THE COURTS AND SLAVERY. 113
the face of the action of the Upper and Maritime Provinces' courts, whether slavery was ever actually abolished in the present Canadian provinces until the vote of the British Parliament, followed by a few strokes from the pen of William IV., in 1833 rendered it illegal wherever the flag of Britain was spread to the breeze. In 1790 the " Pennsylvania Abolition Society" sent a memorial to Congress, bearing the official signature of " Benjamin Franklin, president", asking that body to " step to the very verge of its power for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men". This counsel, addressed in vain to the United States law-makers, was abundantly carried into effect by the chief justices of Upper Canada, Montreal and Nova Scotia.
Haliburton, writing of Nova Scotia in 1829, strengthens the doubt to which expression has just been given. After a very brief reference to the action for trover in the DeLancev case, and the statement, already quoted, that the subject of slavery had never received a judicial decision, he proceeds to remark : " The most correct opinion seems to be, that slaves may be held in the colony ; and this is not only corroborated by the construction of several English Acts of Parliament, but by particular clauses of the early laws of the province. On this subject there prevailed much romance and false sentiment in Nova Scotia as well as in England. The effect produced by this latent abandonment of slavery is, however, beneficial to the counts•".t
Any further discussion respecting the precise period of the legal abolition of slavery in Canada is unnecessary : the legal conflicts described practically and effectively destroyed it very early in the century. A conviction that any claims of slave-owners would find but the barest
" History of Nova Scotia'', vol. 2, p. 280.