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This had so prejudiced the Blacks that many of them there proposed to work their passage to the West Indies after their provisions should be expended which could not last more than five or six weeks - 

  In the second letter he said that the conditions of things was very little altered their number was diminished, the Whites were still sickly, and the Blacks though healthier were still far from being reconciled to the place, or attentive to the cultivation of their plots of land, that they had sowed little or no seed, had built few comfortable houses for themselves nor any house for Mr. Fraser, or for Publick Worship, and that they were very little disposed to remain in the settlements- soon after this he came home in a very ill state of health-

 Major Skinner of this town, whom we accidentally met with after our arrival appeared upon the whole disinclined to the present undertaking, yet being himself appointed an agent to receive the names of such families who were inclined to accept the Company's proposals and afterwards to convey them to Halifax; he advised me in order to follow as much as possible the intentions of government to send some person immediately over to Birch Town, inhabited solely by the Blacks, in order to assemble the whole of them together, the ensuing day to have the proposals properly explained to them and to save the unnecessary trouble of repeating them to each individual, this advice was readily adopted and the Black teacher was dispatched for that purpose-

  Dined with Major Skinner in company with Mr. Miller, Lieut. in the Black Corps in the West Indies who was appointed to enlist those whose inclinations led them to become Soldiers in preference of adventurers to Sierra Leone.

  October 26th At ten this morning waited upon two of the Justices of the Peace in behalf of a boy whose master was going to leave this Province to settle in the United States and who wishes to take him with him.

  At half past ten mounted my horse accompanied by Major Skinner, the Chaplain and Mr. Brinley, and arrived at Birch Town about noon.

  The Blacks had by this time collected in great numbers and after waiting a short time were upon account of the rain desired to assemble in their Church, which they did, to the amount of about three or four hundred-

 Considering that the future happiness, welfare and perhaps life of these poor creatures depended in a great measure upon the discourse I was about to deliver, I was at a loss how to begin, but having ascended the pulpit and seeing the eyes and attention of every person fixed upon me I thought it best to state to them the intentions of Government from Mr.Dundas's letter to Governor Parr and Carleton, and those of the Company from their printed declaration-



  I began by telling them that in consequence of the Memorial of Thos. Peters in their behalf, His Majesty in consideration of their services had made them three offers which each individual was at liberty to accept or reject as he thought proper, wishing them to adopt that which they imagined would be most conducive to their happiness-

 The first was that if it should upon enquiry appear that the engagements made upon the part of Government with respect to their grants of land had not been fulfilled, His Majesty had directed that the full proportion promised them should be immediately given, and in a situation so advantageous that it might make them some atonement for the delay. Secondly, such as were inclined had the liberty of enlisting as Soldiers to serve only in the West Indies - They who adopted this proposal would be greatly protected and entitled to the same privileges as the British Army. The third and last proposal was that as a plan had lately been formed by a number of gentlemen in England for establishing a free Settlement upon the river Sierra Leone on the Coast of Africa and measures have be taken by them for obtaining a charter of Incorporation. It appeared to Thos. Peters on a consideration of the encouragement held out to him and his associates from the Directors of the Sierra Leone Company, that the proposed Settlement would be likely to afford to him and persons of a similar description, an asylum much better suited to their constitutions than Nova Scotia or New Brunswick and that Thomas Peters had in consequence expressed a desire that himself, his family, and such other Black people as were disposed to become Settlers at Sierra Leone, might be removed thither, although a compliance with this requisition would be attended with considerable expense to the public His Majesty was anxious to gratify those who should feel disposed to go and had given orders to Governors of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to furnish them with shipping for that purpose and to allow such a tonnage to each person as would enable them to take such articles as would be useful to them in the new Settlement-

  It was necessary however upon this occasion to mention and to thoroughly understood by them that His Majesty took no further part in this business than to convey to Sierra Leone free of expense all such appeared dissatisfied with their present situation.

