

_"The slavery of the Canaanites by the Israelites, was appointed by God
as a commutation of the punishment of death denounced against them for
their sins."_--If the absurdity of a sentence consigning persons to
_death_, and at the same time to perpetual _slavery_, did not
sufficiently laugh in its own face, it would be small self-denial, in a
case so tempting, to make up the deficiency by a general contribution.
For, _be it remembered_, the Mosaic law was given, while Israel was _in
the wilderness_, and only _one_ statute was ever given respecting _the
disposition to be made of the inhabitants of the land._ If the sentence
of death was first pronounced against them, and afterwards _commuted_,
when? where? by whom? and in what terms was the commutation? And where
is it recorded? Grant, for argument's sake, that all the Canaanites were
sentenced to unconditional extermination; as there was no reversal of
the sentence, how can a right to _enslave_ them, be drawn from such
premises? The punishment of death is one of the highest recognitions of
man's moral nature possible. It proclaims him _man_--intelligent
accountable, guilty _man,_ deserving death for having done his utmost to
cheapen human life, and make it worthless, when the proof of its
priceless value, lives in his own nature. But to make him a _slave,_
cheapens to nothing _universal human nature,_ and instead of healing a
wound, gives a death stab. What! repair an injury done to rational being
in the robbery of _one_ of its rights, not merely by robbing it of
_all,_ but by annihilating the very _foundation_ of them--that
everlasting distinction between men and things? To make a man a chattel,
is not the _punishment,_ but the _annihilation_ of a _human_ being, and,
so far as it goes, of _all_ human beings. This commutation of the
punishment of death, into perpetual slavery, what a fortunate discovery!
Alas! for the honor of Deity, if commentators had not manned the forlorn
hope, and rushed to the rescue of the Divine character at the very
crisis of its fate, and, by a timely movement, covered its retreat from
the perilous position in which inspiration had carelessly left it! Here
a question arises of sufficient importance for a separate dissertation;
but must for the present be disposed of in a few paragraphs. WERE THE
EXTERMINATION? That the views generally prevalent on this subject, are
wrong, we have no doubt; but as the limits of this Inquiry forbid our
going into the merits of the question, so as to give all the grounds of
dissent from the commonly received opinions, the suggestions made, will
be thrown out merely as QUERIES, and not as a formal laying down of

The leading directions as to the disposal of the Canaanites, are mainly
in the following passages, Exod. xxiii. 23-33, and 33-51, and 34,
11--Deut. vii. 16-25, and ix. 3, and xxxi. 3, 1, 2. In these verses, the
Israelites are commanded to "destroy the Canaanites"--to "drive
out,"--"consume,"--"utterly overthrow,"--"put out,"--"dispossess them,"
&c. Quest. Did these commands enjoin the unconditional and universal
destruction of the _individuals,_ or merely of the _body politic?_ Ans.
The Hebrew word _Haram,_ to destroy, signifies _national,_ as well as
individual destruction; _political_ existence, equally with _personal;_
the destruction of governmental organization, equally with the lives of
the subjects. Besides, if we interpret the words destroy, consume,
overthrow, &c., to mean _personal_ destruction, what meaning shall we
give to the expressions, "drive out before thee;" "cast out before
thee;" "expel," "put out," "dispossess," &c., which are used in the same

For a clue to the sense in which the word _"destroy"_ is used, see
Exodus xxiii. 27. "I will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt
come, and I will make all thine enemies _turn their backs unto thee_."
Here "_all their enemies_" were to _turn their backs_, and "_all the
people_" to be "_destroyed_". Does this mean that God would let all
their _enemies_ escape, but kill all their _friends_, or that he would
_first_ kill "all the people" and THEN make them turn their backs in
flight, an army of runaway corpses?

The word rendered _backs_, is in the original, _necks_, and the passage
_may_ mean, I will make all your enemies turn their necks unto you; that
is, be _subject to you as tributaries_, become _denationalized_, their
civil polity, state organization, political existence,
_destroyed_--their idolatrous temples, altars, images, groves, and all
heathen rites _destroyed_; in a word, their whole system, national,
political, civil, and religious, subverted, and the whole people _put
under tribute_. Again; if these commands required the unconditional
destruction of all the _individuals_ of the Canaanites, the Mosaic law
was at war with itself, for the directions relative to the treatment of
native residents and sojourners, form a large part of it. "The stranger
that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou
shalt love him as thyself." "If thy brother be waxen poor, thou shalt
relieve him, yea, though he be a _stranger or a sojourner_, that he may
live with thee." "Thou shalt not oppress a _stranger_." "Thou shalt not
vex a _stranger_." "Judge righteously between every, man and his
brother, and the _stranger_ that is with him." "Ye shall not respect
persons in judgement." "Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the
_stranger_, as for him of your own country." We find, also, that
provision was made for them in the cities of refuge. Num. xxxv. 15--the
gleanings of the harvest and vintage were assigned to them, Lev. xix. 9,
10, and xxiii. 22, and 25, 6;--the blessings of the Sabbath, theirs, Ex.
xx. 10;--the privilege of offering sacrifices secured, Lev. 22. 18; and
stated religious instruction provided for them. Deut. xxxi. 9, 12. Now,
does this _same law_ authorize and appoint the _individual
extermination_ of those very persons, whose lives and general interests
it so solicitously protects? These laws were given to the Israelites,
long _before_ they entered Canaan; and they must of necessity have
inferred from them, that a multitude of the inhabitants of the land
would _continue in it_, under their government.

3. _We argue that these commands did not require the_ INDIVIDUAL
_destruction of the Canaanites unconditionally, from the fact that the
most pious Israelites never seem to have so regarded them._ Joshua was
selected as the leader of Israel to execute God's threatenings upon
Canaan. He had no _discretionary_ power. God's commands were his
_official instructions._ Going _beyond_ them would have been usurpation;
refusing _to carry them out,_ rebellion and treason. For not obeying, in
_every particular,_ and in a _single_ instance, God's command respecting
the Amalekites, Saul was rejected from being king.

Now, if God commanded the individual destruction of all the Canaanitish
nations, Joshua _disobeyed him in every instance._ For at his death, the
Israelites still _"dwelt among them,"_ and each nation is mentioned by
name. See Judges i. 5, and yet we are told that "Joshua was full of the
spirit of the Lord and of WISDOM," Deut. xxxiv. 9. (of course, he could
not have been ignorant of the meaning of those commands,)--that "the
Lord was with him," Josh. vi. 27; and that he "left nothing undone of
all that the Lord commanded Moses;" and further, that he "took all that
land." Joshua xi, 15-23. Also, that "the Lord gave unto Israel all the
land which he swore to give unto their fathers, and they possessed it
and dwelt therein, and there _stood not a man_ of _all_ their enemies
before them." "The Lord delivered _all their_ enemies into their hand,"

How can this testimony be reconciled with itself, if we suppose that the
command to _destroy_ enjoined _individual_ extermination, and the
command to _drive out_, enjoined the unconditional expulsion of
individuals from the country, rather than their expulsion from the
_possession_ or _ownership_ of it, as the lords of the soil? It is true,
multitudes of the Canaanites were slain, but in every case it was in
consequence of their refusing to surrender their land to the possession
of the Israelites. Not a solitary case can be found in which a Canaanite
was either killed or driven out of the country, who acquiesced in the
transfer of the territory of Canaan, and its sovereignty, from the
inhabitants of the land to the Israelites. Witness the case of Rahab and
all her kindred, and the inhabitants of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and
Kirjathjearim[A]. The Canaanites knew of the miracles in Egypt, at the
Red Sea, in the wilderness, and at the passage of Jordan. They knew that
their land had been transferred to the Israelites, as a judgment upon
them for their sins.--See Joshua ii. 9-11, and ix. 9, 10, 24. Many of
them were awed by these wonders, and made no resistance to the
confiscation of their territory. Others fiercely resisted, defied the
God of the armies of Israel, and came out to battle. These occupied the
_fortified cities_, were the most _inveterate_ heathen--the
_aristocracy_ of idolatry, the _kings_, the _nobility_ and _gentry_, the
_priests_, with their crowds of satellites, and retainers that aided in
the performance of idolatrous rites, the _military forces_, with the
chief profligates and lust-panders of both sexes. Every Bible student
will recall many facts corroborating this supposition. Such as the
multitudes of _tributaries_ in the midst of Israel, and that too, when
the Israelites had "waxed strong," and the uttermost nations quaked at
the terror of their name. The large numbers of the Canaanites, as well
as the Philistines and others, who became proselytes, and joined
themselves to the Hebrews--as the Nethenims, Uriah the Hittite, one of
David's memorable "thirty seven"--Rahab, who married one of the princes
of Judah--Ittai--The six hundred Gitites--David's bodyguard, "faithful
among the faithless."--2 Sam. xv. 18, 21. Obededom the Gittite, who was
adopted into the tribe of Levi.--Compare 2 Sam. vi. 10, 11, with 1
Chron. xv. 18, and 1 Chron xxvi. 45. The cases of Jaziz, and Obil,--1
Chron. xxvi. 30, 31, 33. Jephunneh, the father of Caleb--the Kenite,
registered in the genealogies of the tribe of Judah, and the one hundred
and fifty thousand Canaanites, employed by Solomon in the building of
the Temple[B]. Add to these, the fact that the most memorable miracle on
record, was wrought for the salvation of a portion of those very
Canaanites, and for the destruction of those who would exterminate
them.--Joshua x. 12-14. Further--the terms used in the directions of God
to the Israelites, regulating their disposal of the Canaanites, such as,
"drive out," "put out," "cast out," "expel," "dispossess," &c. seem used
interchangeably with "consume," "destroy," "overthrow," &c., and thus
indicate the sense in which the latter words are used. As an
illustration of the meaning generally attached to these and similar
terms, when applied to the Canaanites in Scripture, we refer the reader
to the history of the Amalekites. In Ex. xxvii. 14, God says, "I will
utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven,"--In Deut.
xxv. 19, "Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under
heaven; thou shalt not forget it."--In 1 Sam. xv. 2, 3. "Smite Amalek
and _utterly destroy_ all that they have, and spare them not, but slay
both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep." In the seventh
and eighth verses of the same chapter, we are told, "Saul smote the
Amalekites, and took Agag the king of the Amalekites, alive, and UTTERLY
DESTROYED ALL THE PEOPLE with the edge of the sword." In verse 20, Saul
says, "I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have brought Agag, the
king of Amalek, and have _utterly destroyed_ the Amalekites."

