IN the eye of reason, servants are a sort of super­numerary hands, feet, eyes, and other members. For they are engaged in occupations which, but for them, we must attend to ourselves; and in which, in that case, some one of our own members must be employed. If no such class existed, rest would be banished from the world; and, in the pressure of urgent transactions and avocations, no progress could be made in art or excellence. And this withal a loss of dignity and weight must follow, with every variety of fatigue, and this to every individual. We should regard them, therefore, as loans from the Almighty, and loans for which we are bound to be grateful. In our proceedings towards them, we should be guided by kindness and benignity; never setting them to work beyond the equitable limit, and appointing them their periods of repose. For they, no less than ourselves, are necessarily subject to weariness, heaviness, and exhaustion; and in their nature, as in ours, the calls of nature are ineradicably fixed: nay, we should regard them as partners in the same essen­tial conformation with ourselves; and if God has favoured us by placing them under our control, the least we can do in return for the obligation is to abstain from oppressing them. In regard to food and clothing, the Prophet has himself enjoined us to place our servants on a par with ourselves.*

Before engaging a person in our service, we should first take an attentive survey of his qualifications; ascertaining them physiognomically and conjecturally, where we cannot by experiment. Deformity of shape and uncouthness of feature we had better avoid. For nature mostly follows formation — the contrary is an exception. The sages of Fārs used to say, “God’s best attribute is his beauty.” And there is a dictum, “Go for your necessities to the well-favoured.” And again, “When you despatch an emissary, let him be engaging both in name and appearance; for beauty of exterior is the first favour we bestow on others.”* And again, it is said, that all the prophets have had fine shapes and sweet voices. As to persons diseased, the one-eyed, the halt, the scabby, the leprous, and the like, of course we must shun them altogether.

If we perceive acuteness to prevail in a servant’s character, we should beware of him, for in most instances deceit and treachery go along with it. On this point ever-so-much bashfulness with ever-so-little sense, is better than ever-so-much sense, if attended with impudence;* for shame is the best of feelings. The work on which we employ a servant should be that for which we see in him signs of aptitude, that for the implements of which he dis­plays a dexterity, and the uses of which are agree­able to his feelings. For every one has an aptitude for some one employment. We should never think of setting our horse to keep watch for us, nor our cow to win a race; and similarly we ought not to require from any person any thing but that for which he is qualified.

When we have engaged a servant in any duty, we ought not to discharge him from it on the showing of every slight offence: for this is the practice of the severe and unreflecting. Besides, when he is discharged, some other must have his place, and how know we whether the successor will be better or worse than the other? To impress upon the servant’s mind indeed that there is no severance between his interests and ours, is not only more agreeable to benignity and fair-dealing, but the surest means of giving him an eagerness to exert his feelings and faculties in our behalf. For if he supposes the connexion between himself and his master to be a permanent one, he will consider him­self interested in that master’s property and posses­sions, and count the family fortune and influence to be in some measure his own. But if he perceives the connexion to be insecure, and liable to deter­mine on the slightest occasion, he will consider his service as temporary; and instead of discharging the duties of partnership, he will be laying up a store against the day of separation.

In service the great point is, that it be dictated by affection rather than by necessity, so as to be performed of love, not of obligation; or, if not, then by hope rather than by fear; so as to be performed, if not of love, at least of obligation rather than of force. For when a person is constrained to an undertaking, he can have no inward liking for it, and will proceed in it no further than for the prevention of injury he needs must do. The interests of our servants we should prefer to our own, and so con­trive that they may perform the tasks assigned them in the spirit of cheerfulness, not in the guise of weariness and disgust.

In the adjustment of their circumstances, regard must be paid to their respective positions. They are to be encouraged by bounty, as well as intimi­dated by vigour. If any of them repeat an offence which he has already engaged to abandon, he must be corrected with appropriate chastisement. Neither are we therefore at once to despair of his amend­ment. But as soon as by repeated trial we are convinced that he is irreclaimable, he must be discharged most promptly, lest the others be cor­rupted by intercourse with him.

For service a slave is preferable to a freeman, inasmuch as he must be more disposed to submit to, obey, and adopt his patron’s habits and pursuits, and can have less expectation that their connexion will be dissolved.* As to the classification of ser­vants, for spiritual attendance the choice should be determined by sense, expression, modesty, and ingenuousness; for purposes of lucre, by conti­nence, exactitude, and acquisitiveness; for employ­ment in house-building, by strength and patience under hard labour; and for keeping watch, by wakefulness and loudness of voice.

Again, the species of servants are three: 1st, The free by nature; 2nd, The menial by nature; 3rd, The menial by incontinence. Of these the first are to be treated like children, the second like cattle and beasts,* and the third to be encaged for our pleasures, and employed as occasion requires.* As to their species, considered nationally, Arab servants are noted for language, eloquence, and acuteness; but stigmatized for their troublesome dispositions and strong passions. Of these, again, the Abyssinians* possess acknowledged integrity and steadiness of behaviour; but their haughtiness and intolerance of indignity is equally certain. Those of Middle Asia have great good sense, con­duct, good-humour, and discrimination; but as much trickery, knavery, and pretence. Romish ones are esteemed for integrity, probity, and exact­ness; but disapproved for parsimony and sordid feeling. Hindus are recommended by aptness of conjecture, and induction; but censured for spite­fulness, conceit, and fraud. Turkish ones are remarkable for bravery, generosity, usefulness, and dashing exterior; but notorious for perfidy, hard­ness of heart, and unconcern for their employer’s safety.*