Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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increased much by war and commerce; and the cultivation of the soil came, in th
course of time, to be entirely given up to them. During the later republic and empire,
persons in good circumstances kept an immense number of slaves as personal attendants;
and the possession of a numerous retinue of domestic slaves was matter of ostentation
200 being no uncommon number for one person. A multitude of slaves were also occu-
pied in the mechanical arts and the games of the amphitheater. Originally, a slave was
incapable of acquiring property, all his acquisitions belonging to his master; but when
slave's came to be employed in trade, this condition was mitigated, and it became the
practice to allow a slave to consider part of his gains, called his peculium, as his own,
a stipulation being sometimes made that he should purchase his freedom with his pecu-
lium, when it amounted to a specific sum.

Though the introduction of Christianity did not do away with slavery, it tended to
ameliorate the condition of the slave. Justinian did much. to promote" the eventual
extinction of slavery; and the church excommunicated slave-owners who put their
slaves to death without warrant from the judge. But the number of slaves again
increased; multitudes being brought with them by the barbarian invaders, who were
mostly Slavonian captives (whence our word slave); and in the countries which had been
provinces of the empire, slavery continued long after the empire had fallen to pieces,
and eventually merged into the mitigated condition known as serfdom, which prevailed
all over Europe in the middle ages, and has been gradually abolished in modern times.
See SERF. But though the practice of selling captives taken in war as slaves ceased in
the Christian countries of Europe, a large traffic in slaves continued among Mohamme-
dan nations, by whom Christian captives were sold in Asia and Africa; and in the early
middle ages the Venetian merchants traded largely in slaves, whom they purchased on
the coast of Slavonia, to supply the slave-markets of the Saracens.

The negro slavery of modern times was a sequel to the discovery of America. Prior,
however, to that event, the negroes, like other savage races, enslaved those captives in
war whom they did riot put to death, and a considerable trade in slaves from the coast
of Guinea was earned on by the Arabs. The deportation of the Africans to the planta-
tions and mines of the New World doubtless raised the value of the captive negro, and
made slavery rather than death his common fate; while it may also have tempted the
petty princes to make war on each other, for the purpose of acquiring captives, and sell-
ing them. The aborigines of America having proved too weak for the work required of
them, the Portuguese, who possessed a large part of the African coast, began the impor-
tation of negroes, in which they were followed by the other colonizers of the New World.
The first part of the New World in which negroes were extensively used was Hayti, in
St. Domingo. The aboriginal population had at first been employed in the mines ; but
this sort of labor was found so fatal to their constitutions that Las Casas, bishop of
Chiapa, the celebrated protector of the Indians, interceded with Charles for the substitu-
tion of African slaves as a stronger race; the emperor accordingly, in 1517, authorized a
large importation of negroes from the establishments of the Portuguese on the coast of
Guinea. Sir John Hawkins was the first Englishman who engaged in the traffic, in
which his countrymen soon largely participated, England having exported no fewer than
300,000 slaves from Africa between the years 1680 and 1700, and between 1700 and 1786,
imported 610,000 into Jamaica alone. The slave-trade was attended with extreme inhu-
manity; the ships which transported the negroes from Africa to America were over-
crowded to such an extent that a large proportion died in the passage; and the treatment
of the slave after his arrival in the New World depended much on the character of his
master. Legal restraints were, however, imposed in the various European settlements,
to protect the slaves from injury; in the British colonies, courts were instituted to hear
their complaints; their condition was to a certain extent ameliorated, and the flogging
of women was prohibited. But while slavery was thus legalized in the British colonies,
it was at the same time the law of England (as decided in 1772 in the case of the negro
Somerset), that as soon as a slave set his foot on English soil he became free; though, if
he returned to his master's country, he could be reclaimed.