[Footnote A: Perhaps it will be objected, that the preservation of the
Gibeonites, and of Rahab and her kindred, was a violation of the command
of God. We answer, if it had been, we might expect some such intimation.
If God had straitly commanded them to _exterminate all the Canaanites,_
their pledge to save them alive, was neither a repeal of the statute,
nor absolution for the breach of it. If _unconditional destruction_ was
the import of the command, would God have permitted such an act to pass
without severe rebuke? Would he have established such a precedent when
Israel had hardly passed the threshhold of Canaan, and was then striking
the first blow of a half century war? What if they _had_ passed their
word to Rahab and the Gibeonites? Was that more binding upon them than
God's command? So Saul seems to have passed _his_ word to Agag; yet
Samuel hewed him in pieces, because in saving his life, Saul had
violated God's command. This same Saul appears to have put the same
construction on the command to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan, that
is generally put upon it now. We are told that he sought to slay the
Gibeonites "in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah." God sent
upon Israel a three years' famine for it. In assigning the reason, he
says, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he slew the
Gibeonites." When David inquired of them what atonement he should make,
they say, "The man that consumed us, and that devised against us, that
we should the destroyed from _remaining in any of the coasts of Israel_
let seven of his sons be delivered," &c. 2 Samuel xxii. 1-6.]

[Footnote B: If the Canaanites were devoted by God to individual and
unconditional extermination, to have employed them in the erection of
the temple,--what was it but the climax of impiety? As well might they
pollute its altars with swine's flesh, or make their sons pass through
the fire to Moloch.]

In 1 Sam. 30th chapter, we find the Amalekites at war again, marching an
army into Israel, and sweeping every thing before them--and all this in
hardly more than twenty years after they had _all been_ UTTERLY

Deut. xx. 16, 17, will probably be quoted against the preceding view.
"_But of the cities of these people which the Lord thy God doth give
thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
but thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the
Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perrizites, the Hivites, and the
Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee_." We argue that this
command to exterminate, did not include all the individuals of the
Canaanitish nations, but only the inhabitants of the _cities_, (and even
those conditionally,) for the following reasons.

I. Only the inhabitants of _cities_ are specified,--"of the _cities_ of
these people thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth." The reasons
for this wise discrimination were, no doubt, (1.) Cities then, as now,
were pest-houses of vice--they reeked with abominations little practiced
in the country. On this account, their influence would be far more
perilous to the Israelites than that of the country. (2.) These cities
were the centres of idolatry--the residences of the priests, with their
retinues of the baser sort. There were their temples and altars, and
idols, without number. Even their buildings, streets, and public walks
were so many visibilities of idolatry. The reason assigned in the 18th
verse for exterminating them, strengthens the idea,--"_that they teach
you not to do after all the abominations which they have done unto their
gods_." This would be a reason for exterminating _all_ the nations and
individuals _around_ them, as all were idolaters; but God permitted, and
even commanded them, in certain cases, to spare the inhabitants. Contact
with _any_ of them would be perilous--with the inhabitants of the
_cities_ peculiarly, and of the _Canaanitish_ cities preeminently so.

It will be seen from the 10th and 11th verses, that those cities which
accepted the offer of peace were to be spared. "_When thou comest nigh
unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it
shall be, if it make thee answer of peace and open unto thee, then it
shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be_
TRIBUTARIES _unto thee, and they shall_ SERVE thee."--Deuteronomy xx.
10, 11. These verses contain the general rule prescribing the method in
which cities were to be summoned to surrender.

1. The offer of peace--if it was accepted, the inhabitants became
_tributaries_--if it was rejected, and they came out against Israel in
battle, the _men_ were to be killed, and the women and little ones saved
alive. See Deuteronomy xx. 12, 13, 14. The 15th verse restricts their
lenient treatment in saving the wives and little ones of those who
fought them, to the inhabitants of the cities _afar off_. The 16th verse
gives directions for the disposal of the inhabitants of Canaanitish
cities, after they had taken them. Instead of sparing the women and
children, they were to save alive nothing that breathed. The common
mistake has been, in taking it for granted, that the command in the 15th
verse, "Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities," &c. refers to the
_whole system of directions preceding_, commencing with the 10th verse,
whereas it manifestly refers only to the _inflictions_ specified in the
verses immediately preceding, viz. the 12th, 13th, and 14th, and thus
make a distinction between those _Canaanitish_ cities that _fought_, and
the cities _afar off_ that fought--in one case destroying the males and
females, and in the other, the _males_ only. The offer of peace, and the
_conditional preservation_, were as really guarantied to _Canaanitish_
cities as to others. Their inhabitants were not to be exterminated
_unless they came out against Israel in battle_. But let us settle this
question by the "_law and the testimony_." Joshua xix. 19, 20.--"_There
was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel save, the
Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon; all others they took in battle. For
it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should_ COME OUT
AGAINST ISRAEL IN BATTLE, _that he might destroy them utterly, and that
they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord
commanded Moses_." That is, if they had _not_ come out against Israel in
battle, they would have had "favor" shown them, and would not have been
"_destroyed utterly_"

The great design of God seems to have been to _transfer the territory_
of the Canaanites to the Israelites, and along with it, _absolute
sovereignty in every respect_; to annihilate their political
organizations, civil polity, jurisprudence, and their system of
religion, with all its rights and appendages; and to substitute
therefor, a pure theocracy, administered by Jehovah, with the Israelites
as His representatives and agents. Those who resisted the execution of
Jehovah's purpose were to be killed, while those who quietly submitted
to it were to be spared. All had the choice of these alternatives,
either free egress out of the land[A]; or acquiescence in the decree,
with life and residence as tributaries, under the protection of the
government; or resistance to the execution of the decree, with death.
"_And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of
my people, to swear by my name, the Lord liveth, as they taught my

[Footnote A: Suppose all the Canaanitish nations had abandoned their
territory at the tidings of Israel's approach, did God's command require
the Israelites to chase them to the ends of the earth, and hunt them
down, until every Canaanite was destroyed? It is too preposterous for
belief, and yet it follows legitimately from that construction, which
interprets the terms "consume," "destroy," "destroy utterly," &c. to
mean unconditional individual extermination.]

* * * * *

[The preceding Inquiry is merely an _outline_. Whoever _reads_ it, needs
no such information. Its original design embraced a much wider range of
general topics, and subordinate heads, besides an Inquiry into the
teachings of the New Testament on the same subject. To have filled up
the outline, in conformity with the plan upon which it was sketched,
would have swelled it to a volume. Much of the foregoing has therefore
been thrown into the form of a mere skeleton of heads, or rather a
series of _indices_, to trains of thought and classes of proof, which,
however limited or imperfect, may perhaps, afford some facilities to
those who have little leisure for minute and protracted investigation.]

No. 4.









Third Edition--Revised.




This periodical contains 5 sheets.--Postage under 100 miles, 7 1-2 cts;
over 100 miles, 12 1-2 cts.

_Please read and circulate._







"Thou shalt not steal,"

"Thou shalt not covet,"


Separation of man from brutes and things,


Servants sold themselves,



Runaway Servants not to be delivered to their Masters,



Servants not subjected to the uses of property,

Servants expressly distinguished from property,

Examination of Gen. xii. 5.--"The souls that they had
gotten," &c.

Social equality of Servants and Masters,

Condition of the Gibeonites as subjects of the Hebrew

Egyptian Bondage analyzed,





"Both thy BONDMEN, &c., shall be of the heathen,"

"They shall be your bondmen FOREVER,"

"Ye shall take them as an INHERITANCE," &c.


Difference between Hired and Bought Servants,

Bought Servants the most favored and honored class,

Israelites and Strangers belonged to both classes,

Israelites servants to the Strangers,

Reasons for the release of the Israelitish Servants in
the seventh year,

Reasons for assigning the Strangers to a longer service,

Reasons for calling them _the_ Servants,

Different kinds of service assigned to the Israelites
and Strangers,


Political disabilities of the Strangers,




The spirit of slavery never seeks shelter in the Bible, of its own
accord. It grasps the horns of the altar only in desperation--rushing
from the terror of the avenger's arm. Like other unclean spirits, it
"hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest its deeds should be
reproved." Goaded to phrenzy in its conflicts with conscience and common
sense, denied all quarter, and hunted from every covert, it vaults over
the sacred inclosure and courses up and down the Bible, "seeking rest,
and finding none." THE LAW OF LOVE, glowing on every page, flashes
around it an omnipresent anguish and despair. It shrinks from the hated
light, and howls under the consuming touch, as demons quailed before the
Son of God, and shrieked, "Torment us not." At last, it slinks away
under the types of the Mosaic system, and seeks to burrow out of sight
among their shadows. Vain hope! Its asylum is its sepulchre; its city of
refuge, the city of destruction. It flies from light into the sun; from
heat, into devouring fire; and from the voice of God into the thickest
of His thunders.


