Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next

 

THE COURTS AND SLAVERY.   95

on his capture after escape from his master sent on board ship to be sold in Jamaica, to the effect that no master could compel a slave to go from Britain to any foreign country, or even to any British colony, gave a strong impulse to the anti-slavery movement in Britain toward the close of the last century ; and affected legal circles throughout the empire. A further impulse in the same direction was given by the passage in 1797 by the Imperial parliament of an Act which repealed a certain Act of Geo. II. in so far as it had provided for the compulsory sale of Negro slaves taken under execution in His Majesty's plantations.

In Upper Canada, where the first legislators had put serious restrictions upon slavery, some misconception of the Act of 1797 seems to have hastened the decline of the institution. Some bondmen were set free by will, as in the instance of Solicitor-general Gray in 'So{ ; some were enfranchised by their living masters at different periods, and a few others were held according to the Act of 1793, until they took their freedom under the Imperial Emancipation measure of 1833. The " • Township Book" of the township of Louth, in the county of Lincoln, contains a memorandum in which are mentioned the names of two or three slaves living there in 1824. Mr. J. C. Hamilton mentions two young slaves, known as Hank and Sukey, who claimed their liberty in 1834 ; and Dr. Canniff writes of an assignment in 1824, for seventy-five dollars, of a Mulatto boy, Tom, from an owner in Haldimand, New-castle, to a citizen of Thurlow, in which it was stated that the said boy had ten years to serve, according to the laws of the province, from the 29th February. 1824, as the child of a female slave. This lad, if living, would have been for five months only a freeman on August t, 1834, the date fixed for emancipation throughout the empire : it


Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next