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While most slaves were transported to the Caribbean, the Free-Blacks were given their choice of destination for economic reasons.


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Wanting to avoid areas dominated by large scale slavery, most Free-Blacks chose to go Nova Scotia. In , peace was declared and Britain recognized the birth of the United States. Hill reports that at this period Quebec west of Montreal soon to become Upper Canada, then Canada West, and finally Ontario , was for the most part still wilderness, with fringes of settlement along the Upper St.

Lawrence and lower Great Lakes. Approximately 10, Loyalist were resettled there by the British. It was most prominent in New France, although there are no clear statistics on the number of new slaves brought into Quebec by the Loyalists. The rest of the Loyalists approximately 30, , were transported to Nova Scotia by ships carrying both Free Blacks, and White Loyalists with their slaves, commonly referred to as "servants for life. The most important of the Free-Black settlements in Nova Scotia was Birchtown, named after Colonel Samuel Birch, the official who had issued the certificate allowing them to leave New York.

George's Bay , with approximately settlers. There were also important settlements of Blacks segregated within White communities, including Halifax and its surrounding area Blacks in Halifax, in Preston near Dartmouth , Chedabucto , Shelburne , Annapolis , Liverpool 50 , and St. John, New Brunswick The British promises to Loyalists - of all races - had included land, supplies and citizenship, land being the most important for survival.

When many of these promises were broken, the disappointment of many of the Whites was significant; the disappointment for the majority of the Blacks was enormous. Brown and Senior sum up the Black situation in Nova Scotia as follows:. The majority got no land; the minority who did, received smaller, poorer, less accessible grants than whites.

By November, , when grants to whites had been completed in Shelburne, none of the Birchtown Blacks had received farms, although a few town lots had been issued. Two years later when the Birchtown grants were completed only about a third of the settlers had been awarded farms. Obviously this predicament contributed to the physical and economic decline of Blacks in Nova Scotia. Furthermore, while they were required to fulfill their duties as citizens such as paying taxes , the slave-holding mentality of their White counterparts which denied them their fair share of the land, relegated them to positions of sharecropping, day labourers and indentured servants, all of whom were often exploited and cheated.

With the denial of land, the physical and economic decline of Blacks in Nova Scotia became alarming. Added to the overall suffering, in when the government stopped issuing rations, several owners freed their slaves so they would not have to provide for them. In order to restore the peace, Governor Parr had to send in military forces.

Concerning this violence, Brown and Senior state, "The riot was unique, but the violence, plus the fact that some white Shelburners had tried to engross their land, left the Blacks feeling insecure.

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In Victorious Defeat, Brown and Senior state, "The Blacks' greatest success was religious organization, by which they developed as a distinct and separate community. As with their secular experience, the Loyal Black settlers who were predominantly Anglican, Methodist and Baptist found themselves relegated to a distinctly second-class status in the church. For example, most Blacks believed that baptism in the Anglican Church would make them "one and equal with whites.

John Breynton, Rector of St. Paul's, baptized many hundreds of them, Blacks found that while they could attend services and receive communion, they were segregated from White parishioners and forced into galleries set apart for Blacks, the poor, and soldiers. By , Black worshippers were kept behind a partition. Furthermore, they were advised to gather in their own private homes. To add insult to injury, in the Anglican-related Society for the Propagation of the Gospel had some Blacks displaced because after years of waiting for the property promised to them, they had settled on an area of land reserved for church and school.

Since it was obvious that they were not welcome and could not be nurtured in the Church of England, the Nova Scotian Blacks found their spiritual needs best met by their own lay preachers and teachers, in their segregated communities, and in independent churches only nominally affiliated with the White-dominated parent churches. Without them they would have been swallowed up by their broken dreams of protection and security. The autonomous development of the Black Church in Nova Scotia coincided with the Nova Scotian counterpart to the revivalism of the Great Awakening, which Ellen Gibson Wilson describes as, "a revival which undermined the fashionable and formal churches and created a democratic and hot-blooded frontier religion.

The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, British Wesleyan Methodists, and the Baptists-all of whom were strongly affected by the New Light trend sparked by Henry Alline-gained many Black converts whose needs had not been met by the dominant church. Characterized by opponents as "a wild, emotional, Bible thumping madman, dashing around the country shouting the gospel from horseback and ignorantly condemning those who were more intellectually oriented and committed to an orderly, formal type of worship," Henry Alline preached a message of freedom to all who would listen.

Bell calls, "long gathering religious energies," and while the lack of education on the part of many who either taught or preached was an affront to most traditionalists, the liberating power of the gospel broke through the harsh realities of frontier life. As Gibson states, "The teaching that everyone was capable of imbibing and interpreting the Christian Gospel was ideal for a community thrown upon is own resources of leadership.

