Slavery in Canada

An odd choice of topic for Valentine’s Day, but this Wikipedia entry (pulled up when I was investigating comparative slavery systems for that Atlantic Monthly article) contained a paragraph that warmed the cockles of my patriotic heart:

By 1790 the abolition movement was gaining credence in Canada and the ill intent of slavery was evidenced by an incident involving a slave woman being violently abused by her slave owner on her way to being sold in the United States. In 1793 Chloe Clooey, in an act of defiance yelled out screams of resistance. The abuse committed by her slave owner and her violent resistance was witnessed by Peter Martin and William Grisely. Peter Martin, a former slave, brought the incident to the attention of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe. Under the auspices of Simcoe, The Slave Act of 1793 was legislated. The elected members of the executive council, many of whom were merchants or farmers who depended on slave labour, saw no need for emancipation. White later wrote that there was “much opposition but little argument” to his measure.

Isn’t that us in a nutshell? Plenty of griping, but resigned to the pragmatic solution. Take that, South Carolina.

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