Nova Scotia Archives

African Nova Scotians

in the Age of Slavery and Abolition

Admiral Cochrane's proclamation

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This proclamation invited Americans to desert to the British side during the War of 1812. Although the proclamation was not scecifically directed at slaves, the intent of the document is clear. The British believed that if they offered freedom and rations to potential escapees many slaves would leave their owners. The strategy worked, as nearly 4000 did so. They subsequently settled in British colonies. By the end of 1816 over 1600 of them had settled in Nova Scotia. A number of slaves had already taken the initiative to escape to British ships and encampments before Cochrane's proclamation.

Date: 2 April 1814

Reference no.: Commissioner of Public Records  Nova Scotia Archives  RG 1 vol. 111 pages 99-100 (microfilm no. 15262)