56 NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL. SOCIETY.
on the slave trade had begun to excite public feeling to is depths, the very thought of a minister of Christ retaining a fellow-being in bondage was so revolting that he made it a special reason for refusing all communion with a presbytery tolerating such conduct in one of its members. Bewildered by Mr. \IcGregor's letter, Mr. Cock took it to a friend, Matthew Archibald, whose purchase of the boy Abram has been noted on a previous page. These neighbors were soon, however, to be more greatly surprised by the appearance in print of a similar paper, entitled, " A Letter to a Clergyman, urging him to set free a Black Girl held in Slavery". " Permit me to speak freely", wrote the young preacher, and without awaiting permission he "spoke freely," solemnly charging Mr. Cock to liberate his slave, since until he should do so none of his services could be acceptable to God. The ministers of the Truro presbyters' became very indignant, and one of their number, the Rev. David Smith, pastor at Londonderry, took up a heavy pen in behalf of his mild-tempered but slave-owning friend, using such arguments as have been advanced and repeated and reiterated by the advocates of West Indian and Southern slavery. If, however, the members of the presbyter' and a number of their friends were very indignant at the action of James McGregor, not a few persons in that section of the country read the published paper with warm approval of its contents.' The
t Mr. Cock and his neighbors were sometimes attacked from other directions. Israel Longworth. Q. C., author of the " Life and Times of the Hon. S. G. W. Archibald", tells this story of the boyhood of that distinguished Nova Scotian:—" During the time Parson Cock owned a black female slave, and one or more other slaves were held in Truro, a Baptist minister from the United States preached at Truro and spoke against human slavery, maintaining that the soul of a slave was more precious than a million of money. Coming out of the meeting young Archibald remarked in the hearing of the minister, ' That is strange doctrine you have been preaching, for Dr. John Harris bought a slave the other day, body and soul, for ten pounds'. This slave of Dr. Harris was known as ' Black Jeff. , who, so tradition says, died of small-pox, from getting up and drinking three pints of cold water when his attendant was asleep'