If we would know whether the Bible sanctions slavery, we must determine
_what slavery is_. A constituent element, is one thing; a relation,
another; an appendage, another. Relations and appendages presuppose
_other_ things to which they belong. To regard them as _the things
themselves_, or as constituent parts of them, leads to endless
fallacies. A great variety of conditions, relations, and tenures,
indispensable to the social state, are confounded with slavery; and thus
slaveholding becomes quite harmless, if not virtuous. We will specify
some of these.

1. _Privation of suffrage._ Then minors are slaves.

2. _Ineligibility to office._ Then females are slaves.

3. _Taxation without representation._ Then slaveholders in the District
of Columbia are slaves.

4. _Privation of one's oath in law._ Then disbelievers in a future
retribution are slaves.

5. _Privation of trial by jury._ Then all in France and Germany are

6. _Being required to support a particular religion._ Then the people of
England are slaves. [To the preceding may be added all other
disabilities, merely _political_.]

7. _Cruelty and oppression._ Wives, children, and hired domestics are
often oppressed; but these forms of cruelty are not slavery.

8. _Apprenticeship._ The rights and duties of master and apprentice are
correlative and reciprocal. The claim of each upon the other results
from his _obligation_ to the other. Apprenticeship is based on the
principle of equivalent for value received. The rights of the apprentice
are secured, equally with those of the master. Indeed, while the law is
_just_ to the master, it is _benevolent_ to the apprentice. Its main
design is rather to benefit the apprentice than the master. It promotes
the interests of the former, while in doing it, it guards from injury
those of the latter. To the master it secures a mere legal
compensation--to the apprentice, both a legal compensation and a virtual
gratuity in addition, he being of the two the greatest gainer. The law
not only recognizes the _right_ of the apprentice to a reward for his
labor, but appoints the wages, and enforces the payment. The master's
claim covers only the services of the apprentice. The apprentice's claim
covers _equally_ the services of the master. Neither can hold the other
as property; but each holds property in the services of the other, and
BOTH EQUALLY. Is this slavery?

9. _Filial subordination and parental claims._ Both are nature's
dictates and intrinsic elements of the social state; the natural
affections which blend parent and child in one, excite each to discharge
those offices incidental to the relation, and constitute a shield for
mutual protection. The parent's legal claim to the child's services,
while a minor, is a slight return for the care and toil of his rearing,
to say nothing of outlays for support and education. This provision is,
with the mass of mankind, indispensable to the preservation of the
family state. The child, in helping his parents, helps
himself--increases a common stock, in which he has a share; while his
most faithful services do but acknowledge a debt that money cannot

10. _Bondage for crime._ Must innocence be punished because guilt
suffers penalties? True, the criminal works for the government without
pay; and well he may. He owes the government. A century's work would not
pay its drafts on him. He is a public defaulter, and will die so.
Because laws make men pay their debts, shall those be forced to pay who
owe nothing? The law makes no criminal, PROPERTY. It restrains his
liberty, and makes him pay something, a mere penny in the pound, of his
debt to the government; but it does not make him a chattel. Test it. To
own property, is to own its product. Are children born of convicts,
government property? Besides, can _property_ be guilty? Are chattels

11. _Restraints upon freedom._ Children are restrained by
parents--pupils, by teachers--patients, by physicians--corporations, by
charters--and legislatures, by constitutions. Embargoes, tariffs,
quarantine, and all other laws, keep men from doing as they please.
Restraints are the web of society, warp and woof. Are they slavery? then
civilized society is a giant slave--a government of LAW, _the climax of
slavery,_ and its executive, a king among slaveholders.

12. _Compulsory service._ A juryman is empannelled against his will, and
sit he must. A sheriff orders his posse; bystanders _must_ turn in. Men
are _compelled_ to remove nuisances, pay fines and taxes, support their
families, and "turn to the right as the law directs," however much
against their wills. Are they therefore slaves? To confound slavery with
involuntary service is absurd. Slavery is a _condition_. The slave's
_feelings_ toward it, are one thing; the condition itself, is another
thing; his feelings cannot alter the nature of that condition. Whether
he desires or detests it, the condition remains the same. The slave's
willingness to be a slave is no palliation of the slaveholder's guilt.
Suppose the slave should think himself a chattel, and consent to be so
regarded by others, does that _make_ him a chattel, or make those
guiltless who _hold_ him as such? I may be sick of life, and I tell the
assassin so that stabs me; is he any the less a murderer? Does my
_consent_ to his crime, atone for it? my partnership in his guilt, blot
out his part of it? The slave's willingness to be a slave, so far from
lessening the guilt of the "owner," aggravates it. If slavery has so
palsied his mind that he looks upon himself as a chattel, and consents
to be one, actually to hold him as such, falls in with his delusion, and
confirms the impious falsehood. These very feelings and convictions of
the slave, (if such were possible) increase a hundred fold the guilt of
the master, and call upon him in thunder, immediately to recognize him
as a man and thus break the sorcery that cheats him out of his
birthright--the consciousness of his worth and destiny.

Many of the foregoing conditions are _appendages_ of slavery. But no
one, nor all of them together, constitute its intrinsic unchanging

We proceed to state affirmatively that, ENSLAVING MEN IS REDUCING THEM
TO ARTICLES OF PROPERTY--making free agents, chattels--converting
_persons_ into _things_--sinking immortality, into _merchandize_. A
_slave_ is one held in this condition. In law, "he owns nothing, and can
acquire nothing." His right to himself is abrogated. If he say _my_
hands, _my_ feet, _my_ body, _my_ mind, MY _self_, they are figures of
speech. To use _himself_ for his own good, is a CRIME. To keep what he
_earns_, is stealing. To take his body into his own keeping, is
_insurrection_. In a word, the _profit_ of his master is made the END of
his being, and he, a _mere means_ to that end--a _mere means_ to an end
into which his interests do not enter, of which they constitute no
portion[A]. MAN, sunk to a _thing!_ the intrinsic element, the
_principle_ of slavery; MEN, bartered, leased, mortgaged, bequeathed,
invoiced, shipped in cargoes, stored as goods, taken on executions, and
knocked off at public outcry! Their _rights_, another's conveniences;
their interests, wares on sale; their happiness, a household utensil;
their personal inalienable ownership, a serviceable article, or a
plaything, as best suits the humor of the hour; their deathless nature,
conscience, social affections, sympathies, hopes--marketable
commodities! We repeat it, _the reduction of persons to things;_ not
robbing a man of privileges, but of _himself_; not loading with burdens,
but making him a _beast of burden_; not _restraining_ liberty, but
subverting it; not curtailing rights, but abolishing them; not
inflicting personal cruelty, but annihilating _personality_; not
exacting involuntary labor, but sinking him into an _implement_ of
labor; not abridging human comforts, but abrogating human nature; not
depriving an animal of immunities, but despoiling a rational being of
attributes--uncreating a MAN, to make room for a _thing_!

[Footnote A: Whatever system sinks men from an END to a mere _means_,
just so far makes him a _slave_. Hence West India apprenticeship retains
the cardinal principle of slavery. The apprentice, during three fourths
of his time, is still forced to labor, and robbed of his earnings; just
so far forth he is a _mere means_, a _slave_. True, in other respects
slavery is abolished in the British West Indies. Its bloodiest features
are blotted out--but the meanest and most despicable of all--forcing the
poor to work for the rich without pay three fourths of their time, with
a legal officer to flog them if they demur at the outrage, is one of the
provisions of the "Emancipation Act!" For the glories of that luminary,
abolitionists thank God, while they mourn that it rose behind clouds,
and shines through an eclipse.]

That this is American slavery, is shown by the laws of slave states.
Judge Stroud, in his "Sketch of the Laws relating to Slavery," says,
"The cardinal principle of slavery, that the slave is not to be ranked
among sentient beings, but among _things_--obtains as undoubted law in
all of these [the slave] states." The law of South Carolina thus lays
down the principle, "Slaves shall be deemed, held, taken, reputed, and
adjudged in law to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and
possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, to ALL
229. In Louisiana, "A slave is one who is in the power of a master to
whom he belongs; the master may sell him, dispose of his person, his
industry, and his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire
any thing, but what must belong to his master."--Civ. Code of Louisiana,
Art. 35.

This is American slavery. The eternal distinction between a person and a
thing, trampled under foot--the crowning distinction of all
others--alike the source, the test, and the measure of their value--the
rational, immortal principle, consecrated by God to universal homage, in
a baptism of glory and honor by the gift of His Son, His Spirit, His
word, His presence, providence, and power; His shield, and staff, and
sheltering wing; His opening heavens, and angels ministering, and
chariots of fire, and songs of morning stars, and a great voice in
heaven, proclaiming eternal sanctions, and confirming the word with
signs following.

