Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next



had never been abolished by law in England and that therefore the possession of slaves was not illegal was set aside by Lord Mansfield, who ruled : " Villeinage has ceased in England, and it cannot be revived. The air of England has long been too pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it. Every man who comes into England ", Lord Mansfield continued, " is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may heretofore have suffered, and whatever may be the colour

of his skin : quamris site 'tiger, quamris to candidus esses.

Let the Negro be discharged". And by that decision an immense amount of human property was, to use the words of Chief-justice Strange, " thrown into the air at once".

In New Brunswick slavery found in the person of the leading judge, the Hon. George Duncan Ludlow, no such opponent. Mr. Ludlow had been a judge of the supreme court in New York, whence he had been driven, with the loss of his whole estate, at the close of the Revolutionary conflict. In New Brunswick, to which province he had retired, he occupied a first place in public affairs. Ward Chipman wrote in 1800 to Sampson Salter Blowers, of Halifax :

Our chief justice is very strenuous in support of the masters' right as being founded on immemorial usage and custom in all parts of America ever since its discovery : he contends that customs in all countries are the foundations of laws and acquire their force: that there was a system of laws in every British colony regulating slavery under the idea of its existence independently of those laws, and that there never was a law in any of the colonies directly establishing it : that Negroes when first imported into the Plantations were considered as villeins in gross and were afterwards by some local laws in some of the colonies made [word undecipherable] : that the legal presumption in the colonies was always against the Negro unless he could show a manumission : that in Carolina by their original

Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next