Marrant, who had served in the British army during the Revolutionary War, was persuaded by his brother who lived in Birchtown to come over from England in She was suspended in for "embracing some Strange religious tenets. Of the Black preachers who began to arrive in the 's, the most important was the Baptist reformer David George George, born a slave in Virginia, went on to become a Baptist preacher there, escaped with his family to Nova Scotia at the end of the American Revolution, and led a group of Nova Scotians in their attempt to resettle in Sierra Leone.

Soon after his conversion, George began to pray and exhort among other Blacks. Since he could not read at first, other Black preachers encouraged him in the Word. When reading his story in Grant Gordon's From Slavery To Freedom, one cannot help but note that for George, the Scriptures were first validated by his experience as a runaway in search of freedom. George's story provides us with great insight into the role, experience and significance of the Black church in the lives of frontier Nova Scotians.

He organized his first congregations at Shelbourne and later in St. John, Fredericton and Preston. But as Gordon states, "In every setting, his life and ministry were disrupted by racial prejudice, religious opposition, or political upheaval. Many had been baptized by Mr. Chipman of Annapolis It was a mixed communion church.

I preached there. We then returned with Mr. Holmes, when he and his wife sent me to Shelburne, and gave their experiences to the church on Thursday, and were baptized the next Lord's Day. Their relations, who lived in the town, were very angry, raised a mob, and endeavoured to hinder their being baptized [especially Mrs. Holmes' sister]. She laid hold of her hair to keep her from going down into the water, but the justices commanded peace, and said that she should be baptized, as she desired it.

Then they were all quiet. Soon after that the persecution increased and became so great it did not seem possible to preach, and I thought I must leave Shelbourne.

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Soon after this incident, his chapel attacked by disbanded soldiers in the riot of George fled to Birchtown, where he continued his ministry, but encountered more opposition at the hands of both Black and White Anglicans. When telling of his experience there he recalled, "Some of the people With the continuing decline of hope for viable, safe, respected, and prosperous communities, the frustration amongst Blacks and their leaders began to increase.

Thomas Peters of Birchtown, formerly a sergeant in the regiment of "Black Pioneers," sought justice by delivering to the British government in London a petition of complaint that articulated the disgusting condition of life in Nova Scotia. Originally, the British had founded the Sierra Leone colony for the purpose of establishing a homeland for freed slaves repatriated to Africa from Britain and the New World.

Originally called the "Province of Freedom," the colony of Sierra Leone was Britain's answer to the impending abolition of the slave trade and its inevitable clash with White concepts of race and economy.

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With large numbers of free, yet impoverished Blacks seeking refuge in Britain and certain parts of the New World, the British government was on several fronts challenged to find a solution to the "Black problem. The colony was to be first of all a capitalist venture, in that its supporters hoped to develop trade in African products to supposedly replace the slave trade. This, however, was not to be, as many of the London Blacks and White settlers who accompanied them died from sicknesses such as malaria and yellow fever, deserted, or were frustrated by the indigenous Africans' repeated burning of the Freetown settlement.

As Headly Tulloch states: "The new colony needed fresh settlers if it was to survive. Who better for the Sierra Leone company to recruit so that they could reestablish their capitalist-philanthropist vision? Upon hearing of the venture, significant numbers of Blacks were extremely open to Clarke's promises of freedom of religion, free passage, free land, and racial equality for all.

This third included all the preachers and teachers, plus many more who were not forced to stay because of outstanding debts or slave obligation. It seems that the colonists protested their departure mainly because of the impending loss of cheap labour. However, as Robin W.

Winks states, "None could counter the influence of the [Black's] own religious leaders, all of whom had fallen into line behind Clarkson and his assistants. Bridglal Pachai characterizes them as, "The very people who provided hope and relief to the Black immigrants through the church institutions of the Anglican, Methodist and Baptist denominations. It also fuelled the notion that Blacks were ill-suited to the Canadian climate and the tough realities of frontier life.

And the Baptist church in the Maritimes, particularly the Black Baptist church, would have become much stronger. In , the reformer William Wilberforce introduced a bill to stop the importation of slaves into British colonies. Only two years later, in , Simcoe and the slave-holding Chief Justice Osgoode reached a compromise and passed The Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Enforced Servitude, a bill which freed children of slaves after they reached the age of 25, and prevented new settlers from bringing slaves into the province.

Then in , Osgoode, by that time Chief Justice of Lower Canada, ruled that slavery was incompatible with British law. This historic judgment, while it did not abolish slavery, set free slaves and marked the rapid decline of the enslavement of Blacks in Lower Canada. The decline in slavery was also inevitable in Upper Canada.

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Hill explains that slaves were not a necessary prop for the economy of eighteenth century Upper Canada: "The Canadian climate with its short agricultural season ruled out crops such as cotton, which required cheap, plentiful labour. Besides it was expensive to keep slaves fed, clothed and housed through a long, unproductive winter. While slavery was not completely outlawed in the British Empire until , Canada was now a more secure haven for American refugee slaves seeking freedom.

Prior to the Act of , there was no significant movement of Blacks into Upper Canada, but from that moment on, Black immigration began to increase. This gave American soldiers stationed at Fort Malden during the war great incentive and they quickly brought news home of a country that welcomed Blacks.

