Runaway U.S. slaves unwelcome

Canada was the North Star, the haven, the sanctuary for American black slaves who ran north to freedom on the celebrated underground railroad. But not everyone in Upper Canada held out the welcome mat, as shown in this item from the Colonial Advocate, York, February 18,1832.

The inhabitants of Colchester and Gosfield, in the Western District, have petitioned the House of Assembly, complaining that several thousand coloured people are coming into that part of the Province to settle, and that several hundred have come already, “to the very great annoyance and injury of the community at large—as it most evidently appears, by several years’ experience, that by far the greater proportion of these people are void of truth, virtue, or industry; witness the repeated thefts, robberies, and murders committed by them—inasmuch that our courts are upon all occasion filled with them—and we seriously apprehend that if legislative aid is not afford to put those already here, under some restrictions, and to prevent their further emigration, that many of the white populations will be induced to leave the Province, or to take violent measures to rid themselves of the injuries complained of.”

Unfamiliar Canadian history stories 051


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