Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next

 

PREFACE.

 

THIS paper, read in part before the Nora Scotia Historical Society on Mardi 18, 1898, is an attempt to supply a missing chapter in Canadian history—a sombre and unattractive chapter, it may be, but necessary nevertheless to the completeness of our records.

If instances given seem too numerous, it must be remembered that the scepticism of many of the best informed Provincials as to the presence at any time of Negro slaves on' the soil of Canada has challenged the production, on the part of the author, of more repeated facts than be would otherwise have deemed necessary.

In the collection of these facts not a little difficulty has been encountered. Our historians have almost wholly ignored the existence of slavery in Canada. A few references to it are all that can be found in Kingsford's ten volumes; Haliburton devotes a little more than a half-page to it ; Murdoch contents himself with the reproduction of a few slave advertisements; Clement, the author of the school history accepted by nearly all the provinces, dismisses it with a single sentence ; and in the long manuscript catalogue of Canadian books, pamphlets and papers gathered during a long life-time by the late Dr. T. B. Akins—a large and very valuable collection—the word •• slavery " nowhere appears, even as a sub-heading. Other historians and collectors in general have given little more attention to the subject. Further difficulty has arisen from the fact that complete Pyles of our early newspapers—those of Nova Scotia at least —cannot be obtained. I have had, therefore, to be a patient and persistent and often disappointed gleaner.

In addition to those persons whose names appear in the body of this essay, the author gratefully acknowledges his indebtedness to the following gentlemen among others :

J. J. Stewart, Esq., Halifax, for the use of old Halifax papers.

Rev. W. O. Raymond, M. A., St. John, N. B., for copies of important documents and correspondence.

George Johnson. Esq., F. S. S., Ottawa, for extracts from several documents and volumes in the Parliamentary library.


Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next