Before the idea of emancipation was contemplated, the efforts of the more humane
portion of the public were directed toward the abolition of the traffic in slaves. In 1787
a society for the suppression of the slave-trade-was formed in London, numbering Messrs.
W. Deltwyn, Thomas Clarkson, and Granville Sharp among its original members. The
most active parliamentary leader in the cause was Mr. William Wilberforce, whose views
were seconded by Mr. Pitt. In February, 1788, an order of the crown directed that an
inquiry should be made by a committee of the privy-council into the state of the slave-
trade; and an act was passed to regulate the burden of slave-ships, and otherwise dimia-



563



Slavery.



ish the horrors of the middle-passage. A bill introduced by Mr. Wilberforce for putting
an end to the further importation of slaves was lost in 1791. Meanwhile, our conquest
of the Dutch colonies having led to a great increase in the British slave-trade, an order
in council in 1805 prohibited that traffic in the conquered colonies; and in the following
year, an act was passed forbidding British subjects to take part in it, either for the sup-
ply of the conquered colonies or of foreign possessions. In the same year, a resolution
moved by Mr. Fox for a total abolition next session, was carried in the commons, and on
lord Granville's motion, adopted in the lords; and the following year, the general aboli-
tion bill, making all slave-trade illegal after Jan. 1, 1808, was introduced by lord Howick
(afterward earl Grey) in the house of commons, was carried in both houses, and
received the royal assent on Mar. 25, 1807. British subjects, however, continued to carry
on the trade under cover of the Spanish and Portuguese flags; the slave-ships were more
crowded than ever, from the necessity of avoiding capture, and the negroes were not
uufrequently thrown overboard on a pursuit. The pecuniary penalties of the act were
discovered to be inadequate to put down a traffic so lucrative as to cover all losses by
capture. Mr. Brougham therefore, in 1811, introduced a bill, which was carried unani-
mously, making the slave-trade felony, punishable with 14 years' transportation, or from
three to five years' imprisonment with hard labor. An act of 1824 declared it piracy,
and as such, a capital crime, if committed within the admiralty jurisdiction; and the
statute of 1837, mitigating the criminal code, left it punishable with, transportation for
life. Among the philanthropic projects due to the exertions of the anti-slavery society
was the establishment of the colony of Sierra Leone, on the coast of Africa, which had
been formed by the British government in 1787, in order to show the possibility of
obtaining colonial produce without slave-labor, and after the abolition of the slave-trade,
became a settlement for the negroes captured by British cruisers.

The United States of America abolished the slave-trade immediately after Great Brit-
ain, and the same was in the course of time done by the South American republics of
Venezuela, Chili, and Buenos Ayres, by Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and during the
hundred days after Napoleon's return from Elba, by France. Great Britain, at the peace,
exerted her influence to induce other foreign powers to adopt a similar policy; and event-
ually nearly all the states of Europe have passed laws or entered into treaties prohibit-
ing the traffic. The accession of Portugal and Spain to the principle of abolition was
obtained by treaties of date 1815 and 1817, and by a convention concluded with Brazil
in 1826, it was declared piratical for the subjects of that country to be engaged in the
slave-trade after 1830. By the conventions with France of 1831 and 1833, to which
nearly all the maritime powers of Europe have since acceded, a mutual right of search
was stipulated within certain seas, for the purpose of suppressing this traffic. The pro-
visions of these treaties were further extended in 1841 by the quintuple treaty between
the live great European powers, subsequently ratified by all of them except France. The
Ashburton treaty of 1842 with the United States provided for the maintenance by each
country of a squadron on the African coast ; and in 1845, a joint co-operation of the
naval forces of England and France was substituted for the mutual right of search.

The limitation of the supply of negroes naturally led, among other good results, to a
greater attention on the part of the masters to the condition of their slaves. But the
attention of British philanthropists was next directed toward doing away with slavery
altogether in our colonies. Societies were formed with this end, an agitation was cet on.
foot, and attempts were made, for some time without success, to press the subject of
emancipation on the house of commons. At length, in 1833, a ministerial proposition
for emancipation was introduced by Mr. Stanley, then colonial secretary, and an eman-
cipation bill passed both houses, and obtained the royal assent, Aug. 28, 1833. This
act,, while it gave freedom to the slaves throughout all the British colonies, at the same
time awarded an indemnification to the slave-owners of 20.000,000. Slavery was to
cease on Aug 1, 1834; but the slaves were for a certain duration of time to be appren-
ticed laborers to their former owners. Objections being raised to the apprenticeship, its
duration was shortened, and the complete enfranchisement took plaoe in 1838.

