Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next

 

9S   NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

that his teachings had in a less direct way affected Sir James Monk at Montreal. In January, 1800, Chief-justice Blowers, writing confidentially to Ward Chipman, after-wards a judge of the supreme court of New Brunswick, informed him that " the question of the slaver• of Negroes had been often agitated in Nova Scotia "in different ways, but had not received a direct decision". " My immediate predecessor, Sir Thomas Strange", he added, "dexterously avoided an adjudication of the principal point, yet, as he required the fullest proof of the master's claim in point of fact, it was found generally very easy to succeed in favour of the Negro by taking some exceptions collateral to the general question, and therefore that course was taken "; and " several trials have been had in which the jury decided against the master". " I had frequent conversations with Mr. Strange", Mr. Blowers went on to say, " on this important question, and always found that he wished rather to wear out the claim [of the slave-holders) gradually than to throw so much property, as it is called, into the air at once". Chief-justice Blowers, on his appointment in 1797, adopted precisely the policy of his predecessor. " Since I have been chief-justice", he wrote,

a black woman was brought before me on habeas corpus from the jail at Annapolis. The return was defective and she was discharged, but as she was claimed as a slave I intimated that an action should be brought to try the right, and one was brought against a person who had received and hired the wench. At the trial the plaintiff proved a purchase of the Negro in New York as a slave, but as he could not prove that the seller had a legal right so to dispose of her, I directed the jury to find for the defendant, which they readily did". The rejection, by a large majority of the Nova Scotia legislature in 1787, of a clause recognizing the slavery of Negroes as a statute right brought into a bill for the " regulation of servants",


Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next