It is made clear in the first clause “That all servants imported andbrought into this country, by sea or land, who were not christians in theirnative country…shall be accounted and be slaves.” The comparison withthis statement can be seen as though a servant would be looked upon as aslave making the comparison between a slave and an indentured servantidentical.
Although some were seen as indentured servants coming into theNew World, and not labeled as a slave, they were still treated as one. Thebottom line was that both slaves and indentured servants were looked uponas property and therefore treated as property by whomever had a license todo as they pleased upon them.
In an analytical sense, both slaves and indentured servants weretreated as property and nothing more. All masters, owners, and leaders onthe ships that bring the slaves and servants over, all take extremeadvantage of their ability to do what they want to them. This actconcerning servants and slaves also restricts what the servants and slavescould do to defend themselves.
The act also gives the authority towhomever owes the slave’s or servant’s license to do practically whateverthey wish expect for persons without license to “buy, sell, or receive of,to, or from, and servant, or slave, any coin or commodity whatsoever.”Portraying them both as animals just goes to show how savagely peopletreated others based upon status in which they were born into or what theybelieved in.
As far as how they were treated in the working conditions, bothslaves and servants worked side by side on the plantations. It was saidthat this was done to keep the servants in their place and not to let themget out of hand in any way. For both the slaves and the servants, thesmallest petty crime was treated with harsh punishment to keep both intheir place. The masters and owners of the slaves and servants did notwant them to think that they would get any special treatment over anyoneelse or each other.
A reason for the actions taken upon the slaves and servants is mostlikely due to the responsibility laid upon their masters. Basically thelaw states that the master is to take responsibility of the slave orservant as if it were they themselves doing the act. Therefore they treatthe slaves and servants with such harsh treatment in order to prevent themfrom committing any crime that would hold their master responsible andliable for any damages that the slave or servant caused.
The treatment putupon them was harsh in a sense of physical punishment in that they wererepeatedly lashed and the number of lashes depended on what they did andits severity. It was unjust either way because most people would not evenbe looked upon as having done anything wrong whereas a slave or servantwould be tried for the harshest of punishments.
The law also viewed slaves and servants as a ‘lesser’ person. Itstates “And if any slave resist his master, or owner, or other person, byhis or her order, correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed insuch correction, it shall not be accounted felony.” Not being accounted afelony and if a slave or servant were to do such an act, they would be putto death without any question. These were part of the strict guidelinesthat were set but show no moral justice in anyway whatsoever.
The written act limits the rights and actions of what slaves,servants, masters, owners, or persons can or can’t do. This act is clearevidence as to what a person higher than a servant or slave could get awaywith doing to a slave or servant. It states that in defense of a slave orservant, the actions taken are easily justified since the county would takethe defense’s word over a slave or servant in any matter.
Any harshtreatment posed upon another human being for no reason is immoral and anypossession of another human being is immoral and there is no justificationin the world that could prove otherwise. One can say through what has beensaid that in comparison to a slave and an indentured servant, theirtreatment was like a hell on earth and that death was their only escape.