 I afterwards read to them the proposals made by the Sierra Leone Company and explained as well as I could the meaning of each paragraph and earnestly entreated they would take the three foregoing proposals into their most serious consideration and as they had sufficient time for that purpose, I begged them not to come to an immediate conclusion, but desired them to confer and advise with each other before they determined in their choice-

 I declared that I was perfectly disinterested in this business and no view to answer but that of gratifying my feelings in endeavoring - render their situation more comfortable and happy- I nevertheless advised all such as had via great measures surmounted their difficulties and



were getting up in the world and possessed of some little property to remain in the province telling them it would be rather in my opinion running a risk for persons of this description to resign a certainty for a prospect extremely precarious.

 With respect to the first proposal made to them by Government in giving all those fresh grants of land in an advantageous situation who were desirous of remaining in this country I could only say it would give me pleasure to assist any of them in their wishes on that head-

 As for the second I thought it best adapted to such as were not in the habits of industry. I represented to them that the West Indian climate was warm and congenial to their constitutions and that all persons who were inclined to enlist by applying to Lieut Miller would receive a bounty of one guinea and a half and enter into immediate pay.

I desired them to think seriously on the third and last proposal to weigh it well in their minds and not to suffer themselves to be led away on the one hand by exaggerated accounts of the fertility of the soil, and on the other by the representations of the badness of the climate-I cautioned them not to be influenced by the novelty of the thing and particularized the various difficulties which they might expect to experience in a newly established Colony, pointing out that if they were not determined to work and be industrious they would in all probability starve and therefore I hoped they would not blame me should it not turn out according to their expectations. I explained to them such expressions in the Company's proposals as they did not comprehend and informed them that what was meant by the term, "holding their lands subject to certain charges and obligations," was by no means to be considered as an annual rent which idea had been industriously disseminated amongst them but as a kind of tax for charitable purposes such as for the maintenance their poor, the care of the sick, and the education of their children-

 I told them that all such as were determined to become Settlers in the New Colony must not recede from this engagement after they had given in their names as it would put Government to a great expense in providing shipping for them that as soon as they arrived at Halifax the general rendez-vous, they must look up to me as their friend and protector, that I should at all times be happy to redress their grievances and ready to defend them with my life, in return for which, I expected their good behavior during the passage that they would give as little trouble as possible and lend a willing hand whenever their assistance might be required, giving them however to understand that this last request would be entirely voluntary on their parts for they must consider themselves in every respect as passengers, no compulsive measures would be adopted towards them, nor would a white sailor upon any account be suffered with impunity to lift up his hand against them.

Upon their arrival in Africa I promised to make it my business to see that their proper allotments of land were given them and declared I



would never leave them till each individual assured me he was perfectly satisfied.

 Upon the conclusion of my discourse which notwithstanding all remonstrance to the contrary had been frequently interrupted by the plaudits which burst forth from these poor creatures, they assured me the were unanimous in the desire for embarking for Africa, telling me the labour was lost upon the land in this country and their utmost effort would barely keep them in existence, that being now sunk to the lowest pitch of wretchedness, their condition could not be otherwise than meliorated, and as they had already made up their minds for quitting this country, they would not be diverted from their resolution though disease and even death were the consequence.

 I now requested that all those who after serious reflection we determined to embark for Sierra Leone would call upon me, at my lodgings any time between the hours of nine in the morning and one in the afternoon the three following days when Major Skinner and myself would enter their names. About 3 O'clock we returned to Shelburne, dined with Mr. Humphries -politics the chief topic of conversation, passed an agreeable afternoon.

 27th October - Major Skinner and myself employed during the fore part of this day in taking down the names and history of each family advising all of them to dispose of their property though they might not get the full value for it, reserving however a sufficient proportion to maintain them till the first week in December at which time Major Skinner would provide vessels properly victualed to convey them safe to Halifax.

 Dined with me this day at the Coffee House Major Skinner, Humphries, Mr. Brinley, Mr. Miller and Dr. Sullivan. I cannot avoid mentioning part of the conversation after dinner Major Skinner having that he had declared and would still continue to do so in all companies, that what I had advanced was just and equitable, that through the whole business I had conducted myself with the greatest candour, and that every white inhabitant he had conversed with in the town agreed with him with these sentiments, and wholly acquitted me of exerting any kind of influence to induce the Black people to quit this country.

