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HE HIM. This distinction is often repeated and always with great
solemnity. In Gen. i. 26-28, it is expressed in various forms. In Gen.
v. 1, we find it again, "IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD MADE HE HIM." 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, 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 he shall be put to death." So in Ps. viii. 5, 6, we have 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_[A] OVER _the works of thy hands."_
Slavery breaks his sceptre, and cast 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, dare
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._"

[Footnote A: "Thou madest him to have dominion." In Gen. i. 28, God says
to man, _"Have dominion_ over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth," thus
vesting in _every_ human being the right of ownership over the earth,
its products and animal life, and in _each_ human being the _same_
right. By so doing God prohibited the exercise of ownership by man over
_man_; for the grant to _all_ men of _equal_ ownership, for ever _shut_
out the possibility of their exercising ownership over _each other_, as
whoever is the owner of a _man_, is the owner of his _right of
property_ - in other words, when one man becomes the property of another
his rights become such too, his _right of property_ is transferred to
his "owner," and thus as far as _himself_ is concerned, is annihilated.
Finally, by originally vesting _all_ men with dominion or ownership over
property, God proclaimed the _right of all_ to exercise it, and
pronounced every man who takes it away a robber of the highest grade.
Such is every slaveholder.]

In further prosecuting 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.[B] The question to be settled by us, is not
what were Jewish _customs_, but what were the rules that God gave for
the regulation of those customs.

[Footnote B: Those who insist that the patriarchs held slaves, and sit
with such delight under their shadow, hymning the praises of "those good
old slaveholders and patriarchs," 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 brothels, 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." 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, is vast
economy of midnight oil, and a wholesale forestaller of wrinkles and
gray hairs. Instead of protracted investigation into Scripture usage,
painfully collating passages, to settle 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, in the dialect of his own
neighborhood! What a Babel-jargon, 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 worshiped 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," - "The Lord
Jesus Christ who shall judge the _quick_ (living) and the dead," - 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 "showing off" on promenade, was
the very style of dress in which the modest and pious Sarah kneaded
cakes for the angels. Since such a fashion flaunts along Broadway _now_,
it _must_ have trailed over Canaan 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. 1. The children of Israel were
required to purchase their firstborn from under the obligations of the
priesthood, Num. xviii. 15, 16; iii. 45-51; 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 firstborn
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. When the Israelites set
apart themselves or their children to the Lord by vow, for the
performance of some service, an express statute provided that a _price_
should be set upon the "_persons_," and it prescribed the manner and
_terms_ of the "estimation" or valuation, by the payment of which, the
persons might be _bought off_ from the service vowed. The _price_ for
males from one month old to five years, was five shekels, for females,
three; from five years old to twenty, for males, twenty shekels, for
females, ten; from twenty years old to sixty, for males, fifty shekels,
for females, thirty; above sixty years old, for males, fifteen shekels,
for females, ten, Lev. xxvii. 2-8. What egregious folly to contend that
all these descriptions of persons were goods and chattels because they
were _bought_ and their _prices_ regulated by law! 4. Bible saints
_bought_ their wives. Boaz bought Ruth. "Moreover Ruth the Moabitess,
the wife of Mahlon, have I _purchased_ (bought) to be my wife." Ruth iv.
10.[A] 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.
15-23. Moses probably bought his wife in the same way, and paid for her
by his labor, as the servant of her father.[B] 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 Michael, and Othniel, Achsah,
by performing perilous services for the fathers of the damsels. 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 similarity 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 slaveholders and
patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

[Footnote A: In the verse preceding, Boaz says, "I have _bought_ all
that was Elimelech's * * * of the hand of Naomi." In the original, the
same word (_kana_) is used in both verses. In the 9th, "a parcel of
land" is "bought," in the 10th a "wife" is "bought." If the Israelites
had been as profound at inferences as our modern Commentators, they
would have put such a fact as this to the rack till they had tortured
out of it a divine warrant for holding their wives as property and
speculating in the article whenever it happened to be scarce.]

[Footnote B: This custom still prevails in some eastern countries. The
Crim Tartars, who are poor, serve an apprenticeship for their wives,
during which they live under the same roof with them and at the close of
it are adopted into the family.]