Having stated the _principle_ of American slavery, we ask, DOES THE
BIBLE SANCTION SUCH A PRINCIPLE?[A] "To the _law_ and the _testimony_?"
First, the moral law. Just after the Israelites were emancipated from
their bondage in Egypt, while they stood before Sinai to receive the
law, as the trumpet waxed louder, and the mount quaked and blazed, God
spake the ten commandments from the midst of clouds and thunderings.
_Two_ of those commandments deal death to slavery. "THOU SHALT NOT
STEAL," or, "thou shalt not take from another what belongs to him." All
man's powers are God's gift to _him_. That they are _his own_, is proved
from the fact that God has given them to _him alone_,--that each of them
is a part of himself, and all of them together constitute himself. All
else that belongs to man, is acquired by the _use_ of these powers. The
interest belongs to him, because the principal does; the product is his,
because he is the producer. Ownership of any thing, is ownership of its
_use_. The right to use according to will, is _itself_ ownership. The
eighth commandment presupposes and assumes the right of every man to his
powers, and their product. Slavery robs of both. A man's right to
himself, is the only right absolutely original and intrinsic--his right
to whatever else that belongs to him is merely _relative_ to this, is
derived from it, and held only by virtue of it. SELF-RIGHT is the
_foundation right_--the _post is the middle_, to which all other rights
are fastened. Slaveholders, when talking about their RIGHT to their
slaves, always assume their own right to themselves. What slaveholder
ever undertook to prove his right to himself? He knows it to be a
self-evident proposition, that _a man belongs to himself_--that the
right is intrinsic and absolute. In making out his own title, he makes
out the title of every human being. As the fact of being a _man_ is
itself the title, the whole human family have one common title deed. If
one man's title is valid, all are valid. If one is worthless, all are.
To deny the validity of the _slave's_ title is to deny the validity of
_his own_; and yet in the act of making a man a slave, the slaveholder
_asserts_ the validity of his own title, while he seizes him as his
property who has the _same_ title. Further, in making him a slave, he
does not merely disfranchise the humanity of _one_ individual, but of
UNIVERSAL MAN. He destroys the foundations. He annihilates _all rights_.
He attacks not only the human race, but _universal being_, and rushes
upon JEHOVAH. For rights are _rights_; God's are no more--man's are no

[Footnote A: The Bible record of actions is no comment on their moral
character. It vouches for them as _facts_, not as _virtues_. It records
without rebuke, Noah's drunkenness, Lot's incest, and the lies of Jacob
and his mother--not only single acts, but _usages_, such as polygamy and
concubinage, are entered on the record without censure. Is that _silent
entry_ God's _endorsement_? Because the Bible in its catalogue of human
actions, does not stamp on every crime its name and number, and write
against it, _this is a crime_--does that wash out its guilt, and bleach
into a virtue?]

The eighth commandment forbids the taking of _any part_ of that which
belongs to another. Slavery takes the _whole_. Does the same Bible which
prohibits the taking of _any_ thing from him, sanction the taking of
_every_ thing? Does it thunder wrath against him who robs his neighbor
of a _cent_, yet bid God speed to him who robs his neighbor of
_himself_? Slaveholding is the highest possible violation of the eighth
commandment. To take from a man his earnings, is theft. But to take the
_earner_, is a compound, life-long theft--supreme robbery, that vaults
up the climax at a leap--the dread, terrific, giant robbery, that towers
among other robberies a solitary horror, monarch of the realm. The
eighth commandment forbids the taking away, and the _tenth_ adds, "THOU
man's right to himself and his property, by making not only the actual
taking away a sin, but even that state of mind which would _tempt_ to
it. Who ever made human beings slaves, without _coveting_ them? Why take
from them their time, labor, liberty, right of self-preservation and
improvement, their right to acquire property, to worship according to
conscience; to search the Scriptures, to live with their families, and
their right to their own bodies, if they do not _desire_ them? They
covet them for purposes of gain, convenience, lust of dominion, of
sensual gratification of pride and ostentation. THEY BREAK THE TENTH
COMMANDMENT, and pluck down upon their heads the plagues that are
written in the book.--_Ten_ commandments constitute the brief compend of
human duty.--_Two_ of these brand slavery as sin.

The giving of the law at Sinai, immediately preceded the promulgation of
that body of laws called the "Mosaic system." Over the gateway of that
system, fearful words were written by the finger of God--"HE THAT

The oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, and the wonders wrought for
their deliverance, proclaim the reason for _such_ a law at _such_ a
time--when the body politic became a theocracy, and reverently waited
for the will of God. They had just been emancipated. The tragedies of
their house of bondage were the realities of yesterday, and peopled
their memories with thronging horrors. They had just witnessed God's
testimony against oppression in the plagues of Egypt--the burning blains
on man and beast--the dust quickened into loathsome life, and swarming
upon every living thing--the streets, the palaces, the temples, and
every house heaped up with the carcases of things abhorred--the kneading
troughs and ovens, the secret chambers and the couches; reeking and
dissolving with the putrid death--the pestilence walking in darkness at
noonday, the devouring locusts, and hail mingled with fire, the
first-born death-struck, and the waters blood, and last of all, that
dread high hand and stretched-out arm, that whelmed the monarch and his
hosts, and strewed their corpses on the sea. All this their eyes had
looked upon,--earth's proudest city, wasted and thunder-scarred, lying
in desolation, and the doom of oppressors traced on her ruins in the
hand writing of God, glaring in letters of fire mingled with blood--a
blackened monument of wrath to the uttermost against the stealers of
men. No wonder that God, in a code of laws prepared for such a people at
such a time, should light up on its threshold a blazing beacon to flash
terror on slaveholders. _"He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if
he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death."_ Ex. xxi. 16.
Deut. xxiv. 7[A]. God's cherubim and flaming sword guarding the entrance
to the Mosaic system!

[Footnote A: Jarchi, the most eminent of the Jewish Commentators, who
wrote seven hundred years ago, in his commentary on this stealing and
making merchandize of men, gives the meaning thus:--"Using a man against
his will, as a servant lawfully purchased; yea, though he should use his
services ever so little, only to the value of a farthing, or use but his
arm to lean on to support him, _if he be forced so to act as a servant_,
the person compelling him but once to do so shall die as a thief,
whether he has sold him or not."]

The word _Ganabh_ here rendered _stealeth_, means the taking what
_belongs_ to another, whether by violence or fraud; the same word is
used in the eighth commandment, and prohibits both _robbery_ and theft.

The crime specified is that of depriving SOMEBODY of the ownership of a
man. Is this somebody a master? and is the crime that of depriving a
master of his servant? Then it would have been "he that stealeth" a
_servant, not_ "he that stealeth a _man_." If the crime had been the
taking an individual from _another_, then the _term_ used would have
been expressive of that relation, and most especially if it was the
relation of property and _proprietor_!

The crime is stated in a three-fold form--man _stealing_, _selling_, and
_holding_. All are put on a level, and whelmed under one penalty--DEATH.
This _somebody_ deprived of the ownership of a man, is the _man
himself_, robbed of personal ownership. Joseph said, "Indeed I was
_stolen_ away out of the land of the Hebrews." Gen. xl. 15. How
_stolen?_ His brethren sold him as an article of merchandize. Contrast
this penalty for _man_-stealing with that for _property_-stealing, Ex.
xxii. If a man had stolen an _ox_ and killed or sold it, he was to
restore five oxen; if he had neither sold nor killed it, two oxen. But
in the case of stealing a _man_, the _first_ act drew down the utmost
power of punishment; however often repeated, or aggravated the crime,
human penalty could do no more. The fact that the penalty for
_man_-stealing was death, and the penalty for _property_-stealing, the
mere restoration of double, shows that the two cases were adjudicated on
totally different principles. The man stolen might be past labor, and
his support a burden, yet death was the penalty, though not a cent's
worth of _property value_ was taken. The penalty for stealing property
was a mere property penalty. However large the theft, the payment of
double wiped out the score. It might have a greater _money_ value than a
thousand men, yet death was not the penalty, nor maiming, nor branding,
nor even _stripes_, but double of _the same kind._ Why was not the rule
uniform? When a _man_ was stolen why was not the thief required to
restore double of the same kind--two men, or if he had sold him, five
men? Do you say that the man-thief might not _have_ them? So the
ox-thief might not have two oxen, or if he had killed it, five. But if
God permitted men to hold _men_ as property, equally with _oxen_, the
man-thief could get men with whom to pay the penalty, as well as the
ox-thief, oxen. Further, when _property_ was stolen, the legal penalty
was a compensation to the person injured. But when a _man_ was stolen,
no property compensation was offered. To tender money as an equivalent,
would have been to repeat the outrage with intolerable aggravations.
Compute the value of a MAN in _money!_ Throw dust into the scale against
immortality! The law recoiled from such supreme insult and impiety. To
have permitted the man-thief to expiate his crime by restoring double,
would have been making the repetition of crime its atonement. But the
infliction of death for _man-stealing_ exacted the utmost possibility of
reparation. It wrung from the guilty wretch as he gave up the ghost, a
testimony in blood, and death-groans, to the infinite dignity and worth
of man,--a proclamation to the universe, voiced in mortal agony, "MAN IS
INVIOLABLE"--a confession shrieked in phrenzy at the grave's mouth--"I
die accursed, and God is just."

If God permitted man to hold man as property, why did he punish for
stealing that kind of property infinitely more than for stealing any
other kind of property? Why did he punish with death for stealing a very
little of _that_ sort of property, and make a mere fine, the penalty for
stealing a thousand times as much, of any other sort of
property--especially if God did by his own act annihilate the difference
between man and _property,_ by putting him on a level with it?

The atrociousness of a crime, depends much upon the nature, character,
and condition of the victim. To steal is a crime, whoever the thief, or
whatever the plunder. To steal bread from a full man, is theft; to steal
from a starving man, is both theft and murder. If I steal my neighbor's
property, the crime consists not in altering the _nature_ of the article
but in shifting its relation from him to me. But when I take my neighbor
himself, and first make him _property_, and then _my_ property, the
latter act, which was the sole crime in the former case, dwindles to
nothing. The sin in stealing a man, is not the transfer from its owner
to another of that which is _already property,_ but the turning of
_personality_ into _property_. True, the attributes of man remain, but
the rights and immunities which grow out of them are attributed. It is
the first law both of reason and revelation to regard things and beings
as they are; and the sum of religion, to feel and act towards them
according to their value. Knowingly to treat them otherwise is sin; and
the degree of violence done to their nature, religions, and value,
measures its guilt. When things are sundered which God has indissolubly
joined, or confounded in one, which he has separated by infinite
extremes; when sacred and eternal distinctions, which he has garnished
with glory, are derided and set at nought, then, if ever, sin reddens to
its "scarlet dye." The sin specified in the passage, is that of doing
violence to the _nature_ of a man--to his intrinsic value as a rational
being, and blotting out the exalted distinction stamped upon him by his
Maker. In the verse preceding, and in that which follows, the same
principle is laid down. Verse 15, "He that smiteth his father or his
mother shall surely be put to death." V. 17, "He that curseth his father
or his mother, shall surely be put to death." If a Jew smote his
neighbor, the law merely smote him in return; but if the blow was given
to a _parent,_ it struck the smiter dead. The parental relation is the
_centre_ of human society. God guards it with peculiar care. To violate
that, is to violate all. Whoever trampled on that, showed that _no_
relation had any sacredness in his eyes--that he was unfit to move among
human relations who had violated one so sacred and tender. Therefore,
the Mosaic law uplifted his bleeding corpse, and brandished the ghastly
terror around the parental relation to guard it from impious inroads.