 28th October. Employed as yesterday. Upon inquiry I found the greatest part of the people who had given in their names had not it with the idea of improving their own condition, but for the sake of the children whom they wish to see established (as they expressed it) upon a better foundation-

 A most affecting scene occurred this afternoon occasioned by a Black slave who came to me in order to resign his wife and family who were free
 With tears streaming down his cheeks he said, that though this separation would be as death to himself, yet he had come to a resolution resigning them up for ever, convinced as he was, that such a measure


would ultimately tend to render their situation more comfortable and happy-He said he was regardless of himself or of the cruelties he might hereafter experience for though sunk to the most aject state of wretchedness he could at all times cheer himself with the pleasing reflection that his wife and children were happy-

 Much more he said, which is impossible to convey in language adequate to our feelings on this occasion.

 The room as usual was crowded during this pathetic address and every individual, both Black or White were struck with the noble and elevated sentiments of this poor slave joining in paying a willing tribute of tears to such an unparalleled instance of heroism.

 I was much affected with this scene that admiring the man, and commiserating his condition told him I would purchase his freedom if I could do it and wrote to his master immediately about the business-Dined this day with Dr. Sullivan, Messrs. Humphries, Ogden, Brinley and Bruce.

 October 29th, Received an answer to my letter respecting the poor Slave, John Cottress, and was much affected to find that the intrusion of law as applied to this man's case prevented the master from selling him.

Major Skinner who appeared anxious to procure his freedom gave no hope of succeeding from the short time I could stay in the Province I was therefore obliged though reluctantly to give him up.

  A plan being now in agitation to obtain an act of Parliament for making the Town of Shelburne a free Port and reports having been industrious spread among the Blacks that if such a circumstance took place for their former masters, would come and claim them, I thought proper to draw up the following advertisement which was printed and distributed through the neighborhood and in all the chapels of the Free Blacks-



 Whereas several of the Free Blacks have given in their names to go to Sierra Leone, and since that time it has been reported by many people of that Colour that their sole motive for accepting the Company's Proposal, was not from an idea of bettering their condition, but in consequence of their believing that if they remained here, and this place should be made a Free Port their former Masters will come and claim them, this method is therefore taken to assure them that all Free Blacks who choose to remain here will meet with the same protection as any other of His Majesty's subjects; and should any them be inclined after this assurance to alter their intentions the Agent of the Sierra Leone Company during his continuance in this town will be ready to erase their names, especially of all such as have surmounted their diffi-


culties, and are men of decent property-And it is understood likewise, that many others are desirous of embarking for the new Settlement, and it is recommended to all those, who have not already given in their names, not to dispose of their effects, till they are assured that a sufficient quantity of shipping will be ready to receive them, Major Skinner who has been appointed as Agent for this district will, as soon as an opportunity offers, go to Halifax, and upon his return notify to the Free Blacks in general, the proper mode they are to pursue in future.

John Clarkson~Agent
for the Sierra Leone Company,
Shelburne, October 29, 1791

  The numbers who had given in their names for the last three being made greater than I had previously expected and fearing that vessels could not be obtained to receive them, I thought it prudent to insert I above advertisement to prevent them from disposing of their proper the manner they were doing and to convince them that I did not wish them to go with me, if they did not think they could be benefited change, Colonel Bluck a Black man and one of their principal leaders with me today.

  October 30th,-Dined and passed the day at Major Skinner's an agreeable party of ladies.

  October 31st- Several people came to me this morning to have names taken down which by great perseverance and the most earnest entreaties they effected, notwithstanding all my resolutions to the contrary -They were, however, requested not to sell their property till they informed that vessels could be procured for them- One of them in language, which is impossible for me to convey, in the simple, unaffected and forcible style in which it was delivered most sensibly remarked that they were all impressed with the liveliest sense of gratitude to His Majesty for the offers he had made to them, yet it would be unwise, in his opinion for many of them to think of remaining in the Province even if they certain of having their full proportion of land granted them, in the most advantageous situations, for said he

  had we received our allotments of land upon our arrival in this Province from the States of America, when we were allowed provisions for three years with implements of husbandry, as well as arms a {and} ammunition we might have cultivated our lots to advantage, and by the time our provisions were stopped the lands of industrious men would have been in such a state of improvement as to have seemed to them a comfortable support; on the contrary, instead of receiving our promised and proper allotments upon our arrival in the province, the greatest part of us have received small al-