Hill relates the results of this first wave:. Before the Middle of the19th century small Black communities were firmly rooted in six areas of Canada West: along the Detroit frontier, that is Windsor, Sandwich, Amerstburg and their environs; in Chatham and its surrounding area, where the all-Black settlements of Dawn and Elgin were established,; in what was then the central section of the province, particularly London, Queen's Bush, Brantford and the Black settlement of Wilberforce now Lucan and Fort Erie; in the larger urban centres on Lake Ontario, that is Hamilton and Toronto; at the northern perimeter of Simcoe and Grey counties, especially in Oro, Collingwood and Owen Sound.

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Besides these centers of Black population, small clusters of Blacks, as well as individual Black families, were settled throughout Canada West. The second wave of Black immigration came when the American Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of , making escape more dangerous and expensive.


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This Act brought a dramatic increase to the Black population of Upper Canada: Conservative estimates suggest that 30, fugitives may have reached Canada between and By the 's Blacks were engrossed in the difficult task of setting up and developing new communities throughout Canada West. Until the late 's, Whites did not find the Black presence in Upper Canada to be a cause of concern: there was lots of work, civil rights were afforded them and they were able to live in peace as law-abiding citizens.

However, as their numbers increased-as was the case in Colchester County, where by they comprised about one-third of the population-Whites became increasing alarmed. Racist policies, such as low wages and denial of access to education later legislated segregation , quickly developed to keep Blacks 'in their place. Coincident with these events was the fact that the circumstances of the British North American churches had changed dramatically in the second decade of the nineteenth century. In A Concise History of Christianity in Canada, Murphy and Perlin state, "The War of , combined with a sharp increase in immigration from the British Isles after , resulted in fundamental changes both to the demography and the ideological climate of the colonies.

The second was the development of a more decisively British character, imported into Canada with the swelling numbers of Scots, Irish, English and Welsh immigrants. Thus the White Protestant Church experienced a surge in growth, cooperation and vitality at the same time more Blacks were coming into the country via the Underground Railroad. In their discussion of the early response to this influx of destitute refugees, Murphy and Perlin state, "Evangelical Protestants responded to their arrival in typically philanthropic fashion, providing material aid and launching projects to facilitate resettlement.

Supported by the Free Church and managed by the Elgin Association a stock company formed especially for this purpose , the Buxton Mission provided the escaped slaves with land, education and Christian nurture. It was an evangelical venture with religious and educational aspect supported by the Presbyterian church.

A very successful brick factory and an excellent gristmill are attributed to the Mission's endeavours. Hill states, "As more and more Black refugees entered Canada, British and American missionary organizations saw in the growing fugitive settlements a great opportunity for their work. But with the establishment of Black congregations, several layers of problems arose.

On one hand, the philanthropists rationalized the establishment of White-supervised, all-Black congregations by appealing to "the preference of Blacks for passionate sermons, hymn-singing and other expressions of spiritual religion. By way of example, we may take the case of Elder Browning and William Wilkes.

The movement emerged on the American frontier through various efforts to cut through the complexities of sectarian dogma and find a basis for Christian unity. Their leader, Barton W. Stone , championed revivalism , a simple biblical and non-creedal faith, and Christian union. Soon its members formed the Brush Run Church and ordained his son Alexander, under whose leadership they accepted immersion of believers as the only scriptural form of baptism and entered the Redstone Baptist Association. Alexander Campbell rapidly gained influence as a reformer, winning fame as preacher, debater, editor Christian Baptist , and champion of the new popular democracy.

By the regular Baptists and the reformers parted company, the latter terming themselves Disciples. Two years later Stone and many of his followers joined with them, though continuing to use the name Christians. Alexander Campbell from on turned to constructive church craft. He founded The Millennial Harbinger , established Bethany College , then in Virginia , and agitated unsuccessfully for a general church organization based on congregational representation. Similar cooperative organizations emerged in various states to support evangelists and to establish new churches. The Centennial Convention at Pittsburgh in claimed an attendance of 30,; they had come to celebrate a century of triumph for the New Reformation, or Restoration Movement.

Meanwhile, schism had begun to sunder the ranks, yet without shaking the confidence of the Disciples in their plea for union. They had held together during the controversy over slavery and through the Civil War, when major American denominations had divided. In the succeeding era of bitterness, however, the Disciples also suffered schism.

New developments in response to growing urbanization and sophistication brought two sharply divergent responses. Frontier independence and pragmatic popular biblicism prevailed. But the opponents saw in it a repudiation of the Bible as the determining rule of practice. The introduction of musical instruments reed organs into Christian worship led to many local disputes.

The Federal Religious Census of acknowledged the separation between Churches of Christ and Disciples of Christ who commonly used the name Christian Churches even though many congregations did not decide which they were for some years. The crucial issue centred on the manner of understanding biblical authority. Both conservatives and progressives accepted the New Testament as the only rule for the church.