Why such a difference in penalties, for the same act? Answer. (1.) The
relation violated was obvious--the distinction between parents and
others manifest, dictated by natural affection--a law of the
constitution. (2.) The act was violence to nature--a suicide on
constitutional susceptibilities. (3.) The parental relation then, as
now, was the focal point of the social system, and required powerful
safeguards. "_Honor thy father and thy mother_," stands at the head of
those commands which prescribe the duties of man to man; and, throughout
the Bible, the parental state is God's favorite illustration of his own
relations to the whole human family. In this case death was to be
inflicted not for smiting a _man_, but a _parent_--a _distinction_
cherished by God, and around which, He threw up a bulwark of defence. In
the next verse, "He that stealeth a man," &c., the SAME PRINCIPLE is
wrought out in still stronger relief. The crime to be punished with
death was not the taking of property from its owner, but the doing
violence to an _immortal nature,_ blotting out a sacred _distinction_,
making MEN "chattels." The incessant pains taken in the Old Testament to
separate human beings from brutes and things, shows God's regard for his
own distinction.

"In the beginning" it was uttered in heaven, and proclaimed to the
universe as it rose into being. Creation was arrayed at the instant of
its birth, to do it homage. It paused in adoration while God ushered
forth its crowning work. Why that dread pause and that creating arm held
back in mid career and that high conference in the godhead? "Let us make
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and
over all the earth." Then while every living thing, with land, and sea,
and firmament, and marshalled worlds, waited to swell the shout of
GOD CREATED HE HIM." This solves the problem, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD,
CREATED HE HIM. Well might the sons of God shout, "Amen, alleluia"--For
thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him
with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of
thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." Ps. viii. 5, 6. The
repetition of this distinction is frequent and solemn. In Gen. i. 26-28,
it is repeated in various forms. In Gen. v. 1, we find it again, "IN THE
LIKENESS OF GOD MADE HE MAN." In Gen. ix. 6, again. After giving license
to shed the blood of "every moving thing that liveth," it is added,
"_Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for_ IN
THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN." As though it had been said, "All these
creatures are your property, designed for your use--they have the
likeness of earth, they perish with the using, and their spirits go
downward; but this other being, MAN, has my own likeness: "IN THE IMAGE
OF GOD made I man;" "an intelligent, moral, immortal agent, invited to
all that I can give and he can be." So in Lev. xxiv. 17, 18, 21, "He
that killeth any MAN shall surely be put to death; and he that killeth a
beast shall make it good, beast for beast; and he that killeth a man
shall be put to death." So in Ps. viii. 5, 6, what an enumeration of
particulars, each separating infinitely MEN from brutes and things! (1.)
"_Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels._" Slavery drags him
down among _brutes_. (2.) "_And hast crowned him with glory and honor._"
Slavery tears off his crown, and puts on a _yoke_. (3.) "_Thou madest
him to have dominion_ OVER _the works of thy hands._" Slavery breaks the
sceptre, and casts him down _among_ those works--yea _beneath them_.
(4.) "_Thou hast put all things under his feet._" Slavery puts HIM under
the feet of an "owner." Who, but an impious scorner, dares thus strive
with his Maker, and mutilate HIS IMAGE, and blaspheme the Holy One, who
saith, "_Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it
unto_ ME."

In further presenting this inquiry, the Patriarchal and Mosaic systems
will be considered together, as each reflects light upon the other, and
as many regulations of the latter are mere _legal_ forms of Divine
institutions previously existing. As a _system_, the latter alone is of
Divine authority. Whatever were the usages of the patriarchs, God has
not made them our exemplars[A].

[Footnote A: Those who insist that the patriarchs held slaves, and sit
with such delight under their shadow, hymning the praises of "those good
old patriarchs and slaveholders," might at small cost greatly augment
their numbers. A single stanza celebrating patriarchal _concubinage_,
winding off with a chorus in honor of patriarchal _drunkenness_, would
be a trumpet call, summoning from bush and brake, highway and hedge, and
sheltering fence, a brotherhood of kindred affinities, each claiming
Abraham or Noah as his patron saint, and shouting, "My name is legion."
What a myriad choir and thunderous song.]

Before entering upon an analysis of the condition of servants under
these two states of society, we will consider the import of certain
terms which describe the mode of procuring them.


As the Israelites were commanded to "buy" their servants, and as Abraham
had servants "bought with money," it is argued that servants were
articles of _property_. The sole ground for this belief is the terms
themselves. How much might be saved, if in discussion, the thing to be
proved were always _assumed_. To beg the question in debate, would be
vast economy of midnight oil! and a great forestaller of wrinkles and
grey hairs! Instead of protracted investigation into Scripture usage,
with painful collating of passages, to find the meaning of terms, let
every man interpret the oldest book in the world by the usages of his
own time and place, and the work is done. And then instead of one
revelation, they might be multiplied as the drops of the morning, and
every man have an infallible clue to the mind of the Spirit, if he only
understood the dialect of his own neighborhood! What a Babel-jargon it
would make of the Bible to take it for granted that the sense in which
words are _now_ used is the _inspired_ sense, David says, "I prevented
the dawning of the morning, and cried." What, stop the earth in its
revolution! Two hundred years ago, _prevent_ was used in its strict
Latin sense to _come before_, or _anticipate_. It is always used in this
sense in the Old and New Testaments. David's expression, in the English
of the nineteenth century, would be "Before the dawning of the morning I
cried." In almost every chapter of the Bible, words are used in a sense
now nearly or quite obsolete, and sometimes in a sense totally
_opposite_ to their present meaning. A few examples follow: "I purposed
to come to you, but was _let_ (hindered) hitherto." "And the four
_beasts_ (living ones) fell down and worshipped God,"--"Whosoever shall
_offend_ (cause to sin) one of these little ones,"--"Go out into the
highways and _compel_ (urge) them to come in,"--"Only let your
_conversation_ (habitual conduct) be as becometh the Gospel,"--"They
that seek me _early_ (earnestly) shall find me,"--"So when tribulation
or persecution ariseth _by-and-by_ (immediately) they are offended."
Nothing is more mutable than language. Words, like bodies, are always
throwing off some particles and absorbing others. So long as they are
mere _representatives_, elected by the whims of universal suffrage,
their meaning will be a perfect volatile, and to cork it up for the next
century is an employment sufficiently silly (to speak within bounds) for
a modern Bible Dictionary maker. There never was a shallower conceit
than that of establishing the sense attached to a word centuries ago, by
showing what it means _now_. Pity that fashionable mantuamakers were not
a little quicker at taking hints from some Doctors of Divinity. How
easily they might save their pious customers all qualms of conscience
about the weekly shiftings of fashion, by proving that the last
importation of Parisian indecency now flaunting on promenade, was the
very style of dress in which the pious Sarah kneaded cakes for the
angels, and the modest Rebecca drew water for the camels of Abraham's
servants. Since such fashions are rife in Broadway _now_, they _must_
have been in Canaan and Padanaram four thousand years ago!

The inference that the word buy, used to describe the procuring of
servants, means procuring them as _chattels_, seems based upon the
fallacy, that whatever _costs_ money _is_ money; that whatever or
whoever you pay money _for_, is an article of property, and the fact of
your paying for it _proves_ it property. The children of Israel were
required to purchase their first-born from under the obligations of the
priesthood, Num. xviii. 15, 16; Ex. xiii. 13; xxxiv. 20. This custom
still exists among the Jews, and the word _buy_ is still used to
describe the transaction. Does this prove that their first-born were, or
are, held as property? They were _bought_ as really as were _servants_.
(2.) The Israelites were required to pay money for their own souls. This
is called sometimes a ransom, sometimes an atonement. Were their souls
therefore marketable commodities? (3.) Bible saints _bought_ their
wives. Boaz bought Ruth. "So Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon,
have I _purchased_ to be my wife." Ruth iv. 10. Hosea bought his wife.
"So I _bought_ her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer
of barley, and an half homer of barley." Hosea iii. 2. Jacob bought his
wives Rachael and Leah, and not having money, paid for them in
labor--seven years a piece. Gen. xxix. 15-29. Moses probably bought his
wife in the same way, and paid for her by his labor, as the servant of
her father. Exod. ii. 21. Shechem, when negotiating with Jacob and his
sons for Dinah, says, "Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will
give according as ye shall say unto me." Gen. xxxiv. 11, 12. David
purchased Michal, and Othniel, Achsah, by performing perilous services
for their fathers. 1 Sam. xviii. 25-27; Judg. i. 12, 13. That the
purchase of wives, either with money or by service, was the general
practice, is plain from such passages as Ex. xxii. 17, and 1 Sam. xviii.
25. Among the modern Jews this usage exists, though now a mere form,
there being no _real_ purchase. Yet among their marriage ceremonies, is
one called "marrying by the penny." The coincidences in the methods of
procuring wives and servants, in the terms employed in describing the
transactions, and in the prices paid for each, are worthy of notice. The
highest price of wives (virgins) and servants was the same. Comp. Deut.
xxii. 28, 29, and Ex. xxii. 17, with Lev. xxvii. 2-8. The _medium_ price
of wives and servants was the same. Comp. Hos. iii. 2, with Ex. xxi. 32.
Hosea seems to have paid one half in money and the other half in grain.
Further, the Israelitish female bought servants were _wives_, their
husbands and masters being the same persons. Ex. xxi. 8, Judg. xix. 3,
27. If _buying_ servants proves them property, buying wives proves them
property. Why not contend that the _wives_ of the ancient fathers of the
faithful were their "chattels," and used as ready change at a pinch; and
thence deduce the rights of modern husbands? Alas! Patriarchs and
prophets are followed afar off! When will pious husbands live up to
their Bible privileges, and become partakers with Old Testament worthies
in the blessedness of a husband's rightful immunities! Refusing so to
do, is questioning the morality of those "good old patriarchs and
slaveholders, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

This use of the word buy, is not peculiar to the Hebrew. In the Syriac,
the common expression for "the espoused," is "the bought." Even so late
as the 16th century, the common record of _marriages_ in the old German
Chronicles was, "A BOUGHT B."

