Nova Scotia Archives

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Documenting the Heritage of African Nova Scotians

Petition of John Taylor and other Loyalist slaveholders to the General Assembly to uphold their 'right' to keep slaves
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Twenty-seven Loyalist slaveholders from Annapolis petition the General Assembly to uphold their 'rights' as slaveholders. Included is a list of petitioners and the number of enslaved people each claimed.

Taylor and the others claim that they are entitled to hold slaves because "property in Negroes was maintained, and acknowledged, if not encouraged" by the British government. Although the petitioners claim not to advocate the system of slavery, they believe that the King's subjects have the right to hold "property in Negroes." They argue that the Nova Scotian courts have not upheld these rights, and this has caused the petitioner's slaves to run away or defy orders. The petitioners hope that the government will enact a law to secure their property or, should slavery be abolished, that the government will provide them with "equitable compensation."

Such a bill was introduced but it did not pass. The Nova Scotia Legislature rejected at least three such requests to give legal status to slavery in Nova Scotia.

Date: 3 December 1807

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives RG 5 series A volume 14 number 49

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