The French emancipated their negroes in 1848; as did most of the new republics of
South America at the time of the revolution; while the Dutch slaves had freedom con-
ferred on them in 1863. In Hayti slavery ceased as far back as 1791, its abolition
haying been one of the results of the negro insurrection of that year. Slavery still
exists in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, but recent acts have been passed for its,
abolition. In Brazil a law for the gradual emancipation of slaves was passed in 1871.
It enacts that from that date children born of slave women shall be free; while, at the
same time, they are bound to serve the owners of their mothers as apprentices for
twenty- one years. A recent treaty between Great Britain and the sultan of Zanzibar
secures, in promise, the speedy abolition of the slave-trade on the opposite eastern coast
of Africa. The expedition of sir Samuel Baker in 1873 was announced as having put
an end to the slave-trade to the s. of Egypt, as far as the equator. How far the khediv*
was sincere in coupling this object with the conquest of the Nile regions is doubtful;
and it is certain that most of his officers, and an army of slave- hunters, are bent on
defeating the attempt. In 1874 the British governor at the gold coast, where domestic
slavery still existed, announced that thenceforth no person could be sold as a slave in
the protectorate, or removed from it for that purpose.



Slavery.
Slave.;

In presence of the statement in the "Declaration of Independence," that "all men
are born free and equal, and possess equal and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness," the colonies which threw off the British yoke numbered several
hundred thousand negro slaves, whose condition of slavery was expressly recognized in
the constitution of the United States, as ratified in 1788, provision being there made for
the rendition of fugitive slaves, a subject the regulation of which was delegated to the
federal government, slavery being otherwise left to be governed by the laws of the states
where it existed. Slavery established itself firmly in the southern states, where negro
labor was required for the cultivation of sugar and cotton ; and after the limitation of
the supply from Africa, the breeding of slaves went on to a large extent in Maryland
and Virginia for the supply of the other states of the south. The different positions of
the northern and southern states regarding slavery, combined with other causes to
engender that diversity of feeling and interest between north and south out of which
arose the civil war. The politicians of the north, however, except a small section, by no
means advocated the abolition of slavery where it already existed; they only olrpeted to
its extension to new territories. The increased con sumption of cotton led to an increased
demand for slave-labor; and in 1820, when Missouri was admitted to the union as a
slave state, a compromise was entered into by which slavery was legalized to the south,
but prohibited to the north of 36 30' n. lat. (see MASON AND DIXON'S LINE). California,
though partly lying s. of that geographical line, was admitted as a free state, the south-
, ern party obtaining in compensation the boon of an amendment of the fugitive slave
law, making it penal to harbor runaway slaves or aid in their escape. A reaction
against the policy of the south, and Mr. Lincoln's election as president, were the signals
for a long-contemplated secession of the southern states, and the bloody war which
ended in the overthrow of the principle of state- sovereignty and the consolidation of the
union. In the course of the war many negroes were emancipated; and on Sept. 22,
1862, Mr. Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring all the negroes of secession masters
who should not have returned to the union before Jan. 1, 1863, to be free. Since then
the legislatures of the different states have formally accepted the amendment of the
constitution, and passed an act for the abolition of slavery.

SLAVERY (ante). In 1776 there had been about 300,000 Africans imported into the
British colonies in America, from the time of their first settlement. The number exist-
ing in the United States, according to the first census, 1790, was 697,897; every state in
the union contributing except Massachusetts, which at this time included Maine. Ton
years later the number had increased to 893, 041; and in 1810 to 1,191,364. The suc-
ceeding decennial census showed the following figures as the existing number of slave*
in the states at the dates mentioned:

1820 - ... 1. 538, 022

1830 2. 009, 043

1840 2.4*7,455

1850 3, 204, 31 3

1860 3,953, 760

At the period of the organization of the national government the feelinsr of distaste for
the institution of domestic slavery was strong in the southern states themselves, and
prevalent throughout the union, though certain ship-owners of Boston and other part3
of New England found it to their interest to foster a state of things which was to them
greatly remunerative. They supplied the slave ships which transported the Africans
from the points of departure on the w. coast of Africa, and grew rich on the traffic.
But Vermont abolished slavery in 1777; Massachusetts in 1780; and Rhode Island and
Connecticut gradually, both these states having a few slaves as late as 1840. New York
finally abolished the institution in 1827; having gradually emancipated its slaves since
1799. New Jersey followed the same plan in 1804, ?.nd had 236 slaves still living in
1850. Pennsylvania commenced gradual emancipation in 1780, and in 1840 contained
64 slaves. The southern states had from the beginning found slaves more profitable to
them than they could have ever possibly been in the north: and this fact alone had
been sufficient to occasion the gradual centralization of the institution within the bound-
aries of those states. But the invention of the cotton-gin in 1793, by Eli Whitney, a
Massachusetts man, increased the demand for labor, and specially increased the avail-
able uses of slave labor. In 1791 the entire cotton crop of the United States amounted
to 2,000,000 pounds. In 1801 the crop was 48,000,000, of which nearly one-half was
exported. In 1821 the crop was 180,000,000 pounds; in 1825, 255,000,000; and it con-
tinned to increase until, in 1860, it was 2,054,698,800 pounds. In the f;ice of this tre-
mendous accretion of a product representing a vast increase in the wealth of the country
and of individuals, the feeble efforts of persons to oppose the continuance of what was
esteemed the chief producing force, were of course futile. Washington, Jefferson,
Franklin, Hamilton, and others of the leaders of public opinion in the early history of
the country, were opposed to slavery on moral and religious grounds; and not less as a
system calculated to become a retarding influence as to the progress of civilization and
the general advancement of the people. And had not the invention of the cotton gin
operated to encourage the perpetuation of the system, the opinions of such men would



Slavery.
Slaves.

have doubtless exercised their due weight in creating a profound and general public
sentiment in antagonism to its existence. As it was, the question grew to be considered
from this standpoint by humanitarians alone; while, having gradually become absorbed
into the general party politics of the country, and connected with important points
arising in relation, to the accession of new territory, and its political status, its bearing
eventually became national, and in a sense vital. The opponents of slavery began as
early as 1775, with tiie formation of the Pennsylvania abolition society, their consist-
ent resistance to the continuance and spread of slavery. By them, and from the period
of the establishment of the Liberator in Boston, in 1831, under the leadership of William
Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Arthur Tappau, and other prominent men, a crusade
against slavery was undertaken, which never ceased until victory had been achieved,
and the last slave was freed. The formation of a political (free-soil) party in 1848
organized the various elements throughout the country which were in agreement on the
main question; and candidates for the presidency on the broad platform of freedom for
the slave assumed a position in national politics. Compromises began to be the only
method for settling, even temporarily, questions whose complete recognition and con-
clusion seemed dangerou* and impracticable in the existing and growing state of excited
public feeling. The effort to extend slavery into the newly acquired territories was
the rock on which the pro-slavery leaders eventually split; and the outbreak in Kansas,
and the Fremont presidential campaign foreshadowed the serious character of the coming
struggle. The "underground railroad," as it was called, the secret and persistent
method of northern abolitionists to settle the question practically by absorbing the
slaves into non-slaveholding communities, roused a bitterness of feeling in the south,
which not even supreme court decisions and congressional enactments in favor of the
slaveholders could allay. Missouri border ruffianism and "squatter sovereignty" were
answered by Sharp's rilies, and at length the raid of John Brown at Harper's Ferry pre-
sented the "impending crisis," which the election of Lincoln made positive and present.
The old antagonism between Puritan and cavalier; between manufacturing and agri-
cultural interest; between a northern and a southern people, was now laid upon the
shoulders of the institution of slavery. And the revolution which had become essential
to clear the moral and political atmosphere of the country of all these varieties of antago-
nism, presented itself in the form of the rebellion of 1861-65; and concluded, so far as
the existence of slavery was concerned, with the edict of president Lincoln of Jan. 1,1863:
see EMANCIPATION, PROCLAMATION OF. This proclamation had been suggested, and
the minds of the people prepared for it, by the act of congress of March 13, 1862, which
forbade the employment of military force to return fugitives. to slavery; and that of
July 16, 1862, authorizing the confiscation of the property of rebels, including slaves
under tliis designation. The proclamation had but little immediate practical effect except
within the lines of the federal army; but it gave system and regularity to the treatment
of the whole question; which had previously, in the hands of federal commanders, been
sufficiently undefined and chaotic. See also ABOLITION, ANTI-SLAVERY, KANSAS, MIS-
SOURI COMPROMISE.

