TREATMENT OF THE SLAVE. 75
had killed a freeman. The master was as liable to be sued by the slave, in an action for beating and wounding, or for immoderate chastisement, as he would be if he thus treated an apprentice. A slave was capable of holding property in the character of devisee or legate. If the master should take away such property his slave would be entitled to an action against him by his prochain ami. From the whole, we see that slaves had the same right of life and property as apprentices, and that the difference betwixt them was this, an apprentice is a servant for time and the slave is a servant for life".' In accordance with this interpretation of the right of the slave the man who in Cape Breton was charged with the death of a Negro was brought to trial, only escaping a severe penalty on the plea of self-defence.'
In the New England colonies a large degree of social as well as legal freedom seems to have been permitted. Madam Knight, of Boston, who travelled through Connecticut in 1704, gives us a glimpse of slave life in that province, and as quoted by Mrs. Earle says that the Negroes were too familiar, being permitted to sit at the table with the master and dip into the same trencher. Of the New England slaves Hawthorne has written : " They were not excluded from the domestic affections ; in families of middling rank they had their places at the board ; and when the circle closed around the evening hearth its blaze glowed on their dark shining faces, intermixed familiarly with their master's children ".
The laws of the Southern provinces, humane to the white man, were severe to the Negro. The statute of Virginia which declared who were slaves had adopted, as we learn from Bancroft, the idea long prevalent through Christendom that "all servants not being Christians,
' Johns Hopkins " University Studies ", Series xi, p. 387. 2 See page j.