-lotments in a soil so over run with rocks and swamps that vegetation, with our utmost care, is barely sufficient to keep us in existence; nay some of us have actually perished from hunger and the severity of the climate- 

  It is therefore too late for the greatest part of us to reap any benefit in this country from the kind offers of His Majesty, for myself and many of my companions have been obliged to give up our small lots, finding that we could not live upon them and necessity obliged us to cultivate the lands of a white man for half the produce, which occupies the whole of our time and we should certainly perish, even if the best land were given us now before we could clear it and receive the benefit of a crop-

  He conluded by saying that some few of his companions had received their full allotment of land and had nothing to complain of but the improductive quality of the soil- 

  In the afternoon one of the Free Blacks called upon me to say that he had stolen his son from his master, who was going to carry him with him to America, and that he had secured him in the woods till the vessel sail'd which has to take his master away - The boy was the occasion of my waiting upon two Justices of the Peace on the 26th inst.

  The circumstance is as follows: the master was a butcher of the most vile and abandoned character who had resided at Shelburne for some time; the boy had been bound as apprentice to him till he arrived at the age of 21 years; his master was going to quit the Province and become a subject of the States of America, meaning to reside at Boston and he had according to the Laws of the Province notified his intention in a public manner previous to his departure, he claimed the right to take his servant him and the two Justices partly acquiesced with him, but finding there was no time to lose, as the vessel was upon the point of sailing, I told parents to steal the child if they could and I would bring it to a trial for them afterwards as I was convinced the master meant, upon his arrival in Boston to sell the boy for a slave-Having obtained the best legal opinion on the business I secured the boy and came forward openly to justify the measure, but no one appearing against him, he continued with his family, and was enrolled for embarkation.

  1st November-Entered the name of a few families on condition they should not sell any of their property till they were assured sufficient shipping could be procured to convey them to Africa. Erased the name a few others who being men of decent property had altered their intentions.

  Dined at the Coffee House with Major Skinner, Messrs. Humphries, Bruce, Mr. Keller, Miller and two officers of the 4th Regt. Messrs. Davies and Winkley - Sent by a small schooner to Port L'Herbert the


medicines which we promised, and which Mr. Taylor thought necessary for John McLean and the wife of Shepherd the Black.

  2nd November. Took down the names of a man conditionally before he came from the Coast of Africa originally and spoke English indifferently. The following dialogue passed between us "Well my friend, I suppose you are thoroughly acquainted with the nature of the proposals offered to

  you by His Majesty? Mr Massa, me no hear, nor no mind, me works like slave, cannot do worse Massa, in any part of the world, therefore am determined to go with you Massa if you please

  You must consider that this is a new Settlement and should you keep your Health must expect to meet with many difficulties, if you engage in it. Me well know that Massa, me can work much and care not for climate; if me die, me die, had rather die in me own country than this cold place Dined and spent the evening with Major Skinner.

  3rd November - All this morning employed writing letters for England. Dined at home and in the evening went to a ball at Major Skinner returned at 11 to finish my letters.

  4th November - The weather very cold, and the ground covered with snow - This morning employed making preparations for my to Halifax, dined at the Barracks on the opposite side of the river Mr. Davies of the 4th Regiment. David George a preacher among Blacks called upon us. He appeared to stand in fear of the principal white people of this town, who had thrown out several menaces against him a view to prevent his taking an active part in this business; He nevertheless was resolutely bent on leaving this country, and had sold off a property for the purpose. Two of the most inveterate against the - the one a Magistrate, and the other a gentleman of this place, could scarcely refrain from insulting me in the room. I made public for enrolling names of the Blacks.

