Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next

 

102   NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

of England. the Statute Law of England or the Colony, or upon adjudged cases, and such seemed always to be Mr. Strange's opinion. No lawyer with us ever talked of the Common Law of the Colonies as distinguished from that of England, nor would I think our late chief-justice have countenanced a position of the kind. The Common Law of England has been claimed and recognized as the birthright of every British subject in the Colonies, and has been so considered, as well by the most eminent lawyers in England as by the superior courts of judicature in most if not all the British colonies in North America before the Revolution".

This difference in opinion between the two leading judges of the two provinces may have been in some measure the result of their training. Chief justice Blowers, a graduate of Harvard, was a Massachusetts man, as was also Ward Chipman, who in the main agreed with him ; while Chief justice Ludlow had been a judge in New York. There was also the further fact, pointed out by Murdoch in his " History of Nova Scotia", that " the instituticns of New Brunswick resemble those of the province of New York . . . while Nova Scotia followed more closely the pattern of Massachusetts". In Massachusetts slavery obtained but a weak foothold, and died early and quietly through a very simple legal decision, one case having been brought in 1783 before the courts in Worcester, which determined that the system was inconsistent with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution sequent ; and by that single decision dealt it a death blow. In New York slavery had an earlier establishment and a more extensive development. As early as 1652—thirtyseven years before Louis XI V. by a royal mandate permitted Negro slavery in Quebec—the government in Holland consented to the exportation of slaves to New York for sale, and by the end of the century they had


Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next