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of others. If the upper bear downward, instead of going upward in moral excellence, the whole fabric of the social system must take a similar direction ; for though the elasticity and power of some minds may protrude above the general level, the mass will remain the same. The problem being then to promote by the best means the temporal and spiritual welfare of the manufacturing and other working classes, one important item in the solution will be found in the practical operation of this sentiment as an axiom, that the greater the moral elevation of the higher orders, the more exalted in happiness and usefulness will be the body of the working classes.

Oursimus, the Fugitive Slavr.

The posthumous importance that attaches frequently to the words and actions of men that in their lifetime were persecuted and poor, is a fine illustration of the greatness of human nature. After his conversion to Christianity, there was scarcely an act or a recorded sentiment of Paul that has not become important to posterity; a precious light on the perilous paths of faith, or a clear voice from heaven thus speaks to us from those sombre regions of antiquity which are, and ever must remain, so full of interest to the Christian historian. Little did Paul imagine how extensively he was acting for the future, as he passed through the various duties and judgments of his evangelic life, anticipating questions that would not arise for centuries, and pronouncing a true verdict on difficult points of spiritual right which would be mooted nearly two thousand years after his death. Among many other instances, the conduct of Paul to Philemon and Onesimus, the former the slave-master, the latter the fugitive bondman of Colosse, will furnish us with a clue to the question so much agitated at present in the transatlantic Republic, respecting the Fugitive Slave Law.

Before our readers can fairly adjudge the difficulties of Philemon, the conduct of the apostle, or the assumed guilt of Onesimus, it will be necessary to glance at the state of slavery as it existed when Christianity commenced its progress. None of the political institutions, the systems of philosophy, or the forms of Pagan religion, were hostile to slavery, but recognised its legal existence, and seem to have considered it necessary to the throne, the school, and the temple. This fact alone determines the shallow policy that then prevailed alike in monarchic and republican governments, and the radically false views on which the brilliant writers of antiquity based their theories of human society. Not only were they without God in their theology,' but of man, the greatest writers were equally ignorant-for they had never supposed that all men were indissolubly the close kindred of one great ancestor, and still less that one simple moral law, as proclaimed by Jesus, would

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unite all races into fraternity, govern them without the aid of a visible magistracy, and bring the human intellect of the whole race into a state of blissfulness of which the Elysium fields were but a rude and traditionary prefiguration.

Let us then visit the slave-market of Rome in the year A.D. 61, when Paul was a prisoner in that city. Why are those crowds of many-hued captives almost naked, but well washed, lubricated, and each bearing a written description of his qualities, thus exposed for sale? What is their crime? Chains on human limbs intuitively excite the inquiry, What evil have they done? The questioner could only learn that this crowd of 463 slaves were not chargeable with any crimes; but some of them had become captives by the kidnapper, others were the victims of war that had fallen to the share of a soldier ; some had been purchased in Pompeii, and others were born in slavery; while a few had been sold into bondage for their debts, and a still smaller portion were desperate gamblers, who, having lost all, at last staked themselves on the dice and became slaves. Such are mainly still the causes of slavery in the west and the eastern parts of the earth, but from this foul evil, thanks to the indirect influence of Christian truth, middle Europe is now formally free.

In the time of Cicero, whose splendid perorations to liberty would
sadly mislead the reader, the city of Rome, and, indeed, all the cities of
antiquity, were gorged with slaves. It is to be regretted that we have
few statistics of the period, and those are neither to be relied upon,
nor are they concentrated in any particular author; but it is our opinion
that more than one-third of the subjects of Augustus were really
slaves. The usual division of the servile population appears to have
been into glebe adscripti, or the field-slaves ; the servi domus, or such
as were employed about the dwelling of their owner; and the servi
negociatores, or the bond-tradesmen. The extent of slavery in the city
is incidentally shadowed out by the slave names that are found in
various Roman authors. Of the first class we find mention of the
Servi Venatores, i.e., hunters.

Servi Pastores-shepherds.
Saltuarië-the woodmen.

Aquarii -watermen.
Molitores—corn-grinders.

