Page:Appeal to the Christian women of the South (Grimké, 1836).djvu/11

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to marry her, he shall set her at liberty,' or according to the Hebrew, 'he shall let her be redeemed.' 'To sell her to another nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her;' as to the engagement implied, at least of taking her to wife. "If he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters, i. e. he shall take care that his son uses her as his wife, that he does not despise or maltreat her. If he make his son marry another wife, he shall give her her dowry, her clothes and compensation for her virginity; if he does none of these three, she shall go out free without money." Thus were the rights of female servants carefully secured by law under the Jewish Dispensation; and now I would ask, are the rights of female slaves at the South thus secured? Are they sold only as wives and daughters-in-law, and when not treated as such, are they allowed to go out free? No! They have all not only been illegally obtained as servants according to Hebrew law, but they are also illegally held in bondage. Masters at the South and West have all forfeited their claims, (if they ever had any,) to their female slaves.

We come now to examine the case of those servants who were "of the heathen round about;" Were they left entirely unprotected by law? Horne in speaking of the law, "Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear thy God," remarks, "this law Lev. xxv, 43, it is true speaks expressly of slaves who were of Hebrew descent; but as alien born slaves were ingrafted into the Hebrew Church by circumcision, there is no doubt but that it applied to all slaves;" if so, then we may reasonably suppose that the other protective laws extended to them also; and that the only difference between Hebrew and Heathen servants lay in this, that the former served but six years unless they chose to remain longer, and were always freed at the death of their masters; whereas the latter served until the year of Jubilee, though that might include a period of forty-nine years,—and were left from father to son.

There are however two other laws which I have not yet noticed. The one effectually prevented all involuntary servitude, and the other completely abolished Jewish servitude every fifty years. They were equally operative upon the Heathen and the Hebrew.

1. "Thou shall not deliver unto his master the servant that 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 shall not oppress him." Deut. xxiii, 15, 16.

2. "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim Liberty thoughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you." Lev. xxv, 10.

Here, then, we see that by this first law, the door of Freedom was opened wide to every servant who had any cause whatever for complaint; if he was unhappy with his master, all he had to do was to leave him, and no man had a right to deliver him back to him again, and not only so, but the absconded servant was to choose where he should live,