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132   NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

Strange spectacles were witnessed in those days on the British side of the " mystic line". Occasionally there were scenes of sadness. One incident of specially deplorable character has been narrated in detail by the president of the Niagara Historical Society. Among a large number of escaped slaves at Niagara in 1837 was a recent arrival from Kentucky named Moseby, whose extradition had been demanded on the ground that he had stolen a horse from his master to aid him in his escape. The man was arrested, and after considerable legal wrangling the Canadian authorities consented to deliver him up to his former owner. Word having been passed among the numerous Negroes in the neighborhood that Moseby was to be surrendered, a movement under the leadership of Herbert Holmes, a Baptist or Methodist exhorter and school teacher who had received some education in Nova Scotia, was set on foot for his rescue. Some three hundred colored people, under the direction of Holmes—himself a mulatto, though never a slave—invested the Niagara jail where Moseby was imprisoned, keeping sentries constantly on the watch, and frustrating repeated attempts on the part of the authorities to remove him under cover of darkness. The perplexity of the sheriff was increased by the evident sympathy of white citizens with the colored people. Two gentlemen of St. Catharine's got up a largely signed petition in favor of the prisoner, but without avail ; a captain of a vessel, asked to take the prisoner by water to Lewiston, returned the sheriff an answer both forcible and profane, but the answer of a humane man—that no vessel commanded by him should ever be used to carry a man back to slavery ; and the citizens generally indicated their opinions by ready assistance in feeding and sheltering the investing force. For three weeks the authorities postponed action, waiting for the excitement to subside and the Negroes to disperse.


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