Chapter 3: Master and Servant

We now consider the history of law regarding masters and servants.

  • The same principle which gave the husband authority over the wife, also gave the father authority over the son.
  • But it was not so with the servants.
  • A slave could have no property because the master had the disposal of his liberty.
  • No contract of the slave could bind the master, unless the master implied a tacit consent.
  • There are many other disadvantages which the ancient Greek, Roman, and our negro slaves were liable to, though they were less attended to.
    1. They were hindered from marriage.
      • They may cohabit with a woman, but cannot marry because the union between two slaves subsists no longer than the master pleases.
      • If the female slave does not breed, he may give her to another or sell her.
      • Among our slaves in the West Indies, there is no such thing as a lasting union.
        • The female slaves are all prostitutes.
          • They suffer no degradation by it.
    1. A polytheist slave is not protected by religion.
      • He has no God any more than liberty and property.
      • The polytheistic religion has many local deities.
        • Every place has its own divinity.
      • The slaves do not belong to the country.
        • Therefore, its gods are not concerned with them.
      • Besides, a heathen can never approach a deity empty handed.
        • The slaves had nothing to offer.
        • They could expect no favour from them.
      • Those slaves who were employed about the temples were the only ones to have the protection of the gods.
      • The master prayed for them.
        • But it was in the same manner that he prayed for his cattle.
      • Every person is superstitious in proportion to:
        • the precariousness of his life, liberty, or property, and
        • their ignorance.
      • Gamesters and savages are remarkably superstitious.
      • A slave is addicted to superstition from these two causes.
        • It would be a very great hardship to be deprived of something so well fitted to soothe the natural feelings of the human breast .
      • Therefore, the religion which discovered one God who governed all things, would naturally be very acceptable to slaves.
        • Accordingly we find that:
          • The Jewish religion was well fitted for defending itself.
          • But it is the religion worst adapted to make converts because they could never be of Abraham's stock, from whom the Messiah was to come.
          • They could not be on a level with the Jews, but only proselytes of the gate.
          • They were obliged to abstain from many kinds of food.
          • With all these disadvantages, it made great progress among the Roman slaves.
        • Christianity had none of these disadvantages.
          • When it was introduced, it rapid progressed among the slaves.

    Slavery reduces the number of free men even to a degree beyond imagination for every slave takes up the room of a free man.

  • £10 per annum is reckoned the necessary expense of one man.
  • The abolition of slavery in Western Europe.   Next: Chapter 3b: Slavery