SLAVES, or SLAVONIANS (native name Slowene or Stoicane, derived by some from
slaica, fame, but better from slowo, a word; thus meaning "speaking," or "articulate,"
as distinguished from other nations.whom they called uiemetz, or "mutes"), the general
name of a group of natvons belonging to the Aryan family whose settlements extend
from the Elbe to Kamtchatka, and" from the Frozen sea to Ragusa on the Adriatic, the
whole of eastern Europe being almost exclusively occupied by them. They were settled
in these regions before the dawn of history, and are comprehended by ancient
writers under the designations of Sarmatians and Scythians. The original names of the
Slavic tribes seem to have been Winds or Wends ( Vened'i) and Serbs. The former of these
names occurs among the Roman writers, and later, in Jornandes, in connection with the
commercial peoples of the Baltic sea; the latter is spoken of by Procopius as the ancient
name common to the whole Slavic stock. The earliest historical notices extant represent
the Slaves as havyig their chief settlements about the Carpathians, from which they
spread northward to the Baltic, westward as far as the Elbe and the Saal, and later,
after the overthrow of the kingdom of the Huns southward beyond the Danube, and
over the whole peninsula between the Adriatic and the Black sea. These migrations
ceased in the 7th c. ; the division of the Slavic stock into separate branches became now
more complete, and gradually they began to form into independent states. The various
sections of the stock may be divided into two groups the south-eastern and the western;
the first comprehends (1), Russians; (2), Bulgarians; (3), Illyrians (Serbs, Croats, Winds):
the second (1), Lechs (Poles, Silesians. Pomeranians); (2), Czechs or Bohemians (Czechs,
Moravians, Slovaks; (3), Polabians, comprising the Slavic tribes of n. Germany, who are
fast disappearing, by being absorbed in the Teutonic population. With the exception
of Russia and, since the Berlin congress of 1878. of Servia and Montenegro, the once
numerous Slavic kingdoms (Bohemia, Bulgaria, Moravia, Poland, etc.), have lost their
independent sovereignty and been incorporated in other states chiefly Turkey, Austria,
Prussia, and Saxony. The Polabians never attained any distinct political footing. The
whole of the Slavic populations are estimated at upward of 80,000,000.

The Slaves are represented by ancient writers as an industrious race, living by agri-



Slavic.

Sleep.

culture, and the rearing of flocks and herds; as hospitable and peaceful, and making
war only in defense. The feeling of nationality was strong among them. The govern-
ment had a patriarchal basis, and chiefs or princes were chosen by assemblies. But con-
tact with the feudal institutions of the Roman-German empire gradually altered this
primitive constitution. The Slavic princes strove after unlimited power like that of the
emperors; and the chiefs sought to dominate over the people like the feudal nobility. In
the course of the llth, 12th, and 13th c. nobility became a hereditary privilege through-
out the Slavic states. The worst kind of feudalism fairly took root, and the people sank
into the condition of serfs. Between them and the nobles there was no third or middle
class, as the peculiar privileges of the nobility prevented the growth of cities. See
SERF, RUSSIA.

The religion of the ancient Slaves, like that of the Teutonic nations, seems to have
been, in many of its features at least, a kind of nature-worship; not, however, without
the idea of a One supreme power, to whom the other agencies were subordinate. From
this some authorities infer that the system was originally a monotheism which in process
of time had become obscured and confused bj&the infusion of foreign elements, and thus
degenerated into polytheism, and finally pantheism. The chief deity, whose worship
seems to have been common to all the Slavic tribes, was Swiatowit, with whom were



Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 130 of 203)