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4   NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

Atlantic coast. They seem to have been more easy of control as domestic servants than members of some other native tribes of this continent, but the propensity of these wild children of the woods to run off, with the presence of the ever-adjacent forest as a constant temptation, greatly lessened their value.'

Towards the close of the seventeenth century the French in Canada began to look about for laborers. In 1688 representations were made in more than one letter from high officials at Quebec to Louis XIV., through his Secretary of State, that laborers were so few and labor so costly in the colony that all enterprise was paralysed ; and that it was thought that the best remedy would be the importation of Negroes as slaves. The Attorney-general of Canada, then on a visit to Paris, confirmed this view, and assured the king that in case of his permission being given some of the inhabitants of the colony would be prepared to purchase slaves immediately upon their arrival from Guinea. As the result of these representations. with the suggested conversion of the heathen to the true faith as an additional motive for action, a royal mandate was issued in 1689, by which permission was given Canadians to avail themselves of the services of African slaves ; the king, however, taking time, in spite of the gaieties of Versailles, to remind the Sieur de Frontenac, governor of the colony which had so vexed the royal mind, that the experiment which Denonville and de Champigny had urged was not without peril through the rigor of the climate ; and to advise consequent caution.

The issuance of the desired mandate was soon followed by the importation and sale of Negroes ; but the demand proved less pressing than had been expected. By an ordinance dated Nov. 13th, t log, these Negroes were made moveable property. Another ordinance, issued in April,

i Parkman's "Old Regime in Canada." p. 368.


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