Remembering Black Loyalists, Black Communities in Nova Scotia
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Departure for Sierra Leone

   Departure for Sierra Leone
  This watercolour view of the harbour at Freetown shows some of the 15 vessels that made the voyage from Nova Scotia during the winter of 1792.
Courtesy of Robert G. Kearns, private collection, Toronto.

y 1791, Black Loyalists realized that the dream of a Promised Land, with freedom and security for their families, was not being fulfilled. Some of the Black Loyalists of Brindley Town, outside Digby, met and decided to send a representative to England with a petition asking the British government for the land they had been promised. While in England, their representative, Thomas Peters, a member of the Black Pioneers corps, was approached by a business group that had established a colony in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Peters was told that the Black Loyalists would receive free land if they were to settle there. He returned to Nova Scotia with Lieutenant John Clarkson of the Royal Navy, to convince Black Loyalists to leave Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

On January 15,1792, 1196 Black Loyalists, including the notable leaders David George, Boston King, and Moses Wilkinson, left Halifax in fifteen ships, for Sierra Leone. This was slightly less than one third of the number of Black Loyalists who had arrived in Nova Scotia in 1783. It seems that neither John Clarkson nor Thomas Peters recruited in northeastern Nova Scotia, so none of the Black Loyalists from Tracadie went to Sierra Leone.

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