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106   NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

would enter an action against the employer. In reply Mr. Woodin's attorney stated the ignorance of the employer in relation to the social condition of the Negro, refused payment of his wages, none of which a: the time were due him, and informed Mr. DeLancey that he might have the Negro whenever he should think proper to send for him; while he at the same time asserted that jack and all other Negroes in Nova Scotia were freemen, there not being any law here to make them otherwise. As the result of an action of trover in the supreme court Mr. DeLancey obtained a verdict in his favor with seventy pounds damages, but the counsel for the defendant, Richard J. Uniacke, Esq., moved the court in arrest of judgment, upon the ground that an action of trover would not lie for the conversion of a Negro in this province, as here a Negro could be no more the slave of Mr. DeLancey than he could that of any other person in London or elsewhere; and that Mr. DeLancey should have brought his action for damages for detaining the Negro, as in the case of any other sen-ant. The hearing of the motion having been fixed for September of the following year, Mr. DeLancey had an opinion prepared by Joseph Aplin, Esq., of Annapolis county, a Loyalist and former attorney-general of Prince Edward Island, submitted to several leading legal authorities in England.

This opinion of Mr. Aplin, though an es parte one, is of interest because of the standing of its author and the prominence of the English lawyers to whom it was submitted. The views of these several authorities were published in pamphlet form in 1802 in St. John, N. B., under the title of " Opinions of Several Gentlemen of the Law on the Subject of Negro Servitude in the Province of Nova Scotia ".t The author of the preface, whose name

 

 

t For an opportunity of consulting this pamphlet 1 have been indebted to John T. Balmer, Esq., of Halifax, whose copy, bearing the autograph of Ward Chipman, is the only one known to be in existence.


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