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 from 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 his
mountain which his right hand had _purchased_," (gotten.) Neh. v. 8. "We
of our ability have _redeemed_ (bought) our brethren the Jews, that were
sold unto the heathen." Here "_bought_" is not applied to persons
reduced to servitude, but to those taken _out_ of it. Prov. viii. 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, (1837,) "bought."
This is the current word in West India newspapers. Ten years since
servants were "_bought_" in New York, and still are in New Jersey, as
really as in Virginia, yet the different senses in which the word is
used in those states, puts 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 Calhoun has been "bought"
by the administration; and the other party, that Clay and Webster have
been "bought" by the Bank. The histories of the revolution tell us that
Benedict Arnold was "bought" by British gold, and that Williams,
Paulding, and Van Wert, could not be "bought" by Major Andre. 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." 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

In Connecticut, town paupers are "bought" by individuals, who, for a
stipulated sum become responsible to the town for their comfortable
support for one year. If these "bought" persons perform any labor for
those who "buy" them, it is wholly _voluntary_. It is hardly necessary
to add that they are in no sense the "property" of their purchasers.[A]

[Footnote A: "The select-men" of each town annually give notice, that at
such a time and place, they will proceed to _sell_ the poor of said
town. The persons thus "sold" are "bought" by such persons, approved by
the "select-men," as engage to furnish them with sufficient wholesome
food, adequate clothing, shelter, medicine, &c., for such a sum as the
parties may agree upon. The Connecticut papers frequently contain
advertisements like the following: "NOTICE - The poor of the town of
Chatham will be SOLD on the first Monday in April, 1837, at the house of
F. Penfield, Esq., at 9 o'clock in the forenoon," - [Middletown Sentinel,
Feb. 3, 1837.] ]

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. Paying for the permanent _service_ of persons, or even a
portion of it, is called "buying" those persons; just as paying for the
_use_ of land or houses for a number of years in succession is called in
Scripture usage _buying_ them. See Lev. xxv. 28, 33, and xxvii. 24. 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.[A] 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." Yet the 51st verse informs us
that this servant was "BOUGHT" and that the price of his purchase was
paid to _himself_. 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 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 unto Ahab which did sell _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; Rom. 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.

[Footnote A: Those who insist that the servants which the Israelites
were commanded to buy of "the heathen which were round about" them, were
to be bought of _third persons_, virtually charge God with the
inconsistency of recognizing and affirming the right of those very
persons to freedom, upon whom, say they, he pronounced the doom of
slavery. For they tell us, that the sentence of death uttered against
those heathen was commuted into slavery, which punishment God denounced
against them. Now if "the heathen round about" were doomed to slavery,
the _sellers_ were doomed as well as the _sold_. Where, we ask, did the
sellers get their right to sell? God by commanding the Israelites to
BUY, affirmed the right of _somebody_ to _sell_, and that the
_ownership_ of what was sold existed _somewhere_; which _right_ and
ownership he commanded them to _recognize_ and _respect_. We repeat the
question, where did the heathen _sellers_ get their right to sell, since
_they_ were dispossessed of their right to _themselves_ and doomed to
slavery equally with those whom they sold. Did God's decree vest in them
a right to _others_ while it annulled their right to _themselves_? If,
as the objector's argument assumes, one part of "the heathen round
about" were _already_ held as slaves by the other part, _such_ of course
were not _doomed_ to slavery, for they were already slaves. So also, if
those heathen who held them as slaves had a _right_ to hold them, which
right God commanded the Israelites to _buy out_, thus requiring them to
recognize _it_ as a _right_, and on no account to procure its transfer
to themselves without paying to the holders an equivalent, surely, these
_slaveholders_ were not doomed by God to be slaves, for according to the
objector, God had himself affirmed their right _to hold others as
slaves_, and commanded his people to respect it.]

We now proceed to inquire into the _condition_ of servants under the
patriarchal and Mosaic systems.


The leading design 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

as establishing between them and their purchasers a bond of affection
and confidence. This is plain from the frequent use of it to illustrate
the love and care of God for his chosen people. Deut. xxxii. 6; Ex. xv.
16; Ps. lxxiv. 2; Prov. viii. 22.

PROSELYTE. Compliance with this condition was the _price of the
privilege_. Gen. xvii. 9-14, 23, 27. In other words, to become a servant
was virtually to become an Israelite.[A] In the light of this fact, look
at the relation sustained by a proselyted servant to his master. Was it
a sentence consigning to _punishment_, or a ticket of admission to

[Footnote A: The rites by which a stranger became a proselyte
transformed him into a Jew. Compare 1 Chron. ii. 17, with 2 Sam. xvii.
25. In Esther viii. 17, it is said "Many of the people of the land
_became Jews_." In the Septuagint, the passage is thus rendered, "Many
of the heathen were circumcised and became Jews." The intimate union and
incorporation of the proselytes with the Hebrews is shown by such
passages as Isa. lvi. 6, 7, 8; Eph. ii. 11, 22; Num. x. 29-32. Calmet,
Art. Proselyte, says "They were admitted to all the prerogatives of the
people of the Lord." Mahommed doubtless borrowed from the laws and
usages of the Jews, his well known regulation for admitting to all civil
and religious privileges, all proselytes of whatever nation or

A PUNISHMENT. When Sarah took umbrage at the conduct of Hagar and

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