  5th November. Mr. Miller dined with me today - closed my for England, received several visits to take leave but the wind suddenly changing, obliged us to give up all thoughts of sailing today- Drank with Major Skinner's family and received a present of an American Book from Miss Parker

  The following are the extracts of my letter sent to Mr. Thornton

Shelburne, N. Scotia Novbr 6th 1791

Dear Sir,

  I reached this place on Tuesday the 25th October and on my landing was met upon the wharf by a black Minister


who was just going to embark to Halifax in hopes of getting the Company's proposal explained-

I immediately waited upon Major Skinner Who has been appointed Agent for conducting the business in this district, and we agreed to send the above mentioned clergyman to inform the Free Blacks that if they would be ready by 12 o'clock the following day, we would attend to answer any questions they might wish to put to us-We accordingly mounted our horses in company with many gentlemen and arrived at Birch Town of Wednesday a little before noon - The people amounting to 300 or 400 were assembled were assembled [sic] in their Church anxious to hear the intentions of Government and the Company- 

  I have not time to enter into any particulars. I can only say that during the whole of my explanation I kept an eye to the expenses likely to be thrown upon Government, the honor and prosperity of the Company, and the general happiness of these oppressed people

  Major Skinner and myself appointed the three following days to take down the names of such as were willing to go but on the third day finding that so many were determined to embark and that the spirit of emigration appeared to be general, we were obliged to leave off, till we could be certain that vessels would be in readiness to receive them, for the people are so infatuated with the ideas of leaving this place that many of them have actually sold all they had, and some to such disadvantage, as distresses are beyond measure when I think of it-

I am and have been since my arrival in this place, extremely unhappy, not from any part of my own conduct, the conscious rectitude of which is the only support I have in my present trying situation but I cannot help feeling an indignant warmth when I reflect upon the various modes and delusive arguments made use of by interested people to deceive these unhappy men; some on the one hand actuated by the vilest motives persuade them to go that they may purchase their property on the most shameful terms, while others are making use of every artful device to retain them in this country- I must give you an instance to exemplify what I have advanced - Potatoes before my arrival at Shelburne sold for one shilling to one & three pence per bushel, and at this time people are buying in their winter stock at 2½ per bushel. The Instance I now adduce may be trifling of its kind but there are others of much greater magnitude-

Another circumstance which affects me is this that the


number who have already entered their names (and there are yet no accounts from the other parts of the Province) have been so much greater than I had any previous reason to sup pose, that I am apehensive there cannot be a sufficient tonnage procured to convey them to Sierra Leone unless the same steps are pursued in the different parts of the Province, as have been taken in the neighborhood of Shelburne and I have my doubts on this head, if I may judge from the slovenly and ignorant manner in which the business has as yet been conducted, and from the influence Peters must necessarily have over all those with whom he may converse-What then will become of these poor creatures should they be obliged to remain here during the winter after having disposed of their property! this idea strikes me with horror, and on the other hand the enormous expenses which must of consequences accrue to Government will I am certain greatly surprise & alarm them- 

  After seriously reflecting on the various circumstances mentioned above, & having my feelings hourly tortured by scenes of accumulating misery and distress, and being at the same time informed by several Black people, that many of their comrades had given in their names to go with me, not from an idea of bettering their condition, but from a report which had been circulated among them by men who were desirous of purchasing their property, that if they remained here, and this place should be a Free Port, their former masters would have legal authority to claim them, and knowing that the whole of them looked up to me as their friend and protector, and that anything from me would have greater weight, than from any inhabitant of this town, I was induced to draw up the enclosed advertisement (see page 88) which I caused to be printed and distributed through Shelburne and its environs; for though I was convinced that the most guarded expressions with my name annexed to them would be perverted and expounded in a sense contrary to their real in tent, yet upon mature consideration I thought the advantage resulting from the publication would be more than equivalent to any evil arising therefrom though I must say it was with the greatest reluctance I adopted such measure, for I was in hopes to have steered clear of having my name adjoined to any part of the business, except after having received the volunteers when it would become my duty to see them properly conducted and the engagements of the Company performed.  I wish I could speak to a certainty respecting the number likely to become Settlers, as you might then act accordingly for you must not suffer us to starve after our arrival, but I think I may venture to say that 1200 Tons of shipping will be

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