The word translated _buy_, is, like other words, modified by the nature
of the subject to which it is applied. Eve said, "I have _gotten_
(bought) a man of the Lord." She named him Cain, that is _bought_. "He
that heareth reproof, getteth (buyeth) understanding," Prov. xv. 32. So
in Isa. xi. 11. "The Lord shall set his hand again to recover (to _buy_)
the remnant of his people." So Ps. lxxviii. 54. "He brought them to this
mountain which his right hand had _purchased_," (gotten.) Jer. xiii. 4.
"Take the girdle that thou hast got" (bought.) Neh. v. 8. "We of our
ability have _redeemed_ (bought) our brethren that were sold to the
heathen." Here "_bought_" is not applied to persons reduced to
servitude, but to those taken _out_ of it. Prov. 8. 22. "The Lord
possessed (bought) me in the beginning of his way." Prov. xix. 8. "He
that _getteth_ (buyeth) wisdom loveth his own soul." Finally, to _buy_
is a _secondary_ meaning of the Hebrew word _Kana_.

Even at this day the word _buy_ is used to describe the procuring of
servants, where slavery is abolished. In the British West Indies, where
slaves became apprentices in 1834, they are still "bought." This is the
current word in West India newspapers. Ten years since servants were
"_bought_" in New-York, as really as in Virginia, yet the different
senses in which the word was used in the two states, put no man in a
quandary. Under the system of legal _indenture_ in Illinois, servants
now are "_bought._"[A] Until recently immigrants to this country were
"bought" in great numbers. By voluntary contract they engaged to work a
given time to pay for their passage. This class of persons called
"redemptioners," consisted at one time of thousands. Multitudes are
"bought" _out_ of slavery by themselves or others. Under the same roof
with the writer is a "servant bought with money." A few weeks since, she
was a slave; when "bought" she was a slave no longer. Alas! for our
leading politicians if "buying" men makes them "chattels." The Whigs say
that Benton and Rives are "bought" by the administration; and the other
party, that Clay and Webster are "bought" by the Bank. The histories of
the revolution tell us that Benedict Arnold was "bought" by British
gold. When a northern clergyman marries a rich southern widow, country
gossip thus hits off the indecency, "The cotton bags _bought_ him." Sir
Robert Walpole said, "Every man has his price, and whoever will pay it,
can _buy_ him," and John Randolph said, "The northern delegation is in
the market, give me money enough, and I can _buy_ them;" both meant just
what they said. The temperance publications tell us that candidates for
office _buy_ men with whiskey; and the oracles of street tattle that the
court, district attorney, and jury, in the late trial of Robinson were
_bought_, yet we have no floating visions of "chattels personal," man
auctions, or coffles.

[Footnote A: The following statute is now in force in the free state of
Illinois--No negro, mulatto, or Indian shall at any time _purchase_ any
servant other than of their own complexion: and if any of the persons
aforesaid shall presume to _purchase_ a white servant, such servant
shall immediately become free, and shall be so held, deemed and taken.]

The transaction between Joseph and the Egyptians gives a clue to the use
of "buy" and "bought with money." Gen, xlvii. 18-26. The Egyptians
proposed to Joseph to become servants. When the bargain was closed,
Joseph said, "Behold I have _bought you_ this day," and yet it is plain
that neither party regarded the persons _bought_ as articles of
property, but merely as bound to labor on certain conditions, to pay for
their support during the famine. The idea attached by both parties to
"buy us," and "behold I have bought you," was merely that of service
voluntarily offered, and secured by contract, in return for _value
received_, and not at all that the Egyptians were bereft of their
personal ownership, and made articles of property. And this buying of
_services_ (in this case it was but one-fifth part) is called in
Scripture usage, _buying the persons_. This case claims special notice,
as it is the only one where the whole transaction of buying servants is
detailed--the preliminaries, the process, the mutual acquiescence, and
the permanent relation resulting therefrom. In all other instances, the
_mere fact_ is stated without particulars. In this case, the whole
process is laid open. (1.) The persons "bought," _sold themselves_, and
of their own accord. (2.) Obtaining permanently the _services_ of
persons, or even a portion of them, is called "buying" those persons.
The objector, at the outset, takes it for granted, that servants were
bought of _third_ persons; and thence infers that they were articles of
property. Both the alleged fact and the inference are sheer
_assumptions_. No instance is recorded, under the Mosaic system, in
which a _master sold his servant_. That servants who were "bought" _sold
themselves_ is a fair inference from various passages of Scripture.

In Leviticus xxv. 47, the case of the Israelite, who became the servant
of the stranger, the words are, "If he SELL HIMSELF unto the stranger."
The _same word_, and the same _form_ of the word, which, in verse 47, is
rendered _sell himself_, is in verse 39 of the same chapter, rendered
_be sold_; in Deut. xxviii. 68, the same word is rendered "be sold."
"And there ye shall BE SOLD unto your enemies for bond-men and
bond-women and NO MAN SHALL BUY YOU." How could they "_be sold_" without
_being bought_? Our translation makes it nonsense. The word _Makar_
rendered "be sold" is used here in the Hithpael conjugation, which is
generally reflexive in its force, and, like the middle voice in Greek,
represents what an individual does for himself, and should manifestly
have been rendered, "ye shall _offer yourselves_ for sale, and there
shall be no purchaser." For a clue to Scripture usage on this point, see
1 Kings xxi. 20, 25--"Thou hast _sold thyself_ to work evil." "There was
none like to Ahab that _sold himself_ to work wickedness."--2 Kings
xvii. 17. "They used divination and enchantments, and _sold themselves_
to do evil."--Isa. l. 1. "For your iniquities have ye _sold
yourselves_." Isa. lii. 3, "Ye have _sold yourselves_ FOR NOUGHT, and ye
shall be redeemed without money." See also, Jer. xxxiv. 14--Romans vii.
14, vi. 16--John viii. 34, and the case of Joseph and the Egyptians,
already quoted. In the purchase of wives, though spoken of rarely, it is
generally stated that they were bought of _third_ persons. If _servants_
were bought of third persons, it is strange that no _instance_ of it is
on record.


The general object of the laws defining the relations of master and
servant, was the good of both parties--more especially the good of the
_servants_. While the master's interests were guarded from injury, those
of the servants were _promoted_. These laws made a merciful provision
for the poorer classes, both of the Israelites and Strangers, not laying
on burdens, but lightening them--they were a grant of _privileges_ and

I. No servant from the Strangers, could remain in the family of an
Israelite without becoming a proselyte. Compliance with this condition
was the _price of the privilege_.--Gen. xvii. 9-14, 23, 27.

II. Excommunication from the family was a PUNISHMENT.--Gen. xxi. 14.
Luke xvi. 2-4.

III. Every Hebrew servant could COMPEL his master to keep him after the
six years contract had expired. This shows that the system was framed to
advance the interests and gratify the wishes of the servant quite as
much as those of the master. If the servant _demanded_ it, the law
_obliged_ the master to retain him, however little he might need his
services. Deut. xv. 12-17. Ex. xxi. 2-6.

IV. The rights and privileges guarantied by law to all servants.

1. _They were admitted into covenant with God._ Deut. xxix. 10-13.

2. _They were invited guests at all the national and family festivals._
Ex. xii. 43-44; Deut. xii. 12, 18, xvi. 10-16.

3. _They were statedly instructed in morality and religion._ Deut. xxxi.
10-13; Josh. viii. 33-35; 2 Chron. xvii. 8-9.

4. _They were released from their regular labor nearly_ ONE HALF OF THE
WHOLE TIME. During which they had their entire support, and the same
instruction that was provided for the other members of the Hebrew

(a.) The Law secured to them the _whole of every seventh year;_ Lev.
xxv. 3-6; thus giving to those who were servants during the entire
period between the jubilees, _eight whole years,_ including the jubilee
year, of unbroken rest.

(b.) _Every seventh day._ This in forty-two years, the eight being
subtracted from the fifty, would amount to just _six years._

(c.) _The three annual festivals._ The _Passover_, which commenced on
the 15th of the 1st month, and lasted seven days, Deut. xvi. 3, 8. The
Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks, which began on the 6th day of the 3d
month, and lasted seven days. Lev. xvi. 10, 11. The Feast of
Tabernacles, which commenced on the 15th of the 7th month, and lasted
eight days. Deut. xvi. 13, 15; Lev. xxiii. 34-39. As all met in one
place, much time would be spent on the journey. Cumbered caravans move
slowly. After their arrival, a day or two would be requisite for divers
preparations before the celebration, besides some time at the close of
it, in preparations for return. If we assign three weeks to each
festival--including the time spent on the journeys, and the delays
before and after the celebration, together with the _festival week_, it
will be a small allowance for the cessation of their regular labor. As
there were three festivals in the year, the main body of the servants
would be absent from their stated employments at least _nine weeks
annually_, which would amount in forty-two years, subtracting the
Sabbaths, to six years and eighty-four days.