Piscatores — fishermen.
These were called glebæ adscripti, because they were attached to the
estate, and could not be sold by their owners without parting with the
land. Of the second class of slaves, and which seems to have formed
the staple of household servants, the subdivision of employments is
singularly illustrative of Roman life. We meet with the
Servi Librarii, i.e., the transcribers. Servi Balneatores, the servants of the
Salutigeri-such as carried their

bath.
owners' compliments.

Cubicularii—the bed-makers.
Vocatores-who summoned the

ante Ambulones—such as walked
household to meals,

before their masters to name ab Ephemeride-told their masters

the persons met. the events, times, and nature Nutritii-the nurses. of the day.

ad Manum-servants of all work. Janitores-the porters.

Unctores-those who anointed Cellarii—the wine-stewards.

the bodies of their owners.

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Of the third class of Roman slaves we have
Servi Medici, i.e., the medical men. Servi Arcarii—who guarded the places
Obsonatores—the buyers of pro-

of treasure.
vision,

Calculatores--the counters.
Lecticarii-the litter-carriers.

Cursores--the newsmen.
ab Epistolis-the amanuenses.
The latter class of slaves seems to have been hired out by their owners,
on similar terms to what once obtained among our artisan slaves in the
West Indies ; but all the classes of bondmen, in the eye of the Roman
law, were estimated,' pro nullis, pro mortuis, pro quadrupedibus ;'
while the odious adage of the patrician jurisconsults, partus sequitur
ventrem,' perpetuated the yoke of all that were slave-born.

Over all his slaves the Roman or Greek master had, till after the time of Christ, absolute control. He could brand, mutilate, imprison, flog, starve, or even kill them, without incurring any penalty, till the time of Hadrian, who made it illegal to kill without reason, and compelled a master to sell the slave whom he was proved to have maltreated. Such a law, however, was little more than a name ; for while the slave's evidence was legally inadmissible, all his property belonged to his owner, who claimed whatever was bequeathed to a slave, and could forbid his marriage or annul it; while the slave was unable to accuse his oppressor, and was, after being ignored by the law through life, abandoned in old age or sickness to want, how could the laws of the conscript fathers protect? It is true that humanity might occasionally alleviate the rigour of this condition, and grant the manumissio per vindictum, or give freedom to a favourite slave inter amicos when the heart was elated with noble sentiments, or bestow on a faithful and long-tried bondman manumissio per testamentum. But these were rare cases in the history of the evil, similar to the exceptions in the mental character of the slaves, Æsop, Epictetus, and Phædrus, and only serve to foil the stern law itself more distinctly.

We are nowhere informed whether Onesimus had been a domestic, a trading, or a prædial slave to Philemon; nor on what terms he had become Philemon's vassal, or even how long he had been so.

He was his slave-was no doubt subject to the ordinary and ignominious usages of these unhappy creatures—and he absconded. By thus absconding, was Onesimus justified on the principles of Christianity? Are we to understand that Paul condemned his escape per se? or that the apostle remitted the fugitive to Philemon with the view of restoring the offender to captivity? These, in consequence of some of our modern controversies, are important queries, and involve deeply the judgment of Paul, if not the genius of primitive Christianity; for if it could be shown that Onesimus had, according to Christianity, no right to quit a master who had no right to own him, the inference would be inevitable, that the principles of Christ paid more respect to conventional property than to eternal justice! Or if it could be demonstrated, that Paul's censure of Onesimus simply referred to his escape, and that it was the apostle's design to return the captive to his chains, either the great teacher of the Gentiles must have dishonoured the system of Jesus; or if he fairly

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expounded it, that system cannot be considered thoroughly in harmony with human rights.

This twofold problem presented to us in the life of Onesimus is not as simple as it may at first appear; for we shall find the question compounded with other matters, the due consideration of which, we think, will free Paul and Christianity from the imputation of conniving at slavery, and involve Onesimus in the blame to which he was fairly obnoxious. Two important circumstances are preserved among the early traditions of Christian writers on this subject : the one that Onesimus robbed his master when he absconded ; and the other, that he had, prior to his escape, made a profession of being a disciple of Christ, but had disgraced himself by unworthy practices. It is true that we have no adequate proof of either, though Chrysostom, in his Prologue, affirms the former, and other writers as confidently the latter; and as it was their interest as Christians to resist such charges if they had been false, it is highly presumptive that in one or both these matters, perhaps also in others, Onesimus was culpable. The admission of either, the reader perceives, changes the ground of the fugitive's conduct from that of merely absconding to a question of immorality, against which the Christian law was explicit. It is, indeed, thought by some that Onesimus was not a slave at all, but a hired servant guilty of a breach of contract; this, if it could be proved, would of course at once exculpate Paul, Philemon, and Christianity, and cast all the blame on Onesimus. But this cannot be proved; for though the dovlos may mean a hired servant, all the circumstances of this case seem to antagonize this hypothesis.

