The Right To The Use Of The Man
SEVERAL persons laid claim to a native of Borioboola Gha. Now this native was an Anarchist or something, and contended that he could not rightfully be made private property. So the matter came up in the Court of Borioboola Equity.
Captain Cook set up that he had discovered the man. "No one knew about him," said he, "except his family, until I came and found him: therefore, he is mine."
"Not at all," answered Mr. Leo Briton. "I came into possession of him by slaying some of his defenders, and driving away the rest: therefore, he belongs to me and to my grantees."
Mr. Monopoli's attorney here remarked that his client had appropriated this Indian's great-grandfather, and that the lapse of time and the statute of limitations had confirmed his client's possession of the whole family.
There appeared also the sons of Captain Kidd, who admitted that they had acquired their title "by violence, fraud, the prerogative of force, and the claims of superior cunning," but urged that immemorial custom and the wisdom of the ages had confirmed their possession also. They said, "You would not strip poor orphans of their property?"
"Gentlemen," said Mr. Socialis, "your claims are merely theoretical: the unimproved value of this man, to which you lay claim, is nothing. I taught him to read and to work, and I furnished him the tools. I have indissolubly mingled my labour with him; so hand him over to me."
At this moment a wail was heard, and Mrs. Poor Widow rushed into court. She cried: "I bought this Indian, with all his incidents, from the grantees of Mr. Briton. I gave for my estate in him a full equivalent of honestly earned wealth. Society has ratified the purchase by constitutions and fugitive slave laws, and the Church has sanctified my title by the authority of Holy Writ."
As it was clear that the man would be dead before the court could establish the title to him, the matter was referred to Mr. Christian Civilisation, who handed down the following decision: "Such claims can never make a title to anything except products of labour. You did not make this man, and he is not a piece of land. Therefore, chattel slavery must be abolished: but this man must earn his living in the sweat of his brow, and your living in the rent of your land. Let judgment be entered accordingly."