Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next

 

DESTINY OF THE SLAVE.   117

do constitute and appoint my son, Elias Scovil, and my said wife their overseers to see that they are kept at service and reasonably treated. At the decease of my said wife, provided the time fixed for their freedom be not expired, for the remainder of the time they may have to serve they shall be disposed of in such a way as my said wife may think proper". The son, Elias Scovil, became his father's successor as the second rector of Kingston; the witnesses, Richard Clarke of Gagetown, and Oliver Arnold of Sussex, were, like the testator, Loyalist clergy-men.

A final effort for relief by legislative action was made by Nova Scotia proprietors in 'So&. During the session of that year, Mr. Warwick, member for the township of Digby, presented a petition from John Taylor and a number of other proprietors of Negro servants brought from the old provinces, in which they stated that, owing to the doubts entertained by the courts, such property was being rendered useless, the Negro servants leaving their masters daily and setting them at defiance. In consequence of these facts they prayed the passage of an Act for " securing them their property or indemnifying them for its loss ". It was, no doubt, with a view to such an end that Thomas Ritchie, member for Annapolis, during the same session introduced a bill to regulate Negro servants within the province. This bill, which passed its second reading on January 11, 1SoS, but never became law, was in all probability the last straggle of a system which merited only death.

The destiny of the slaves of the British North American provinces is a matter of some interest. At the beginning of the century their number had been greatly reduced. The majority of those then remaining in the Maritime Provinces were to be found in the southern and western parts of Nova Scotia, and in the counties bordering on the


Previous Slavery in Canada (1899) Next