(d.) _The new moons._ The Jewish year had twelve; Josephus says that the
Jews always kept _two_ days for the new moon. See Calmet on the Jewish
Calendar, and Horne's Introduction; also 1 Sam. xx. 18, 19, 27. This in
forty-two years, would be two years 280 days.

(e.) _The feast of trumpets_. On the first day of the seventh month, and
of the civil year. Lev. xxiii. 24, 25.

(f.) _The atonement day_. On the tenth of the seventh month. Lev. xxiii.

These two feasts would consume not less than sixty-five days not
reckoned above.

Thus it appears that those who continued servants during the period
between the jubilees, were by law released from their labor,
who remained a less time, in nearly the same proportion. In this
calculation, besides making a donation of all the _fractions_ to the
objector, we have left out those numerous _local_ festivals to which
frequent allusion is made, Judg. xxi. 19; I Sam. ix. etc., and the
various _family_ festivals, such as at the weaning of children; at
marriages; at sheep shearings; at circumcisions; at the making of
covenants, &c., to which reference is often made, as in 1 Sam. xx. 28,
29. Neither have we included the festivals instituted at a later period
of the Jewish history. The feast of Purim, Esth. ix. 28, 29; and of the
Dedication, which lasted eight days. John x. 22; 1 Mac. iv. 59.

Finally, the Mosaic system secured to servants, an amount of time which,
if distributed, would be almost ONE HALF OF THE DAYS IN EACH YEAR.
Meanwhile, they were supported, and furnished with opportunities of
instruction. If this time were distributed over _every day_, the
servants would have to themselves nearly _one half of each day_.


V. The servant was protected by law equally with the other members of
the community.

Proof.--"Judge righteously between every man and his neighbor, and THE
but ye shall hear the SMALL as well as the great." Deut. i. 16, 17. Also
Lev. xxiv. 22. "Ye shall have one manner of law as well for the
STRANGER, as for one of your own country." So Numb. xv. 29. "Ye shall
have ONE LAW for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that
is born among the children of Israel and for the STRANGER that
sojourneth among them." Deut. xxvii. 19. "Cursed be he that PERVERTETH

VI. The Mosaic system enjoined the greatest affection and kindness
toward servants, foreign as well as Jewish.

Lev. xix. 34. "The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as
one born among you, and thou shall love him as thyself." Also Deut. x.
17, 19. "For the Lord your God * * REGARDETH NOT PERSONS. He doth
execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and LOVETH THE
STRANGER, in giving him food and raiment, LOVE YE THEREFORE THE
STRANGER." So Ex. xxii. 21. "Thou shalt neither vex a STRANGER nor
oppress him." Ex. xxiii. 9. "Thou shalt not oppress a STRANGER, for ye
know the heart of a stranger." Lev. xxv. 35, 36. "If thy brother be
waxen poor thou shalt relieve him, yea, though he be a STRANGER or a
sojourner, that he may live with thee, take thou no usury of him or
increase, but fear thy God." Could this same stranger be taken by one
that feared his God, and held as a slave, and robbed of time, earnings,
and all his rights?

VII. Servants were placed upon a level with their masters in all civil
and religious rights. Num. xv. 15, 16, 29; ix. 14. Deut. i. 16, 17. Lev.
xxiv. 22.


We argue that they became servants _of their own accord_.

I. Because to become a servant in the family of an Israelite, was to
abjure idolatry, to enter into covenant with God[A], be circumcised in
token of it, bound to keep the Sabbath, the Passover, the Pentecost, and
the Feast of Tabernacles, and to receive instruction in the moral and
ceremonial law. Were the servants _forced_ through all these processes?
Was the renunciation of idolatry _compulsory_? Were they _dragged_ into
covenant with God? Were they seized and circumcised by _main strength_?
Were they _compelled_ mechanically to chew, and swallow the flesh of the
Paschal lamb, while they abhorred the institution, spurned the laws that
enjoined it, detested its author and its executors, and instead of
rejoicing in the deliverance which it commemorated, bewailed it as a
calamity, and cursed the day of its consummation? Were they _driven_
from all parts of the land three times in the year to the annual
festivals? Were they drugged with instruction which they nauseated?
Goaded through a round of ceremonies, to them senseless and disgusting
mummeries; and drilled into the tactics of a creed rank with loathed
abominations? We repeat it, to became a _servant_, was to become a
_proselyte_. And did God authorize his people to make proselytes, at the
point of the sword? by the terror of pains and penalties? by converting
men into _merchandise_? Were _proselyte and chattel_ synonymes, in the
Divine vocabulary? Must a man be sunk to a _thing_ before taken into
covenant with God? Was this the stipulated condition of adoption, and
the sole passport to the communion of the saints?

[Footnote A: Maimonides, who wrote in Egypt about seven hundred years
ago, a contemporary with Jarchi, and who stands with him at the head of
Jewish writers, gives the following testimony on this point: "Whether a
servant be born in the power of an Israelite, or whether he be purchased
from the heathen, the master is to bring them both into the covenant."

"But he that is in the _house_ is entered on the eighth day, and he that
is bought with money, on the day on which his master receives him,
unless the slave be _unwilling_. For if the master receive a grown
slave, and he be _unwilling_, his master is to bear with him, to seek to
win him over by instruction, and by love and kindness, for one year.
After which, should he _refuse_ so long, it is forbidden to keep him
longer than a year. And the master must send him back to the strangers
from whence he came. For the God of Jacob will not accept any other than
the worship of a willing heart"--Mamon, Hilcoth Mileth, Chap. 1st, Sec.

The ancient Jewish Doctors assert that the servant from the Strangers
who at the close of his probationary year, refused to adopt the Jewish
religion and was on that account sent back to his own people, received a
_full compensation_ for his services, besides the payment of his
expenses. But that _postponement_ of the circumcision of the foreign
servant for a year (_or even at all_ after he had entered the family of
an Israelite), of which the Mishnic doctors speak, seems to have been _a
mere usage_. We find nothing of it in the regulations of the Mosaic
system. Circumcision was manifestly a rite strictly _initiatory_.
Whether it was a rite merely _national_ or _spiritual_, or _both_, comes
not within the scope of this inquiry. ]

II. We argue the voluntariness of servants from Deut. xxiii. 15, 16,
"Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped
from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in
that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh
him best; thou shalt not oppress him."

As though God had said, "To deliver him up would be to recognize the
_right_ of the master to hold him; his _fleeing_ shows his
_choice_--proclaims his wrongs and his title to protection; you shall
not force him back and thus recognize the _right_ of the master to hold
him in such a condition as induces him to flee to others for
protection." It may be said that this command referred only to the
servants of _heathen_ masters in the surrounding nations. We answer, the
terms of the command are unlimited. But the objection, if valid, would
merely shift the pressure of the difficulty to another point. Did God
require them to protect the _free choice_ of a _single_ servant from the
heathen, and yet _authorize_ the same persons, to crush the free choice
of _thousands_ of servants from the heathen? Suppose a case. A _foreign_
servant flees to the Israelites; God says, "He shall dwell with thee, in
that place which _he shall choose_, in one of thy gates where it _liketh
him_ best." Now, suppose this same servant, instead of coming into
Israel of his own accord, had been _dragged_ in by some kidnapper who
_bought_ him of his master, and _forced_ him into a condition against
his will; would He who forbade such treatment of the stranger, who
_voluntarily_ came into the land, sanction the _same_ treatment of the
_same person_, provided in _addition_ to this last outrage, the
_previous_ one had been committed of forcing him into the nation against
his will? To commit violence on the free choice of a _foreign_ servant
is forsooth a horrible enormity, PROVIDED you _begin_ the violence
_after_ he has come among you. But if you commit the _first act_ on the
_other side of the line_; if you begin the outrage by buying him from a
third person against his will, and then tear him from home, drag him
across the line into the land of Israel, and hold him as a slave--ah!
that alters the case, and you may perpetrate the violence now with
impunity! Would _greater_ favor have been shown to this new comer than
to the old residents--those who had been servants in Jewish families
perhaps for a generation? Were the Israelites commanded to exercise
toward _him_, uncircumcised and out of the covenant, a justice and
kindness denied to the multitudes who _were_ circumcised, and _within_
the covenant? But, the objector finds small gain to his argument on the
supposition that the covenant respected merely the fugitives from the
surrounding nations, while it left the servants of the Israelites in a
condition against their wills. In that case, the surrounding nations
would adopt retaliatory measures, and become so many asylums for Jewish
fugitives. As these nations were not only on every side of them, but in
their midst, such a proclamation would have been an effectual lure to
men whose condition was a constant counteraction of will. Besides the
same command which protected the servant from the power of his foreign
_master_, protected him equally from the power of an _Israelite_. It was
not, "Thou shalt not deliver him unto his _master_," but "he shall dwell
with thee, in that place which _he shall choose_ in one of thy gates
where it liketh _him_ best." Every Israelite was forbidden to put him in
any condition _against his will_. What was this but a proclamation, that
all who _chose_ to live in the land and obey the laws, were left to
their own free will, to dispose of their services at such a rate, to
such persons and in such places as they pleased? Besides, grant that
this command prohibited the sending back of _foreign_ servants merely,
there was no law requiring the return of servants who had escaped from
the _Israelites_. _Property_ lost, and _cattle_ escaped, they were
required to return, but not escaped servants. These verses contain 1st,
a command, "Thou shall not deliver," &c., 2d, a declaration of the
fugitive's right of _free choice_, and of God's will that he should
exercise it at his own discretion; and 3d, a command guarding this
right, namely, "Thou shalt not oppress him," as though God had said, "If
you restrain him from exercising his _own choice_, as to the place and
condition of his residence, it is _oppression_."

