from The Century Dictionary.
- noun Same as
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun The state or condition of a serf.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Many an old man, with grey hairs and grandchildren, who had all his life placidly enjoyed the fruits of serf labour, was now heard to speak of serfage as an antiquated institution which could not be reconciled with modern humanitarian ideas; and not
a new and worse kind of serfage would thus be created.
On the other hand, few of those who left Spain, animated by high motives, resisted the prevalent seductions of avarice and ambition, amidst conditions so singularly favourable to their gratification, and we find Las Casas denouncing, as ridiculous and hypocritical, the pretensions to solicitude for the spread of religion, under cover of which the colonists sought to obtain royal sanction for the systems of slavery and serfage they had inaugurated.
If we could believe that he instituted the system of serfage, or seriously strengthened it, we should find that
Yet it was by his misguided hand that serfage was compacted into its final black mass of foulness.
Dominicans began a series of earnest and edifying sermons, in the course of which practical applications of Scripture texts were made to the actual condition of affairs in the colony; and, by using the information furnished them by Las Casas, the preachers were able to make very forcible home thrusts on the subject of the injustice of the system of serfage and the grave responsibility of those Spaniards who oppressed the Indians.
The common view is, that Borys Gudenoff, who reigned at the beginning of the seventeenth century, established serfage age in Russia; but though the exact character of his legislation is yet in dispute, it is obvious that no
Catharine II. was a philosopher, and a patron of that eighteenth-century philosophy which so largely favored human rights, and she regretted the existence of serfage; but, in spite of this regret, and of some sentimental efforts toward emancipation, she strengthened the system of slavery under which so great a majority of her subjects lived.
Nothing certain is known as to the origin of Russian serfage.
The condition of these various categories of bondmen, however, was more one of serfage and vassalage, the ancient system of slavery that had culminated in the Roman Empire having been modified by the mild doctrines of Christianity and the gradual spread of the new civilisation.