Granting that Onesimus was the slave of Philemon, and that he had defrauded him before he fled from his service, the master had a clear right to restitution ; Paul was justified in enjoining the new convert to revisit his master, either to make him recompense, or to implore his forgiveness ; and it was due to the Christian character of Onesimus himself that he should remove every reproach from his name.

It was of the utmost consequence that the Christian Church should not be regarded as the harbour for runaway slaves. Such a notion would have swelled its apparent disciples, but it would have ruined the divine cause, and have made it at once obnoxious to the civil tribunals. A slave, in our judgment, is justified in absconding from his master; but he may nullify the virtue of the act by performing it unworthily; and this, as we take it, was the sin of Onesimus. Good actions may be performed from unworthy motives ; and when that is the case, in the judgment of Christian law, the actions themselves become evil, for it was one of the cardinal rules of the gospel, “ not to do evil that good may come.'

Waiving for the present any additional guilt of Onesimus, the case of this fugitive slave may be adjudged in three different modes; viz., by the rule of individual conscience, on the grounds of natural justice, and in the court of Christianity. Let us suppose, then, that Onesimus did not rob his owner, nor commit any other culpable offence, when he absconded; but that he took his stand

1. On the great doctrine of nature, that all men have an equal right to the liberty of their person.

2. On the established facts of Christianity, that Jesus came to abolish all evil, and therefore to destroy slavery; and

3. That Onesimus believed himself incapable of being a Christian, in the full sense of that term, while he was a slave.

Was he, on the supposition that he took these grounds for absconding from the service of Philemon, justifiable as a fugitive slave? We reply, that, in our judgment, he was, and for the following reasons. If Onesimus rested his plea on the doctrine that all men, by birthright, have a just claim to personal liberty, he only took the same ground on which all freemen stand. All governments that profess to establish freedom, take the ground of universal birthright. Such was the basis of Roman law, of the Greek republic, of our own constitution, and such was the bower-anchor doctrine in the celebrated American docu. ment, called The Declaration of Independence.' This doctrine has never been denied, except by slave-dealers, and needs no proof. It reduces the question to an atom. If one man derives the right of personal liberty from his birth, all do. If all do not, the claim of any is spurious and adventitous, and liberty becomes a chance, or a mere question of bodily strength or superior cunning. It cannot be pleaded that this was an unknown doctrine in Paul's time by any that are conversant with so common writers as Plutarch, Plato, and Cicero; for this sentiment was as common at Athens and Rome as it is in London or New York. Slaves in general may not have been competent to handle this weapon against their oppressors; but some were, and Onesimus might have been one of that number. It is not necessary to our argument that he really was; all we contend for is, that if he rested his claim to freedom on the rights of nature, and quitted a master who only possessed him by force, Onesimus, for the simple act of flight, was, apart from Christianity, justified for his flight on the indefeasible rights of birth, that must remain throughout the history of the species the true foundation of liberty. But, even here, some will contend, the case of Onesimus does not rest. They admit the rights of nature, but advance the overruling rights of civil law: they plead the sanctions of society and of time, the force of manners and the sentiment of the public, as counter-warrants for the existence of slavery and the waiving of the rights of birth. The slave replies, that society has no authority to establish laws in violation of the rights of nature ; and he is right. Suppose a state should pass a law that a certain portion of its subjects should not speak during certain hours; that they should only eat or dress in given modes; that they should not marry, or shed tears at the death of their kindred; that they should go to sleep at ten, or rise at six o'clock. Would not every man who should rebel at once against such insane statutes be hailed as a noble freeman, however ancient, wealthy, or powerful, the government that might thus legislate ? On what ground would he rebel, and be applauded for his resistance, but on that of the birthright of every man to be free in these actions. But a state that legalizes slavery commits a far more

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