Nova Scotia Archives

African Nova Scotians

in the Age of Slavery and Abolition

Establishment of the Negroes in Nova Scotia Appendix 15


To the Honorable the General Assembly of Nova Scotia, now convened at Halifax.

      The Petition of the Reverend Robert Willis, D.D., Rector of St. Paul's Church, on behalf of the Colored People in Halifax.

      Humbly Sheweth,

      That for some years past there has been an anxious desire among many persons in this community, which was particularly encouraged by the Right Honorable Lady Sarah Maitland, to make some provision for a suitable education of the People of Color in Halifax, the number of whose Children, under sixteen years, now amounted to three Hundred.

      That in pursuance of this charitable object, Contributions to the amount of Eighty Pounds Currency, have been obtained in Halifax; and to the amount of Two hundred and thirty five Pounds, Sterling, in England.

      That a convenient lot of Ground, in the Centre of the Colored Population, has been purchased, at an expence (sic) of Seventy Pounds Currency; and a School House erected thereon and completely finished, at an expence of Three hundred and eighty three Pounds Currency:—That the Building contains a convenient School Room, and sufficient and comfortable apartments for the Master and Mistress, who have been selected with great care, and are particularly well qualified by their attainments, benevolence, and pious and exemplary character, for the charge they have undertaken.

      That the School was opened at the commencement of the present year, and in one month, Fifty three daily Scholars, and Ninety nine Sunday Scholars were admitted;—which number will probably be greatly increased, when more can be received; as it has been judged necessary to the perfect organization of the School, and its good order and regularity, that Scholars should be received only in the first week of January, April, July and October.

      That all the cost of the Ground and Building has been paid, with the exception of a balance of Eighty Pounds, due to the Carpenter and Mason. And a small Salary to assist in the support of the Master and Mistress, has been procured from a benevolent Association in England, whose efforts are principally directed to the benefit of People of Color. But that the debt of Eighty Pounds now due, cannot be paid, nor the comfortable support of the exemplary Master and Mistress provided for, unless some farther assistance can be procured.

      That under these circumstances, the People of Color in this town, naturally turn to the Provincial Legislature, who have ever been ready to assist the instruction of the Poor— and with an humble hope, that while successful efforts are made throughout the British Nation, to raise their race from the degradation to which they have been exposed for ages, there will be no want of inclination in the General Assembly of Nova Scotia to contribute to the permanent improvement of their condition, by aiding the efforts now charitably made for the Instruction of Colored Children, that they may fill their humble stations with credit to themselves, and advantage to the Community; and be assisted by religious Knowledge in their progress towards that Kingdom, which has been prepared by infinite Mercy for the faithful and obedient children of God, of every Country, and of every Race.

      That your Petitioner abstains from entering into a particular description of the method and order observed in the School, from an hope, that some Members of your Honorable Assembly, will benevolently visit the Institution, and make a report of its present condition.

      And, as in duty bound, your Petitioner will ever pray.

Robert Willis

Halifax, February 4th 1836

transcribed by Nova Scotia Archives staff 2004

Date: Publication No. 8, Halifax, N.S., The Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1948

Author: Prepared by C.B. Fergusson, Assistant Archivist under the direction of D.C. Harvey, Archivist

Reference no.: Commissioner of Public Records  Nova Scotia Archives  RG 1 vol. 292 no. 134 (microfilm no. 15377)