The emperor Isaac Angelus had not only the old grudge of all Eastern 1 The "economic" motive for taking the cross was strengthened by the papal regulations in favour of debtors who joined the Crusade.
The relief of debtors, and the steps which he took to restore Italian agriculture, were of the nature of palliatives) those which have a permanent significance as indicating his grasp of imperial problems. The Social War had brought to the inhabitants of Italy as far as the Po the privileges of Roman citizenship; it remained to extend this gift to the Transpadane Italians, to establish a uniform system of local administration and to devise representative institutions by which at least some voice in the government of Rome might be permitted to her new citizens.
In England the lessons of experience have shown that the abuses of this business are best regulated by a system of registration coupled with relief to debtors against harsh and unconscionable bargains.
In Ireland imprisonment for debt was abolished by the Debtors Act (Ireland) 1872, and in Scotland by the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1880.
The Poetelian law (326 B.C.) restricted the creditor's lien (by virtue of a nexum) to the goods of his debtor, and enacted that for the future no debtor should be put in chains; but we hear of debtors addicti to their creditors by the tribunals long after - even in the time of the Punic Wars.
The class of coloni appears to have been composed partly of tenants by contract who had incurred large arrears of rent and were detained on the estates as debtors (obaerati), partly of foreign captives or immigrants who were settled in this condition on the land, and partly of small proprietors and other poor men who voluntarily adopted the status as an improvement in their position.
The sources of slavery were there, as elsewhere, capture in war, voluntary sale by poor freemen of themselves, sale of insolvent debtors, and the action of the law in certain criminal cases.
He established a lending stock to help struggling business men and did much to relieve debtors who had been thrown into prison.
Recognized causes for divorce are adultery, extreme cruelty, wilful desertion, wilful neglect, habitual intemperance or conviction for felony, The homestead of a head of a family consisting either of a farm not exceeding 160 acres or $2500 in value, or of a house and lot - the lot not exceeding 4 acre, and the house and lot not exceeding $2500 in value - is secured against debtors except in case of judgments obtained before the homestead was recorded as such, in case of labourers', mechanics' or vendors' liens, and in case of a debt secured by mortgage; if the owner is a married person the homestead cannot be mortgaged without the consent of both husband and wife.
That servitude existed in many forms all over the archipelago, but among the most curious must be reckoned the pandelingschap or "pledgedom," which originated in Borneo, and according to which a man had the power to make his debtors his serfs until their debts were paid.
The parables of the two debtors, the labourers in the vineyard, the two sons, the ten virgins, the sheep and goats, are recorded only by this evangelist.
The code also regulates wages and prices, and shows a certain humanity towards debtors; and here any failure to carry out these laws would obviously be denounced.
Noteworthy, again, is the appeal to religious and ethical considerations in order to prevent injustice to the widow and fatherless and to unhappy debtors; statutory laws are either unknown, or, more probably, are presupposed.
The renewed excesses of the Circumcelliones, among whom were ranged fugitive slaves, debtors and political malcontents of all kinds, had given to the Donatist schism a revolutionary aspect; and its forcible suppression may therefore have seemed to Constans even more necessary for the preservation of the empire than for the vindication of orthodoxy.
The feast, which on that occasion lasted for eight (or seven) days, was also celebrated by private individuals; the citizens kept open house, quarrels were forgotten, debtors and prisoners were released, and everything done to banish sorrow.
At this time prisons were primarily places of detention, not of punishment, peopled by accused persons, still innocent in the eyes of the law, and debtors guilty only of breaches of the financial rules of a commercial country, framed chiefly in the interest of the creditor.
We have eliminated debtors prisons, developed the idea of "women and children first," stigmatized child labor, made accommodations for conscientious objectors, widely adopted freedom of speech and the press and freedom of assembly, and a hundred more.