III. We argue the voluntariness of servants from their peculiar
opportunities and facilities for escape. Three times every year, all the
males over twelve years, were required to attend the national feasts.
They were thus absent from their homes not less than three weeks at each
time, making nine weeks annually. As these caravans moved over the
country, were there military scouts lining the way, to intercept
deserters?--a corporal's guard at each pass of the mountains, sentinels
pacing the hill-tops, and light horse scouring the defiles? The
Israelites must have had some safe contrivance for taking their
"_slaves_" three times in a year to Jerusalem and back. When a body of
slaves is moved any distance in our _republic_, they are hand-cuffed and
chained together, to keep them from running away, or beating their
drivers' brains out. Was this the _Mosaic_ plan, or an improvement
introduced by Samuel, or was it left for the wisdom of Solomon? The
usage, doubtless, claims a paternity not less venerable and biblical!
Perhaps they were lashed upon camels, and transported in bundles, or
caged up, and trundled on wheels to and fro, and while at the Holy City,
"lodged in jail for safe keeping," the Sanhedrim appointing special
religious services for their benefit, and their "drivers" officiating at
"ORAL instruction." Mean while, what became of the sturdy _handmaids_
left at home? What hindered them from marching off in a body? Perhaps
the Israelitish matrons stood sentry in rotation round the kitchens,
while the young ladies scoured the country, as mounted rangers, picking
up stragglers by day, and patrolled the streets, keeping a sharp
look-out at night.

IV. Their continuance in Jewish families depended upon the performance
of various rites necessarily VOLUNTARY.

Suppose the servants from the heathen had upon entering Jewish families,
refused circumcision; if _slaves_, how simple the process of
emancipation! Their _refusal_ did the job. Or, suppose they had refused
to attend the annual feasts, or had eaten unleavened bread during the
Passover, or compounded the ingredients of the anointing oil, they would
have been "cut off from the people;" _excommunicated_.

V. We infer the voluntariness of the servants of the Patriarchs from the
impossibility of their having been held against their wills. Abraham's
servants are an illustration. At one time he had three hundred and
eighteen _young men_ "born in his house," and many more _not_ born in
his house. His servants of all ages, were probably MANY THOUSANDS. How
Abraham and Sarah contrived to hold fast so many thousand servants
against their wills, we are left quite in the dark. The most natural
supposition is that the Patriarch and his wife _took turns_ in
surrounding them! The neighboring tribes, instead of constituting a
picket guard to hem in his servants, would have been far more likely to
sweep them and him into captivity, as they did Lot and his household.
Besides, there was neither "Constitution" nor "compact," to send back
Abraham's fugitives, nor a truckling police to pounce upon them, nor
gentleman-kidnappers, suing for his patronage, volunteering to howl on
their track, boasting their blood-hound scent, and pledging their
"honor" to hunt down and "deliver up," _provided_ they had a description
of the "flesh-marks," and were suitably stimulated by _pieces of
silver_. Abraham seems also to have been sadly deficient in all the
auxiliaries of family government, such as stocks, hand-cuffs,
foot-chains, yokes, gags, and thumb-screws. His destitution of these
patriarchal indispensables is the more afflicting, since he faithfully
trained "his household to do justice and judgment," though so deplorably
destitute of the needful aids.

VI. We infer that servants were voluntary, as there is no instance of an
Israelitish master SELLING a servant. Abraham had thousands of servants,
but seems never to have sold one. Isaac "grew until he became very
great," and had "great store of servants." Jacob's youth was spent in
the family of Laban, where he lived a servant twenty-one years.
Afterward he had a large number of servants. Joseph sent for Jacob to
come into Egypt, "thou and thy children, and thy children's children,
and thy flocks and thy herds, and ALL THAT THOU HAST." Jacob took his
flocks and herds but _no servants_. Gen xlv. 10; xlvii. 16. They
doubtless, served under their _own contracts_, and when Jacob went into
Egypt, they _chose_ to stay in their own country. The government might
sell _thieves_, if they had no property, until their services had made
good the injury, and paid the legal fine. Ex. xxii. 3. But _masters_
seem to have had no power to sell their _servants_. To give the master a
_right_ to sell his servant, would annihilate the servant's right of
choice in his own disposal; but says the objector, "to give the master a
right to _buy_ a servant, equally annihilates the servant's _right of
choice_." Answer. It is one thing to have a right to buy a man, and a
different thing to have a right to buy him of _another_ man[A].

[Footnote A: There is no evidence that masters had the power to dispose
even the _services_ of their servants, as men hire out their laborers
whom they employ by the year; but whether they had or not, affects not
the argument.]

Though servants were not bought of their masters, yet young females were
bought of their _fathers_. But their purchase as _servants_ was their
betrothal as wives. Ex. xxi. 7, 8. "If a man sell his daughter to be a
maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do. If she please
not her master WHO HATH BETROTHED HER TO HIMSELF, he shall let her be

[Footnote B: The comment of Maimonides on this passage is as follows: "A
Hebrew handmaid might not be sold but to one who laid himself under
obligations, to espouse her to himself or to his son, when she was fit
to be betrothed."--_Maimonides--Hilcoth--Obedim_, Ch. IV. Sec. XI.
Jarchi, on the same passage, says, "He is bound to espouse her and take
her to be his wife, for the _money of her purchase_ is the money of her

VII. We infer that the Hebrew servant was voluntary in COMMENCING his
service, because he was pre-eminently so IN CONTINUING it. If, at the
year of release, it was the servant's _choice_ to remain with his
master, law required his ear to be bored by the judges of the land, thus
making it impossible for him to be held against his will. Yea more, his
master was _compelled_ to keep him, however much he might wish to get
rid of him.

VIII. The method prescribed for procuring servants, was an appeal to
their choice. The Israelites were commanded to offer them a suitable
inducement, and then leave them to decide. They might neither seize them
by _force_, nor frighten them by _threats_, nor wheedle them by false
pretences, nor _borrow_ them, nor _beg_ them; but they were commanded to
buy them[A]; that is, they were to recognize the _right_ of the
individuals to _dispose_ of their own services, and their right to
_refuse all offers_, and thus oblige those who made them, _to do their
own work_. Suppose all, with one accord, had _refused_ to become
servants, what provision did the Mosaic law make for such an emergency?

[Footnote A: The case of thieves, whose services were sold until they
had earned enough to make restitution to the person wronged, and to pay
the legal penalty, _stands by itself,_ and has nothing to do with the
condition of servants.]

IX. Various incidental expressions corroborate the idea that servants
became such by their own contract. Job xli. 4, is an illustration, "Will
he (Leviathan) make a COVENANT with thee? wilt thou take him for a
SERVANT forever?"

X. The transaction which made the Egyptians the SERVANTS OF PHARAOH was
voluntary throughout. See Gen. xlvii. 18-26. Of their own accord they
came to Joseph and said, "We have not aught left but our _bodies_ and
our lands; _buy us_;" then in the 25th verse, "we will be servants to

XI. We infer the voluntariness of servants, from the fact that RICH
Strangers did not become servants. Indeed, so far were they from
becoming servants themselves, that they bought and held Jewish servants.
Lev. xxv. 47.

XII. The sacrifices and offerings which ALL were required to present,
were to be made VOLUNTARILY. Lev. i. 2, 3.

XIII. Mention is often made of persons becoming servants where they were
manifestly and pre-eminently VOLUNTARY. As the Prophet Elisha. 1 Kings
xix. 21; 2 Kings iii. 11. Elijah was his _master_. The word, translated
master, is the same that is so rendered in almost every instance where
masters are spoken of under the Mosaic and patriarchal systems. Moses
was the servant of Jethro. Ex. iii. 1. Joshua was the servant of Moses.
Num. xi. 28. Jacob was the servant of Laban. Gen. xxix. 18-27.


As the servants became and continued such of _their own accord_, it
would be no small marvel if they _chose_ to work without pay. Their
becoming servants, pre-supposes _compensation_ as a motive. That they
_were paid_ for their labor, we argue,

I. Because God rebuked in thunder, the sin of using the labor of others
without wages. "Wo unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness,
WAGES, and giveth him not for his work." Jer. xxii. 13. God here
testifies that to use the service of others without wages is
"unrighteousness" and pronounces his "wo" against the doer of the
"wrong." The Hebrew word _Rea_, translated _neighbor_, does not mean one
man, or class of men, in distinction from others, but any one with whom
we have to do--all descriptions of persons, even those who prosecute us
in lawsuits and enemies while in the act of fighting us--"As when a man
riseth against his NEIGHBOR and slayeth him." Deut. xxii. 26. "Go not
forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end
thereof, when thy NEIGHBOR hath put thee to shame." Prov. xxv. 8. "Thou
shalt not bear false witness against thy NEIGHBOR." Ex. xx. 16. "If any
man come presumptuously upon his NEIGHBOR to slay him with guile." Ex.
xxi. 14, &c.

II. God testifies that in our duty to our fellow men, ALL THE LAW AND
THE PROPHETS hang upon this command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself." Our Savior, in giving this command, quoted _verbatim_ one of
the laws of the Mosaic system. Lev. xix. 18. In the 34th verse of the
same chapter, Moses applies this law to the treatment of Strangers, "The
stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you,
and THOU SHALT LOVE HIM AS THYSELF." If it be loving others _as_
ourselves, to make them work for us without pay; to rob them of food and
clothing also, would be a stronger illustration still of the law of
love! _Super_-disinterested benevolence! And if it be doing unto others
as we would have them do to us, to make them work for _our own_ good
alone, Paul should be called to order for his hard saying against human
nature, especially for that libellous matter in Eph. v. 29, "No man ever

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